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Empower

Grades 2-5 Decoding and Spelling

Program Description 

Empower™ Reading: Grades 2 to 5, Decoding & Spelling is intended for students who are in Grades 2 to 5 and struggling with age-appropriate acquiring word identification, decoding and spelling skills.

This program teaches five metacognitive decoding and spelling strategies: sounding out, rhyming, peeling off, vowel alert, and SPY over the course of 110 lessons. Struggling readers are taught to apply these strategies to words they cannot read or spell. The five Empower™ strategies are taught in sequence and are practiced cumulatively over the course of the program on words presented individually and in connected text to ensure mastery. Accuracy and fluency are both emphasized. The rapid recognition of letter-sound patterns, affixes, and individual words are incorporated into the lessons because of their importance in facilitating the development of reading fluency at the text level. 

Once students learn the first three strategies of the program, they learn a metacognitive organizational structure called Game Plan that helps them to orchestrate successful selection, application, monitoring, and evaluation of the Empower™ strategies. The Game Plan, together with its supportive prompts and dialogue structure, enables students to become independent and flexible multi-strategic decoders and spellers. Using these strategies, students develop the skills needed for academic success and to read independently for meaning, information, or pleasure. Embedded in the dialogue that is used to teach and practice the strategies are statements that retrain students’ attributions about success and failure. As students learn the five strategies, they are also acquiring a new approach to tackling unfamiliar material and more positive beliefs in their own abilities. Retraining maladaptive attributions and beliefs about learning and building constructive motivational profiles is inherent to every lesson as is the specific instructional content.

The kit for this Empower™ level includes all of the materials necessary to implement the program: 

Instructional Materials 

  • Teacher’s guide 
    The teacher’s guide is an informational resource book that includes background information on Empower™ Reading, an overview of the program and its components, assessment tools, references, and a glossary. 
  • Instructional manuals 
    The instructional manuals supply the teacher with the scripts and dialogue needed for each lesson of the program. Included are program goals, a scope and sequence, introductory and prototype lessons, consolidation activities, and much more. 
  • Presentation books 
    The presentation books are used to introduce the new sounds and skills learned as part of the sounding out strategy and to practice this strategy in each lesson; in later lessons these books also provide opportunities to practice all five of the strategies. The presentation books can be easily held (or placed) in full view of a small group of students.

Student Materials 

  • Student workbooks 
    The student workbooks include activities for each lesson that allow students to apply and consolidate all newly-learned and previously-acquired skills and strategies. There are activities for each of the five strategies. Blackline masters are also available on a DVD that is included in the kit. 
  • Student reader 
    The student reader offers a selection of engaging short stories or poems with whimsical illustrations. The stories have been carefully written with controlled vocabulary to support student success and develop student confidence in reading skills. Most lessons conclude with story reading to allow students the opportunity to practice and consolidate their skills and strategies in story format.  

Support Materials 

  • Empower™ Reading Strategies poster 
    The Empower™ Reading Strategies Poster is magnetic and lists the five decoding strategies—sounding out, rhyming, peeling off, vowel alert and SPY—as well as the dialogue to be used when applying each strategy. 
  • Rhyming Door and Keys  
    The 120 keywords, taught as part of the rhyming strategy, are printed on a set of plastic keys, with one keyword printed on each key. The teacher, together with the students, use each key (keyword) to “open” the Rhyming Door and “unlock” (read) words on a list inside the door having same the spelling pattern as the keyword.  
  • Rhyming Keyword Bank poster 
    The Rhyming Keyword Bank allows the teacher to easily accumulate the 120 keywords and provides the students quick access to the keywords as they are learning them. This double-sided board lists all 120 keywords on one side, while the other side has blank spaces into which the teacher can print the keywords as they are newly presented. 
  • Peeling Off Tree 
    The magnetic Peeling Off Tree Poster helps students understand that prefixes and suffixes are similar to the leaves on a tree as they can be peeled off or separated from a root. The affixes on the leaves are magnetic and are placed onto the tree as they are introduced in the program lessons. 
  • Vowel Alert Stoplight  
    The die cut Vowel Alert Stoplight with its red, yellow and green lights cue the students to use the steps of the Vowel Alert Strategy when confronted with a difficult vowel or vowel combination in a word. The Vowel Alert Stoplight has inserts for each of the single vowels and vowel combinations that are introduced in the lessons. These inserts slide back and forth prompting students to be flexible and to try the variable sounds for these tricky letter and letter combinations.   
  • Game Plan Wheel 
    The Game Plan Wheel is a metacognitive organizational tool that helps students to manage the strategies. It prompts students to choose, use, check, and score as they are applying their Empower™ strategies. It guides students through strategy application whether they are reading or spelling words in isolation or in connected texts. 
  • Program posters 
    A variety of program posters are included in the instructional kit (e.g., an alphabet strip, rhyming rules, sound review cards, Game Plan poster). The posters provide students with quick access to the materials they might need when applying the Empower™ strategies.