Book Study: Reading Reflex

Jun 1, 2015

Quite a few teachers at my school decided to do a book study together this summer.  We will be meeting each Tuesday to discuss the different chapters.  I am pretty excited because we just completed our Literacy Framework  (you can check that out over at Literacy Land) and now we are working on this book study together.  Being on the same page, truly helps the instruction and the atmosphere of a school (I think).  So I am excited.

We are reading Reading Reflex by Carmen and Geoffrey McGuinness.  They are the founders of Read America, Inc.  The SLP in my school has been using this book for many years and has found success with it as a Tier 2 intervention.  But we would like to discuss ways to integrate the techniques into our Core instruction.

Chapters 1 and 2 were about "setting the stage" for the book and reading instruction.  The book is written for parents, which gives it an interesting perspective, in my opinion. Chapter 1 is title "Reading Explained."  It provides some history on the different ways that reading has taught.  And then the chapter provides some insight into why this technique is a different and the success that they have found.  Chapter 2 is titled "Getting Started" and it discusses the proper environment, materials, and motivation to help the sessions run smoothly.

To help our discussion during the book study meetings, we are filling out a KWL chart for each chapter.  The K stands for "Based on this chapter, I know I already..."  The W stands for "Based on this chapter, I want to..."  And the L stands for "Based on this chapter, what language can we use vertically?"  and "Based on our meeting, I learned..."

 Our first meeting was actually about the first two chapters.  I came away with a few things that I want to pay more attention to:

*Focus more on the sound rather than letter name.  The authors are very clear that an important distinction to make in instruction is that letter don't make sounds, they represent sounds.

*Screener of skills. There is an assessment within the book to help determine how students are segmenting, blending, and manipulating sounds.  There is also a way to determine what sounds they already know.  We currently use a phonemic awareness assessment.  In order to meet all the needs of our kids and really determine where their strengths lie, we decided to combine the Reading Reflex and Phonemic Awareness Handbook assessments.This will help to guide our Tier 2 interventions.

*The sounds I make.  I need to make sure that I am REALLY making all the letter sounds correctly.  We found an app, the OG Card Deck by Mayerson Academy, that has audio for all the sounds.  I will be downloading this to help me and my students.

I think this is a pretty good start.  A few things for me to work on but not so overwhelming that I feel frustrated.  Tomorrow will mark our second meeting.  It is on the "Basic Code."  I look forward to my new learning!


  1. Our current reading curriculum (which we've had for 3 full years now) teaches letter sounds before letter names. They assume that students come in knowing their letter sounds and feel that the names are not nearly as important as the sounds. It was a BIG mind shift the first year, but I would not do it any other way now.


  2. It's kind of frustrating to try and undue how some kids have been taught certain letter sounds. That Schwa sound shows up way too often. :)

  3. Great post! Is the phonemic awareness handbook by Rigby press?


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