Dr. D. Ray Reutzel Presents Pre-K Reading Foundations: Using "Letter-a-Day" Research to Raise Student Achievement

This November, Just Right Reader hosted a free, hour-long webinar on Pre-K Reading Foundations: Using “Letter-a-Day” Research to Raise Student Achievement presented by Just Right Reader founder, Sara Rich, and decodables expert, Dr. D. Ray Reutzel. You can view this along with upcoming and past events here: https://justrightreader.com/pages/events

Pre-K Science of Reading Decodables

Moving Away From Letter a Week

This webinar is a must-watch for Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers looking for the most effective ways to teach reading and accelerate reading achievement.  Dr. Reutzel understands that teaching early literacy is not as simple a task as it may at first seem—learning letters is a “highly formal, highly abstract, and highly difficult” skill for young children. His research focuses on finding the most successful ways to teach letters so children remember them. 

For too long, the standard in teaching early literacy was the now-outdated “Letter a Week” model. Dr. Reutzel explains this model is problematic because it suggests all letters are equal; that they each require the same amount of time and attention to learn. We know that some letters, including vowels and high-frequency consonants, are easier for children to learn than low-exposure letters. However, “Letter a Week” has the problem of not returning to the letters once their week is over, so letters from early in the year are easily forgotten.

The Law of 10-20

Dr. Reutzel shares how several major studies on the Science of Reading instead support a “Letter a Day” model, in which letters are taught on a 26-day cycle of review. This 26-day cycle follows the “Law of 10-20” (Fashler 2006), which states the ideal frequency to review a certain memory set (in this case, each letter) is every 10-20% of the days.

The Law of 10-20
Reviewing one letter a day for the 26 letters of the alphabet falls perfectly in the center of the range for the Law of 10-20.

Dr. Reutzel also teaches that alphabetics lessons in this model should only be 10-15 minutes long each day. Within that time, the most effective lesson plans are those of “Multi-Componential Alphabet Instruction” (Piasta & Wagner 2010). (Dr. Ray Reutzel discusses these lesson components more in depth in his previous Just Right Reader blog article, here).

Just Right Reader Pre-K Decodables

Since Dr. Reutzel has been a key adviser on Just Right Reader’s Pre-K library, each of our Pre-K decodables implement his findings.

Specifically, our Pre-K decodables include upper and lower-case letter combinations in the lower right corner of each page to reinforce letter recognition. Each decodable has a unique QR code that links to video phonics lesson as well as reading and writing activities to encourage readers to practice their letter recognition and letter sounds. Special to our Pre-K decodables, dry-erase pages were included to help readers practice their letter formations and reinforce their decoding skills.

Pre-K Science of Reading Decodables

The Just Right Reader Pre-K library includes multiple letter decodable bundles to maximize exposure during the review cycles of letter-a-day, and the Take-Home Decodable Boxes include 10 decodables each with letter learning activities, puzzles, and video phonics lessons so it’s easy and fun for families to engage in their children’s reading achievement at home.

We are so excited to share all the research behind our research-backed products for classrooms and homes, and hope you will watch the full webinar to learn more about crafting ideal lessons and the studies mentioned!

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