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The Four-Blocks Literacy Model. Working With Words Guided Reading Self-Selected Reading Writing. Expected Outcomes :. Participants will: Study and describe the major components of Working with Words Develop and implement lesson plan activities based on the Working with Words Block

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The Four-Blocks Literacy Model

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The four blocks literacy model

The Four-BlocksLiteracy Model

Working With Words

Guided Reading

Self-Selected Reading


Expected outcomes

Expected Outcomes:

  • Participants will:

  • Study and describe the major components of Working with Words

  • Develop and implement lesson plan activities based on the Working with Words Block

  • Create and make hands on instructional supports for classroom use.

Let s look at the research

Let’s Look at the Research…

by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver

by Patricia Cunningham,

Dorothy Hall and

Cheryl Sigmon

Research jigsaw

Research Jigsaw

  • The Teachers Guide to the Four Blocks

    • Group 1: Word Walls, Pgs 122-124

    • Group 2: Word Wall Variations, Pgs 130-135

    • Group 3: Phonics & Spelling, Pgs 136-137

      Decoding and Spelling, Pg 159

      Making it Multi-Level, Pgs 161, 164

    • Group 4: Making Words, Pgs 142-147

  • Children with Disabilities

    • Group 5: Purposes and Priorities, Pgs 110-112

Show what you know

Show what You Know!

  • Word Walls

  • Word Wall Variations

  • Phonics and Spelling

  • Making Words

  • Decoding and Spelling Variations

  • Making It Multi-Level

  • Purposes and Priorities for SWD

Word wall words creating the wall

Word Wall WordsCreating the Wall

Form basics

Form Basics

  • Letters need to be approx. 2 inches high

  • Dark, thick marker on light sentence strip on dark (high contrast) background

    • Given a choice, manuscript, not D’Nealian

    • Upper and lower case from beginning

  • Different color background for each word in each category (t-words, b-words)

  • Cut out block shape around letters, leaving approx. ¼ in. border

  • Visually similar words (am/am) on different background

  • Homophones (too/to/two) on different backgrounds

  • Alphabetic by first letter only

Word wall words choosing words

Word Wall WordsChoosing Words

Word wall foundations choosing words

Word Wall Foundations…Choosing Words

  • Used to teach words that you don’t want student to have to work to decode or spell

  • Exposure vs. learning

  • Needs/wants/use vs. curriculum-driven direct instruction

  • Distributed vs. massed practice

  • Permanent vs. temporary accountability

Word wall content basics

Word Wall Content Basics

  • Unimportant words need not apply

    • High frequency words

    • Generative patterns (‘transfer words’)

      • At, can, like, old

    • High Utility

      • Student names, teachers, school name, tv favorites

    • Spelling demons

      • Words kids regularly misspell in writing

Common rimes wylie durrell 1970

Common Rimes (Wylie & Durrell, 1970)









Carolina literacy group s onset studies

Carolina Literacy Group’s Onset Studies

  • Onsets in Three Levels of Ease of Learning

    • Easiest: h, n, d, fl, m, j, r, h, t

    • More Difficult: sh, dr, cr, f, bl, pl, tr, cl, pr

    • Most Difficult: sp, sn, str, sc, th, ch, br, ch, k

Carolina literacy group s rime studies

Carolina Literacy Group’sRime Studies

  • Rimes in Three Levels of Ease of Learning:

    • Easiest: it, ay, in, ap, ill, an, ack, ip, ing, at, ore, ug, ell

    • More difficult: aw, ide, ake, ock, unk, ick, oke, ank, ice, ash, ump, ink

    • Most difficult: ine, ain, ate, ail, est, ale, ight, ot, uck, eat, op, ame

Word wall words routine for adding words

Word Wall WordsRoutine for Adding Words

Word wall use basics

Word Wall Use Basics

  • 5 words a week

    • Issue is deep, thorough knowledge; not content coverage or exposure

  • Cumulative list

    • On the wall until every kid consistently spells word correctly without looking.

  • Introduce homophones in separate weeks, not all at one.

  • Daily 10-minute activities

Introducing words

Introducing Words

  • Put word cards on display separate from word wall

    • Temporary wall location, chalkboard tray, pocket chart…

  • Pronounce first word to class as they look at it

    • Discuss meaning or use

  • Clap and cheer/chant 3 times

    • A-N-D…AND!!

    • (older kids) make cheers…see reference on WIKI

Introducing words cont

Introducing Words… cont.

  • Each child writes word

    • Incorporate handwriting by modeling correct letter formation on overhead or board

  • Repeat with remaining words

  • Draw around shapes of words in block

  • Last words introduced in mid-to late April

Word wall words routine for practicing

Word Wall WordsRoutine for Practicing

Word wall words let s give it a try

Word Wall WordsLet’s Give it a Try!

On the Back:

Cross Checking

Cunningham, 128

Word wall words let s give it a try1

Word Wall WordsLet’s Give it a Try

On the Back:

Be A Mind Reader

Cunningham, 129

Working with words center

Working with Words Center

  • What are students doing?

  • word sorts

  • using magnetic letters

  • reading ABC books

  • making words

  • playing word games

  • What mini-lessons do I need to teach to get it started?

  • how to do a word sort

  • how to use an ABC chart

  • how to use materials at the center (letter stamps, word cards)

  • how to use a dry erase board

  • what to do when you are done with one activity

Daily activities

Daily Activities

  • Cunningham 125-130, 138-162

  • Erickson 116-124

  • Handout

The four blocks literacy model

Websites for Working with Words

PowerPoint Word Wall Vocabulary Presentations **

Word Wall Activities List

for teachers: type in secret/big word to get list of little words…

goes along well with making big words

FDLRS Springs website for literacy activities


FDLRS Region 2 website for links to helpful compilations of literacy resources

Rhyming games

Interactive; kids sort words by rime

Interactive; add onset to make real words

Interactive making words using click/drag magnetic board

Thanks resources

Thanks … Resources…

  • To Dr. Karen Erickson and her work with our kids and teachers

  • To FDLRS Springs…for helping us get this initiative started in our region.

  • Visit our WIKI Space to see other resources…


Now for the rest of the story

Now…..for the rest of the story

  • Lo Tech Accommodations

  • Software Demonstration

  • Implementation Assignment

  • Make and Take Activities

  • Session Evaluation

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