This blog series will focus on intervention strategies you might try with students as they adjust to the academic expectations of the new school year, readjust to in-person instruction, and/or continue to receive instruction remotely. Each blog in the series will focus on one of the following domains of ELA instruction:
- Listening and Speaking
- Phonics and Fluency
- Comprehension and Analysis
- Spelling and Writing Composition
In this final blog, we’ll focus on ideas for developing students’ competencies in spelling and writing composition.
Lift-a-Flap (Grades K–5): Using manila file folders, make two cuts on the front of each folder from the edge to the crease, creating three equal-sized flaps (For grades 3–5, create some folders with 4 equal flaps for more complex words). Have students hold the folders with the openings at the bottom and place papers inside. Say words for students to spell, beginning with CVC for K–1 and then incorporating words with long vowel sounds, blends, and digraphs as appropriate.
Teach students that each flap represents a sound or blend in the word, and they are to lift each flap and write the correct letter(s) on the paper under the flap. For example, if you said the word “teeth,” students would write the first sound, /t/, under the first flap, the second sound, /ee/, under the middle flap, and the final sound, /th/, under the last flap. Starting in grades 2/3, have students practice spelling by syllable. Extend the activity by having students use sticky notes to label the flaps with the syllable type (e.g., open, closed, r-controlled).
Online Spelling (Grades 2–8): Teach students to observe patterns in their misspellings by typing words into the search bar of an online dictionary (e.g., www.dictionary.com). When students search for misspelled words, the dictionary presents words the user was likely trying to spell. Once students have identified the correct spellings of the words, guide them to analyze the parts of the words and observe where their misspellings occur. Then, review those spelling patterns.
Partner Interview (Grades K–2): To help young students craft informational writing that states main topics and provide details, have them engage in oral prewriting by interviewing partners. Partner 1 asks, “What’s it about?” Partner 2 states the main topic of the writing and records words, phrases, or images to capture the idea. Partner 1 says, “Tell me more.” Partner 2 shares additional details about the topic and records the ideas with words or pictures.
Once partners have reversed roles and all have topic and detail notes, guide students to develop the ideas into main topic and detail sentences. Provide sentence frames, adjusting for individual students based on the structure needed (e.g., If a student is writing a descriptive paragraph, frames might be: (Topic) is (descriptive word). It has/looks _____. It also ____. Finally, (topic) _____.).
Flow Chart Structures (Grades 3–8): When older students prepare to write texts, they often need guidance to identify the structures and genre characteristics that will best express their ideas. To make prewriting interactive, develop flow charts that guide students along a path of questions leading to suggestions for getting started. Providing guides that specify structures (e.g., chronological event order for personal narratives or flashback for older students) and characteristics (e.g., often includes futuristic devices for fantasy stories) will provide additional support as students prepare to draft. Students can then use the charts to interview partners during prewriting.
Remember that you are the expert interventionist your students need. When you are intentional, strategic, and creative as you intervene with your students, they will find success as they learn to listen, speak, read, and write.