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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles:
Teach Early Childhood Literacy

Teaching Young Learners to Cross Check Using Guess the Covered Word
Stephanie Bartell

  • Similar to cloze passages, developed by Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy Hall as part of their Four Blocks method of instruction.
  • Helps students develop the ability to think about what makes sense while also thinking about the letters and sounds of a word.
  • Teaches students to guess a difficult word based on meaning, letters, and word length.

Guess the Covered Word

Prepare: Write sentences on sentence strips.  Choose a word for the students to guess in each sentence. Cover all the letters up to the first vowel with a sticky note. (Cut the sticky note to the exact shape and size of the letters.) Cover the rest of the word with another sticky note.

  1. Read the sentences together.  Allow students to guess the covered word.  Write down all guesses that make sense. If a guess doesn’t make sense explain why and do not write it down.
  2. Once you have several guesses, remove the sticky note at the beginning of the word.  Talk about the guesses and eliminate any that do not begin with that letter(s).
  3. Ask students if they can think of any more guesses that make sense, are about the length of the word and start with the same letters.
  4. Uncover the word and see if any of the guesses were correct.
  • In first grade (or when beginning this with a new group of students), use words that have only one letter before the vowel.  Words can get progressively more difficult.
  • This activity can also be used with a text or story you are using in class, or with a big book.
  • Use student’s names and interests when you are creating your own Guess the Covered Word sentences.

Example:

Resources:
Month-by-Month Phonics (available for 1st, 2nd , 3rd, and upper grades), Patricia Cunningham & Dorothy Hall.  
Guess the Covered Word for First Grade
(available through 5th grade), Joyce Kohfeldt, Annie King & Helen Collier.

If you have questions about this article or experiences you’d like to share, please contact me.

 

 

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