Reading in the Classroom With Funnix
Reading in the Classroom With Funnix
Using the Reading Program
Funnix programs meet the criteria for an effective beginning reading program. Funnix teaches explicit phonics, presents extensive phonemic awareness activities, presents stories containing 100 percent decodable text, provides extensive fluency practice, and uses orthographic prompts to support recognition and pronunciation of unfamiliar words.
Funnix can be used in numerous ways:
- As a reading basal
- As a supplement to another reading program
- As a summer school or after-school program
- As a reinforcement for another reading program
- For children who have learning disabilities
- For mid-year lower performers in grades K-2
Funnix as a Basal
Funnix has been field-tested and revised based on student and teacher performance to ensure it works.
Funnix programs meet the criteria that effective beginning reading programs should meet. Funnix Beginning Reading presents extensive phonemic awareness activities. Funnix teaches explicit phonics; prompts children’s responses with audio and visual cues, gradually and systematically fading them; presents stories containing 100 percent decodable text; and provides extensive fluency practice.
For all Funnix uses, children must be placed appropriately on the basis of the Testing and Placement procedures (found in the downloadable Teacher’s Guide).
Funnix as a Supplement
When Funnix reading programs are used as supplements, use the parts of the program that will support mastery of missing skills. (Using Funnix reading programs as supplements could include small-group instruction, one-on-one, and possibly peer tutoring.)
For children who struggle with reading individual words: Present only the structured sound and word portion of each Funnix lesson.
For children who aren’t fluent readers: Present only the Funnix stories for practice, which will lead to mastery. Note that the children should know most of the words in each story before they practice reading. From the downloadable Teacher’s Guide, give children the passage reading tests (Appendix B) and follow the placement procedures (see “Testing and Placement”). If children are near the end of a first-level phonics program, they can usually read the stories in Funnix Beginning Reading starting with Lesson 60.
Funnix for Summer School or After-School Programs
The keys to making Funnix successful as summer school or after-school programs are:
- Make sure that the children are placed appropriately.
- Provide an adequate schedule.
- Make sure that tutors are trained.
The ideal schedule is 30 minutes per day, five days per week, and at the same time each day.
If these requirements are met, it is possible to give non-reading children a significant head start in a 12-week summer program: They will have learned basic reading skills. Children who already have reading skills can make significant gains in a 12-week summer program.
Funnix as Reinforcement
Children enjoy the stories from the Funnix programs, particularly the second reading of each story, which shows characters and animation on the screen. Funnix programs are very effective with children who are in another basal reading program, and who are able to read most of the words in the story correctly. At a later time in the day, children should read aloud (either in pairs or with tutors) one or two Funnix stories as a reinforcement. A good procedure is to require them to read both the first and second versions of the story. This activity is reinforcing and builds fluency skills.
Funnix for Children with Learning Disabilities
Funnix works well for children who have some reading skills but are seriously behind their grade level. Funnix will provide these children with the practice needed to master reading skills and build self-confidence. Children can repeat lessons as many times as necessary for them to attain mastery.
Follow testing-and-placement and presentation procedures very carefully with lower-performing children to ensure their success.
Funnix for Paired Practice
Funnix is particularly well adapted to paired practice for children in any reading program. Assign pairs of children who are to work together. (In some cases, you may assign a group of three children.) At a time other than the daily reading period, let the pairs work together. One child reads the story, and the other identifies mistakes. Then the children switch roles. This format works particularly well with Funnix reading programs. Focus the paired practice on the last story that had been read. Direct children to do the first and second readings of the story. The children aren’t likely to make serious decoding mistakes during the paired practice because they have already achieved mastery of the story. They are therefore able to read the story with some confidence, which means that they will tend to be more fluent.
Funnix for Mid-year Lower Performers in Grades K-2
It is crucial to bring incoming students up to the performance level of a reading group in their grade level. For some children, this may require only a week or so. For others, the best plan may be to work with them outside any group for the rest of the school year and then place them in an extant group the next year.
Funnix Beginning Reading and Funnix 2 are very useful for these situations because:
- You can use aides to present the material.
- You will be able to place children appropriately.
- The program will provide whatever amount of practice children need to achieve mastery.
- Once children achieve mastery of the early skills, their progress can be accelerated through the program sequence.
The “port of entry” classroom is particularly important for income-challenged schools that have a high rate of student turnover. In this type of classroom, it is possible to accelerate the students much faster than you can in the regular classroom because you can concentrate more precisely on their deficiencies.