Letters, sounds, sight words, vocabulary words, spelling words, addition facts, and multiplication facts are just a few of the discrete skills we ask students to learn throughout their school years.
How can you do this efficiently and effectively?
Use a Drill Sandwich!
The Drill Sandwich provides students opportunities to practice for accuracy and automaticity. Instead of putting all unknown facts on flash cards and drilling the student, this strategy asks that we ‘fold-in’ unknown facts with known facts keeping practice ratios in the 70% known to 30% unknown.
For example: if KF = Known Fact and UF = Unknown Fact you would arrange the ten facts in the following order: KF,KF,KF,KF,UF,KF,KF,UF,KF,KF,UF.
Drill and practice only ten facts at a time, when the student learns the unknown facts add three more unknown facts, removing three of the previously known facts.
Is your child a passive or an active reader? Comprehension is the ability of students to ask and answer their own questions as readers (Smith 1978). If students are not active readers we can help them by teaching them to form questions. We start with simple questions and move to higher level questions. Explain to your child about the following types of questions.
Who? – Person – character… Where? – Place/location – setting … When? Time – setting… What? Thing/event/problems – plot … Why? Reason
(Later we add words like, did, is, should, would, could and might to raise the level of the question.)
Can your child generate and answer questions from the following sentence?
“On Tuesday, Mark and Hunter’s mother will drive them to the park to play baseball.”
If they say, “Who is Mark?” they need support in using words from the text. A better question is, “Who is going to the park to play baseball?” They may say, “Where did they go?” A better question is, “Where did Mark and Hunter’s mother drive them to play baseball?”
Help your child become an active reader by asking them to form questions after a paragraph, section or page. This can be done with ALL students Kindergarten through 5th grade!!! As your student grows so will the sophistication of their questions.
Does your child read word by word like a robot? Would you like to help increase their comprehension and fluency? Chunking may be just what you need. Chunking develops students’ metacognition related to fluency as they see how words are combined to form “units of thought” and how thoughts are combined to form sentences, passages and complete text.
Take a sentence like, “It was daylight by the time John reached the river.” Write “It” on a piece of paper and ask your child what an ”It” is? Add a second word, “It was” What is an “It was”? Do you have a picture in your mind? Add the third word: “It was daylight”. Now, does it make sense?
Write the entire sentence and discuss the different thoughts, where to pause and how to read the sentence. Then take turns reading the sentence as if it had four, three or two thoughts. Lastly choose which reading sounds the best.
It was daylight/by the time/John/ reached the river.
It was daylight/by the time/ John reached the river.
It was daylight by the time/ John reached the river.