Summer Book Study: Goals 3 and 4

This post contains affiliate links.

Happy Friday! As I'm writing this, I'm reflecting on goals three and four of The Reading Strategies Book while listening to a thunderstorm. Something about reading a book you love while listening to rain just makes me so happy!

As I make my way rereading this book, I keep changing my mind on which goal is my favorite!  For today, I'll say that goal three is my favorite, but I'll probably change my mind by next week! :)  Goal three is Supporting Print Work and Serravallo talks about how children must learn to "juggle" three sources of information, which are meaning, syntax, and visual.   Just like juggling anything, it takes a lot of practice!

So many of the strategies for goal three are so effective with the students I'm used to teaching, who are at levels A-D.  Even though I had learned about several of the strategies Serravallo mentions in this section, it's always so helpful to read about them again and remind myself the why behind what the strategy is intended to teach.  Serravallo's lesson language and prompts are really helpful, too!

Here are a few of my favorite strategies:

Strategy 3.1: Check the Picture for Help

I feel like one of my most-used phrases as a kindergarten teacher during guided reading has always been, "Check the picture."  It seems like such a simple thing, but it's essential for young readers to understand that the pictures really are there to help them!  I think a huge part of forming young readers is helping them realize that the texts we choose for them are designed to help them, and one of the biggest ways is that we choose texts with strong picture support.  When I created these sight word mini books for my daughter, I knew that they would only be effective if they featured images that matched the text.  When we use these books, we work on looking at the picture even before putting a finger down to the first word.  

Strategy 3.18: Cover and Slide

This is a strategy for slightly more independent readers (levels E-Z+) and it helps them when they're reading an unfamiliar word part by part.  It helps them to cover up the word and then slide their finger or hand across the word.  They'll focus on the first part, then slowly slide across to focus on the parts individually.  Finally, they'll put it all together.  This strategy is a great reason to teach blends and word chunks!

Strategy 3.20: Skip and Return

This is a strategy that I've been able to use with some of my more advanced kindergarteners.  When a child is really stuck on a word, it can be relieving to him or her to know that it's okay to skip it and come back!  Reading the rest of the sentence gives us more meaning that we can use to help decode the tricky word.  

When I was in college, I feel like fluency was difficult for me to understand.  It wasn't until I student taught with 2nd and 4th graders that I really began to understand the importance and idea of fluency. Here are a few of my favorite strategies for fluency:

Strategy 4.6: Punctuation at the End of a Sentence

This strategy reminds students to pay attention to the ending punctuation.  I've always loved working with my students on punctuation because of the way they raise their voices when they read a question!  

Strategy 4.11: Make Your Voice Match the Feeling

With this strategy, encourage your students to think about how the character is feeling.  This is a great strategy to model first during a read aloud.  One of my favorite book series is the Pigeon series by Mo Willems, and I think that any of those books would be great for modeling this!  

Fluency Phone for Feedback

If you use fluency phones, then you know how much students love them!  I love that they are great for allowing the student to really focus on how their voice sounds when they read.  During guided reading, I always have my students whisper read and these help them not get so distracted by everyone else's reading.  You can use some of the prompts Serravallo suggests, such as, "Really try to hear yourself." (Pg. 119, The Reading Strategies Book)  The first few times they use the phones it might seem silly, but if you use prompts and help your students really focus, they can be very effective!  I have these Toobaloo phones, but you can find tutorials online for making them out of PVC piping!

Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to read my thoughts and favorite strategies!  Be sure to check out the other blogs that have linked up with Teaching Little Miracles!


  1. Hi, Katie! I also love using fluency phones. It is such an easy way for students to hear how they are sounding and agree it also helps decrease distractions.

  2. Hi Katie! I had a hard time picking my favorite strategies this time--there were so many great ones! I love the skip and come back strategy, and you are absolutely right about kids needing to be told that it is okay to do. :-)


  3. I appreciated what you said about actually using the phones in your classroom (this was a new concept to me) and seeing the efficacy in them. We might try using those next year!