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K-2 Skills Block: From Engagement Text to Decodables

This video shows 1st graders experiencing "Engagement Text to Decodables," an instructional practice found in the K- Reading Foundations Skills Block, that engages students in a read-aloud of an engaging complex text before they work with a decodable text on the same topic. First the teacher reads the engagement text aloud, and may ask optional comprehension questions. Then students analyze high frequency words in the engagement text they likely would not be able to decode. Next students work with a partner to search for those same high frequency words in the decodable text. They then read the entire text with a partner to develop automaticity with the new high frequency words and to apply the letter-sound patterns they have already learned. Students then add the new high frequency words to the Word Wall. Finally, students reflect on their learning. This instructional practice is used in Kindergarten (starting in Cycle 13) and throughout 1st and 2nd grades.


- James, Sam, and Dad woke up in the forest. It was James’ first time camping, and he loved it.

- [Narrator] In Anne Simpson’s first grade class, students are experiencing a read-aloud before they work with a decodable text. The purpose is to analyze high-frequency words and decodable words and to help students develop letter/sound connections as well as reading comprehension skills. ♪ It’s time to hear a story, a story, a story ♪ ♪ It’s time to hear a story and say what you’ve learned ♪

- All right, so I have a story for you.

- [Narrator] To set purpose and pique students’ interest about the topic, the teacher reads aloud an engagement text.

- So they walk along a path, next to a wide--

- [Narrator] An engagement text is a complex text with an interesting story.

- What we’re going to do right now is I want you to use these pictures and I want you to remember the movie you made in your head and I want you to turn to your neighbor and you’re going to retell the story. I want you to say what happened in the beginning, what happened in the middle, and what happened in the end. Go ahead. Now, tell me, Cecilia, why was James on this camping trip?

- James was on the camping trip because it was his first time camping and he was really excited.

- [Narrator] Once students comprehend the story, the teacher introduces and analyzes high-frequency words in the text that students will not be able to decode.

- [All] Next.

- Good, so watch me. This is a word that doesn’t play fair because it doesn’t say what we think it’s supposed to say. So watch me, ready?

- [All]

- [Child] Hmm!

- Hmm, what does it sound like that “A” is actually saying? Uh-huh!

- A “O!” It sounds like an “O” but it’s not, it’s an “A.” Can you believe that? That’s why it doesn’t play fair. Now, who can use “want” in a sentence for me? Daria.

- I want a cookie.

- Me too. One more, one more with this--

- [Narrator] After looking at each high-frequency word, Anne introduces the decodable text and the final part of the practice: the partner search and and read.

- Now you’re going to read a story, but your story is going to have these high-frequency words that we just worked on, but it’s also going to have words with parts that we have been working on all week. We’re going to spend just a couple minutes. Once you get it, you can go ahead and take a look and see if you can find those words that you know.

- [Narrator] The purpose of the decodable text is for students to apply the specific letter sound patterns they have learned in a given cycle in a text that they can read.

- [Anne] Take one last look for those high-frequency words.

- [Narrator] After students have identified the high-frequency words individually, they then read the entire text with a partner to develop automaticity with the words in the text.

- Find all wide I can see.

- I can hide.

- “I can hide,” says James.

- “I want to see a cave,” says James. “I want to see bones!” says Sam.

- [Narrator] Before continuing on with the lesson, Anne places the high-frequency words on the class’ word board

- [Student] They look back, they see the stones. They see the moon in the sky.

- N-E-X.

- [Girl In Gray] Next.

- Next time, I will bring Pat! The end!

- [Anne] Three, two, one. I wanna hear, what did you learn today to make yourself an even better reader than you were before? Louis?

- I sounded the words out.

- What helped you do that?

- But I forgot the words that you put up there. I forgot want. I accidentally said it was

- What helped you remember what the word was?

- The word that you wrote down on there.

- When we worked on our high-frequency words together, I’m so happy that that helped you, so happy.

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