The Reading Strategies Book Study: GOAL 3 ~ Supporting Print Work

  Welcome to the #ReadingStrategiesGals book study ... if you are joining in for the first time be sure to click on the links and read about Goal ONE  and Goal TWO!!

I am extremely excited that I discovered this wonderful book ... or should I say teacher resource!!?? This book is set up to be a learning tool and planning tool for teachers.  The author, Jennifer Serravallo did an excellent job setting this book up to give you just enough theory so that you will understand the goal and then she gives you a menu of strategies that explicitly show you ways to teach for it!! I love that this book is created for ALL teachers that teach reading. On pages 13-14, Jennifer explains how the use of this book can be incorporated in a Reading Workshop, in a Daily 5 classroom, in a Guided Reading lesson, and during Basal or whole class novel instruction. Seriously ... if you do not have the book yet I highly recommend it!

This week I am blogging about 
Goal 3: Supporting Print Work
Increasing Accuracy and Integrating Sources of Information 

Goal 3 is all about Supporting Print Work by increasing accuracy and teaching students how to integrate sources of information.  As a literacy specialists, I work with students on a regular basis that have the accuracy part down pat ... and they may even have pretty good comprehension, however as we move up in levels I find that if they rely mostly on visual information and read with great accuracy then their comprehension (meaning) is weak. The same holds true for the reader that reads for meaning but does not have a good understanding of how words work ... everything read makes sense but the words the child is saying do not always match the words in the text.  

Why is this goal important??
Fountas and Pinnell are famous for saying ... Reading is Thinking ... if that is so, then readers must know that we read to understand something. In order to construct accurate meaning from a text, readers must read the words in the text with accuracy while integrating the three sources of information: meaning, structure (or syntax) and visual (or grapho-phonics). Many of you may know this by the acronym MSV.

This matrix gives Clay's definition of the each source and a reminder of what to teach for when one source is used but others are neglected. 

Serravallo says that "integrating all three sources of information is like being a juggler with three balls in the air. It takes coordination, mental effort, and strategic action." In order for students to understand how to "juggle" all three of these sources, they must be taught how to monitor their own reading.  They must monitor when it does not look right, make sense, or sound right
Clay also says that the strategies we teach one by one would need to become secure and habitual so the reader can focus on reading with expression and/or deeper comprehension.

How do I know if this goal is right for my student??
Serravallo suggests, and I agree that you can determine if this is the right goal for your student by using a running record or oral reading record.  Marie Clay, Irene Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell and others have written about and developed resources to make running records a simple, yet essential way to record what a student reads in a short passage and then analyze their reading. {Analyzing ... you know ... that MSV thing!!} One thing I love about this assessment is that a running record can be taken on any selection of text-- on a blank sheet of paper. {I have taken a running record in the cafeteria at school on a napkin because I was sitting next to a child reading when she finished her lunch!} I prefer the blank sheet of paper vs a running record form ... especially the one with the words typed out {which makes it a oral reading record}, because it enables me more options for recording what I observe and hear while the child is reading. On page 78, Serravallo has included a sample analyzed running record (on blank paper) with side-notes for you to better understand what you are looking for.  

How do I know what to teach??
In this chapter, there are 23 strategies to choose from that will help your students meet Goal 3.  The chart below is scanned from the book and it shares all 23 strategies. I will only focus on 3 {well really 4} of them! {{I must say that one of the things I LOVE about this book is that for each goal, you have a menu of strategies to choose from... if one thing doesn't quite work ... there is something else you can try !!}} On this chart you will see the strategy "named" and what level, genre and skill it is for.
Remember, take a running record, analyze it, then look for strengths and needs.  Once you have a list of things that you want to strengthen and teach ... then use the menu to pick and choose what strategies and skills you are teaching for. 

Strategy: 3.3 Use a Word You Know
Level: Any  Genre: Any  Skill: Decoding

The first strategy I am taking a closer look at is 3.3 Use a Word You Know ... this strategy is about teaching students how to use a word they know, or parts of words they know, to help them solve a word they are having trouble reading.  They will learn to look for a part of the word that's the same as a part in a word they know. For older students, I like to teach them that this is called using analogies. In the picture below there is a sample of changing the first part {the onset} to make a new word in a rime family. It is a sample chart found on page 82.  I also included a way that I model how to read ... or write a new word by using the first part of a known word and the last part of another known word to read or write a new word. Using a technique like this is beneficial because it shows students the reciprocity between reading and writing ... they learn, "I can think about words I know to help me read and write new words."

On page 82, Serravallo lists an array of prompts for this Strategy 3.3, that can be used to call the student to use this strategy ... but be reminded that a prompt is only as good as the explicit teaching. You must first teach them how to use the strategy before you prompt them to use it.

Strategy: 3.6 Try, Try, Try Again
Level: Any   Genre: Any   Skill: Decoding, Integrating Sources of Information

I chose this strategy because it is an ultimate goal and one that will enable students to become more independent when reading complex text. As a Reading Recovery teacher and Literacy Coach I learned that we need our students to become FLEXIBLE Thinkers ... it took me a while to figure out exactly what that meant and how to teach for it but once I did, it made a difference in the progress of my students. {Especially the ones that were having a hard time pulling it all together ... they were good at using isolated strategies but did not know what to do if what they tried did not work.}  For this strategy, Try, Try, Try Again, you will teach students what to do when they get to a tricky word.  You will tell them not to just try one thing because sometimes you will need to try more than one strategy to help you problem solve. We want our students to think: "What will help me read this word?"

The picture below shows the chart from page 85. I would suggest building this chart after you have taught your students a variety of strategies.  I would also suggest that this chart not be "pre-made" but to build this chart as you go ... as you teach them!  Once you have two or three strategies taught and students are showing evidence of using them, then begin creating this chart and add those two or three strategies only.  After that, as you teach a new strategy, you can add it to the chart. Something that I like about this chart is that it shows students that they can not always rely on one source of information ... the chart has decoding (visual) and meaning and structure thinking on it. 

So what does flexible mean??  It means that if you try something and it doesn't help you, do not give up!  Try something else ... and if that does not help ... try something else! Referring students to the anchor chart will help your readers become more independent with choosing which strategy they will use. 

Strategy: 3.18 Cover and Slide
Level: E and above   Genre: Any   Skill: Decoding

I had a hard time choosing my last strategy to blog about!! There are so many good ones in this chapter!  For the third strategy I chose Cover and Slide. I chose this one because so many students, especially early and transitional readers, have a hard time TAKING WORDS APART when they read. Students will learn: When you are trying to read a word part by part, you can cover up the parts you are not reading yet and focus on the part(s) you are reading. The teacher should model this by showing students how to slide their finger left to right across the word, showing more and more parts as they read them. It will also be important to teach them that once you take it apart (segment it) you will need to put it back together and read the whole word. 

The picture below is a great graphic model of what it would look like to take the word plastic apart while reading it left to right. This strategy would also be helpful for teaching how to take words apart using syllables or meaningful chunks.  If we take a look at the word plastic ... you could start with teaching the to say the word and clap the parts {phonemic awareness ... done with the ears not the eyes}. Once they know it has two parts, then show them how to take the word apart using those parts {phonics ... done with the eyes and ears}.  Plas - tic ... This is a more sufficient way to take that word apart, however the main goal is that they are moving across a word in a left to right motion and looking all the way through the word saying the parts they see.  When thinking about meaningful chunks {prefixes, suffixes, affixes} you would show them how to read the base word or root word first then add in the other chunks. Using meaningful chunks is tricky for students that are having trouble looking through words in a right to left fashion so I caution you not to add this level until they have mastered the Cover and Slide strategy. 

A quote that sums up Goal 3

As we approach back to school time, it is important to remember why we do those mandated assessments and running records. It is important not do these tasks out of compliance, but because we want to know what our students can do and almost do. We want to know what they can not yet handle on their own. And we want to know WHAT to teach!  When it comes to teaching reading, there is not a one size fits all method or sequence of lessons.  When you take that running record and analyze it for MSV, you will discover what to focus on in your reading instruction.  If you have a lot of students that need the same thing, then start by modeling in whole group lessons. If only a few students need to learn a certain strategy, teach it in a guided reading lesson.

If you are interested in reading more about the sources of information, click here to go to a previous post about the reading process. 

In case you are interested, strategies 3.12 and 3.17 both focus on using sound charts to help students group letters to make sounds {blends and diagraphs} and to become flexible when it comes to vowels sounds.  CLICK HERE to get my sound charts that include ABC charts, Blend and Diagraph Charts and Vowels Have Two Sounds Charts. 
These are prefect for emergent, early and transitional readers.

Catch UP and a GIVE-AWAY !! 

  If you missed the first two goals from the  #ReadingStrategiesGals book study click on the blog buttons below to hop on over and read about Goal One and Goal Two.

While you are visiting Literacy Loving Gals blog, don't forget to enter WIN a copy of this fabulous book: THE READING STRATEGIES BOOK 

OR ... If you are like me and can't wait and need this book NOW, you can click on the picture and purchase your own copy

Are you ready to read more!!  On August 13th you can head over to visit Kate and read all about Goal 4: Teaching Fluency: Reading with Phrasing, Intonation, and Automaticity

Are you reading along with us?? Here is the schedule so you will know where to go for each goal. 

Let's Continue the Thinking ... Choose one of the bullets below and Leave some comments and or link up and share your thoughts on your own blog :)
  • I was helping a friend work with her own child and she needed a resource so that she could better understand Sources of Information.  I came across this website and shared it with her.  Check it out ... how would you use it with parents, or beginning teachers that you are mentoring?
  • If you are reading along with us ... which Goal 3 strategy are you looking forward to using with your readers this year?
Happy Reading!!


  1. Thank you for this post!! This book is an amazing resource. I am so glad I happened onto your Twitter feed a few days ago. I work with grades 3-5 so I will be sure to check out the rest of the blogs on the remainder of the book!!

    1. Hi Gina, Thanks for stopping by! I am so excited to know that you will be following along with us as we read this book! It is such a great resource for K-5 ... well even 6-8 teachers! Happy Reading!

  2. Nice job, Marie! Very thorough post. Thanks for your insight! :)
    Literacy Loving Gals

    1. Thanks Colleen :) loving working with the #ReadingStrategiesCrew