Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Reading Strategies Book Goal 3

Background Information:

In case you are new to my blog I figured I would give you a quick insight into who I am as a teacher. I teach a grade 4/5 combo class in Canada. Now you may be wondering, why is a grade 4/5 teacher wanting to dig deep into Goal 3, Supporting Print Work? The truth is, my students' reading levels range from Kindergarten to Grade 5, as I am sure many of yours do. The majority of my students are English Language Learners. Because of this, I do a lot of professional learning surrounding print work and continue to develop my proficiency in it. One thing I love about this chapter is that some of the strategies are appropriate for students of all reading levels! 

Jennifer begins the chapter by reminding us that there are three sources of information we use while reading; meaning, syntax and visual. She compares the use of all three sources of information to a juggler with three balls in the air; it takes coordination, mental effort and strategic action. It is no wonder that many students overemphasize one or two of the sources of information, which in turn affects their accuracy rate.

Cross Checking

She then continues to talk about Cross Checking. Any of my Daily 5 people out there will be familiar with Cross Checking. Essentially while kids are reading, they need to be thinking, "Does it look right? Does it sound right? Does it make sense?" The 2 Sisters have cool hand gestures to remind kids to cross check.

Goal 3 Strategies

There are 23 different strategies in this chapter. I chose 3 to focus on. 

Goal 3.6 - Try, Try, Try Again:

Jennifer recommends launching this strategy by reviewing all of the reading strategies that have been taught so far. I love introducing this strategy at the beginning of the year. It sounds strange, but it actually gives me a lot of insight into the strategies that my students already have in their tool kits and the strategies that they still need. We start by listing all of the strategies that they already have in their tool kits. Jennifer uses the metaphor of a tool kit beautifully. Saying: "Just like you wouldn't use a hammer to take out a screw, you shouldn't use the "check the pictures" strategy when there aren't any pictures." I have found that my English Language Learners really benefit from actually having a little box that has visuals for each of their reading strategies in it. That way, they can take the strategies out and try them if needed. As we learn a new strategy, we add it to our tool kits.

This is the anchor chart that is suggested :)

Goal 3.7: Slow down the Zoom, Zoom, Zoom to Make Sense!

This strategy is applicable for ALL of my students. So many of my students come to grade 4/5 as "zoom, zoom" readers. I think it is super important to have them pause and slow down. I am always looking for ways to help students learn how to self monitor their reading. Do you know of any others that would work for self monitoring? 

Here is the poster that I hang in my classroom to remind students of this rule!

3.12: Group Letters That Make Sounds Together

Jennifer suggests that you launch this strategy by explaining that some letters go together to make a special sound. Show students a blends and digraphs chart. There is a great one on page 91. Then have students read a book while being detectives and hunting for blends and digraphs. I completed this activity a couple of times with my low reading group. I thought that it really helped their decoding! It is so difficult to make time for phonics in a grade 4/5 classroom where most of the students don't need it. I would love to hear in the comments if you have any ways to incorporate phonics for your low readers!

I really enjoyed this chapter! What was your number 1 take away? Feel free to discuss in the comments below :) 
Don't forget to check out the rest of the posts in this series. You can find all of the links here.

Have a sweet week!


  1. 3.6 is one I have used a lot this year. So many of my readers were stuck on "sound it out" and "check the picture". They had certainly heard about the other strategies, but I felt like many of them for some reason thought sound it out was the best one for some reason and they'd stay on one word for a long time using that one strategy. Try, Try Again has really helped them realize that every strategy is important, and if one isn't working you have to try another. I have 3.7 on my lesson plans for 2 groups next week. :)

    I do a lot of phonics work during guided reading. Not all the students need the same work, and some need extra time with the same sounds so I do it then with the group that really needs it.

    1. Lisa,
      I have a couple of students who use the sounding it out strategy ad nauseum. No, really! It is hard to wean them off this strategy. I think it's because they haven't really been taught other strategies. I will try 3.7 with a couple of kids this week. Thanks for posting!

    2. I think "sound it out" is the one most parents prompt their kids to use. Also, it's easily named. This book gives easy names to lots of strategies, which I think will help kids use them more.

  2. I love 3.7 Zoom, Zoom, Zoom and 3.6 Try, Try Again. Such great strategies. I use 3.15 - Take Off the Ending a lot! Taking off the ending seems to be helping my struggling readers this year. It is interesting how dynamics shift from year to year.

    I agree that making time for phonics in the upper grades is a challenge, but definitely needed by some kids.

    Managing a 4/5 split would be hard! How many students do you have? Do you have anyone to help you throughout the day?

    Crofts' Classroom

    1. Yes it is tricky! I have 25 kids. Unfortunetly no help.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this chapter. I have a question that may sound silly, but that I hope you can answer. I like the idea of the visual reminders for the different strategies we teach kids, whether or not they come from the Strategies books. I have an art notebook with unlined, sturdy pages to create charts to share with kids, as appropriate, for conferring. My question is: where do your students keep these visuals? Do they have a folder? Their own notebook? Do you have a bulletin board with these visual reminders of the strategies that they can pull out and use? Just trying to picture this in my head. Thanks for your response.

    1. Elisa that's not a silly question at all. In fact it is something that I have struggled with! My students glue a mini copy of the anchor chart into their reading notebooks. Now the problem is that I'm not sure how to keep them organized! I was thinking maybe tabs? Maybe a table of contents? It is a work in progress :) I LOVE the idea of creating a conferring tool kit! That is on my summer to do list.

  4. 3.7 Slow Down the Zoom, Zoom, Zoom to Make Sense! is one of the strategies that I use with my 4th graders. So much is lost when we much comprehension and word many clues that would help the reader make sense of who the characters are and what they are like! I enjoyed your take on Goal 3 very much! Thanks for sharing!