This is a fun age when students enjoy a good discussion. What they read does not matter. You can run the programme with reading material from other subjects, high-interest topics, current events or any reading material. The important thing for article selection is that it generates discussion and unusual or interesting words.
The following programme was run over four days, taking just 15 minutes a day.
- Copy the reading material so every student has their own copy. Buddy-up poor readers with good ones if you need to.
- Discuss the article and any interesting words (Challenge Words – usually around 7 words). Discuss possible meanings.
- Turn over articles and students should have a go at spelling each of the spelling words. Students repeat the word then write it while saying it aloud in syllables. They then reread the word and self-correct if they want to alter their ‘try’.
- When the correct spelling is shown, students should tick the parts of the words they got right. They learn the correct spelling ‘on the spot’. Retesting their errors over the next few days will put the word from their short-term into their long-term memory.
- Isolate the patterns in each of the words that is causing them problems, then locate the pattern in the Buddy Book or use their own knowledge to think of other words that contain the same spelling pattern. Make a list of these words in a ‘Word Families’ notebook. This should be added to as other words are found with the same pattern.
- Find the meanings of the Challenge Words in the dictionary – find out root words, parts of speech, etc.
- Written expression follows with a choice of writing style often allowed. One example follows: the article chosen concerned a man who became enraged over feral cats digging in his garden. He caught his neighbour’s cat in a cage, and took it to the local animal shelter, pretending not to know who it belonged to. The police were called. The suggestions for writing were: police report, neighbour’s altercation, the cat’s report about this.