When teaching students to solve words, I teach students to use beginning and ending sounds. This strategy fits under Accuracy on the CAFÉ menu. Towards the beginning of second grade, I notice that the majority of my students know their consonants, but still struggle with many of the vowel sounds. This causes them to quickly guess a word based on the beginning sound. By teaching students to also pay attention to the end, it forces beginning readers to slow down and look at the whole word. They are usually much more successful when they are able to use the beginning and ending sound to help them solve the word. Once they read the word, I always remind them to ask themselves, “Does that make sense?”
Explaining the Strategy:
“You can look at the first and last parts of a word to read it.”
“You can use word parts to solve a word.”
“Did you look at the whole word?”
“Did what you read make sense?”
Ideas for Teaching:
- While reading a big book or poem, highlight the beginning and ending sound in a few words from the text. Have the class help solve the word, being sure to pay attention to the whole word.
- While reading or writing as a whole class mini-lesson, have students come up and highlight the beginning and ending sounds in a word. Have the students tell the first and last parts of the word.
- Have students play Word Race. On a blank game board, write one-syllable words in each box. Work in groups of two, three, or four. They place their colored markers at Start, roll a die, move the number of spaces, read the word written on the space, and tell the first and last parts. The first player to get to the end wins.
- As a class, hold up a few one-syllable word cards and have the children read them and tell the parts.
ReadWriteThink offers a lesson to teach phonemic awareness. The lesson uses chants and matching activities to help students recognize words with the same sound.
This lesson may be too easy for second grade, but it reinforces words that have the same sound.
This website offers many lessons for a SmartBoard. About halfway down the page, there is a lesson for beginning and ending sounds.
Supporting Picture Books:
Kellogg, S. (1992). Aster Aardvark’s alphabet adventures. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
- This picture book is a good book to read-aloud. It features sound substitutions at the beginning of words.
Slepian, J. (2001). The hungry thing. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
- This book also features sound substitutions at the beginning of words. It helps students focus on the beginning sounds.
Gowler, R. (2001). Barnyard song. Hartford, CT: Atheneum.
- If you want to focus on ending sounds, this book can help. Using it at as a read-aloud will allow you to find words that end the same.
Ahlberg, A. (1999). Monkey do. London: Walker Books Ltd.
- This book also features words that end the same.
Pinnell, G., & Fountas, I. (2003). Phonics lessons grade 2. Portsmouth, NH: FirstHand.
Boushey, G., & Moser, J. (2009). The cafe book. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Reutzel, D., & Cooter, Jr., R. (1999). Strategies for reading assessment and instruction. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.