Reading Strategy: Looking at the Whole Word

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SWBAT use knowledge of phonics to decode unknown words to obtain fluency.

Big Idea

Fourth graders can decode big words by returning to their reading roots of using decoding. This lesson gives the name to a strategy that they have used and now asking them to use it to make sure they maintain reading accuracy.

Modeling to Open

5 minutes

When I start a reading strategy lesson I tell the students the name of the strategy, how its going to help them with reading, and why its so important.

For this strategy I ask them why we need to look at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the word. I give them an example of what happens when I read a sentence and come to a big word that I don't know quickly. I show them only the beginning part of the word and read my sentence, but I guess a word that starts the same as the one I am stuck on.

An example sentence to write: "In order for students to be good readers they need to practice str_____." I only show the first three letters to start so that we can brainstorm words that might fit. Then I uncover only the end of the word. Sticky notes work well for covering parts of the words. We then eliminate all the words that won't work and see if we can add any new words now that we can see the ending.

The last part to uncover is the middle and then students can figure out the real word. We talk about what we did to figure out the word and why each step was important.

Read Aloud

10 minutes

Fourth graders love to be read to. I use this time to model the "Look at Whole Word" strategy by reading  picture book. Any picture book will do, but it helps to cover words before hand to model the strategy. I ask students to watch carefully for how I decode words.

I use the small rectangular sticky notes to cover word parts. When I come to one of the words, I place the book under the document camera so they can see the word I am trying to decode. I "think aloud" each word and model how I look a the beginning, middle, and end of the word. I also model other strategies because I want students to see that you can use more than one while you read. It also helps when you teach new strategies if they have seen a few to help spark their prior knowledge.


Observation Discussion

5 minutes

At the end of the book, we have a discussion for what they saw me do. We talk about each step and strategy and what it looked like. I might even have the student come up and show the class what they saw.

Some key points I try to have them develop are why we have to look at the whole word and how does it help. The last part is making sure the word makes sense. I also want them to go back and reread the sentence with the decoded word. I might have to model how I did that again for them to see it.

Student Practice

15 minutes

Students now need time to practice. I state the expectation of what they are practicing and then dismiss them to Read to Self. I want to have each child model how the strategy works. I stop at each child and have them show me how they would look at the whole word to get a word.I also insist that each student go back and reread the sentence. I stress that rereading makes sure that we have figured out a word that works and makes sense.