Making Strategies Stick For Young Readers

There is something incredibly rewarding about teaching children to read and witnessing first-hand that “a-ha!” moment where a strategy you’ve been teaching finally clicks. Not only does the child get it, but they start to implement it independently instead of pausing to look toward you for the answer or support. This is a moment in which you, as an educator or parent, realize the benefits of providing the tools and strategies for a child to execute a new skill independently. Ultimately the goal is to foster independence and confidence to try when faced with a challenge. Getting to that point is not always going to be quick and easy; however, there are techniques you can implement to increase the likelihood that skills and strategies will “stick”.

1. Introduce a “By…” Statement

Introduce new reading strategies with a clear “by…” statement, naming explicitly the step(s) to follow to achieve the goal (e.g., “Sound out unfamiliar words by saying the first sound and checking the picture…”). The more concrete the steps are, the easier it is for children to replicate. This technique to clearly “stamp the how” is applicable outside of reading as well and it works because it gives actionable instructions to execute a particular skill.

2. Leverage Visuals

Accompanying visuals, particularly for younger readers, help to make strategies clearer and “stickier” so they are easily remembered. Bonus points if visuals show explicitly what should be done within the text!


3. Model, Model, Model

Teacher models are a critical component of reading instruction. Once a strategy is introduced, it should be explicitly modeled in the way in which we expect children to replicate. The model should incorporate the by statement and the visuals introduced to keep it all fresh in mind. And, as strategies become more familiar, children can be encouraged to model the strategy themselves, either for their reading group at the launch of a lesson (before they each read independently) or after reading to demonstrate how they applied that strategy on their own that day. Not only do children benefit from watching others model a strategy, but they also thrive when given an opportunity to teach it back (once they have a grasp on it!).

4. Hands On!

In any model, it is imperative that there is interaction with the book, which is precisely what we need to see from our beginning readers. Model pointing under the letters and exaggerating how you phonetically sound out words, refer to images, etc. In short, make the reading work visible! As children begin reading and attempting to implement strategies taught, it is the adult’s responsibility to ensure that, they too, are interacting with the book. It is typical for children to point under the words until they reach Level D or E.


5. Consistency is Key

These techniques are most effective when there is unwavering consistency across language and visuals used and routines practiced. This means keeping all “by statements” and accompanying visuals consistent – even across multiple teachers working with the same child – so that there is no confusion as the child is absorbing all this new information and learning to apply it for themselves in their reading.



This post was contributed by Ms. Emanuele, former Kindergarten teacher/Grade team leader, Instructional Coach, and current Specials Project Manager). As a non-CMO charter network, we rely on the thoughts, opinions, and innovations of our staff to move our mission forward and provide an excellent academic option to families in the South Bronx. To hear more from our staff, check out the next post! Or, click here to learn more.


logo/logoCreated with Sketch.


Enroll Today!

Classical Charter Schools is 4x recipient of the National Blue Award for Excellence. We offer busing to and from school, free tutoring, after-school programs and additional programs to support children to become well-rounded individuals.
Enrollment applications open November 1st at all four schools in the South Bronx. Apply now, before spaces run out.   Please see the memo from our Executive Director about our 2022 State test results.
Step into SBC II’s World: Experience Our Virtual Tour Spotlight Explore our exceptional learning environment and see what sets us apart.
Elevate your understanding of New York charter schools with guidance from our accomplished experts at Classical Charter Schools, a distinguished NYC network and four-time National Blue Ribbon award winner. Uncover the essentials of effective models, the impact of central oversight organizations, and methods for enduring success. Perfect for school leaders and education enthusiasts, join forces with our award-winning team to transform education. Click the button to fill out a form and connect with us!
Verified by MonsterInsights