Last year was my first year in second grade. I remember looking at our scope and sequence, seeing short vowels and word families at the beginning of the year and thinking..."Really? We did this in kindergarten." So I reviewed it with my students, thinking it should be easy breezy...well for most of them, yes it was. For my struggling 4-5, not so much.
I found that with my struggling readers, the vowels were something I would have to work on consistently throughout the year. After reading Words Their Way, I realized why. They are in a completely different spelling stage than my other students. My most struggling readers fell in the "letter name-alphabetic" spelling stage, which means short vowels, word families and consonant blends are things they "use but confuse." Whereas most of my other second graders were in the "within word pattern" stage, ready for long vowel patterns, ambiguous vowels and r-influenced vowels.
This year I vow to take it slow and make sure I'm differentiating enough for my strugglers. I've been revamping my scope and sequence for word work and I've got my first 9 weeks planned out. To supplement my teaching, I've created a short vowel/word families unit to use during Daily 5 and small group. The cool thing about this unit is that it can be used in kindergarten at the end of the year or just with students who need a challenge. It can also be used in first grade. Check it out!