CAFE in the Classroom

CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary. Under each category, there are reading strategies essential to developing a successful reader. As I implement the different strategies in my classroom, I will post supporting lesson ideas, websites, picture books, and videos.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chunk Letters and Sounds Together

Another Accuracy strategy I teach is to chunk letters and sounds together. Since I have already taught students to use beginning and ending sounds, this continues to support the idea that they need to slow down and look at the whole word. When students get past reading one-syllable words, stretching a word one letter at a time becomes tedious and often sounds very different from the actual word. By teaching students to look at blends and word families they know, they are able to become more independent in reading muti-syllable words.

Explaining the Strategy:
“You can look for parts that you know.”
“You can use word parts to solve a word.”
“You can look at the first and last parts of a word to read it.”

Ideas for Teaching:
  • While reading a big book or poem together, focus on a challenging word. Ask students to highlight (using different colored markers) parts of words they know. Sound out the parts together to solve the word.
  • Read aloud books with rhymes so students can hear and notice word parts.
  • During guided reading or writing, have students use white boards to chunk words into parts. Practice writing words that have the same spelling patterns.

Helpful Websites:
This website is created by the Florida Center for Reading Research. There are many activities for teacher to use in the classroom that involve teaching syllabication, word parts, and chunked text.

This website includes many articles discussing phonics and decoding in for primary students.

Supporting Picture Books:
Cronin, D. (2000). Click clack moo. New York, NY: Simon and Schusters Children’s Publishing Division.

Martin, M. J. (1996). From Anne to Zach. New York, NY: Boyds Mills Press.

Professional Resources:
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.


  1. I just came across your blog. I too am implementing CAFE in my second grade class this year. I started Daily 5 last year and LOVE it. I can't wait to read more, I am your newest follower.

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  2. Hi Allison,
    Great ideas and resources...I love Pinnell and Fountas. I just found you and am your newest follower. I teach first in CA but also have taught 2nd. I have a website that has lots of 2nd grade ideas on it.
    I have included my blog below :o)
    Traditions Laughter and Happily Ever After

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