Fletcher’s Place teaches reading and spelling skills for emerging readers through first grade and is eligible to be incorporated in Reading First grants as a supplemental or intervention program.
Students are able to identify and use the individual sounds in spoken words, can identify phonemes in written words, and verbally blend phonemes into words. In addition, phoneme substitution, the addition and manipulation of sounds, is taught playing a game with a ball and letter cards. Fletcher’s Place provides carefully designed Sound Movements, which are gestures that mimic mouth and tongue placement and letter shapes to make a physical representation of sounds (e.g., the movement for the sound of /n/ uses the hand to form the curved hump shape of the letter with the hand hang over the nose to guide the tip of the tongue up towards the roof of the mouth- pointing up towards the nose to trigger the correct sound. In addition, /n/ is the first sound in the word nose.) Sound Movements also help guide students’ voices as they slide the letter’s Sound Movements and sounds together to say words.
Students connect sound-to-symbol and symbol-to-sound using Sound Movements as a physical anchor between the letter’s sound and shape. The teacher can choose from a wide variety of Reading Revolution games to cement phonics while playing. These include whole class, small group, and paired games like Musical Chairs with letter sounds, card games, sound trails, as well as playground activities like Sliding Sound Out and Sound Run. Fletcher’s Place also provide systematic lessons that teach word structure using a manipulative Word Builder that looks like an ice-cream sandwich, so that students get a physical understanding of the CVC structure as they build words. Students then apply these decoding and encoding skills to unfamiliar words, reading and spelling real as well as goofy “Monster” words, providing fun, relaxed practice.
From the very first lesson, Fletcher’s Place builds vocabulary through a routine of introducing then repeating, defining, and using new words. First students have the opportunity to build an understanding of the alphabetic principals by sounding out phonetically regular words and then, little by little, they learn to read irregular sight words in the context of phrases and sentences so that they can judge if they are pronouncing the words correctly. In addition, students use the Game Books to develop familiarity with phonetically regular and irregular words for reading and writing.
Fletcher’s Place teaches a powerful word fluency strategy by teaching students a step by step routine for sequencing letters in reading order. These steps include using the Finger Slide, holding the letters in their mind’s eye, then seamlessly sliding together the Sound Movements and letter sounds to read whole words quickly and effortlessly the first time through, and then immediately using the word to attach meaning. Teachers work with students to model the fluency routine with multiple activities and games that enable students to gain confidence in their reading skills.
Students develop comprehension skills through carefully designed activities, games, and books that encourage them to develop listening skills and thinking skills through summarizing and discussing their opinions. Students start with wordless picture books to understand book structure and then use Fletcher’s Place’s unique “language development” books where they use just a word or phrase with the illustrations to invent and narrate their own stories before moving to decodable texts as well as reading trade books with the help of the teacher. They participate in sequencing stories into beginning, middle and end to understand narrative story structure. In addition, Fletcher’s Place provides explicit instruction in how to formulate as well as answer basic questions, starting in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten with characters and settings. Questions regarding time are taught in first grade. Finally, Fletcher’s Place provides a variety of child-appropriate reading activities with built-in action, such as treasure hunts and “crazy directions” to make comprehension an integral part of the excitement of learning to read.