Using Sound Sorts to Strengthen Decoding Skills

When students are learning to decode words, they most often are able to identify the beginning and ending sounds long before they can discriminate the medial sounds of words. Create word cards with words that have the same medial sounds for students to sort. For example, you might place the words: bed, red, Ted, bad, lad, mad, bid, lid, did, lead, read, bead onto cards. Ask students to read the word and think about the sounds they hear in the middle of the word. Students then sort the word cards into categories by the sound they hear in the middle of each word. This helps children think more about medial letter placements and the sounds they make.

Visualizing Text to Deepen Comprehension and Retention

Helping students visualize what they are reading helps deepen comprehension and also helps students retain information longer.

Ask students to read a specific section of text collaboratively. When they have completed the text, ask them to discuss the material and to then create a picture, diagram or mind map to show what they have learned from the text.

Students then present and explain their visual images to the class to help them clarify their own thoughts and connections.

When students create a visual image that connects to the text they have read, not only is there deeper understanding of the material, but they have also stored the information in two places in the brain, thus, deepening retention.