I am so excited!I had the absolute privilege to co-author an article with a fabulous colleague from Virginia Beach, Beth Estill. Everyone in our area knows how fantastic she is...and the news is going to spread farther now.
How did we get here?Most Virginia school systems use the PALS test for our K-3 students. The PALS test is a Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening. C.O.W. (Concept of Word) is one sub-test on the K and 1 test. But it's an important sub-test. On the kindergarten test the C.O.W. section takes the knowledge of the other sub-tests (initial sound match, rhyming, letter identification, letter sounds, and spelling) and puts them into action with a isolated word list relating to a previously taught poem. For first grade, this test is an option; however, we used it as an universal screener for all students. Having previously read the article, Concept of Word in Text: An Integral Literacy Skill, originally published in Reading in Virginia, the Virginia State Reading Association journal. In November, I attended a workshop Beth was holding at a local school. The workshop was all about C.O.W., Concept of Word, that is. The group from my school was eager to try Beth's "program." During the teacher workday 4 days later, we were training our teacher assistants, and a week later we were rolling!
Developing C.O.W.Developing C.O.W is for students who recognize only 0-3 words in the 10 word list. For the most struggling students, Beginning C.O.W. creates a "muscle memory." Students take 2 sentences, practicing one-to-one, word order, beginning letter match, and finally isolated word list from the sentences. The routine is VERY regimented and specific. Each day the activities are done in small group (4-5 students) and lasts no longer than 4 minutes.
Rudimentary C.O.WFor the intermediate students, those recognizing 4-6 words on the 10 word list, the routine is slightly changed using 4 line poems. The size of the group and the duration is the same.
It worked!I found out Radford University was starting an on-line educational journal, Educational Practice and Reform. I thought Beth's C.O.W. program was the perfect choice for an article. So...I begged. I asked to co-author the article, and here it is.
It's great to share a success in the classroom. How C.O.W. Can Change the World of Emergent Readers.