Dovetailing Language and Reading Instruction

Use the same reader the child is using in class but stay one story ahead of the class OR use a companion reader or one of a different type if the child is already a reasonably proficient reader.

1. Teach the vocabulary to be used in the stories. You may teach it within the story. They may be asked to use the words in different sentences and senses.

2. Use syntactic slot-fillers with sentences from stories in the readers. Cut sentences up along phrase lines and discuss parts of sentences and messages present in each sentence. Use cloze procedures with individual words, phrases, or “what will happen next?”

3. Teach the basic parts of the story. You may use the 5 w’s (who, what, where, when, why or how). Show the student that there are  characters, setting and theme. Break the story down into:

  • Introduction: (answers the W5)
  • Body: Events in chronological order, descriptions from most prominent to least, up to down, left to right. All events and descriptions are relevant and sentences flow one from another. Show them bridging assumptions and how more and more information about the characters and what they are doing is being built from sentence to sentence.
  • Conclusion: Final outcome, moral, etc.

4. Have the child retell the story and you write it for them. Ask for paraphrases of sentences and what has happened.

5. Throughout the story follow the characters (right through the pronoun references), settings, and themes as they change and show the student how this is done.

6. Practice predicting and anticipating what will happen next and why.

7. Talk through cause and effects. Talk through humorous situations, feelings and behaviours of the characters. Talk about things not explicitly stated but implied.

Then READ the story.

You may encourage them to “guess” and then look at the word again. Determine if the guess was a good one based on the context or a bad one.

Child (reads): Father cut the lawn
Teacher: That was a good guess. Look at the word at the end of the sentence and see if you can get the actual word.
Child: Oh, grass; there is a “g” and an “r”.

You are teaching on an oral level all of the information needed to read and UNDERSTAND what is read. You may decrease the amount of “pre-reading” teaching as you go.

They may also need some explicit teaching of metalinguistics (e.g., What is a word, sentence, letter sound etc.)


Reviewed 2019


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