Do you use linking charts during guided reading? We use them all the time and in so many different ways!
If you use Jan Richardson’s The Next Step in Guided Reading you know she has several ways for students to practice identifying letters. I use a lot of her letter ideas and this is a good supplement to your guided reading if you haven’t checked it out yet.
One way I have my kindergartners that are significantly behind in identifying letters is to do an ABC Tracing Book. Richard Allington says kindergartners need to be able to identify their letters by Halloween. I take that as a challenge and work to be sure my kids are there. The tracing book has a lot to do with getting the kids to meet Allington’s benchmark.
It is best if the pictures in your traceable book match the ones on your ABC linking chart. You can do full size pages or small books like this one. The student traces the capital A and says the letter name-A. Then traces the lower case letter and says the letter name- a. Last the student touches the picture and says it’s name- alligator. This must be done every day and it is best if it is done one on one. Also, be sure the student is using the correct path of movement as they trace with their finger.
You can take those same ABC cards that you used in the traceable book and use them as quick review cards or exit slips. Laminate them or print them on cardstock, cut them into two pieces for matching capitals to lower case letters in centers.
Read your ABC Chart every day. At first, we read it going forwards. Then the letters we knew plus a new one or two added in, we would match to the correct box. We would speed read the letters after matching them to try to build automaticity. Once their brains got good at going across the rows, I switch things up to make their brains learn new ways- going backwards across the rows and then backwards from bottom up. We read the chart all kinds of ways.
Same concept with my other charts…read them in different directions to build new paths in the brain and to keep it engaging. Individual students read different rows. You can have them mark the boxes with Bingo chips that have the same chunks as the words you call out. They can write words in the boxes if the chart is in a plastic sleeve. I have the students keep their charts in their reader’s notebooks. Several times a week, this is one of the first things we work on in our group.
Different groups will be working on different skills and need the chart they are ready for. So having a lot of different charts makes it easy to differentiate for each group. Use charts with pictures only to see if they can still identify the letters.
Having black and white charts are nice for notebooks too if you don’t want to use colored all the time. Colored are nice for practice in centers or for the teacher’s copy too.
Practicing quick and smooth reading of the charts several times a day during guided reading or RTI intervention groups really seems to help build that automaticity in letters and in chunks. Use charts with chunks only and have students write words with those chunks or you call out a word with that chunk for them to write in the correct box.
You can click on any of the pictures or here to see the linking charts. It has made a big difference for my students.