Tiger Tuesday and the Five Pillars of Reading

Six Pillars of ReadingIn 2000, the report of the National Reading Panel highlighted five (5) “pillars” of reading: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Oral Fluency, Vocabulary Development, and Comprehension. The Tiger Tuesday® Reading Program was developed to assist those teaching reading—from general classroom teachers to reading specialists and tutors to homeschooling parents—in engaging beginning and struggling readers in acquiring foundational skills and strategies relating to those five pillars. To that end, using additional research about academic achievement and learning in general, the program includes a variety of individual and group activities and incorporates research-proven instructional techniques.

The first skills a child must have in order to learn to read are the abilities to 1) hear and reproduce the basic sounds of the English language, and 2) demonstrate awareness by orally using those sounds in syllables, words, rhymes, and simple sentences. The ability to differentiate between different sounds and reproduce them is key.

Next comes putting those sounds together with the visual symbols—through 1) learning the symbols (the alphabet letters themselves), 2) learning the beginning and ending sounds of the consonants, and then learning the primary vowel sounds and patterns in the English language. Teaching and reinforcing these symbol/sound connections is the primary focus of the Tiger Tuesday Reading Program. The order of the Tiger Tuesday Reading Program follows the natural process described above, beginning with the Alphabet Module, which provides a variety of activities reinforcing the recognition of upper and lower case letters. Next is the Consonant Sounds Module, made up of activities and games focused on the beginning and ending sounds of single consonants, consonant blends, and consonant digraphs. (Games include common trigraphs as well.) These two comprise the Reading Readiness Modules.

Once the consonant sounds are learned, children are ready to tackle the variety of vowel sounds and begin decoding words. The “meat” of Tiger Tuesday is the Reading Program, which focuses on the most common vowel patterns—CVC, VCE, Vowel Digraphs, R-Controlled Vowels, and Diphthongs.

Each unit begins with 1) a review of the primary decoding rule and 2) practice with decoding using the new words children will encounter in the story. Other words, including sight words, compound words, contractions, and “monster” words are discussed as well. (In the Tiger Tuesday program, “monster” words are those tricky examples of words that seem to conform to the rule being studied, but don’t, as in words like “bread,” which according to the vowel digraphs rule would be pronounced with a long “e” sound, but doesn’t.) This provides a natural opportunity to determine if all children understand words and discuss the meanings of words children may not have encountered before. In addition, each FunBook includes pages in the back where children are encouraged to write the new vocabulary words, compound words, contractions, and “monster” words they learn—for review later. (In addition to promoting vocabulary development, this process helps foster basic study skills, too.) Supplementary games are included with each module—in addition to Fill-the-House and card games focusing on the primary phonemic pattern, each module includes games providing practice with other language patterns and rules, e.g., Word Endings, Compound Words, Homophones, and more.

In preparation for reading each story, other language-arts concepts, like compound words and contractions, are introduced. Students are taught hands-on strategies not only for decoding, but for boosting concentration and comprehension. Suggested activities include guessing who’s in the story, what it’s about, and where and when it takes place and, while reading or listening to the story being read, searching for clues to the answers to those questions. Then, following each story are activities called “Do You Remember?” and “Do You Know?” “Do You Remember?” asks four questions about the story. “Do You Know?” provides practice in answering basic math, social studies, and general knowledge questions, all drawn from the story. In “About You…,” children use beginning creative thinking skills by applying what they learned in the story to themselves.

The stories in each Tiger Tuesday module are meant to be read aloud by students, whether in the classroom or alternating with a teacher or tutor in one-to-one situations. Then, after all the direct reading, art and writing activities are completed, the stories are reprised in the form of a play, where students perform the story with appropriate inflection and speed with one catch–they read the lines aloud rather than memorizing them. Children choose which parts they will play and enjoy highlighting their lines for focus and practice.

There’s nothing like performing a play in front of friends to bring out the natural actor or to demonstrate fluency in reading! Character and “prop” cards are provided for use with plays and background scenery depicting the setting may be downloaded for use with smartboards and LCD projectors. Also included in the Vowel Digraphs and R-Controlled Vowels Modules are “Fluency” card decks for use in games like Memory, Go Fish, Old Maid, and War. In the course of play, children must read sentences on each card.

What reading pillars are associated with each Tiger Tuesday Reading Program component?

What comes with each module?

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Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory