The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in conjunction with an expert panel, publishes practice guides to help those in the field make important instructional decisions based on solid, research-based evidence. Their most recent publication, Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Though 3rd Grade, provides us with guidelines for how we might prepare our youngest readers to be successful.
My colleague, Dr Marisa Stukey, spent time discussing all four recommendations outlined in the practice guide in a blogs series with an accompanying webinar. (See the end of this article for links.)
In this blog, I will focus on a portion of the third recommendation: Teach students to decode words, analyze word parts and write and recognize words. The empirical evidence is strong that we must teach regular and irregular high-frequency words so that students can recognize them efficiently.
The sight words are explicitly taught during the Sight Word routine portion of the lesson, practiced during the Guided Spelling Routine portion of the lesson, and applied during the Reading routine portion of a lesson.
The empirical evidence is strong that we must teach students to recognize common word parts.
In SIPPS Challenge Level (90 syllables), the instruction transitions to sight syllables. Sight knowledge of common roots and affixes, as well as other common word parts, improves a reader’s chances of identifying the many words in which these units appear. Additionally, definitions, which aid in both decoding and comprehension, are provided for some syllables.
The sight syllables are explicitly taught during the Sight Syllable routine portion of the lesson and are practiced during the Guided Spelling portion of the lesson. The students extend their sight syllable knowledge to unknown words they encounter in their reading.
For more information, you may want to read Marisa’ blog series on the IES>WWC Recommendations for Foundational Skills or watch the webinar archive, Unpacking the Recommendations from the IES>WWC Practice Guide.