Rosemary Curtis

Child Study
Paper 2
TE 301

Child Study Part 2
Background



Child’s Pseudonym: John
Age: 6
Grade: 1st
Setting for Child Study Session: School

Part 1: Development of Automatic Word Recognition
The development of automatic word recognition comes through the development
of phonological awareness, concepts of print, sight-word knowledge, and fluency
(McKenna, & Stahl, 2009, p. 23). One of first to begin development is phonological
awareness. Phonological awareness is “conscious attention to the sounds of a spoken
language” (Peltier, 2014e). Phonological awareness is entirely oral and aural; it includes
the awareness of phonemes, syllables, onset and rime, and rhyme. Typically syllabic
awareness or rhyming develop first, followed by rhyming, onset and rime, and the last to
develop is the awareness of individual phonemes (Anthony, Lonigan, Driscoll, Phillips,
& Burgess, 2002). The term phonemic awareness is used to describe the subset of
phonological awareness that is the awareness of individual phonemes within spoken
words (Peltier, 2014e). A student’s phonological and phonemic awareness is an
extremely strong predictor of his/her future reading achievements. Therefore
phonological intervention at a young age can drastically improve a student’s later
reading/spelling abilities (Peltier, 2014e). Concepts of print is the knowledge and

understanding of how books and print materials function (Peltier, 2014a). The aspects of
concepts of print include book orientation, directionality, concept of a word, concept of a
letter, alphabetic principle, and punctuation (Peltier, 2014a). These aspects typically
develop in the order listed. Concepts of print are the base of everyday reading and writing
and by looking at a student’s development of understanding of concepts of print, the
student’s future reading/writing abilities can be predicted (Peltier, 2014a). Book
orientation includes the knowledge that there is a correct way to open and hold a book at
that readers turn the pages of a book left to right (Peltier, 2014a). Directionality is the
knowledge that readers read from right to left, and top to bottom using the return sweep
to move to the next line (Peltier, 2014a). Concept of a word includes the knowledge that
space separates words and that words have a beginning, middle, and end (Peltier, 2014a).
Concept of a letter is the understanding that the orientation of a letter can change which
letter (i.e. “p” is different than “d”) (Peltier, 2014a). Alphabetic principle is “the
understanding that words are made of letters which stand for the sounds we say when we
say the words” (Bennett-Armistead, Duke, & Moses, 2005) and requires a previous
understanding of concept of a letter. The last concept of print is punctuation, which
includes the ideas of punctuation, capitalization, fonts, and alignment (Peltier, 2014a).
The next skill that a student develops on the path to automatic word recognition is
letter-sound knowledge, also known as phonics. Letter-sound knowledge is the
knowledge that the phonemes in the English language are associated with written letters
(Peltier, 2014c). Typically, of the vowel letter-sound relationships, students learn short
vowels first, followed by long vowels spelled with the “magic e”, then long vowels
spelled with digraphs, then diphthongs, -r and –l controlled vowels and schwas develop

last. Of the consonant letter-sound relationships, students learn single consonants first,
then consonant blends and lastly digraphs. Letter-sound knowledge is important to the
development of automatic word recognition because it is the understanding of the
relationship between sounds and letters and provides the base for attempting to decode
and encode words in reading and writing (Peltier, 2014c).
The next step on the path to automatic word recognition is the development of
sight words. Sight words are words that a person can see and then read automatically, or
words that can be read in less than one second (Ehri & McCormick, 2006). Sight words
are easily confused with high frequency words, which are words that appear often in texts
(Peltier, 2014d). However, teachers typically focus on developing high frequency words
first as sight words. If a student has quite a few words in his/her sight word bank, that
allows the student to focus his/her attention more on reading new words and then on
comprehending the text. The last step on the way to automatic word recognition is
fluency. Fluency is the ability to read a text with accuracy, automaticity, and prosody
(Peltier, 2014b). If a young reader is practicing reading a new text, it is likely that the
student will first be able to read the text accurately, then automatically, and lastly with
prosody. Just like with sight words, the ability to read a text fluently allows the student to
focus his/her attention on comprehending the text as opposed to just reading the words
(Kuhn & Stahl, 2004). A student must first fully develop concepts of print, phonological
awareness, letter-sound knowledge, sight-word knowledge, and fluency before he/she
will have automatic word recognition.

Part 2: Assessments

It is very important for teachers to assess students’ automatic word recognition. If
a student has trouble comprehending a text, a lack of automatic word recognition could
be the cause of this lack of comprehension. By assessing automatic word recognition, a
teacher can determine if the deficit in comprehension is a result of the automatic word
recognition deficit or a result of something larger that a student is struggling with, this
can then help the teacher determine if the student needs to be evaluated for special
education.
The first assessment that I completed was “Book-Handling Knowledge”
(McKenna, & Stahl, 2009, p. 91). This assessment assessed the child’s development of
concepts of print by assessing his understanding of book orientation, directionality,
concept of a word, concept of a letter, alphabetic principle, and punctuation. To start this
assessment, I handed the student the book with incorrect orientation to determine his
ability to turn the book to read it with the correct orientation. Then periodically
throughout reading the book, I asked him to point out or explain certain aspects of the
book. There were no interruptions or complications that might have affected the
reliability or validity of this assessment. The results of this assessment told me that my
child study student, John, has mastered book orientation, directionality, and concepts of a
word. For concept of a letter, I asked my student to find a lowercase letter that matches a
particular uppercase letter, for this question he mistakenly pointed to a “b” to match a
“D” which tells me that his concept of a letter is still developing. For punctuation, John
was able to explain the function of periods, question marks, and exclamation points. He
correctly explained the function of a comma, but was not confident in his answer and was
unable to explain the function of quotation marks. This all tells me that his concepts of

print still need some refining but are off to a good start. The Common Core State
Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and
Technical Subjects lists for concepts of print at the first grade level states that the student
should be able to “recognize the distinguishing features of a sentence (e.g., first word,
capitalization, ending punctuation)” (CCSS & NGA, 2010), as neither commas nor
quotation marks fall under the categories of first word, capitalization, or ending
punctuation, I have come to the conclusion that John is where he needs to be according to
the standards.
The second assessment that I focused on to assess my student’s automatic word
recognition was the “Elementary Spelling Inventory” (McKenna, & Stahl, 2009, p. 144).
This assessment assessed John’s letter-sound knowledge. For this assessment, I provided
John with a blank piece of lined paper, I told him that I would give him some words to
spell and that even if he was uncertain of how to spell the word that he should try his
best. For each word, I read the word and then a sentence to provide the word in context,
and then I repeated the word again. The instructions for the assessment indicated that I
should stop after the child has misspelled five or six words, enough words that I could
analyze his mistakes. However, John requested to keep going with the assessment. He
spelled 19 words, but I only recorded 10 on the spelling inventory scoring sheet. There
were no issues that might have affected the reliability or validity of this assessment. Out
of the 10 words scored for this assessment, John got seven out of the seven beginning and
final consonant sounds, five out of five of the short vowels, two out of three digraphs,
five out of six blends, and two out of five long vowels. This assessment told me that John
can spell words that begin and end with single consonant sounds and words that have

short vowels in the words. He can spell some consonant digraphs (/sh/ and /ch/). He does
well with consonant blends at the beginnings of words. He can use the “magic e” to spell
long vowels. John needs to improve on consonant blends at the end of words, some
consonant digraphs, specifically /wh/, and spelling long vowels using vowel digraphs. He
overgeneralizes the use of the “magic e” to spell long vowels. The Common Core State
Standards state that students in first grade should “Know final –e and common vowel
team conventions for representing long vowels” (CCSS & NGA, 2010). John knows the
final –e, or the “magic –e” but he does not yet have a solid grasp on the other “common
vowel team conventions”, which leads me to the conclusion that John is not yet where he
needs to be according to the standards for letter-sound knowledge.
The third assessment that I used to assess John’s automatic word recognition was
the Fry Sight Word List (McKenna, & Stahl, 2009, p. 118). For this assessment, I typed
the word lists into a Powerpoint presentation so that each word had its own slide. I told
the student that I was going to show him some words that he’s going to read one at a
time, that if he didn’t know the word he should try his best because I could not help him.
I stopped the assessment when the words increased in difficulty and the student expressed
frustration. It turned out that having the words on my computer was more distracting than
helpful. He wanted to press the key to bring up the next word himself, I did not want to
let him because I was concerned it would affect the validity of the assessment. John also
noticed that I was taking notes on whether he got the word correct or not and became
more interested in what I was writing than reading the words (seen by his insistence on
seeing my page and guessing based on the way my hand moved whether or not he got the
word right). Both of these potentially negatively impacted the reliability and validity of

this assessment. Out of the four columns of words in the sight word list, John scored the
highest in the first column with 25 correct words, for the second and third columns he
scored a total of 22 correct words, and he scored the lowest in the fourth column with 20
correct words. The last column was the only column in which he did not respond to
words. His overall score was 69 automatically recognized words, 18 words decoded, and
3 words that he did not know and did not decode. Throughout the sight word list, when
John did not have the word as a sight word, he was most often able to decode words with
consonant blends and often self corrected. However, John struggled with consonant
digraphs. The Common Core State Standards state that first grade students should be able
to “recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words” (CCSS & NGA,
2010) as well as “decode regularly spelled one-syllable words” (CCSS & NGA, 2010).
Based on these standards, I have come to the conclusion that John is not yet where he
needs to be for his grade level, but he is well on his way.

Part 3: Lesson
Planning
For my lesson plan, I focused on the letter-sound knowledge aspect of automatic
word recognition development. Based on the elementary spelling inventory, which told
me that my child study student can spell words that begin and end with single consonant
sounds and words that have short vowels in the words. He can spell some consonant
digraphs (/sh/ and /ch/). He does well with consonant blends at the beginnings of words.
He can use the “magic e” to spell long vowels. John needs to improve on consonant
blends at the end of words, some consonant digraphs, specifically /wh/, and spelling long
vowels using vowel digraphs. He overgeneralizes the use of the “magic e” to spell long

vowels. The activities in this lesson focused both on encoding, from the elementary
spelling inventory, and decoding, from the Fry Sight Word List. The sight word list
showed me that John was most often able to decode words with consonant blends and
often self corrected. However, he struggled with consonant digraphs. The first activity in
the lesson, the word puzzle, allowed John to combine his phonological awareness with
his phonics knowledge to determine if the pieces created a word (Peltier, 2014d). The
second activity, the memory matching game, provided John with practice decoding
common one-syllable words and high frequency words, he had the opportunity to repeat
reading the words to increase the likelihood of these words becoming sight words
(Peltier, 2014d).
Teaching
For the first activity in the lesson, I began by introducing the activity. I told John
that we were going to work on some word puzzles, that we’re going to have pieces with
letters or letter combinations on them and he would have to match the pieces together by
putting the sounds together to see if they make a word. I then scrambled the puzzle pieces
and laid them out for the student. John then worked to put letter pieces together to make
words. Each time he made a word, he wrote down the word for additional practice. The
student verbally expressed frustration with this activity, allowing me to infer that there
were an overwhelming number of puzzle pieces. Several times during this activity, he
had in mind a word to make but he couldn’t make the word because there weren’t the
puzzle pieces, even if he knew how to spell the word correctly.
I also began the second activity by introducing it to the student as a memory
matching game in which he had to match the picture with the word. I place the cards face

down on the table, only to realize that we could see the words and the pictures through
the cards I printed off. We delayed starting the game so that we could scribble on the
backside of the cards to ensure that we couldn’t see through the paper. To play the game,
John was able to turn over two cards at a time. If he flipped a card with a word, then he
read the word. If the word matched the picture then he got to set the two cards aide and
keep going. If the word did not match the picture, then he flipped them both back over
and continued playing. The game continued until he matched all of the cards. The student
smiled and laughed a lot during the game, telling me that he greatly enjoyed this activity.
Reflecting
The puzzle activity did not go as well as I had hoped. There were too many puzzle
pieces, causing the student to feel overwhelmed. He also experienced frustration when he
would think of a word that he wanted to make but it wasn’t a word included in the puzzle.
If I were to do this activity again in the future, which I would like to with my student, I
would either take out some of the words to make the puzzle more manageable for the
student or I would make a picture list of the words that were in the puzzle to give the
student an idea of which words he could make without actually giving him the spellings
of the words.
For the second activity, the memory matching game, I think that this activity went
very well. The student practiced decoding words and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. I had
to adjust the activity a little at the beginning, when I realized that we could see through
the paper that I printed the cards on. But once we had scribbled in the backsides of the
cards, the game went smoothly. He was engaged throughout the lesson.

Based on the activities in this lesson and in previous sessions, I’ve learned that
my student thoroughly enjoys literacy games that allow him to be hands on, whereas he’s
less interested in interactive read alouds that are primarily sitting and listening. Even with
the puzzle activity that was frustrating for him, he was persistent in working out ways to
create words. He required very little encouragement from me to continue working. About
myself, I learned that I need to try playing activities such as these myself. Had I taken the
time to play a trial round by myself before the lesson, instead of just practicing the
instructions, I might have discovered that the puzzle game had too many pieces and that I
could see through the paper used for the matching game.