Alphabet Fluency: Where It Fits into the Fluency Continuum & Why Alphabet Fluency is Essential

This Alphabet Fluency progress monitoring set is definitely a creation out of need.  I am fortunate to work and collaborate with a wonderful and very knowledge teacher here in Wake County, Stacy Bigham, she is the literacy coach at Salem Elementary.  We are in constant communication about our school's RTI needs...and this pack and the last Progress Monitoring Phonemic Awareness Interventions, were definitely created out a lack of appropriate progress monitoring tools out there. Being in North Carolina, we are bound to use the mCLASS and Reading3D systems for progress monitoring reading comprehension, phonics and phonemic awareness.  And formerly, we used Aimsweb to progress monitoring reading comprehension, phonics and phonemic awareness. However, I know there are a lot of lone RTI rangers out there making a go of RTI on your own or on your grade level, and good for you!  Stacy and I believe that there are foundational holes in some of these commercial systems that simply are not meeting the needs of our students, especially the students in need of the most basic and foundational interventions.  For example, if a student does not know Letter Names or Sounds, there is not a more foundational progress monitoring tool to use for phonics than Letter Name Fluency (LNF).  And if a student knows letter names and sounds in isolation but cannot be successful on the Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF) progress monitoring assessment, there is nothing in between to use.  In my opinion, there are are a whole host of incremental skills between letter name ID and Nonsense Word Fluency.  And this PM pack is the first set of progress monitoring assessments to use with any student, most likely a Kindergarten students, recieving an alphabet intervention.  

Remember, the term CBM stands for Curriculum Based Measurement. That means the progress monitoring assessment, the CBM, will be a measure of one skill that is already in the child's curriculum for that year of study.  CBMs are quick and easy to administer and are standardized to 1 minute in length.  CBMs also measure even the smallest increment of growth, unlike a running record.  

In addition, anytime you see brackets like this < > outside a letter like <m>,
 that means to say the letter name...
And, anytime you see brackets like this / / outside a letter like /m/,
 that means to say the letter sound.

Here are the alphabet skills/interventions you can progress monitor with this new pack:

Alphabet Recognition is not exactly what you might be thinking. Students do not look at the sheet and name or identify the names of the letters, symbols, or numbers they see.  This assessment is the most foundational alphabet skill of all, just knowing or not knowing that a letter is a part or not a part of the alphabet is what this assessment measures.  Many students come to us in Kindergarten having no Alphabet Awareness whatsoever. They see a B and say 8, they see a star and say G.  This progress monitoring assessment is for students needing the most foundational alphabet intervention of all...recognizing if a letter is part of the alphabet or not. When students "do" this assessment, they read across the rows from left to right, top to bottom and while pointing to each one, they simply say YES (it is a part of the alphabet) or NO (it's not a part of the alphabet.)  On this assessment students have one minute to tell you if each letter, number, or symbol is or isn't part of the alphabet.

Alphabet Sequencing is about filling in the missing letter.  This skill focuses more on BEFORE and AFTER letters but is an important foundational skill for sequencial processing. This skill is also foundational for the alphabet skills higher up in the sequencing ladder; visualizing letters when spelling, and alphabetizing words.  There are several intervention activities that help students recogntize letters in order and sort out the sequence of the alphabet including the Alphabet Arc.   On this assessment, students have one minute to say the missing letter in each letter series. 

This intervention is simply answering the following question, do students know the letter symbol that goes with the letter name? Jan Richardson is a firm believer that knowing letter names is important for emerging readers. She believes that if students can name at least 40 letter names, then they are ready for guided reading.  The first days of school should be all about learning the names of the letters in the alphabet.  Once a student can name them (LNF), they should learn how to write them.  This progress monitoring assessment measures growth in writing the letters of the alphabet. On this assessment, students have one minute to write as many letters from letter names given orally, as they can.

Being able to write the letters is just as important as being able to read the letters. Writing and reading have a very reciprocal relationship.  Writing is encoding sounds from the inside out, and reading is decoding sounds from the outside in. When students are learning to read, they are also learning to write.  And in this case, when I say writing, I specifically mean spelling.  Taking sounds and turning them into letters is a key skill for emerging readers.  It is not ok to provide interventions in reading letters without also focusing on writing letters...letter sound correspondence will be integral for progress in Alphabetic Knowledge.  Assesment Option #1 asks students to say as many letter names from letter sounds given in one minute. Assessment Option #2 asks students to write as many letter names from letters sounds given in one minute. 

First Sound Fluency is the least foundational alphabet skill in this pack.  In one minute, students must look at a set of pictures and first letter choices for that picture, and decide which letter is the first letter of the word that matches the picture.  This First Letter Fluency skill is least foundational in this series because once students identify what the picture is, say a duck, they must think, what sound do I hear at the beginning of duck, then they must say, I hear a /d/ at the beginning of duck, and then they must say to themselves, the letter I would expect to see at the beginning of duck is <d>, let me find it and circle it. Students have one minute to correctly circle as many first letters as they can. 

You can preview or purchase all my RTI: Progress Monitoring materials HERE

For a big picture of where Alphabet Fluency fits into the general fluency, 
see my Fluency Continuum.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and I shut my laptop down because really, in the words of the best carpool buddy in the world, @alikscott17...



Lori Rosenberg said...

These look amazing! Thanks so much for the very informative post!

amy jordan said...

Wow!!! What an eye opener!! Great post! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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Anonymous said...

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