Are you wondering how to successfully teach decoding strategies to your Early readers? Despite funny names like Flippy Dolphin and Skippy Frog, these decoding strategies are so important! If you’re ready to teach the Skippy Frog decoding strategy to the students in your classroom, keep reading for some helpful tips and information.
I’m glad you’re planning to introduce the Skippy Frog decoding strategy to the students in your Early Readers group. Skippy doesn’t do any heavy lifting, but he’s still important, because he makes a way for Early readers to keep moving as they try to decode. Readers at this level are usually somewhere between levels D through H or I. As they learn to read sentences, they’re getting familiar with structure and syntax, learning how words are put together in sentences and paragraphs.
This means these readers can sometimes benefit from using the “Skippy Frog” decoding strategy when they encounter a word they can’t solve. Skippy reminds readers that if they’ve used the other strategies to try and solve an unknown word, they can always “skip it,” read to the end of the sentence and then go back and try it again.
The Skippy Frog strategy uses both Structure and Syntactical cues as well as Visual or Graphophonic cues. Although they certainly haven’t memorized all the grammar rules, Early readers are often able to identify when a sentence is grammatically incorrect because of a miscue. When they go back and try to solve the word, students will ask themselves, “Does it sound right?” and “Does it make sense?” If you’re ready for some hints on teaching Skippy Frog, keep reading!
Skippy Frog can Help Readers Skip the Frustration!
Skippy Frog can be a helpful strategy to prevent frustration when learning to read. It’s not about giving up or shirking a challenge; it’s simply a way to keep the reading process moving. If all the other strategies have failed, Skippy Frog allows the reader to skip past the tricky word and keep reading. Doing this will often result in getting valuable contextual clues that can help in solving the word.
Let’s hop to it and I’ll show you how you can introduce the Skippy Frog strategy in a whole class setting. You’ll need strategy fans for each student as well as a larger demo fan and a cute stuffed frog to use as a visual. (All of the lessons in my Guided Readers online guided reading program contain strategy fan templates as well as a strategy instruction booklet to guide you as you teach. I’ll share more about that later.)
Introduce this helpful strategy by telling your students, “Skippy Frog LOVES to SKIP! When Skippy Frog sees a word he doesn’t know, he skips over that word and reads to the end of the sentence. Then as he thinks about the sentence, he can usually figure out the word he doesn’t know. Let’s try it out!”
Again, Skippy Frog can help keep your Read & Prompt segment moving during Guided Reading, since students can try the other strategies and then skip over the unknown word to finish the sentence. This will often provide them with context clues to help them solve the word. Just a reminder, though: Teach your students to try the other decoding strategies first, before using Skippy Frog.
Teaching Skippy Frog in Guided Reading
Let’s look at how you might teach the Skippy Frog strategy to your Early Readers group during a Guided Reading lesson. As an example, I’ll use the nonfiction text, In the Sky, a book that’s available within Guided Readers, my new online guided reading program.
Make sure your students have their strategy fans for reference as you teach this new strategy. Have students turn to page 4 and begin reading:
Skip It and Search for a Clue!
“‘It’s a be—be—– ok, that’s a big word, isn’t it? Let’s try our Eagle Eye strategy first. Let’s see. There’s the sky, the sun, some clouds…but nothing that starts with the letter ‘b.’ How about Lips the Fish? Let’s get our lips ready to form the sound, ‘be—-.’ OK, if that still doesn’t help us we can try Stretchy Snake to stretch the word out: ‘beauhhh—.’ Alright, I think we should see what Skippy Frog tells us. Skippy says when you’ve tried the other strategies and still can’t solve the word, you can skip it and finish reading the rest of the words in the sentence. That may help you figure out the new word.
Skip It and Search for a Clue
“Ready? Let’s read that sentence but SKIP over the tricky word! ‘It’s a ______ day.’ Hmmmm…what kind of day is it? The picture shows the sun shining and a clear blue sky. Now let’s go back and try it again. ‘It’s a bea-ut-if-ul day!’ ‘Beautiful!’ Does it sound right? Does it make sense? Skippy’s right, isn’t he? Sometimes we just need to keep going and read to the end of the sentence to help us make sense of a word. If we keep reading, sometimes the other words will give us clues about the word we’re trying to solve!”
Have students move on to page 6, and show them how to use the Skippy Frog strategy to help solve the word, ‘weather.’ This strategy will stick with your students, allowing them to skip past trouble spots and return to tricky words after they’ve gleaned important contextual clues that can help!
If you found this post helpful, I hope you’ll head on over to my YouTube channel to see the video I’ve posted about teaching the Skippy Frog strategy. (Or click the link below). You’ll see plenty of examples of how I teach this strategy using guided reading texts from my new online guided reading program, Guided Readers.
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Can you believe it? This is the end of this series of posts on teaching reading strategies! Click the following links if you missed any of my earlier posts on Eagle Eye, Lips the Fish, Stretchy Snake, or Chunky Monkey. Thanks for sticking with me, and keep teaching those strategies!