We all experience this predicament: our students run through the yards of the System 44 "football" field, navigating difficult tackles, throwing great passes, and scoring points that move them into the next Series. Then, in the fourth quarter, with a few minutes remaining, they request their unused time-outs as they labor through Series 24 and 25. There seems to be an impasse, a standstill, and an almost stop right before the end -zone. How can we get our students to complete the touchdown and then receive their well-earned Certificate of Completion?
Direct instruction with Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, suffixes, and word relationships is critical in assisting our students in becoming independent readers. It is also essential for the successful completion of Series 24 and 25 in the System 44 program.
Many of our students get stuck in Series 24 and 25 in the System 44 software. To reduce their frustration and help them to finally master the system, increase your direct instruction
In word analysis skills (needed to determine the meanings of unknown words) and in understanding morphemes (units of meaning within a word) which include roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Once they attain these word strategies, they will able to independently complete the software and successfully pass the end-of-year assessments for System 44.
Using the Right Playbook:
1) Make certain that the students complete the required pages in the 44Book that complement Series 24 and 25 in the software
2) Read the Decodable Digest pages with the students that correspond with Series 24 and 25 to ensure comprehension and fluency with the words
3) Create vocabulary slide shows to illustrate the connection between roots and their corresponding words (auto, autograph, autobiography, automatic, automobile)
System 44 provides great support and direction for teaching morphemes. The Scholastic Red pages in the System 44 Teaching Guide, pages 528-539 offer effective instructional routines, examples and word lists. Take note of the "Connect & Redirect" section on the right side bar of some of the pages. These notes clarify and enhance instruction. If you use the Interactive Teaching System, then click the DVD icon on page 536 and watch a model lesson on roots. This model lesson got me off to a great start when I first taught "roots" to my System 44 students.
A few years ago, I noticed my students struggling with instructions for an essay prompt that included the word "relevant" in it. The instructions read: "Include relevant details in your response." None of my students seemed to understand the meaning of the word "relevant." I asked them to come up with words that were similar to "relevant." Within minutes I got: relatives, relationships, relate, and even - relevance.
With these word associations, they learned that relevant means something "connected" to you or a topic. For example, how relatives are connected to members in a family and how a person is connected to another person in a relationship. My students now understood the word. It was an "aha" moment. They now know what I mean when I ask "Is it relevant?", before I allow them to intervene and make comments on discussions!
When I taught the word "eruption" while reading articles about ancient Pompeii, my students learned that the Latin root "rupt" means a break, or a burst. From that mini-lesson on the meaning of "rupt," my students made connections with every day words such as: interrupt, disrupt, bankrupt and rupture. They learned that mastering a root could help them to understand multiple -familiar and unfamiliar- words
Literacy skills should not be taught in isolation. It is important for struggling readers to make as many connections as possible when reading words. And once they acquire, retain, and apply these connections, reaching the end-zone and scoring a touchdown can teach them to go after any goal they hope to accomplish in their life.