Teacher's Guide for LADYBUG ®October 2005
Teacher's Guide prepared by: Mary E. Shea. Dr. Shea teaches graduate literacy courses and directs the Graduate Literacy Program at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.
Grid for Making Word Cards
This grid is used for making word cards with younger students. It relates to the use of Elkonin boxes. Elkonin boxes help students notice letter sequences and patterns, word configurations, and word lengths. These are all distinguishing features that promote rapid and accurate word recognition (Kibby, 2004). The adaptation I've made is to use a box for each letter rather than for each sound. This means that I'd write - light - like this: instead of like this:
Before recording the word, I stretch the three sounds out, have students echo my sounding, talk about the number of sounds heard, and isolate each sound with me - /l/ - /i/ - /t/. I explain that, although the word has three sounds, it's spelled with five letters. The /l/ sound is spelled with l, the /i/ sound is spelled with igh, and the /t/ sound is spelled with t. Light is selected from the story "Max and Kate" by Brita Granstrom.
I also draw their attention to onsets and rimes with particular words. For example once light has been written - one letter to a box - and cut out, I fold back the l and attach the rime part (ight) to the board or place it in a pocket chart. I pronounce the rime and ask students to think of another word that has the same ending. If they can't, I suggest right, flight, sight, fright or might and we decide what onset (beginning letter or letters) we need to make this new word. This activity is part of Clay's (1993) making and breaking words strategy.
Use the grid for writing new vocabulary words in letterboxes. Reproduce the grid as many times as necessary. With older children who've acquired a basic reading and writing vocabulary, use blank word cards (or index cards) for recording words. However, continue to discuss the distinguishing features as well as meanings to help students fully assimilate new words.
Clay, M. 1993. Reading Recovery: A Guidebook for Teachers in Training. NH: Heinemann.
Elkonin, D. 1971. "Development of Speech". In A.V. Zaporozhets and D. B. Elkonin (Eds.). The Psychology of Preschool Children. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.
Kibby, M. March 18, 2004. Researched-Based Strategies for Teaching Meaning Vocabulary. Presentation for the Continuing Professional Education Series at the University of Buffalo.