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Grades 6-8 Decoding and Spelling

Empower™ Reading: Grades 6 to 8 Decoding & Spelling 

Program Description 

Empower™ Reading: Grades 6 to 8 Decoding & Spelling teaches five metacognitive decoding and spelling strategies: sounding out, rhyming, peeling off, vowel alert, and SPY. These same five strategies are taught in the Grade 2 to 5 level of the program, but the rate of strategy introduction is faster in this level with all instructional content being taught in 90 lessons (rather than the 110 lessons of the Grade 2 to 5 level). The program is intended for students in Grades 6 to 8 who struggle with acquiring age-appropriate word identification, decoding, and spelling skills, this program teachers struggling readers to apply the five decoding 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 to ensure mastery. Accuracy and fluency indices of mastery are a particular emphasis in this level of the program, especially in the final half of the program. The rapid recognition of all levels of text, including letter-sound patterns, affixes, individual words, sentences and stories, are incorporated into the lessons because of their importance to facilitating the development of reading fluency. The instruction strives to increase reading skill and to free the reader from decoding obstacles so he or she can read for meaning, information, and pleasure.

Partway through the program, students 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. 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 level program 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 Book 
    The presentation book is used to introduce the new sounds and skills learned as part of the sounding out strategy and to practice this strategy in each lesson; this book also provides opportunities for guided practice of the other four strategies. The presentation book can be easily held (or placed) in full view of a small group of students.

Student Materials 

  • Student workbooks 
    The student workbooks include daily activities that allow students to apply and consolidate their skills and strategies. There are activities specific to each of the five strategies as well as those that necessitate a multi-strategic approach. Blackline masters are also available on a DVD.
  • Student reader 
    The student reader offers a selection of short stories (both fiction and non-fiction) for the students to practice applying their skills and strategies. The stories have been carefully written with controlled vocabulary.

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

Each of the 120 keywords, taught as part of the rhyming strategy, are printed on a set of plastic keys. The rhyming door contains lists of words corresponding to the first 40 keywords. The rhyming door and the keys are used to explicitly illustrate this word identification-by-analogy strategy that helps the students “unlock” or read new words. 

  • 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 of 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. 
  • 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 
    Program posters include an Alphabet Strip, Rhyming Rules, Sound Review Cards, and Game Plan Poster. The posters provide students with quick access to the materials they need.