Reading with Boys Needs Short, Focused Lessons


 Short Focused Sessions

 Reading with boys needs short, focused lessons to help them engage. Boys reading is a hot topic namely, because there are more boys in reading intervention than girls. Boys generally, take longer to mature than girls.They would rather be out playing, riding bikes and kicking footballs . However, once engaged, boys can move along rapidly.Even the most immature boy in my Prep group is engaged and reading at age level. The difference is we make certain that each child’s individual differences are considered in program delivery. Most boys love activity, so our programs are filled with short focused lessons with varied activities in phonological awareness, phonics, high frequency words and reading.
The reason that I am writing about boys and reading is that I recently, I read an article where mothers were finding it difficult to get their boys to read. One lady discussed her child’s inability to cut lengthy words into syllables. I can’t help myself when it comes to syllables. It is like placing chocolate ice-cream in front of me…. I can’t resist!!! I need that party in my mouth!

The Staircase of Cutting up Long Words-BLENDING

Knowing how to cut words into syllables is like climbing a set of stairs, you have to start at the bottom and progress to the top, step by step. With explicit teaching, practice and perseverance the top step can be reached in a short period of time.
The bottom step in this staircase is blending. Blending sounds into words has its own progression, starting with two letter words and then three, four, five and even longer words. Students who have problems blending need to practise words that have all letter combinations before moving into syllables. Once this blending step of one syllable words is achieved, work can begin on two syllable words.

Two Syllable Words

The basic two syllable words are those that have two vowels and two consonants separating the vowels. One consonant at the end of one syllable and another at the beginning of the second syllable. An example is batter. Underlining the vowels will highlight the syllables. If the student knows that a syllable contains a vowel or vowels sitting side by side it is relatively easy to identify the syllables. With the word, batter, there are two vowels separated by consonants. Cutting the word between the two consonants divides the word into two syllables. Then the child uses the learnt blending strategies to blend one syllable at a time. Practising the first syllable seems easy for most children BUT sounding and blending the second syllable often seems too difficult. I find that students will sound and blend the first syllable and then guess the second syllable. It is so frustrating. To encourage students to sound and blend the second syllable I sound and blend the first syllable and then have the student to sound and blend the second syllable. Practising this strategy until the blending is smooth will ensure that the efforts will be rewarded.
If the step of cutting up and blending two syllable words is  taught and practised well,the student will find the next step easy. One step at a time and the climb to the top will be a breeze.

Types of Syllables

The syllable bat in the word, batter, is called a closed syllable. This syllable type can be identified by two distinguishing features. There is a consonant on the end of the syllable and the vowel in the syllable is a short vowel. A short vowel is one that says the vowel’s sound.
The other syllable type that needs to be taught at this level is the open syllable. An open syllable has a vowel on the end of the syllable and that vowel says its name. It is a long vowel. An example of this syllable type is the word, idea. The syllable cut goes after the first vowel, i. This vowel will say its name because it is on the end of a syllable.  Summary                                                                                                                              
Of course, with English being English, there will always be exceptions to the rule. When these exceptions arise the specific syllable irregularities need to be identified and discussed. The emphasis in this blog has been on two syllable types and a specific strategy to cut up two syllable words. This teaching follows consolidation of blending which is the first step.There are six syllable types that will be discussed in following articles because I believe strongly, that if syllable types are taught reading would be easier for our students. To be a great reader requires constant practice. As teachers and parents we need to take the time to enjoy the wonder of watching our children learning a new skill that will take them into an exciting future.


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 Ann Foster

Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas.Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringing into action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results. Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above. Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto dreams