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High School Decoding and Spelling

Program Description 

The Empower™ Reading: High School Program consists of two parts or modules: Empower™ Reading: High School, Decoding and Spelling, and Empower™ Reading: High School, Comprehension and Fluency (together, referred to as Empower™ Reading: High School). These modules provide comprehensive and focused programming for high school students who have specific difficulties in decoding and spelling, word identification, and reading comprehension. This program includes all of the instructional, metacognitive, and contextual features identified to be important from previous efficacy studies. The decoding and spelling portion addresses difficulties in word and text reading and spelling, and the comprehension and fluency portion provides text knowledge and comprehension strategy training. 

The decoding and spelling module teaches students five specific word identification strategies (sounding out, rhyming, peeling off, vowel alert, and SPY) along with a metacognitive organizational plan that supports successful and flexible strategy application.  

In the comprehension and fluency module, students are taught to understand how authors structure narrative and expository texts. They learn to recognize specific text features and signaling devices (e.g., titles and subtitles) that authors use, and learn how to use them to increase their understanding of text. Lessons include work on specific text features, sources of confusion, elements of a plot, informational text structures, text mapping, and text coherence. These skills are taught and practiced as they are necessary for successful application of the five comprehension strategies: predicting, activating prior knowledge, clarifying, evaluating-through-questioning, and summarizing. Students are taught how to use the five strategies to access meaning from narrative and expository text using metacognitive strategy instruction (self-monitoring and evaluative skills).  

Each Empower™ Reading: High School lesson combines direct instruction and dialogue-based strategy training, presents material in a sequential and structured manner, and teaches all necessary prerequisite skills to mastery. The metacognitive instruction is scaffolded and teaches explicit self-monitoring and evaluative skills. High school curricular materials and texts appropriate for adolescents are used. 

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

  • Instructional manuals 
    The instructional manuals provide 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 for each sounding out lesson; this book also provides opportunities for guided practice of the other four strategies taught in the decoding and spelling component of the program. The presentation book can be easily held (or placed) in full view of a small group of students.  
  • Student workbook 
    The student workbooks include activities that allow students to practice and consolidate the five decoding and spelling strategies as well as the five comprehension strategies on a daily basis. Also included in the workbooks are carefully written stories to practice applying the skills and strategies taught in the program. Blackline masters are available on a DVD.

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 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Plot Graph and Text Structure Posters  
    A dry erase poster supports students in their understanding of fiction texts and their structure (i.e., the plot graph).   
  • Program posters 
    Empower™ Reading: High School includes posters that support each of the two modules of the program. The Decoding and Spelling Program module has posters specific to each of the strategies (e.g., Rhyming Rules, Vowel Alert posters, Sound Review Cards) and to support a multi-strategic approach to word identification.  The Comprehension and Fluency module includes posters that support consolidation of the strategy dialogue and application of the strategies to fiction and non-fiction texts. All of the posters provide students with quick access to the materials they need to successful decode text, and read for meaning, information, and pleasure.