End-of-Year Challenge!

20 Days to ACCELERATE Your Weakest Reader(s)

Are you counting down the days till summer break?

Who’s not, right?

With over-testing, kids’ spring fever, students who are not progressing as we hoped, and the arrival of warm, blue skies, we may be a tad less effective in our teaching in the last few weeks and days.

I know I’ve gotten too worn-down and taught with much less effort in May than I had in September.

I’m not alone am I?

[Last year we had a Spring Forward Challenge and it was a hit! This year we’re hosting it again with a lot of the same achievement-changing information. Join us again for inspiration or for the first time for guidance AND inspiration!]

An End-of-Year Challenge

end of year lesson plans

But we love our kids and the academic need is great, right?  I have an offer to help us all not slink into summer….

Rather, let’s join forces for the End-of-Year Challenge–a 20 day event!


I know it’s actually not too late to see significant growth with your struggling readers before the school year ends.

{Watch how 1 student grows rapidly with just 1 activity, Switch It, if you don’t believe me!}

And when you actually witness them growing each day, you will gain hope.

You will add a little pep to your step.  You will actually look forward to the next day of school because you know your student(s) are going to progress…

Because. Of. Your. Instruction.


I’m not suggesting you work harder, or work longer. Rather, I will hold your hand with small, little steps every day so you will see success.

Each week, I’ll show you the counter-cultural activities–just a few–that accelerate all my readers. You can easily add one activity at a time till your cranking out life-changing lesson plans. I see it all the time!

If your students are higher than this plan, you can still use it as a general guide for what to add each day. I’ll offer more specifics for what you could do via email and Facebook live.

The End-of-Year Challenge Details

Anyone can snag the freebies by signing up on this page for the End-of-Year Challenge, learn the activities, and try some or all of the activities with their students. Those who think they can make a big difference with the 10 to 30 days left in the school year can enter the End-of-Year 20 Days contest.

I’m looking for a winner, or two, are you in?

To participate, select a struggling student or students to target for the rest of the school year. Download the End-of-Year PDF below and follow each day’s simple activity.  You can get direction in a few places:

  • in the End-of-Year challenge PDF,
  • via emails from me, and
  • watching occasional Facebook Lives on each activity.

THEN, when your school year ends, whether it’s next Friday or June 8, enter the brief story of how your student(s) progressed in the comments below.  I’ll pick winners based on the significance of the change.

First Prize: a 3-month subscription to the Reading Simplified Academy to discover our entire streamlined system that accelerates all students’ achievement (worth about $120)

Second Prize: 5 complete Sort It and Guided Reading packets for 5 different Advanced Phonics sounds (you pick the reading level)

All Commenters: a collection of games in PDF format for the /oa/ & /ee/ sounds

{Be sure your comments are below before June 8 when the contest ends!}

Some of you are pumped!

But some of you are concerned it will be too much.

Look at the lesson plans above in the images above.  Notice how you only start 1 little activity for the first 2 days.

It’s baby steps.  But each step, each day, will add up to so much more than the sum of its parts.


woman walking beach steps

I hope you’ll give it try!

Let’s not countdown till we escape into summer….rather let’s countdown how many more days we have to boost our struggling students’ reading before they leave us…  🙁

Who’s in? Please let us know so others can be encouraged!  Or, please ask any question in the comments below.

Learn more by following us on our Facebook page here.


Join the Reading Simplified Academy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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149 thoughts on “End-of-Year Challenge!

  1. Hi Marnie,
    I just want to clarify where we need to leave our comments for this challenge. Do you want them here or on the Facebook page?

    • Great question, Jennifer! HERE in the comments under this post is where the comments for the contest need to go.

    • I missed this with my own class but I have taken the 20 day challenge to use it with my son who just finished kindergarten. it has been so fun having a plan to work with him on and a lot of fun playing with words!

      • Vanessa, we have SO many teachers who are testing Reading Simplified activities with their own children and then using them in the classroom. Brilliant! May you both keep having fun with the activities!

  2. I’m looking forward to trying this. I work work with 5-6 years olds, many of whom don’t get much parental support at home (read to). I really want to see this work! It doesn’t completely match up wiTh the phonics program we are using at school, but I’m going try anyways!

  3. Hi Marnie,

    I have been following you and your program for a little while now and can’t thank you enough for the insight you’ve brought. I have trialled a few of your activities with my students and not only have I seen growth, but the kids gave loved them and shown increased confidence in their abilities. Thanks again. Justine

    • Justine, thank you so much for taking the time to write this. 🙂 And what good news to hear about growth and motivation!!

      Congrats on being willing to test something new. Please let me know what you discover next…

  4. Hi Marnie
    I am in Australia so we are only into our second of four terms for the year. I can’t wait to put your plans into action with a number of my struggling students know that I have longer to work miracles. Thank you for the opportunity to join your challenge

    • Caryn, so glad you can make this work too for your situation. Yeah!! Please let me know how it goes….

  5. We in the Southern Hemisphere are a long way from end of year 🙂 but that just means we have even longer to put these plans into action!

  6. Hi Marnie,
    I began this challenge with the same group of students that I have been using Switch It with from the previous challenge, so we didn’t start with Week 1 and jumped right into the Week 2 lessons. We had missed several days of learning due to a school closure in our district, so we started with the Monday list even though I suspected it might not be a big enough challenge for them. As suspected they quickly got into the groove and were able to build all of the words on the list without much difficulty. We read the Read It words, then they wrote the words on the table using Expo markers–they love doing that! We had a couple of short vowel confusions, but they were able to correct themselves when the error was pointed out. We finished the lesson with the Zac the Rat story and they all seemed very excited at how easily they were able to read on their own. This is the first time for a couple of them to read an entire book completely unassisted. They clutched their books like treasures as they put them in their personal book boxes. We continued the next day with the Tuesday lesson and they had a bit of difficulty with the CVCC endings and needed a lot of prompting to hear the blends. Looking ahead, I am happy to see that the next two days continue with the CVCC blends to give them more opportunity to practice. They were gaining success with the CVCC and CCVC words before our interruption, so I am sure I can get them back there quickly. I only have two more days left with this group, so I will let you know how they do in the next couple of days. After that, I will start brand new with a group of summer school students!

    • This is so AWESOME Jennifer! I’m so pleased about the addition of the guided reading. Sweet! Thanks for tracking with us for these few months. It’s such a pleasure to see your students’ progress.

  7. I am in!
    I teach 1st grade in NC and our year is about over (8 more days with a lot going on). But as soon as school ends we start 3 weeks of Summer Reading Camp for our struggling readers 1st – 3rd grades. This is going to be the first thing I teach them…so excited, can’t wait to see results.

    • Yeah, Susan!! How wonderful that you have a summer reading camp. Can’t wait to hear what you discover…

  8. Today was the last day with my little group. I wish that I had more time with them because they finally started making real progress thanks to Switch It and Read It. They are a group that had been seeing the intervention teacher all year with very little progress. Two of them are qualified for SPED and two others are on the list to be tested. I only began working with them recently, after taking the Switch It challenge. They loved the activity and I saw them really making the letter sound connection that they hadn’t been able to make before. Once they were making words, we began Blend as you Read and that is when they really started making the connections. They had only ever been taught to sound out each word one sound at a time, but they didn’t have the memory to put all of the sounds together to create a word. Even two letter VC words stumped them. Once I started using the Blend as you Read they realized they could actually read words because they could hear it and not have to rely on memory. The End of Year challenge lessons helped me to move beyond just Switch It and Read It and I started including the Guided Reading books. I was amazed, and so were they, at how easily they were now able to blend and read words in context. The look of pride on their faces when they read Zac the Rat completely on their own was priceless!!! They had a little difficulty with The Big Hit but did very well with Peg the Hen. I think the short i sound is difficult for them as ELL learners. Their confidence and attitude towards letters, sounds, and reading was their area of biggest gain and the more their confidence grows the better they get at reading. I am excited to share this program with my fellow summer school teachers and I am hoping they will see the progress that I did with their kids this summer. Our summer school program lasts exactly 20 days…hmmm..Perfect!

    • Fab. U. Lous.

      What a great story of transformation, Jennifer! Way to go trying something new and caring enough to persist with tough learners. What a victory for them and for you.

      And super-pysched to see what happens in summer school! Will any of this group be coming?

      • Yes! 4 if the six in this group will be attending summer school!! They will have a different teacher which is why I am hoping to get the other teachers to give this program a try!

          • I am definitely going to tell them. I am in the unique position of being the coordinator for our summer program which means that I am also in charge of all of their PD throughout our program. They will all be introduced to Build It, Switch It, Read It, and Sort It. I am hoping they will at least try it and choose to continue from there. 🙂

            • Woo hoo!! That’s exciting news, Jennifer! I’ve always wanted to get these activities into a summer school. 🙂 🙂 🙂

              And do they have access to mostly decodable texts that align with the sound that’s being studied in Word Work (like the starfall.com books)?

  9. Today is our last day of school. I worked with a little girl the last few days. On day one she spelled every word correctly. However she was running her finger under the word backward. Today, day 3, on the word “had” she spelled it “dah” and struggled to figure out what was wrong. With prompting, she was able to spell it correctly. On Read It, she read the day 3 words correctly. I added some words from other days that we had to work through.

    • Hi Debra, thanks for giving the challenge a try and for sharing your outcomes!

      I’m not sure if you’re asking her to spell the words or if you mean she was working on Switching them (like Switch It). Of course there’s always good reasons for variations, but just want to also be sure that other folks know who may read this that Switch It is less of a spelling activity and more of a sound processing task. Here’s more about Switch It.

      Congrats on your year-end…may you enjoy a rejuvenating summer!

  10. Just realized you want the comments here so reposting from facebook.
    I hadn’t done switch it with a student for a few weeks and found he had slid so I’m backtracking a little and hoping he will soon return to where he was and make even further progress. I think Read It/Write it may be what he needs too because I know that has been a helpful strategy for some of my other students.

    • Good to hear your recent results, Joanne! Yes, I often keep Switch It in the mix–if even for just 1-3 minutes each day as a warm up–because those with weak phonemic processing can backslide or keep needing to become faster and faster with the processing. Hope the combo of all 3 activities works well for him!

  11. Have been using switch it with a small group of grade one children they now can easily pull down the correct letter or digraph they are so stocked that they get it right most times a great confidence builder.

  12. I started this week with the ones that will be doing summer services with me. I wanted to give them a jump start. So far so good. They are older students, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I am already seeing the excitement and progress. I will definitely let you know at the end of the summer what happens.

    • Weenona, great news!! Congrats on the great start to your summer program. If you head to the page about Switch It, you can find words that are phonemically harder (i.e., CCVC instead of CVC). Looking forward to how they progress!

  13. I never turn down a challenge. I am starting on Monday….so excited. I’ve been following you for a while now, but being a retired teacher didn’t give me much opportunity to try out our program. I’m working for the last 2 months of school as a Learning Assistance teacher and finally get to dive in.

  14. Thanks Marnie for your great blending ideas. I now have children who can blend rather than saying, ‘c, a, t’, look at me blankly and then say a random word such as “dog”. Following my success, I shared your video clip with a fellow teacher who has Year 2s and she came up to me in the staffroom and said that your blending technique has changed her life – the struggling 6 years olds in her class can also now blend! I have 5 year olds and it’s making a good difference, I just have to give each child in the group a different word so that they don’t copy each other! I’m in New Zealand, so it’s only term 2 of the school year. Enjoy your summer break – so jealous as we have to wait till Christmas for ours!

    • Mary, this is such a delight!! Congrats on all the changes you’ve already made–so quickly–with your kids and your colleagues. You made my day.

      Sorry to flaunt our summer in front of you here 😉 but I’m glad you have a lot of time to realize the benefits of these activities. 🙂 Please keep adding the others to see how the benefits may multiply!

    • Great Lynne! Have you tried Read It and the Blend As You Read strategy? That’s the next step–to develop a strong blending skill at attacking unknown words.

      Once the child is good at that about 70% of the time, then s/he can begin Sort It to learn Advanced Phonics. That’s on Week 4 of the End-of-Year Challenge lesson plans.

  15. It is an amazing challenge. I am just struggling with both my grade 1 twins and grade 2 boy who still seem to read word for word rather than reading by looking ahead at the next word. Will that come with more re-reading?

    • Juanita, it can take time. I like to ensure that sound-based decoding skills are really strong before I start to worry about rapid word recognition. Do these boys use the Blend As You Read decoding strategy as described in the Read It activity? That’s an important foundation before faster reading can kick in. And, is their phoneme manipulation–that’s developed with Switch It–good?

      After those two things are established, then learning Advanced Code (like long vowels) is the next big step. The activity Sort It (on Week 4 of End-of-Year Challenge) begins to teach that.

      With those 3 activities in play, most kids start to begin decoding more and more accurately. THEN after a few weeks of those activities, words begin to stick and re-reading short passages repeatedly usually helps them to become faster and more fluent. Hope this helps Juanita!

  16. Hi Marnie,
    The boys are loving this challenge. Zac the Rat was the first time E got really excited about reading a story without help. He says we have to do every week even though school is out. Thank you for the amazing information you have shared with us?

    • That’s GREAT news, Sally! Hopefully, he’ll keep enjoying those starfall books. He can also read them online at starfall.com The software will read unfamiliar words to him if he clicks on them. AND, when he clicks on the image, it’ll move around. Kids love that. 🙂

  17. Thank you so much Marnie. I’m retired, but took on a Learning Assistance teacher position for the last couple of months of school. My kiddos are the ones who have great difficulty learning to read. The last couple of weeks I started switch it, read it, and blend as you read (I call it sliding through words). I have noticed a huge improvement in decoding AND fluency this week. Kids who have barely moved all year are jumping to a new level. They are so proud of themselves!

    • Thanks so much Deb for giving these activities a try and for sharing your outcomes! Hooray!! I love the “sliding through the words” term, too! Clever.

      Thank you for serving those kids who need extra TLC and for not ending your own learning journey! 🙂

  18. Hello Marnie from Canada!:)
    I am using your techniques with a group of grade 2 students with diverse needs! Re reading and repetition are a must for comprehension! Sounding the words out while keeping blending sounds together has been very positive! (Still struggling with th)
    Thank you so much for your wisdom and enthusiasm to see children go forward! This is my passion! So much growth , I know we can reach new reading /comprehension/writing skill levels!

    • Brenda, I’m so delighted to hear your story…all the way from Canada! 😉 Thank you for your kind words. I 100% agree–you will reach new levels…soon!

      I’m sure the “th” will come, but if you are worried about it, you might create contrasts with Switch It lists, such as that hat hath math mad Thad thud.

  19. Looking forward to starting this tomorrow. We go to school until June 29! So its design will work perfectly!

    • Wow! So glad to hear you have so much time left, Anna! Please let us know how it goes!

      (You can still post by this Fri. to win a Sort It packet–just post about what you saw happen this week.)

  20. I am taking the challenge. I love how the students are able to manipulate the sounds to listen and pronounce, and how gradual the difficulty is increased, to be sure they are challenged, but also experience success. I have a group of 5 who I make time for daily to practice, and the other students in the class are jealous, because they want to “play” too. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sweet! Love your action-taking and your quick success, Cheryl! And how wonderful that this group is the lucky one. 😉

  21. I love the sort it lists. It makes it so easy. It has helped one of my students who struggles with vowel mix ups.

  22. My pupils love “switch it”. I am using it with the weakest group of readers in the Grade 1 class. The improvement in their reading ability has been great. We are heading towards the middle of the Grade 1 year in South Africa and it is exciting to see how they can decode words.

    • Athalie, great news! Congrats on the breakthroughs. 🙂

      Glad you can keep these activities going for several months! Please let us hear how Read It goes…

  23. Marnie,
    E and A are enjoying the challenge more each day especially when they see all the words they are reading. We play candy land to reinforce the list for the day. They both love the guided reading part because they get to be on Starfall. ?
    Many thanks for all the lists and info you have given us.

    • Sally, this is such great news! Glad to hear that you’re getting more engagement again. Love how their success is building their motivation.

  24. I’m a private tutor who actually slows down during those last few weeks of school when all the kids are being tested and field tripped. But I can’t wait to do this work with four students this summer who are desperate for just this kind of accelerated catch up!

  25. Love it! All the activities are so useful. The year 5 student that I am working 1 on 1 with is really enjoying using the different games. He invited a class friend to join him and they are both doing the activities side by side. I love seeing his face light up when he completes a word before his mate. These activities are giving him his first ever chance at success.

  26. I believe I’m enrolled in the Reading Simplified Academy, but unfortunately have not started it yet. I got sick and lost track of things. Our school year ended and I just started teaching Summer School (1st grade). I am very excited for this and am going to implement with my kiddos.

    • Melanie, I’m sorry about the sickness! 🙁

      I’m so glad you’re giving this a go with Summer School, though! If you jump back into the Reading Simplified Academy, the video lessons will support the Lesson Plans and email trainings well. In fact, I would watch the Reading Simplified Academy videos instead of the email trainings if you have to choose between the two because of time.

      I hope we can hear how things go for your students for Summer School in our Teachers’ Lounge (the private discussion board for Reading Simplified Academy)!

  27. This sounds like another inspiring way to teach….I thoroughly enjoyed watching your videos and learnt so much about word building and switching…..I have been trying it for this term. I teach in South Africa. Loving this method of teaching – it makes so much sense to me as a teacher and I can see the children connecting dots with regard to phonics and listening for sounds…..

    • Heather, it’s great to hear about your successes! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 I’m always amazed to hear about teachers connecting from so far away. :O

      Glad you have a lot of time left this year to test out these plans!

  28. I have a student with FASD and another with speech dyspraxia. This challenge has provided positive results and experiences for them.

  29. Looking forward to trying this. I am out, but summer “camp” starts next week and will try it with a few then.

    • Great Michelle! So glad you’ll put these into play in summer camp! They can make a big dent that way I think!

  30. I have been doing the 20 day challenge with one of my strugglers. She is doing well but struggles with learning. I am 1/2 way through our year and needed something that would be a quick boost for her. Thank you for your help and support.

    • Mel, thanks for sharing your success! You’re welcome, too. 🙂 Please let me know if you have any questions!

  31. Mairne sorry about changing the purpose of your program this year. As I am in Australia we are only half way through our year. I am working through a little slower than you recommended. I use it with a larger group using the program as a part of my spelling and handwriting program. We have large letters on the board and I say the word the children clap or click the sounds then they write the word on their whiteboard. The first student to write neatly and correct makes the first word. Then we play switch it sounding, writing and checking the word made by the student. The children love it. I do switch it at other times through the year but this cohort are struggling with a lot of areas.

    • No worries Trish! I love to hear how creative teachers are discovering adaptations! As long as kids are learning to match sounds and symbols faster and faster, it’s all GOOD! In case you haven’t tried it, you may find another boost if you coach them with the Blend As You Read decoding strategy which is part of the activity, Read It.

  32. I have just started the program with two children who are struggling. It was lovely to hear from one of the parents that her son thought it wa fun.

  33. The Switch It activity worked so well with a couple of my students who were constantly getting the vowel sounds confused (particularly ‘a’ and ‘e’). Thanks for the great idea!

  34. I was so excited to see how quickly my students were able to do CVC words and moved quickly to CVCC words. When I showed them the blend as you read strategy it was amazing what they were able to do. I plan on using this from the beginning next year and can’t wait to see the difference in my students using Switch It, Sort It, and Read It.

  35. I love all of the activities. I am ready and excited to use them next year too! I did have the opportunity to work with several slow English second language students. I think the Switch It really moved them ahead. They were much more confident when reading to me. At times they would want to play around with the letter cards, so I encouraged them to move them as quickly as they could. They had difficulties with i and e, so we concentrated on these a good bit. I look forward to working with these same students next year! Thank you for sharing your secrets!

    • Amy, you’re welcome! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Congrats on these gains. Zeroing in on the i/e confusion sounds like perfect implementation!

  36. My students and I love Switch It. I only recently joined Reading Simplified Academy and already feel as if I have gotten my money’s worth from this one activity. This may be considered a NO NO but….with one group of 4 boys who love to compete with each other, I gave each boy one of the little battery operated push on lights. When the first one was finished with his “switch” he hit his light. If everyone got at least 1 “win” they all got a piece of gum before leaving. Of course they all got a win:)
    I wouldn’t do this with every group because it would pressure some too much. However, with this group of boys it was loads of fun.

    • Haha! Some NO NO’s are great motivators, aren’t they Reba?! Sounds like super fun. Thanks for sharing your good idea….would love to see a pic in action!

  37. Hi, Marnie.
    I was wondering if this challenge can be used during any another time in the year? We are already out of school for this year.

    • Anytime Ginger! We just wanted to help inspire those at the end of the year, but the lesson plans work at ANY time for any beginning or striving reader at the late K/early 1st grade level.

      However, the activities themselves work with ANY age if the student is behind in reading.

      Perhaps you can save the email trainings in a folder and return to them when the time is right. Let us hear how it goes!

  38. It’s been great seeing my son whom I homeschool blending a little easier. I see his progress and doing well with switch it.

    • Wonderful!! Congrats Alicia. That blending is SO huge for so many. Would love to hear where you take him with these activities in the following months!

  39. I enjoyed these activities a lot. The children learn a lot from trying these activities. They grew so much in a little time. Can’t wait to use them next year. I would like to to learn more ways to help the children. I believe you have a great program. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me.

  40. This is my 3rd week, and this week fluency, decoding, and interest in reading have all taken a giant leap. A teacher told me she was noticing a big gain in her readers that I work with, and a student’s parent mentioned she noticed a big difference at home. So glad I got to witness this for myself. You are offering teachers is pure “gold”. I’m telling everyone about it.

    • Deb, you’re a peach!! Thanks for giving these activities a try and for being so encouraging and spreading the news.

      I look forward to hearing about more of your success….

  41. I’ve seen such a jump in letter sound knowledge and confidence in my three grade 1 students who just joined my group. They only had a few sounds when the came, now they have almost all of them. Loved the 20 day jump start and how easy it was to implement!

    • How remarkable Cindy!! WOO HOO!! Congrats to you for trying something new and with such success! Please keep us updated with what you discover next–this year or next…

  42. Your resources have been so invaluable to my classroom! Looking forward to another challenge, thanks for the opportunity 🙂

  43. I tried switch it with my kids and they really liked doing them. I’m excited to do the next step flex it.

  44. I was only able to work with my student 3 days before school was out. I saw that she did improve over the 3 days. I look forward to using these lessons this fall at the beginning of the year.

    • Debra, congrats on the fast progress! Sounds like a great test to help you get excited for similar activities starting fresh next year!! 🙂

  45. My group loved using switch. They even wanted to add some of their own words to the list! Lots of fun! Think it helps even the lowest k students.

  46. Hi,
    I have been doing the Switch It with my one-on-one student. She is in 3rd gr but on a pre-K/K level. I have hit many road blocks with her because of her disabilities. She has been diagnosed ID and I believe she has many other problems yet to be diagnosed. When she started 3rd gr, she did know letters and most of the sounds. I used Switch It to help her with the letter sounds. She has great difficulty saying the short vowel sounds. She also has great difficulty keeping her focus. I hope to be able to work with her next school yr and begin with Switch It again and then go onto the rest if the 20 day challenge. Although it might take much longer than 20 days, but I have the whole yr to help her.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Marge! SO glad you’re sticking to her and trying new approaches!

      I worked with a very low-functioning TBI 5th grader who didn’t know any letter-sounds and it took a lot of work, too, but she learned to read up to her intellectual level of functioning. May you accomplish miracles with her next year!

  47. I begin with a child who is now in my summer school class. You came to me mid-year from a life skills class and was quite a bit behind in letter and sound knowledge. I am so excited about the amount of growth in letter-sound knowledge she has gained and her growing ability to spell CVC words. She is having trouble however with Read it.

    • Tami, so glad to hear your report! Congrats on trying something new and her progress.

      Also glad you’re alert to the difficulty of blending in Read It. The tips at the bottom of this post about Read It usually help solve most kids difficulties learning to Blend As You Read. Let me know if you’ve tried that and not succeeded.

      Also, make sure you don’t use the same words over and over again. Sometimes kids get in a rut. When they don’t succeed, we repeat the words, but that makes them turn their brains off (so to speak). Keep her alert with new words, especially those that begin with continuant consonants (e.g., m, s, n, l, r)

  48. So pleased to report that some of my students are actually “flexing” when reading:) Not all but when even one or two do it, it inspires me to keep on with your program knowing the others will hopefully be able to do this too one day. I shared the ou/ow Flex it game with one of my groups and they asked to play it again the next time I saw them. Love it when they are enjoying learning. Fingers crossed that I win one of the prizes – the sort It packages or the subscription would be awesome but I know whoever wins, it will be a win for their students:) Thank you Marnie for all you’ve shown me this last few months. Ending the year strong – just running out of days – at least I have activities to fall back on even as their attention spans wane. Looking forward to doing even more of what you teach next year.

    • Yeah! That’s a great sign, Joanne, if they’re putting Flex It into action. Likely means the sound-based decoding foundation has been laid well! So glad we got connected and love your enthusiasm and implementation, too!

  49. Loving the messages and following the advice. It really works. Loved the finding sounds in words use it all the time.

  50. I love the strategies in Reading Simplified! I have been using Switch it daily with our students and seeing very positive results. I also used the blend it strategy to get my students to blend the first and second sound…which is extremely difficult for some. We are still working on that. I am excited to know that we can get through all the advanced sounds in 12 weeks…rather than the 4 years in the program that we have been using. Thank you, Marnie!

    • Penny, it’s so great to hear your outcomes!! YEAH! It’s also good to hear that your targeting that all-important blending ability. I hope you’re excited to start next year with these activities!

  51. Hi, it’s not the end of the year in the South, but I’m going to try this to boost start three learners who have just come onto my ‘books’ mid year, and who don’t yet know their letter sounds. I think this daily focused boost is what is really needed.

      • It’s going very well so far. Those lists are perfect as every day there have been two or three sounds which have been unknown. Only issue is one of my three students doing this has been absent the whole time! I guess I’ll just join him in where the others are at when he comes back.

  52. Fabulous News!!! Our summer school program just ended and I am happy to say that Reading Simplified was introduced and used in at least 9 of the classrooms! Six of the teachers attended your 3 activities workshop and loved the activities. “Amazing” was what one teacher told me after doing Switch It with her kids. All of our students are English Language learners and she had a student in her group with zero English skills. She was amazed to see him build, blend, and read words that to him had no meaning. The comprehension will come as he learns English vocabulary, but he is building the segmenting and blending skills he needs to read. I was also fortunate enough to be able to go into the classrooms and model the activities with students from Kindergarten up to 8th grade. The highlight for me was when I was in a classroom with 6-8th grade students who were reading at a 3rd grade level. After finishing Switch It and doing a couple of words using the Blend as you Read strategy, the 8th grade girl sitting next to me announced: “Hey, this is fun!” I had wondered how these older kids would respond to the activities, but she proved that they are engaging and challenging even for older struggling readers.
    Best yet, my principal was so impressed that she has agreed to let me join your academy!! I look forward to learning more from you in the coming months!!!!

    • Jennifer, congratulations!! WOW! I’m SO pleased to hear these results AND impressed with you in getting so many people to consider these activities in such a short time. That’s a magic trick in some schools! 😉

      I LOVE to hear the “struggling” readers say, “This is fun!” or “This is easy!” A huge breakthrough for those kiddos, I’m sure.

      Can/Do the ELL teachers have access to a picture dictionary or easy online access to a visual online dictionary as they go through the Word Work activities? That would make that time a little slower but more powerful.

      I look forward to having you jump into the Academy and learn more about your journey! YEAH!!

      • I have been fortunate enough to have worked with many of these teachers for a number of years, so when I told them about the success I had with my group of kids, it was easy for them to trust me enough to give it a try. Your lesson plans made it even easier to convince them 🙂
        Yes, our ELL teachers all have access to picture cards, picture dictionaries, and the online picture resources as well. I have even drawn quick sketches on the whiteboard, I am not an artist, but I can usually get the message across.
        I will talk with you soon in the Academy!!