Thursday, October 23, 2014

First Grade Decoding Lesson - "Chunking Strategy"


How are words like cookies? Almost a month ago (I know, bad blogger!!), I taught my students about using the "chunking" strategy- this is when the reader looks for and uses a word part, or chunk, that he/she can read in order to decode the entire word. Many teachers use "Chunky Monkey" to teach this strategy (and that's a fun and memorable idea), but I prefer to use (giant) chocolate chip cookies- if you can incorporate chocolate into your lessons, I say why not!?!???
Chunking Strategy Mini-Lesson for Reading, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

The idea behind this lesson is really simple - I compare reading unknown words to eating a very large cookie... you can't read/eat it all at once, so you need to bite off smaller digestible chunks first! 
Chunking Strategy Mini-Lesson for Reading, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

My class had just reached 20 minutes of read-to-self stamina, so knowing I wanted to do this lesson, I promised them a special snack to celebrate that reading goal (I don't normally feed my firsties cookies!) 

I slaved in the kitchen the night before used a Betty Crocker cookie mix and my pop-out tart pan to bake a giant chocolate cookie. As I showed my class, there were lots of "ooh"s and "aaah"s, maybe even a little drool. 
Chunking Strategy Mini-Lesson for Reading, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

I asked them if I could eat this whole cookie at once. Of course, they said, "No way!" That's when I explained the analogy to them. Using my anchor chart, we analyzed each word together looking for meaningful chunks. I modeled how to cover parts of the word with my finger to focus on only one section at a time. Naturally, not all of these words are challenging for all of my students, but they did serve as good examples of morphological principles.

 Of course, after the mini-lesson we all shared the cookie. Here we are right before I sent them back to their seats! Yes, they're rubbin' bellies!
Chunking Strategy Mini-Lesson for Reading, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom
Now when we encounter challenging words, we refer to them as "big cookie" words and I ask students how they might bite off a chunk to solve it. The analogy has stuck and the strategy works well for my kiddos!

How do you teaching "chunking" to your students?

2 comments:

  1. I love this idea. Thanks so much for sharing! P.S. The expression on your kids' faces is priceless!
    One Lucky Teacher

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Erica :) I know, my kiddos are pretty funny, right?!! They are such a sweet class!

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