In their quest to become stronger readers, students in the Massapequa School District learn lots of strategies to help them with fluency and comprehension. Teachers provide whole class instruction and also meet with students in small strategy groups. They are supported by elementary literacy coaches who model research-based best practices for both students and the classroom teachers.
Literacy coach Jeannine Butler recently visited fourth grade classes at Birch Lane Elementary School, working directly with students to teach students cover and slide, a reading strategy to help them decode unfamiliar words. In fourth grade, students are reading more challenging chapter books that might not have pictures to help them identify a word they don’t recognize. As Ms. Butler worked with students, the classroom teacher observed.
Ms. Butler showed students how to use their hands to cover up these words, then reveal a group of letters at a time, eventually blending the sounds together. Often, it might be a word students know by sound but not in writing, so breaking it into smaller parts helps them figure it out.
Students take the reading strategies they learn during the small-group sessions and apply them during independent reading time.