Individual Phonemes and Nonsense Words…
At the Red Level, children will work on their automatic recognition of single phonemes and then progress to blending these to read nonsense words. This helps them to develop their knowledge and understanding of different graphemes and phonemes, working through new sounds in this effective programme. Each new sound is combined with those previously introduced. They will never encounter a new sound combination, without being introduced to the separate letter sound first.
The phonemes are introduced in the same order as in the Letters and Sounds programme, as this will be familiar for the majority of students and enables greater combinations of decodable words. In this way, students build their confidence, as they recognise familiar sounds already committed to their long-term memory stores and feel able to succeed with the reading programme. It is important that the Lexplore Intensive programme makes learning enjoyable, in addition, students see their success, and this builds motivation.
Some consonants can be easily confused (such as /b/, /d/, /g/ and /p/), at this level, these are not combined within words, only with other consonants, which differ in sound, though great pains have been taken to use a font style that clearly distinguishes these letters. At this stage, all vowels will be said with their short happy sound. It is incredibly important that all instructors use ‘pure’, clear phonemes when instructing students and that they themselves are encouraged to use these. The benefit of using ‘pure’ phonemes in accurately decoding and blending, cannot be underestimated.
Although the student has been directed to the Lexplore Intensive Red Level material, they may require the additional challenge of the Lexplore Intensive Yellow Level. Instructor discretion, together with a knowledge of the individual student, can be used and the student moved on more rapidly. Remember that sometimes, it is more beneficial to build the confidence of the individual, when developing phonological awareness and understanding, which may be done by going over familiar material.
Student and Marking PDF: Pages 4 – 14
It is important that all students have automatic grapheme-phoneme recognition for the letter sounds and the letter names. Letter sounds are required when accurately decoding and blending words. Letter names are predominantly needed for vowels, as these ‘say their names’ at times within words. For ease in the Lexplore Intensive Programme, these are shown on the next two pages as the letter sounds, written in lower-case form and the letter names in upper-case form. Clearly, this is not the case when letters are seen within words.
Checking the student’s automatic knowledge on the following two pages, will give an indication if they need further work relating to specific letters, in order to overlearn these and fully embed them in their long-term memory.
Student and Marking PDF: Pages 15 – 17
Short, Decodable Word-Families Words
The following simple, decodable words have been separated into word families. Students will frequently encounter these in their daily reading and grouping the words in this way, will all help to build familiarity for them. The work they have completed in the programme so far, will now support them in decoding the letter sounds they contain.
At this stage, only short, simple and decodable words, with previously learnt phonemes, are included, so that students can build their decoding confidence without feeling overwhelmed. Some students will already have stronger sight-reading skills and will be able to read through these words as remembered ‘images’, rather than decoding them. Once again, use your professional judgement and knowledge of the child, to decide how quickly you will progress through these. It is important to note that no words containing vowel digraphs, or consonant blends are included in these words, as these will be covered in the Lexplore Intensive Yellow Level.
It is useful to discuss how words in ‘families’ have the same end sound, and this meant that they rhyme. The rime part of the word is the part we listen for when rhyming. Can the students spot the rhymes?
Once students have developed their ability to sight read, you can still use the Lexplore Intensive Red Level for practice, but move them onto Lexplore Intensive Yellow, to further develop their skills in this. Before moving on to the next stage in the programme, please ensure that the student has done the section relating to high frequency and tricky words.
Student and Marking PDF: Pages 18 – 30
High Frequency and Tricky Words…
During the next section, students will encounter lists of common high frequency words. These are quite simply, those words which occur most frequently in spoken and written material. They are often words that have little meaning on their own, but they do contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence.
This section also incorporates tricky words. These words are sometimes known as ‘irregular words’, ‘common exception words’ or ‘sight words’. Many of these words are not decodable and therefore need to be learnt ‘by sight’. Overlearning, using the principles of precision teaching, is an excellent way to commit these to a student’s long-term memory.
Some of these tricky words do not follow typical patterns and vowels in these will sometimes say their long sound , such as in the word ‘no’. Similarly, others contain consonants that do not ‘say’ their typical sounds, such as ‘is’ and ‘of’. These may need to be told to the student the first few times that they encounter them.
Working through these words can greatly help students develop the sight-reading skills they need, before moving on to Lexplore Intensive Yellow Level.
Student and Marking PDF: Pages 31 -37