This year I was lucky enough to attend Pathways to Reading. I love teaching, reading, and the students "ah ha” moments. There is so much that goes into teaching a young reader how to read. I have taught pathways for two years without any formal training. I thought I was teaching it OK but wasn’t sure I was teaching the program with fidelity. The training was just five short days spread out over a couple of weeks. There is a lot of information to take in. I realized that I had forgotten how to do some activities. As I got further along in the year, I realized I really needed to watch more videos and continue reading the manual.
I learned that there are three foundational skills.
1. Phonemic Awareness- to notice and manipulate sounds in spoken language
2. Phonics- spelling to manipulate sounds in spoken language
3. Fluency- The ability to read accurately with expression at a rate that allows the student to understand.
I always knew those were foundational skills but I just wasn't sure how they connected. In the training they stress that fluency is the bridge between phonemic awareness & phonics and comprehension.
I really enjoyed learning about all the different activities students do to help them learn their skills. Pathways focuses a lot on teaching each letter and it's sound. It really puts emphasis on how your mouth makes each sound. It helps the student focus on where their tongue is and what their teeth and lips are doing. This really helps out later when students are reading words because they can get their mouths ready to read the beginning sounds.
Another area pathways really focuses is on the alphabet chart. Students point and sing the alphabet. Not only does it help students identify letters but also one to one correspondence. Students are learning to read from left to right.
Another activity I enjoyed learning about was segment and write. This activity includes both phonics and phonemic awareness. My students really loved this activity. They like doing it on the smart board. They also enjoy being a sound leader because they take ownership in their learning.
Pathways to reading is an amazing program. I look forward to going to more training in the future, especially for my small groups because there is so much information to learn.
Jennifer Paulson, Westview Elementary, Kindergarten
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