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Big Kids Need Phonics Too Series! Step 2: Eliminate the Primary Vibe!

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The first step to teaching reading in the intermediate grades is to know exactly where your students are in their literacy development. We often overlook this step and just assume that if kids are not strong readers by this point, they just need more practice. This does such a great disservice to so many students! If you missed our Step 1 in the Big Kids Need Phonics Too! series, click here to read about giving diagnostic assessments so you know exactly where the problem lies.

The second step is to begin teaching phonics in a systematic, sequential way.  Now you know exactly where the gaps are, and most likely, your readers are missing some foundational phonics skills.

So now you know what to teach!

Here is where my problem began for me… as soon as I would search for resources for a particular phonetic skill, everything I saw seemed so… babyish. How could I put an activity in front of a 5th grader that looked like it belonged in Kindergarten?  Believe me, big kids notice! It feels humiliating to go back to the table with your teacher for reading support and see cute, cartoon, primary clip art, and resources! 

We owe it to these kids to teach foundational reading skills in a way that does not feel belittling.

These are 4 of our favorite tips to remove the primary vibe!

  • Use real pictures instead of cute clip art. No more cute kids!
  • Use high-interest topics when creating sentences and passages. No more “The silly bunny loved the grumpy toad.” Instead, use students’ names, experiences, and pop culture to demonstrate phonetic patterns.
  • Use games that reinforce the skill, but are competitive and engaging. Big kids love games too!
  • Kill the worksheet! Use interactive notebooks, online resources, and multisensory techniques to teach and reinforce these invaluable skills.

Most importantly, help your students realize that every good reader needs a solid foundation of phonological awareness and phonics. It has NOTHING to do with age! Help your students understand that by learning these skills, their reading will become less laborious, and they will finally see growth. Show them their data and help them understand that everything you are doing is on purpose. And, explain that it is never too late to go back and learn missing skills.

Kids will buy in if they understand the process.

They want to improve their reading and stop struggling. It’s our job to do it in a way that feels developmentally appropriate. At Reading Rev, it is our mission to resources that are engaging and honor the intermediate reader.

Find out more information about our Systematic Intermediate Phonics and Spelling Program. We have spent thousands of hours creating this program so you don’t have to!

Want to see all 6 Steps in the BIG Kids Need Phonics Too! Series? Here you go!

Step 1: Diagnostic Assessments

Step 2: Eliminate the Primary Vibe

Step 3: Teach Syllables

Step 4: Read High-Interest, Skill-based Passages

Step 5: Kill the Worksheet: Practice Can Be Play

Step 6: Morphology Matters

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