Since I first created the Blue Reading Program I have changed it a couple of times. I am now at a place where I am feeling pretty confident in its completeness. With that said I am unveiling it to ya'll today. I've actually had this for a while now, but was overwhelmed being a full time spouse, a full time mommy and cancer mommy to boot, in the Relief Society Presidency at church, being a full time Montessori teacher, being a sister, daughter, cousin etc. I gave myself permission to make the world wait a little while. My Cancer Cutie finished his treatments for leukemia last month and I'm ready to get back to a new kind of normal life. I changed jobs again and moved to a WONDERFUL new school in Salt Lake City called Montessori Community School. I absolutely LOVE it there! It really is such a place of community and fully interested in following the child. I am back in Early Childhood again. I don't think I could choose a favorite between Early Elementary and Early Childhood. I sure am missing those 8 year olds right now, but I'm in love with the 3-6's just as much.
I am going to take you on a tour of my Blue Reading set-up, why they are the way they are, and how these skills are taught in our classroom.
My favorite part about creating a Blue Reading Program is the fact that I have had complete control over how integrated all the parts are. It has been so frustrating trying to make what is out there work for my vision. I could see what my students were lacking but couldn't really fix it without creating an entire program that addressed all of their needs. Students with learning differences, visual processing disorders, and even dyslexia needed all the steps and what I was using wasn't cutting it, but the students who were not facing any of these challenges could make big jumps in the matter of a week or even days. How was I to service both ends of the pendulum? The answer has been to service the one with the greatest need and let them all move at the pace right for them. The child who doesn't need all the steps can show me they are totally mastered, have written their words, can read the sentences and match them to the pictures, know their sight words, and they can move on. These children will often get through 3-5 envelopes in a week if they are really motivated, and truth be told, sometimes these children will come back after a weekend and have all kinds of new blends under their belt. This is fun to talk with them about it and work through what they can skip when we get back together. It also feels like a great accomplishment for them.
Blue Reading Pouches:
Before each of the above mentioned set of boxes is used we first use an "I Spy" game to introduce letter combinations. This is a great assessment tool to see if a child can sort the sounds and is ready to use the boxes. If they are not at mastery wait a bit until they are and then have them use the boxes.
This video shows how to use this work
To introduce the I Spy Set for #1 you would take out the Movable Alphabet and get a 'c' & a 'k'. Say, " When c and k are together the just say 'k'". Then build a few phonetic words using the blends such as duck, luck, tack, sock, deck. Notice how I am naming only words that do not have ANY other blends. Now do this for "ff", "ll", "ss" & "zz". Once you have introduced the sounds you can move onto the "I Spy" Cards for that set. The "I Spy" cards do not need to be purely phonetic since we are not building any words with this set, only seeing if the child can hear and sort by the correct sound. These sets have a control of error on the back of each card and a word list on the back of the letter card.
|Blue Reading Beginning Blends and Beginning Digraphs|
and First Digraphs "I Spy" Cards
|Blue Reading Ending Blends, |
Triple Blends and Triple Digraphs "I Spy" Cards
|I Spy Sets Stickers for Vinyl Envelopes|
The first lesson in the Blue Reading Program is presented using the - ck - envelope, the Small Moveable Alphabet, and a Blue Reading Moveable Alphabet Mat I've made from a Blue Rug (you'll see a picture of that in just a moment):
|Blue Reading CK Envelope|
This is the only set of Blue Reading I keep in a clear vinyl envelope.
All the others are housed in the boxes.
|Blue Reading Envelope Contents|
The vinyl envelopes are purchased at Everyday Plastics
Double Letters -
1. ck (you linguists can debate with me about it being a double letter or a digraph but I'm sticking to my guns on placement with this because it is SO easy to teach at this point and so necessary for reading success at this stage)
Beginning Blends -
First Digraphs (There are two reasons I have placed these in the middle of the Blue Reading Sets. Number one: most are regularly used at both the beginning and ending of words and these are very important for reading success at this stage. Number Two: Because by this time children are wanting to read what is around them in the world, having these simple digraphs under their belt at this point gives them much greater confidence in the world at large.)
29. th - This box also contains the word list for both voiced and unvoiced th. Voiced example: bathtub, unvoiced example: that. I also have the voiced and unvoiced th sorting mat in this box.
Ending Blends (there are children who don't actually need much help with ending blends and can skip ahead. But then again, there are children who really struggle with these and need the support of the boxes)
(There is a good reason to introduce the ld, ng, and nk closed syllable with short vowel sounds). Later in green reading we will explore the closed syllable exception in words like hang, old, and tank)
Triple Letter Blends
Beginning and Ending First Triple Digraphs
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Drawer Labels|
I label the fronts of the drawers with these stickers after
I've laminated and cut them out. I place the number on
the left and the picture on the right.
|Blue Reading Picture to Moveable Alphabet and Word Cards|
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Single Word Booklets|
|Blue Reading Single Word Booklets|
After a child has mastered their word list there is a writing piece. They use the Blue Reading Word List writing paper to write their list and put in their file or binder.
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Word Lists|
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Word List Recording Paper|
|Blue Reading Word Lists with Word List Recording Paper|
The th digraph is really two subsets the voiced - as in bathtub and the unvoiced - as in that. This work helps the child become more familiar with both.
|Blue Reading Voiced and Unvoiced th Sorting Mat|
Blue Level Sight Words Sets
If you have been working with the Language Works from this blog since the beginning you will have been introduced to Sight Words in the Pink Reading Series blog post. These words follow the same presentation format. It is important to note that it isn't necessary to be finished with the Pink Level Sight Words before beginning to read these sentence matching cards. You will find detailed instructions for the presentation of sight words with he pink sight words. You can click on the link above. If a child is reading along and needs help with a word you simply tell them the word and have them reread the sentence with the word included. These words are in 4 sets that correspond with the Sentence Matching Cards Sets.
|Blue Reading Series Sight Words Sets|
Picture to Sentence Matching Cards
|Blue Reading Series Picture to Sentence Matching Cards Set #1Beginning Blends|
|Blue Reading Series Picture To Sentence Matching Cards Set #2 First Digraphs|
Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Fluency Cards
I am putting in a HUGE plug for this work. It is quite possibly our key to success in reading. The ability to read words with fluency literally changes the ball game for students. Look here for the Pink Reading Level Fluency Cards. These words are in 12 sets of 24 words. By this time the child is working on moving more quickly. During the Pink Level we are working on learning how to blend. In the Blue Level the child masters the set by reading 20+ words easily. This usually takes a few times through the set before they reach this mastery. We use the same game as with the Sight Words. First time through any words they can read easily within about 3 seconds goes into their pile. Any they still need practice on stays in my pile. We count how many are in their pile and say, "Look how many you have in your pile today!". We then practice through the words they need twice and see if they can add any more to their pile. Only the amount from the first run through count towards mastery. The child will use this work until they have mastered all the sets, or until I feel confident they are reading blends and beginning digraph words with facility (at this level it is harder since those triple blends will trip up the kids sometimes). This could last into the Green Reading Level.
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Fluency Cards|
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Fluency Cards|
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Single Word Command Cards|
|Blue Reading Single Word Command Cards|
|Blue Reading Blends and First Digraphs Command Cards Sentences|
|Blue Reading Nonsense Words Cards|
|Blue Reading Nonsense Words Cards Layout|
Blue Reading Rhyming Set
|Blue Reading Series Rhyming Families Set|
|Blue Reading Multi-Syllable Picture and Word Matching Cards|
|Blue Reading Multi-Syllable Fluency Cards|
|Blue Reading Multi-Syllable Picture and Sentence Matching|
|Blue Reading Multi-Syllable Picture and Sentence Matching Layout|