Supporting All Students, Part 2

Hi, friends!  Good Wednesday morning to you!  I’m back here with you to quickly share another way to support ELL and struggling students.

You’re already here, so I don’t think I need to tell you how important it is for early readers to be proficient in reading sight words.  But, let’s be real, sometimes teaching sight words and can be tricky, and sometimes there are little nuggets working so hard to read, but they’re consistently confusing visually similar sight words (his/has; here/her, etc.)  Enter speed drills.  Bah, bah, bah!  Speed drills have been a favorite of my sight word strugglers year in and year out.

Here’s the way it works:  you select 4-5 visually similar sight words that your kids are confusing.  (To clarify, they don’t all have to be visually similar.  It could be 2 pairs of visually similar words, for example.)  You put them on a grid, like this:  Speed Drills Grid_This, His, Her, Here, They.  This should be editable, so that you can also use it for your students and just replace the words they need to practice.  Here are a few other pre-made drills:  Speed Drills Grid_Is, His, We, Was, SawFisher Speed Drills_Were, Will, Why, Was, With, WouldFisher Speed Drills_C. SteveFischer Speed Drills_Is, His, To, Into, The.

So once you have your grid you choose a student that needs practice with these words.  The first time you drill with a student you set up what you’re doing:  tell them these are sight words that are a little tricky for them, but you’re going to play a game every day to help them learn these words.  The first day, you just need them to read each word accurately and you time how long it takes.  They go the whole way through and you record the time at the top.  After that, you have 2 choices.  You can set a goal (usually 1 minute) for them to get all words correct.  So on day 2-they achieve their goal you can either set a countdown timer of 1 minute, or you can set a stopwatch and record their time, even if it takes longer than a minute.  I usually go with the second option because it lets them have some success while working towards their minute goal.  For example, they could read their sight words 5 seconds faster from day 3 to day 4, but if they’re still not hitting a minute they technically haven’t hit their “goal”, but they’re still making notable progress.  When I was teaching and used speed drills I usually had no more than 6 kids who needed the intervention at a time, and I would either do it during Quiet Time or Choice Time.  If you had a morning routine with a morning warm-up or work you could also do it then.

Have you ever used speed drills?  Do you think it’s something that you could use in your classroom?

Enjoy your Wednesday!  xoxo, Rachel


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