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We all work with struggling readers, especially in Special Education.  In previous posts, I wrote about working on improving skills in comprehension. You can find SEQUENCING here and MAIN IDEA here.
 Today I want to focus on those students that have reading decoding issues. 
 No matter what reading issues students have, we want to make sure they receive all components of reading instruction. Our kids often come to us reading several years behind their grade level as or not reading at all. We want to make sure they get a well-planned reading instruction, not just instruction in the area in which they are behind.
What are some things we can do in our reading blocks to help these kids?

๐Ÿ“˜Break up the independent reading time into several different smaller timed sections. The kids could spend a small segment reading with a partner. 
     ๐Ÿ“—Try letting the student listen to a partner read and then reading the same selection to their partner.
     ๐Ÿ“™Have them listen to stories online at sites such as on STORYLINE ONLINE  , or  JUST BOOKS READALOUD . One of my favorites for many years is  RAZKidsRaz-Kids does require a  membership fee, but is well worth it. On Raz-Kids which part of the A-Z Learning, students can listen to books being read for practice and even record their reading so teachers can track the progress.  
     ๐Ÿ“• Centers - If you use reading centers which is a great way to get in reading practice be sure your students have the ability to do the center individually or if pairing partners, keep students with similar reading levels together.
     ๐Ÿ“— File folders games are an excellent way to work on reading decoding skills. They can be specifically tailored to the ability level of the student. I used a color code system when setting up my file folder centers. For example; Reading file folders all had a triangle on them then all the reading file folders were in colored folders such as red for beginning, green for emergent and so on. 

Word Work
Providing time for students to practice working with words is extremely important. Word Work gives them time to play with the word, practice and explore all the possibilities. While there are way too many to mention in this post, here are some of my favorites.
What are some great ideas for Word Work time that you use?

     ๐Ÿ‘‰Foam Letters - these provide great tactile reinforcement and are great for letter sound work.
๐Ÿ‘‰Letter Stamps - kids love these and these are a quite well used of capitals but also come in lowercase as well. These are a super way to practice stamping words. They are flexible to use when teaching any phonetic sound and kids adore stamping the letters. To spice things up I have different color inks the kid can use and this becomes a real higlight of center work for the kids.
Make it fun and flexible with easy activities such as these. They are easy to set up and extremely flexible no matter what phonetic skill you are working on. 

Reading comprehension is one of the most essential skills to teach, yet one of the most complex. It is an essential skill, not just in the subject of reading but many other subjects as well.
Sequencing is a key component in comprehension strategies. It helps us find meaning in the text we read, not only as students in reading and school but in a multitude of situations in real life.

What Is Sequencing?

๐Ÿ“š Sequencing is one of the core skills that help us to comprehend and make sense of what we read.
๐Ÿ“š It is identifying the parts of the story, such as what happens first, second,
        third and last.
 ๐Ÿ“š It is the beginning, middle and ending of a story.

When we sequence what is read, we find meaning in what is read by using the details of the text, the order of the events and keywords to make sense of what we read in a larger context.
We use the parts of the text such as beginning, middle and end of the passage as well as keywords in passages such as first, then, later, afterward, finally and in the end, to place the details in order in the bigger scheme of what is being read.

Why is Sequencing Important?

In order to remember things we read and share with others, it's important to be able to tell things in order. Sequencing helps the information be more organized thereby making the retelling easier to understand. 
Recalling the information in chunks such as beginning, middle and end makes it easier to tell and remember.

What to do
Integrate sequencing into other areas of your teaching. 

Use great sequencing stories to introduce and practice sequencing.
Here are just a few books that work well to teach, practice and have fun with sequencing. Having taught primary age students for much of my career, one of my favorites is
 ๐Ÿ“šThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

 ๐Ÿ“šBring the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
 ๐Ÿ“šIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joff Numeroff
 ๐Ÿ“šThere Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback

Many of my students had very low reading levels but I still wanted them to be able to sequence events and ideas. We started our work at the picture level. Here is a great simple way to introduce and practice sequencing at the picture level.


Pick an activity such as cooking or a science experiment. These lend themselves well to using a follow-up activity of putting the steps in order or even retelling how they were done.
Graphic organizers are a great way to begin writing and putting the events of what happened in the activity in order.


Math provides an optimal method of integrating sequencing, math skills, directions and more. Take an easy recipe such as making no bake cookies or jello or putting together a snack. 
Perform these with the group, then have them illustrate the steps and the order in which they were done. Its also a great time to emphasize how important order is since often when we put cookies together in the wrong order, the cookies do not turn out well. 
Some great recipes I have used for this include:
Rice Krispies treats

Reindeer Poop Cookies - while these cookies may need a different name in your classroom they are great fun. 

Here is a great resource for no bake ideas. 


Science is an excellent opportunity for working on sequencing skills. Practice sequencing following the steps of an experiment. Work on retelling how the experiment was done. Drawing pictures of the steps of an experiment is an awesome way to integrate science and sequencing.
That's all for now! 
Happy Sequencing!

Mary Ann

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