Block 3 Lesson Information
Most ABE students will be assigned new Block 3 lessons beginning in October 2019. Block 3 lessons will focus on reading practice and comprehension in specific ways that are somewhat different than our usual lessons. Further, Block 3 lessons will expand access to new educational topics and provide opportunities to learn using diverse methods and media.
A single Wilson lesson is organized into three blocks. The first block focuses on decoding (reading), the second block focuses on encoding (spelling), and the third block gives students a chance to put their skills to use through reading fluency and comprehension activities. Regretfully, most tutors run out of time before they can get to that third block. As a tutor, I was guilty of this myself more often than not. The inability to spend time on that crucial block of the lesson leaves students missing out on some of the most important opportunities to employ their growing skills.
For ten years, I tried a plethora of methods to improve the frequency of getting through Block 3, to little avail. I was convinced that Wilson students needed to have three class sessions per week, with the third session focused entirely on Block 3. But so many of our students couldn’t attend three sessions per week (and we don’t exactly have the capacity to serve them three times a week), so I was stuck.
Then I started seeing a theme in student survey responses. To the question of what else they might like included in their lessons, many of our students indicated a desire for more opportunities to actually read stuff and for more variety in their lessons. These responses came from all ABE learners, not just Wilson students, and this was the catalyst I needed to finally develop this project and set it in motion. That’s when it occurred to me: Students don’t need three lessons per week, they can do a Block 3 lesson every third session. Pre-Secondary Education students could benefit from this, too, so we will adapt the lesson plan for them as well.
What are Block 3 lessons?
Block 3 lessons will have three parts: Immerse, Practice, and Explore.
Immerse (40 minutes): Students and tutors will read a novel together. Pairs will immerse themselves in their novel, first by reviewing what they read last time, then by continuing to read and discussing as they go using SOS methods.
Students’ folders will include a guide for the assigned book, which will function as a progress log and provide chapter summaries and character lists.
Practice (10 minutes): Students will practice with sight word reading, homophones & homonyms, phrasing/fluency, and/or other quick activities designed to improve reading fluency.
Explore (40 minutes): Students and tutors will engage in one of three activities as assigned:
- Geography Basics: Pairs will learn more about basic geography by reading from our new ABE Geography Basics book, completing sheets in their workbook, and using the internet to explore places that pique their interest. After completing the Geography Basics book, students will move onto the text, Across the U.S., which offers insights into the regions of the country and delves into interesting things about each state.
- Tag-Team Reading (WRS only): Using SOS methods, Wilson students and their tutors will take turns reading non-controlled decodable text articles from Wilson Academy. [This is part 10 of a typical WRS lesson.]
- Topic Sets: Students will explore information on one topic from various sources, including Wilson stories, interactive articles on the Newsela website, and videos on YouTube.
Available novels include:
- Animal Farm, by George Orwell
- With the Fire on High, by Elizabeth Acevedo
- The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore
- Night, by Elie Wiesel
- A Gathering of Old Men, by Ernest J. Gaines
We are currently undecided on how to pick books for students (their choice, we pick for them?). Students and tutors may choose to read a novel of their choice; in that case, however, both tutors who share a student must be in agreement and work together to stay abreast of story progress.
- Nothing improves reading fluency and comprehension more than actually reading. Reading a novel will expose students to rich vocabulary, literary devices, diverse perspectives, social/historical information, and so much more. And it just might help them develop a love for reading.
- Lots of our students don’t know much about geography; hopefully, this content will inspire their curiosity to learn more about their world.
- Students will learn how to use the internet to explore anything in which they’re interested.
- Variety is the spice of life, and this different type of lesson might help students stay more engaged.