Decoding and Spelling: Review and Cycle Assessment | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G1:S1:C2:L15

Decoding and Spelling: Review and Cycle Assessment

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Daily Learning Targets

  • Opening A: I can read silly VC and CVC words. (RF.1.3)
    • I can identify the sound that corresponds to the digraph "th."
    • I can decode regularly spelled one-syllable words by mapping graphemes and phonemes.
    • I can read words with an "-s" ending.
  • Opening B: I can spell VC, CVC, and high-frequency words. (RF.1.3, L.1.2)
    • I can read first-grade words that "don't play fair" in isolation.
    • I can use what I know about common spelling patterns to spell words with that common pattern correctly.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Cycle 2 Assessment



1. Opening (10 minutes)

A. Introducing Reading Silly Words

B. Introducing Spelling with Style

2. Work Time (40-45 minutes)

A. Extended Differentiated Small Group Instruction: Assessment and Goal Setting

3. Closing and Assessment (2 minutes)

A. Reflecting on Learning

In Advance

  • Gather a list of regularly spelled nonsense ("silly") words, using only phonemes and graphemes that have been taught thus far.
  • For Spelling with Style, consider teaching students some "styles" so they can choose one or more styles to use. Consider adding to the collection of styles as the year progresses.
  • Prepare the Cycle 2 Assessment.


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)

  • decode, goal (L)


  • Whiteboards or sheet protectors with white cardboard inside (one per student)
  • Whiteboard markers (one per student)
  • Whiteboard erasers (or tissues, socks, etc.; one per student)
  • Cycle 2 Assessment (one per student; see Assessment Overview and Resources)

Materials from Previous Lessons

New Materials


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Introducing Reading Silly Words

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"Gather round together, together, together. Gather round together to read silly words. They may sound a little strange, strange, strange. They may sound a little strange 'cause that's how they're arranged."

  • Introduce the Reading Silly Words instructional practice:

1. Teacher says: "We are going to practice reading words, but they aren't normal words; they are silly words, words that a Martian from outer space might use!"

2. Teacher writes a regularly spelled nonsense, or "silly," word on the board, using only phonemes that have been taught so far. Examples: "hap," "vam," "mag," or "pap."

3. Teacher says: "Even though this is a silly, Martian word and we don't know what it means, we can still read it. We can read it because we know the sounds that each letter makes. Let me show you."

4. Teacher writes "hap" (or other silly word) on the board.

5. Teacher thinks aloud: "Hmmm, I don't recognize this word. I notice that it has the same ending as 'tap,' so if I just change the beginning sound to /h/, it would say: /h/ /a/ /p/--'hap.'"

6. Teacher writes another word on the board.

7. Teacher asks students to turn and talk with an elbow partner about how they might decode this silly word. (Say the sound that matches with each letter and blend them together.)

8. Teacher circulates and listens in on partner conversations.

9. Based on student conversations, teacher chooses a student volunteer who can to articulate a strategy for decoding.

10. Student volunteer segments the phonemes of the word and blends them to say the word.

11. Student volunteer shares how he or she was able to decode the word. (Responses will vary. Examples: "I can see a part that looks like a word I already know" or, "I can pull out/segment each of the sounds and then blend them together.")

12. Teacher repeats steps 6-10 with four or five more words.

    • Note: If concerned about time, teacher may skip step 10 for the remaining words.
  • After Reading Silly Words has been modeled and practiced, break the class into smaller "phase" groups (Pre-Alphabetic, Partial Alphabetic, etc.) or with partners (from different phases). Additional words may be written on word cards or in a list, differentiated in complexity according to phase. If students from different phases are paired, those students who are further along in their acquisition of letter-sound connections can provide support for their partner.
  • For ELLs: If students are confused (i.e., do not understand the difference between silly and non-silly words), consider saying and/or showing a picture of a familiar word on which the "silly" spelling is based. Example: Think aloud: "I know that the last two letters are going to sound like 'man' because here is a picture of a man."

B. Introducing Spelling with Style

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"Now let's all spell words, spell words, spell words. Now let's all spell words in ways that we know. It's time to be silly, to be silly, to be silly. It's time to show how silly we can be when we spell."

  • Distribute whiteboards, whiteboard markers, and whiteboard erasers.
  • Introduce the Spelling with Style instructional practice:

1. Teacher says: "We just practiced reading words in a fun way. Now we will practice spelling words in a fun way!"

2. Teacher says: "If I want to spell the word 'tap,' I can do it in a normal voice like this: t-a-p (uses a normal, boring voice), or I can spell it like an opera singer: t-a-p (in an operatic voice) or like a chicken: t-a-p (in a squawky chicken voice while flapping arms)."

3. Teacher gives a few more possibilities. Examples:

    • Ketchup style: Make a fist with one hand and slap it with the other, open hand (similar to the motion used to get the rest of the ketchup from a bottle) as you say each letter.
    • Explosion style: Say each letter a little louder as you go until you "explode" after the last letter of the word.

4. Teacher invites the class or an individual student to choose the first "style" the class will use to spell the word(s) aloud. (Consider using the same style for the entire activity or switching for each word.)

5. Once the style has been chosen, teacher says aloud a word from this cycle. Examples: "tap," "hat," or "pat."

6. Students spell the word together aloud "with style."

7. As they spell the word aloud, students write the word on their whiteboard.

8. Repeat steps 5-7 with three or four more words from Cycle 2.

Work Time

Work Time

A. Extended Differentiated Small Group Instruction: Assessment and Goal Setting

  • (Suggested weekly assessment and goal-setting transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"It's time to spell and decode to show what we're learning. It's time to spell and decode to show what we've learned."

  • Help students transition to their differentiated small groups. Let them know they will complete the Cycle 2 Assessment during their rotation with you.

Closing & Assessments


A. Reflecting on Learning

  • Emphasize that effective learners keep track of and reflect on their own learning. Point out to students that they are doing this each time they consider how what they did today helps them to become more proficient readers.
  • Remind students that today they reviewed the skills they've been working on throughout the cycle, including matching sounds and letters, blending and separating sounds to read and write words, and learning to get new words into their memories. They also took an assessment to see what they've learned and what they may still need to work on.
  • Explain that, in any work, people use information from assessments, advice from co-workers or friends, and help from experts to get better. Share examples (athletes reviewing videos of past games, musicians getting advice from their conductors, etc.). Part of being an effective learner is knowing what you need to work on so you can continue to grow and improve.
  • Ask for volunteers to share out:

"What goal did you set following the assessment?" (Responses will vary. Example: "I noticed that I am forgetting the sound 's' makes at the end of 'has.' I need to remember that part that doesn't play fair. I will make sure to look for it all week in my books.")

Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher

An extended differentiated small group instruction time today will allow the teacher to meet with each group. Begin by administering the cycle assessment to each group. If time allows, score the assessment right away and guide students to create goals based on their assessment results. If time is a concern, teacher may only meet with one or two groups per cycle for goal setting. (Refer to Assessment Guidance for more information.) Suggestions are provided for additional work with the Pre-Alphabetic group if time allows.


  • Assessment:
    • Use the Pre-Alphabetic phase blank Assessment Planning template (see supporting Materials) to create an assessment focused on the letters and sounds appropriate for individuals or the group.

Partial Alphabetic:

  • Assessment:
    • Administer Cycle 2 Assessment.

Full Alphabetic and Consolidated Alphabetic:

  • Assessment:
    • Administer Cycle 2 Assessment.

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