What they are and why you simply must use them!
As you are aware, there are an abundance of commercial reading programs available for you to buy and use with your students. Many of these have some fantastic elements and approaches, but very few include what I feel is the most important element of any teaching program- personalised learning activities.
A personalised learning activity is one that is chosen and designed specific to an individual student. It’s not something we photocopy out of a book or use because that’s what our program tells us to do next. It is an activity that takes into account the very unique interests, skills, motivators and strengths of YOUR student. What do they love to do? What activities or games do they most enjoy? What are they really into at the moment? What motivates, excites and engages them? This information is essential for planning personalised learning activities.
We know that students with diverse learning needs (Down syndrome, intellectual disability, developmental delay etc.) can take a little longer to learn new things than their peers might. We may need to teach the same phonics sound for weeks, and work with the same group of sight words all term before they are able to master them (and this is completely ok!). But this extended learning time means that students can sometimes be exposed to the same activities day in, day out and let’s be honest… this is going to get extremely boring for them (and us)! This is why we need to incorporate personalised learning activities into our reading lessons. They provide us a way of continually exposing our students to the same sight words or phonics sounds, without losing their interest and attention.
Personalised learning activities also make learning FUN! They allow students to get up out of their seats, to move and to be actively engaged in hands-on learning activities. Personalised learning activities can take many forms.. you are only limited by your own imagination! Let’s take a look at some of our favourites.
Sight Word Car Park Does your student enjoy playing with cars or other vehicles? Get them to drive their marked car in to the correct parking space. You may also choose to leave the car unmarked and have them the student read the word they have chosen to park on. Download your free sight word car park template here.
Bingo Are you working with a group of students or a student who loves to play games? Bingo is a great way to practise identifying and reading both sight words and phonics sounds. Find the word by placing a counter on the word you call out, match a word by placing the counter on the word you show them on a sight word flash card or allow the student to be the one to call the words out for you or their peers.
Word Fishing An all-time classic, have the student find and catch the fish to match the word or sound you call. They could practice matching words by catching the fish to match a sight word flash card you show them or read the word aloud by catching a fish of their choice and telling you which one they caught.
Egg Flip & Cookie Baking Do you have a budding chef in your midst? A student that loves food (don’t we all)? Here are some great ideas! Call a word aloud and have the student find it and pick it up using tongs or an egg flip. Not only are we working on word identification now, but also developing vital fine motor skills!
If you’re lucky enough to have the Illume Reading resources, you will find editable templates for all of these activities (plus many, many more) on your Illume Reading USB. It really is pure gold!
Are you working with teenagers and adults? Make sure that the activities you choose are appropriate to the ages of your students. Teenagers may love a game of Bingo, but playing with toy cars may be seen as “babyish” and they may disengage in the lesson altogether.
The reality is, every student will have different interests so while it’s always great to have a few templates for activities that you can access quickly and easily, it’s the ones you develop yourself that will be most meaningful. This is where our Sight Word Stickers will make your life a lot easier! A durable vinyl sticker that you can attach to just about anything. Toy one minute… reading resource the next! They are a great way to incorporate your students favourite objects/games into your next reading lesson. Look to the students interests for guidance and you can’t go wrong.
Here are some some clever ideas…
So next time you’re planning a reading lesson for your students, consider how you can incorporate some personalised learning activities. Not only will your students love them, but their reading skills will improve too.