Our seven school districts changed from using the DIBELS 6th Edition to the DIBELS Next this school year. Following each benchmark assessment we were just a little bit nervous (actually, really nervous) as to what our data would look like. Would any changes we see be a result of the change in the assessment or as a result of a change in instruction? When comparing our data using the DIBELS Next to our past assessment trends, one of the most striking differences came at the winter benchmark assessment for first grade. Although we maintained the percentage of students performing at benchmark, we now had many more falling within the intensive range. Yikes! After analyzing all the data, our school teams felt that the new requirement for students to begin blending nonsense words rather than sounding them out sound-by-sound was a likely explanation.
Taking a dip in our data, admittedly, was a hard pill to swallow. When we took a step back and thought about it, we really liked this change in the assessment. We felt that the previous assessment did not always correctly identify high needs students at the winter benchmark. We had several first grade students who were very accurate and automatic with sound-symbol correspondence and could whiz through nonsense words sound-by-sound, but could absolutely not blend the sounds back. They would often fall within the strategic range on the assessment (fortunately we had other data to support a need for intervention). So, our plan now is to address the automaticity for blending being more intentional and direct in the way we do it. We recently had a Make-It-Take-It session for our first grade teachers in our districts. During this session we reviewed ISD-wide, district-wide and school-wide first grade data as well their classroom data and planned for student grouping for interventions. To address this issue of the automaticity of blending, I made these blending cards and a video for them. I thought you, too, might find it helpful.
Click HERE to download free blending cards for this activitiy.
You can purchase blending boards commerically, but they are so expensive. The blending boards used in the video were made by our Career Tech Center. They are awesome!
The Race Car Blending activity is also a favorite activity to help with blending. The Short Vowel/CVC Activity Pack contains a total fo 13 activities, 8 of which specifically target blending of CVC words