3 Ways to Generalize Skills Learned in Isolation

Generalize Skills

This month we are going to be talking about ways to cement strategies used during intervention. The tough part about this is that typically our students are at all different levels, and so many of these strategies need to be differentiated or scaffolded based on student ability.

A lot of our families ask how we can generalize the skills their children learn in an intervention setting into the home, and even the classroom, instead of just practicing them in isolation. These parent concerns are definitely valid - it is so awesome if a student masters a skill in a 1 to 1 setting, but the work truly is not done until that student can generalize those skills into multiple, applied settings.

Today we are going to talk about 3 easy ways to generalize intervention skills so that your students and children can keep practicing, even outside of the intervention setting!

3 Ways to Generalize Skills Learned in Isolation

1. Take note of what your student/child is working on during intervention so you can point it out later.

For example, "Hey, this word ends in -ck! Didn't you just learn about that rule? That's so cool!" Point out relevant words that your student or child has been working on in a natural setting, instead of a contrived one. Ask them about the rule, when it applies, or if they see any other words that follow that same rule.

2. If a student is struggling with a word, have them tap it out.

This is a strategy we use day in and day out with our struggling readers. To do this, a student will use their fingers and their thumb to "tap" each individual sound in a word (so cat would be /k/ /a/ /t/ and they would tap their index, middle and ring finger to their thumb, one after the other with each sound). In an intervention setting, many students know to revert to tapping out each individual sound in a word if they are struggling, but they may be unsure that they can use it at school and at home! Tapping out a word by it's phonemes will help them break the word down into smaller, more manageable sounds, and is a sure way to help them decode words - in any setting!

Scoop Spelling

3. If a student is struggling to spell a word, have them "scoop spell" it.

We'll talk much more in depth about the awesome powers of scoop spelling in a later blog, but this is such a great strategy because it allows a student to break down multi-syllable words into manageable chunks, in order to really focus on one syllable at a time when spelling. The first step is to identify how many syllables are in the word. After that, have your student or child figure out how many sounds are in each syllable. Not only will this strategy help students retain their spelling words, but it will also help to build phonological awareness skills which support both reading and spelling skills. Again, this is a strategy we consistently use in intervention, but could really benefit students/children in all settings.

So that's it! 3 easy ways to generalize skills that your students and children learn in isolation so that they can be successful in multiple settings! Keep coming back because we'll be talking about lots of great ways to cement reading intervention strategies all month long, and you won't want to miss out on all the good tips we have coming!

Megan LahtiComment