YMCA READS! at Garden Elementary, Venice Florida

Jenna Ferretti the Site Coordinator at Garden Elementary models common text features within Non-Fiction.

  • Captions: Help you better understand a picture or photograph
  • Comparisons: These sentences help you to picture something {Example: A whale shark is a little bit bigger than a school bus.}
  • Glossary: Helps you define words that are in the book
  • Graphics: Charts, graphs, or cutaways are used to help you understand what the author is trying to tell you
  • Illustrations/Photographs: Help you to know exactly what something looks like
  • Index: This is an alphabetical list of ideas that are in the book. It tells you what page the idea is on.
  • Labels: These help you identify a picture or a photograph and its parts
  • Maps: help you to understand where places are in the world
  • Special Print: When a word is bold, in italics, or underlined, it is an important word for you to know
  • Subtitles: These headings help you to know what the next section will be about
  • Table of Contents: Helps you identify key topics in the book in the order they are presented


YMCA READS! at Garden Elementary is conducted in Centers.  Each group spends 20 minutes at each center.  The volunteer at the Fluency center is working on strategies to increase the reading rate.  The students engage in an “echo reading,” in which the volunteer reads a line and the students repeat the line back.  Following the echo reading, the volunteer ask the students to read the entire poem together as a “choral read.”

You will find that doing group readings like these can be effective strategies for promoting fluency because all students are actively engaged. Also they are less hesitant about making a mistake because they are part of a community of readers, rather than standing alone.


Comprehension Center:  Making Meaning


Comprehension and Fluency:


SIPPS Instruction: (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) is a program for new and struggling readers.  SIPPS instructional materials offer a systemic approach to decoding that helps students gain reading fluency and comprehension.  These third grade students are working in the Challenge Curriculum.  The Challenge Level teaches polysyllabic decoding strategies, including syllabic patterns (open and closed syllables and consonant/vowel patterns) and morphological units (including common prefixes, roots, and suffixes). By the end of Challenge Level, students will be able to read polysyllabic words independently and with accuracy, and be able to focus on comprehension.


Vocabulary Center:  Ms. Ferretti uses the resources Vocabulary A-Z for this center.  Vocabulary A-Z is organized by grade level, each Common Core Academic Vocabulary list contains a collection of CCSS, grade-appropriate words that are critical to understanding the concepts and content being taught in today’s classrooms and encountered in more complex texts. Teachers can select words from these lists to create a variety of customized lessons that address, support, and implement the teaching of general academic vocabulary.


Sight Word Center:  

What is sight word recognition?

Not all written words are regular ones that can be decoded easily. Some words are irregular or difficult to decode. These words must be memorized and recognized by sight.

Why is sight word recognition important?

Learning sight word recognition skills will help learners read:

  • Irregular words that can not be sounded out
    • For example, words such as:  there, was, said, come
  • Words that are governed by more complex spelling rules that have not yet been taught
    • For example, words such as:  boy, eat
  • Longer, more complex words that are of high interest to the learner
    • For example, words such as:  Spiderman, Darth Vader, Hannah Montana, horse


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