How many times have you found yourself asking the same question repeatedly at the guided reading table? For example, “What’s the sound for m?” or “What does ch say?” Yes, some children need a bit more time to process but it is usually because they do not know the answer or they have it “partially” learned and it is not a quick retrieval for them. If they knew it, they would have already told you instead of staring at you blankly when you ask a third time (hey- I’ve done it).
Using the same charts consistently will help the child establish a KNOWN LINK for information. Constantly switching to new charts and examples has them still thinking how they relate vs. establishing one fast, solid connection that can get them quicker to what they need. Eventually you will see them begin to link faster and faster. When it is “learned”, they will be able to transfer the information quickly and the linking charts will no longer be needed. This is true whether it’s one letter, a vowel combination or a strategy, etc. You can certainly expose them to different information but if you are looking to speed up and solidify the reading process, consider providing the SAME links!
I keep all mine on a ring and quickly flip to what I need during my LLI lessons. Here are most of the ones I use:
All children must learn 3 pieces of information for a letter: name, sound and formation. So, 52 letters x 3 = 156 separate pieces of information to store and link together. For underexposed children, this becomes an even more daunting task for the teacher trying to accelerate their learning.
I teach in a Title I school with many of these underexposed little people. I made a chart to match the visuals in their Kindergarten alphabet song. (We have had great success with it but that’s another post!) When they are stuck on a sound in reading or writing, I quickly flip to the chart. Referring to the motion they use in the song is also a good link.
Confusing Short Vowels
Ugh, this drives me batty….this chart helps a lot for distinguishing the sounds. I find it is also easier to compare here than on a full alphabet chart. I also encourage them to remember a small word they know that begins that way vs. always thinking of “elephant, “igloo” or “umbrella” (it’s faster and more realistic).
See a small video clip here to see how my linking chart worked for one student. He couldn’t distinguish between ch and sh but if I ask him he always says “shoes” or “cheese” so I know for sure these are now his links:
They love their “belly” and “diaper”! It’s a funny reference and seems to stick. For those who need more visual to fully grasp the formations I use the other.
I have an anchor chart of this in my room too but I find this small one more effective in the moment – no craning their necks and then trying to get back to the book and I can POINT to what needs to be done.
Long vowel combinations, blends and rimes
Good for beginning scaffolding of exactly what it should look like!
I don’t always use the linking charts. I try to make analogies between words in the story as much as I can also. But very few lessons go by where I don’t refer to at least one!
- ABC Chart for Dr. Jean’s “Who Let the Letters Out?” is my product. Here is link to my YouTube channel that shows my class performing it. It was the last day of school so that’s why everything looks so bare! hahaha
- The short vowel chart is also something I made for myself.
- Belly/Diaper I found on Pinterest. There seem to be a quite a lot of posts from different people.
- Bed and p/q glasses and Common Rimes chart is from This Reading Mama
- Long vowels chart is from Clever Classroom
- Fab 5 for Writing is by Mary Lirette
- Blend and Digraph Helper by Stephanie Ann
- I have no idea where I got the 4-box Digraph page! I searched and searched. If someone knows, please let me know so I can give credit where it is due!
Thanks for reading!
I would be happy to answer any early literacy questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Contact from this page.