Did you ever think you knew much about a topic only to find out you barely knew anything? That’s how I felt about phonological awareness, and then I heard Dr. Kilpatrick speak about his book Equipped for Reading Success. Here are some of my top takeaways from the book
When I was first introduced to this book; it was life-changing! I had always known that phonological awareness was critical to reading success. It was weaved throughout the day in kindergarten and first grade, then disappeared.
After reading this book and hearing Dr. Kilpatrick speak, I realized it was critical to continue explicitly teaching phonological awareness in all grades! Let that sink in for a moment…even 5th graders can benefit from it! I work with struggling readers, and almost all of them struggle with some aspect of phonological awareness regardless of their grade level. It has been incredible to incorporate the strategies in this book and see students’ growth!
Equipped for Reading Success is broken down into 3 main parts. Part 1: What Needs to be Done, Part 2: How to Do It, and Part 3: Training Exercises. Overall it is very reader-friendly chapters that break down very academic information.
Assessments and Activities
Aside from the incredible knowledge in this book, some resources are ready to be used IMMEDIATELY!
4 assessments can be given as a baseline to track student progress. The most unbelievable part is that the book contains over 800 one-minute activities you can do with students. These activities are how I start every…single…reading group all day long!
These activities start at the most basic level and work up to the most complex. Kids think it is a game and love it when they can’t be tricked! The book also provides ways to explicitly teach each level in various ways – all simple and easy.
DIGGING DEEP INTO THE ONE-MINUTE ACTIVITIES
Equipped for Reading Success has an appendix with hundreds of one-minute activities that gradually increase in complexity. These activities are how I start every single group I see, and incorporating them as an essential warm-up has set my students on the path to reading success.
TIPS FOR USING ONE-MINUTE ACTIVITIES
I give each student the PAST (Phonological Awareness Screening Test). This is included in the book and can be found on Dr. Kilpatrick’s website. It determines where students have gaps and need to be instructed.
I have a stack of premade packets where each page has a PAST level. Since there are so many one-minute activities, I can use different prompts for each student. This helps me track student progress and differentiate for individual needs in my group.
We often turn the one-minute activities into a game. that boosts student awareness and engagement during phonemic awareness drills with “Teacher vs Student”! This exciting approach turns drills into a friendly competition, where students compete against the teacher to identify phonemes, keeping them actively involved and motivated to outshine their educator. Check out this blog post for step-by-step instructions and watch student enthusiasm soar!
SCAFFOLDING PHONEMIC AWARENESS INSTRUCTION
Dr. Kilpatrick spoke about scaffolding supports when using one-minute phonemic awareness activities. The goal is for students to be automatic and proficient at orally manipulating sounds at each level. To get to this point, students may need scaffolds.
Introducing new phonemic awareness activities can be challenging. If students need help conceptualizing what I am asking, I start with the highest level of support – print and visuals. I use this free Google Slides presentation with my students when introducing the task.
Once students understand what I am asking, I remove the visual scaffold. Some students are ready to jump right into oral activities, and others need more practice with manipulatives or “felts” as Dr. Kilpatrick calls them in this live event from the Reading League.
“Equipped for Reading Success” is a must-read for educators passionate about helping students become strong, confident readers. It equips us with a deeper understanding of the science of reading, provides practical strategies for supporting struggling readers, and offers a wealth of training exercises to strengthen phonemic awareness and phonics. Let’s embrace these valuable insights and techniques as we embark on our mission to unlock the reading potential of every student.
Grab Your Copy
•Watch this quick YouTube video with 4 quick examples of 1-miunte activities
• Grab a copy of “Equipped for Reading Success“
• Visit Dr. Kilpatrick’s website and get a free copy of the PAST (Phonological Awareness Screening Test) Assessment
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