How to Hit 5 Reading Targets With One Game
There are so many different factors that play into learning to read and write effectively. It can often feel overwhelming as parents or educators to fit all of them in. Because of the way literacy instruction is presented it can often feel like we need to focus on all the core areas:
Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension
separately...through different worksheets or games and hope that it all comes together. But here's the thing, you don't actually need to have separate activities. You can work to incorporate multiple targets into one game. This can be great especially when you are working with more than one student that may have different goals.
We have a game that we like to use in our intervention called Crazy Floss. In this game the idea is that the instructor or parent deals out 8 cards to each player. The rest of the cards are put in the middle as a "draw pile". The top card on the draw pile is flipped over. Students then have to match their cards to the card flipped over next to the draw pile by initial sound, vowel sound, or final sound. If they don't have a card that will match they have to pick a card from the draw pile. Here are the different skills you can target with this game.
1. Isolation Skills
By asking the student to match to only one part of the word you are asking that they isolate the letters/sounds and match them in appropriate sequence. You must match an initial sound to an initial sound, a vowel sound to a vowel sound, a final sound to a final sound. If you are showing them the letters this is a orthography skill (matching letter pictures) and if you are telling the students the word (without showing them the picture) and asking which sound you matched in would be a phonological awareness (sounds only) skill.
2. Decoding Skills
By asking them to read the words you are specifically working on their ability to read real words and nonsense words in isolation without using context to help support their reading.
3. Vocabulary Skills
When you ask students to sort whether the words are real or nonsense you are requiring that they think about the meaning of each word and determine if they have a concept for the word. It's a great opportunity to talk about word meaning in a fun and meaningful way.
4. Writing Skills
We expand this game by asking students to take turns picking words from the real word pile and creating a sentence with the word. This ensures that vocabulary skills and sentence syntax skills are in place. Additionally, it helps them think broadly about how they can connect concepts by connecting their sentence to the previous sentences to create a continuous story that connects all the pieces together. Finally, you can send out the COPS and check for capitals, organization, punctuation, and spelling.
5. Morphology Skills
A great way to differentiate this activity is to add suffix cards to the mix. For example, when you are working on floss words you could determine if the word would use a suffix -s or suffix -es. You could challenge students to try to use a suffix -s or -es (if appropriate based on the part of speech) in their writing. This helps with spelling those words with suffix additions. In the following video, we did not include the suffix additions because this student wasn't quite ready for that level of differentiation and skill acquisition just yet.
Check out our video below to see how we target multiple skills in this one simple game.
You don't need a bunch of different games and activities to hit multiple targets. You can use word cards or word lists to accomplish a similar result. If you have a list of words you could take a die and roll the die to accomplish a similar results. It's all about thinking about how you can pull in additional tasks into one activity - this helps you use the same activity over and over with different results!