Writing with Rime Magic
My third graders have had a good foundation in phonics with Wilson Fundations, but still need some support recognizing patterns in language. Honestly, all kids could use this instruction because it makes reading a whole lot easier, but that's another post. With the team, I decided to use Rime Magic with these students. I reviewed this product in another post and I like that it helps students to see that they can break down words into the parts they know. (I realize that at some point a teacher has taught them "chunking," but for students who don't know where to chunk the words or don't hear chunks, this program has been helpful.)
We spent the first few weeks just going through the program itself: reading the rimes, building words, finding rimes. Then we started generating words from rimes, so they had to think of as many words as they could with the rimes and add suffixes.
Most recently, we applied their rime magic skills into a text. We first went through a book to highlight rimes and underline suffixes. We read through the book using the clues we had given ourselves with the highlighting. This was still a bit difficult for them to put together, so it's something we will continue to work on. They totally get the concept in isolation, but it's hard to go from that to reading a bunch of words and not fall back on your old habits of either guessing, skipping, or sounding out incorrectly.
After reading the book, we did a shared writing. I wanted them to focus on using their resources to spell unfamiliar words, write neatly with spaces and correct capitals, and follow a structure. Because of that, we all wrote the same thing. As we went through, I had student generate the sentences and I guided them through the writing. When we came to a word we didn't know (which was a lot of them...) we would stop and think about our strategies:
1. Have you seen this word before? Can you see it in your brain?
2. Is this a trick word you're just supposed to know? Can we find it in the text?
3. Do you hear a rime? Do you hear a suffix? Can you use my rime sheet to help me?
4. Can I go slow and spell the syllables?
With the first few words, going through these questions took a long time, but as they got the hang of it, we were flying through. Plus, once we had written a few sentences, they were comfortable referring back to their own writing or the text to find the words they wanted to write down.
On the last day, I had them draw pictures of what we had written and label their pictures just like in a nonfiction text. Not only did they learn a lot about gray wolves, they got a lot out of the writing. I plan on doing this again with them soon. And next semester, we're going to move on to syllable types...! Am I overly confident in their abilities? Perhaps. But I think they can do it!