The next part of an OG-based lesson is spelling (AKA encoding if you’re fancy). There are three sections: What Says, SOS, and Dictation.
What Says is for the student to practice how to spell a phoneme. The instructor asks, “What says (long e)?” The student then spells, on paper, all the ways he/she has been taught to spell that sound. (In case you were wondering, here’s the 7 ways to spell long e: pEtE, nEEd, bEAch, pIEce, recEIve, candY, rEcess! Phew!) There are usually ten phonemes for a student to practice spelling.
If the student has learned any, the instructor will then ask them about morphemes. A morpheme is the smallest unit of our language that has meaning. It could be something as simple as adding an -s to the word dog makes it plural, it could be a suffix or a prefix, etc. So the instructor might ask, “Show me the prefix that means ‘before'” and the student could write “pre-” on the line. These are usually ten of these as well, or as many as the student has been taught.
As the name implies, New Words and New Sentences focuses on the new concept being learned in the lesson. Especially at the beginning of your instruction, you may be limited in your word choices. An instructor needs to be aware of which sight words (non-decodable words) a student does and doesn’t know. Any words that will need to be told to the student should be underlined, and they should be limited to 1-2 per sentence at the most.
A student is more likely to make errors in this section. I have previously written about how students with dyslexia are already used to hearing “No, that’s wrong.” So we use the same type of error correction as we did in Review Words and Sentences.
It is important again to note that some students will be more capable of generalizing than others. Don’t assume that because a student is older, or because they have higher cognitive skills, that they can generalize well. If they could, they might not require this type of intensive instruction in the first place.
What I mean is, know your students. When I teach the consonant-l blends (bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl), sometimes I teach 2-3 at a time, and sometimes I have to teach them one-by-one. You may find that you have to reteach the “new” concept next time if the student is struggling. This is usually the first consonant blend taught in the OG scope and sequence. Students need to understand that a consonant blend still has separate sounds, so you may have to do some extra work in the phonemic awareness area.
Now it’s time to talk about the Discovery part of the OG lesson!
Depending on what the student is learning in the lesson, the discovery wil be slightly different each time. For a typical lesson where the student is discovering that “e” can make a sound like in “egg,” it might soud something like this.
Instructor: Listen to the words I say and tell me what sound you hear that is the same in all of them. Pet. Bed. Hem.
The student should be able to name the “e” sound they are hearing. Then the instructor will show the student the words, and ask the student which letter is making the “e” sound. The student will identify the e, and underline it as they say the sound again. Now they have learned that “e” can sound like “egg.” The instructor will introduce the new phoneme card which will now be part of the drill and blending section. The student will then learn the sound in a kinesthetic manner. This means that they might trace the letter in sand while saying “E says egg” or sky-write (writing in the air). If there is a meaning behind the new concept, such as that adding “-s” or “-es” to a noun makes it makes plural, there is a meaning discovery as well.
Guided discovery is so important because there’s a lot of research that shows we learn and retain information better when we’ve discovered the learning for ourselves rather than just having it be told to us.
Last time I posted, I talked about Review Words in the OG lesson. Review Sentences is the next part. Just like in Review Words, this is the place where the instructor should build in things that need reviewing.
Another component of any structured literacy approach is comprehension. During a Review Word/Sentence section, it’s a great idea for the instructor to ask questions that come from the words or sentences. For example, in literal comprehension, the instructor might ask about the subject of the sentence or what that subject did. The instructor might ask the student to point to all the nouns/verbs/etc., or ask things about the Review Words like, “Where is the adjective on this line?” You have a lot of room to be creative in your questions. You can build in vocabulary work too by asking the student about synonyms and antonyms for the words they’re given, or talk about prefixes and suffixes.
The next part of the OG lesson is called Review Words. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Students read up to 30 words (not in any context) containing phonemes they’ve already mastered. This is a great spot for the instructor to build in concepts that haven’t been looked at in a while or concepts that the student may need a refresher on. There should be no sight words or new material in this section.
This is also a good time for me to discuss error correction, the OG way. Students with dyslexia are already used to hearing that they’re reading something wrong. It doesn’t help at all for the instructor to say “Incorrect,” or “No, not quite.” In an ideal world, students would self-correct any mistakes they made. When they do, the instructor praises them and doesn’t mark it as an error. But when they do mess up, the instructor waits until the student has read the end of the line they’re on. We don’t want to interrupt their focus, or “flow,” if you will, and often students self-correct if I just wait for a second. We ALL mess up sometimes when we’re reading out loud. Self-correction shows we’re monitoring our reading as we go.
Back to the error. We will point to the word that the student said incorrectly. We ask them, “What are the letters in that word?” They spell it out. If they don’t self-correct at this point, we have them tap out the sounds in the word, and then blend them back together. Then (and this is tedious but important), they reread the whole line of words, having corrected their error. Why? Because we want our brains to get used to seeing that word and decoding it correctly.