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Mastering Short Vowels and Reading Whole Words with Calista, First Grader

Mastering Short Vowels and Reading Whole Words with Calista, First Grader

Reading expert Linda Farrell works with Calista, an early stage reader, on short vowel sounds, blending and manipulating sounds, reading whole words, and fluency. Ms. Farrell starts by making sure Calista has a strong foundation in short vowel sounds by teaching her hand motions to remember those sounds more easily. After Calista demonstrates she knows short vowel sounds, Ms. Farrell teaches her to change one sound in a spoken word using manipulatives. Finally, Ms. Farrell helps Calista move from sound-by-sound reading to whole word reading.

Literacy terms

Blending: Combining units of sound (syllables, onsets and rimes, phonemes) to form a word.

Multisensory instruction: Instruction that engages more than one sense at a time to help students learn. A multisensory activity can include seeing, talking, hearing, moving, and touching. 

Sound chaining: A sound manipulation exercise where one sound is changed to make each new word in a series of words. Example: sip to tip to tape to take to make to mate to mat to hat.

Letter names vs. letter sounds

Stretching CVC words

About Linda Farrell

Linda Farrell is a founding partner at Readsters (opens in a new window), an Alexandria, VA-based firm that helps schools implement research-based reading instruction. She is committed to effective early reading instruction in, to helping struggling readers become strong readers, and to ensuring that strong readers achieve their full potential.

Linda works in schools throughout the U.S. training and coaching teachers and modeling effective reading instruction. She also has designed curricula in Niger and Senegal for children to learn to read in their local languages.

Linda is a former English teacher. She was a National LETRS trainer for seven years. She has co-authored assessments and curricula for teaching reading, as well as several other published works. Linda can be reached at: [email protected]