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February 7. 2017

10 Ways to Make Letter Learning Effective for Struggling Readers: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

You need to make your instruction count when you are helping struggling readers learn how to look at letters. Here is a list of some general suggestions you can use during word study, reading, or writing. Use these ideas every time there is an opportunity.

1. Be sure that letters are clearly printed in black or dark print on white or cream paper.

2. Be sure that readers are at all times able to see the print in word study lessons or in shared or interactive writing.

3. For beginning readers and writers (and children who are having difficulty), select texts with a consistent and clear font.

4. Use a verbal description of letter formation (the "verbal path") to help children learn features of text.

5. Use a variety of ways to draw children's attention to the features of letters.

6. Provide kinesthetic experiences that help children learn directionality and the distinctive features of letters. (colored plastic letters, making letters in sand or salt, sandpaper letters)

7. Use magnetic letters to help children feel letter features as they sort them and build words.

8. Vary the ways children view letters as they read or write them.

9. Emphasize looking at the letters in words from left to right.

10. Create strong references that will help children keep the letter and a key word beginning with the letter in mind. (Alphabet Linking Chart)

Excerpted from When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

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