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Part 2 – Preparing for intervention teaching

The type of support that can be provided in schools around the world varies a great deal. Several suggestions are made in this section.

Part 2: Preparing for intervention teaching

Ideas for intervention in small groups

In the UK, classes with young children usually have a teaching assistant who is available to give intervention activities, and most assistants are very capable and extremely good at the task. Alternatively, the teacher will sometimes give the intervention while the assistant helps the other children with their tasks. If a teaching assistant is not available, however, the children at risk still need the extra help. Somehow, adjustments have to be made.

For example, teachers could:

  • Reduce the number of letter sounds taught to three per week, so there is time for extra revision with the whole class. Although I think it is better to keep a fast pace (teaching a new letter sound every day, while supporting the slow-to-start children), it is more sensible to reduce the number of letter sounds if extra help is not available. It will increase the amount of time before children are ready to take home decodable books to read to their parents or guardians, but that is a small price to pay for ensuring more effectiveness for all.
  • Devote more time during the school day to whole-class teaching of synthetic phonics.
  • Take the slow-to-start group while the rest of the class do activities on their own (although this is not easy when there is only one adult in the classroom).
  • Encourage parental help at home and in the classroom.
  • Ask a child who finds the skills easy to help a child who needs extra support.
  • Employ a specialist to provide this extra support

Situations around the world will vary enormously; it is a matter of adjusting to the differing circumstances. In the end, if everyone in the class is to succeed, a body of knowledge and skills has to be taught and mastered. Ideally, each intervention session should concentrate only on the essential decoding and encoding skills, namely:

  • Knowing the letter sounds: learning each letter sound and forming the letter correctly
  • Blending: auditory blending and word blending
  • Segmenting: identifying the sounds in words (and holding up a finger for each sound); word building; dictating letter sounds and words
  • Tricky words: learning to read and spell them by remembering the tricky bit.

Some people might wonder why comprehension is not part of the intervention. It is a good point, especially as we know that comprehension is just as important as decoding. The fact is that at this stage in the teaching, comprehension is not the main problem for most English-speaking children; children nearly always understand the simple text that is used in their reading books. Instead, the children have problems because they cannot read the words easily; it is a word reading problem – a decoding problem. That is why this website concentrates on how to teach children to master decoding. It is this that will enable them to read words fluently, which in turn will lead them to read for pleasure and information. Being able to read easily is one of the best ways to improve comprehension.

Naturally, if children are learning to read in a non-English speaking country, then they need more listening and speaking practice to improve their spoken English and to develop their vocabulary and comprehension.

 

 

 

 

  • Letter-sound Box

    Print the letter sounds on one side of thin card or paper, and the appropriate words on the other side. Cut up. Use as recommended.

  • Letter-sound Box - print letters

    Print the letter sounds on one side of thin card or paper, and the appropriate words on the other side. Cut up. Use as recommended.

  • Consonant blends

    It is helpful to blend the consonant blend and learn to say it joined together.

  • Consonant blends - print letters

    It is helpful to blend the consonant blend and learn to say it joined together.

  • Consonant and short vowel

    It is helpful to blend the consonant and short vowel and learn to say them joined together.

  • Consonant and short vowel - print letters

    It is helpful to blend the consonant and short vowel and learn to say them joined together.

  • Consonant blend and short vowel

    It is helpful to blend the consonant blend and short vowel and learn to say them joined together.

  • Consonant blend and short vowel - print letters

    It is helpful to blend the consonant blend and short vowel and learn to say them joined together.

  • Words for blending in Steps 1 - 5

    Words are in squares for the children to use for blending practice. They are in the same order that is used for teaching the letter sounds. As each new letter sound is taught more words that use the new letter sound, and the previously taught ones, become available.

  • Words for blending in Steps 1 - 5- print letters

    Words are in squares for the children to use for blending practice. They are in the same order that is used for teaching the letter sounds. As each new letter sound is taught more words that use the new letter sound, and the previously taught ones, become available.

  • Teacher's Word Bank for Steps 1 - 5

    Useful words for blending practice. More words are provided as each letter sound is taught. It helps to ensure the words are decodable.

  • Dr Marlynne Grant's Research - follow-up longitudinal studies

    It is well worth reading the whole report. It demonstrates what can be achieved with good synthetic-phonics teaching in the classroom and, if necessary, in intervention groups.