Stevenson Learning Skills

Teaching Resources

Layer Cake Twister

A teacher friend of ours has created a Twister game with the Stevenson Layer Cake. You can easily imagine your own version, but here is how she did it:

Our friend had an old art projector, and she used a cake illustration from one of the many found in her Stevenson books. She projected onto a cheap shower curtain, and used sharpies to create the outline. If you do not have an art projector, it would not be too hard to make the cake freehand. It is a fairly simple drawing. You could also ask for the art teacher’s help, or that teacher could even turn this activity into an art class project. The dry erase markers our friend used to write the words weren’t erasing very easily so she put a clear plastic liner from a dollar store over it. Our friend had a spinner, but it didn’t work well so she ended up using index cards with a direction drawn on each one – Examples: Right foot, crunchy filling; left hand, layer of cake etc., with a little sketch of the cake part on the card. (See the attached pdf file for an example.)

The cards worked fine. She shuffles them and draws one out at a time, or lets a student draw the cards . She lets the students select layer cake words themselves from the reading book or workbook pages, and then they decide together which one to write on the cake using a dry erase marker. They change the word before each game. The teacher has the students say the sound (except efrosting) as they land a foot or hand on a cake part. She also puts a sticker on the students’ right foot and hand since they often struggle with knowing right from left. The last pupil standing has to say the whole word to win. This game is now very popular with her students, and they ask to do it all the time. You can easily imagine using the same strategy with sandwich words as well. You can play this version of Twister when the students first encounter the sandwich and cake words and then return to it when you cover the thick pieces of bread and thick layers of cake. Of course, this activity would not necesssarily work well with some groups of extremely hyperactive students with behavior issues, or with students who have certain physical handicaps. However, it is a great example of how instruction in the Stevenson Program can be both fun and effective!

Don’t Forget QUESST

Our senior trainer, Nancy Ziehme, has her own website, which is full of wonderful information and ideas on using the Stevenson Program. Check it out here!

Hints for Time Management Using Stevenson

Whether you call it organizing or juggling, allocating your time to different kinds of instruction is a huge challenge. If you have limited time with students who are already struggling, you need flexibility. At the same time, you are under a great deal of pressure to meet dozens of specified standards. While the Stevenson Program does require you to follow a special sequence, there are numerous ways to adjust your instruction time to make the most of it.

Resolving “b” and “d” Confusion

The first is a strategy for resolving confusion between the letters b and d, a very common problem among both young and disabled readers. This material has been extracted from the full Stevenson Program but can be used separately

Playing “Word Detective”

One simple fun activity is playing Word Detective. This game is nothing more than asking your students to find particular kinds of words in particular (non-Stevenson) sources. Select the kinds of words according to what you feel your students need to practice most. For example, you might say, “Find me as many words as you can with the twin e’s in them,” or you might suggest all the peanut butter and jelly words they have had so far. Selecting source material depends on the kinds of students you have. You could use newspapers and magazines for some students, but for most young students that print would be too small and the vocabulary could be too complicated. You can select any of the (non-Stevenson) reading books you have in your room or select a textbook of some kind.

When playing the Word Detective game, do not ask pupils to try to read all of the material they encounter (which would be overwhelming). They should just search for the kinds of words you specified, and they should read those words out loud to you. Be flexible. If they find a word like head and assume it is a peanut butter and jelly word (it is not, the short sound of ea is covered much later in the program), accept it. Explain that English is tricky, that some of the words that look like peanut butter and jelly words are not, and students will learn about these later. Perhaps a student looking for words with the twin ee’s might find the word street. The student has found a peanut butter and jelly word, but you cannot expect him or her to decode the triple blend str at this point. In such a case, you can congratulate the student, but you, not the pupil, will have to read the word aloud. You can reward students for finding words anyway you choose. Some pupils will be more successful than others simply because they had source material that contained the right words. Do not let any child feel bad about their efforts. Word Detective is an excellent way for students to get used to different kinds of reading material, different typefaces, font sizes and layouts. It also gives them the sense that eventually they can read all the material they are using.

The Group Game

The second item, the Group Game, is an excellent strategy for making sure that all students in a reading group are paying attention even if only one is reading aloud. Again, this strategy is built into the Stevenson Program, but could be used in any class. These resources will give you a small taste of our teaching techniques.

Additional Decoding Tests for Progress Monitoring (to Supplement Stevenson Mastery/Management Tests)

These tests are designed to supplement the Mastery/Management Tests. They provide additional opportunities to assess the decoding skill of your Stevenson students. Currently many schools require teachers to monitor the progress of each student frequently to determine if a particular reading intervention is working, and these easy-to-administer tests will significantly increase the frequency with which assessments can be made. They are free, but only teachers who have already acquired the Beginning Green Level or the Basic Blue Level Mastery Management Test Manual and Test Booklet are given permission to use them. They are in PDF format and can be printed and photocopied.

Overlapping Strategy Word List Assessments

We created some word lists that can be used as a very simple assessment for students in the Overlapping Strategy. The assessment is very easy to administer, and it will help you determine the decoding skills of the students before they begin the Overlapping Strategy, and after they have completed the Basic Blue Level. (You can also re-administer the test during the process if you choose.) The tests are not standardized, nor are they intended to be a complete inventory of phonics skills. However, they can serve as a useful tool in guiding your instruction and in demonstrating your students’ progress. Open the pdf file below, and you will find suggestions on the first four pages and the word lists on the last two.

More Beginning Green Level Assessments – First Draft CBM’s (similar to DIBELS)

These assessments tools were created from Stevenson practice reading passages through the Intervention Central website. We are grateful to Sally Kovar from the NW Ohio Educational Service Center for creating these in Interventional Central and then turning them into pdf files to share with all of us. Such cooperation is essential in education today. If you are not familiar with Intervention Central, check it out on your internet browser. It offers excellent FREE resources. The following pdf files are all from Beginning Green Level material. They are not fully edited yet, so there may be a few typos, which we will eventually correct. However, you might prefer to correct the errors yourself and start using these assessments now. In the future we will also add some Basic Blue Level items – thanks again to Sally.

The Multipurpose Multisyllable Books

As the title suggests, these books serve several purposes. Below you will find three PDF files that contain drafts of early sections of the books. We suggest you read the top PDF file first, titled The Role of the Multipurpose Multisyllable Books in the Stevenson Program and When to Use Them. Then you can examine Lesson One of the teacher’s manual, the second PDF file. The third PDF file is a copy of the student’s material. We intend to add a new lesson every month or two. This material will eventually be published in book form. You may download, print or photocopy the PDF files below, but only for instructional purposes. This material is copyrighted. You have temporary permission to use the files as part of the Stevenson Program. You are not allowed to distribute them beyond your own instructional use or to use them for profit. Once the Multipurpose Multisyllable Teacher’s Manual and Student Book are published in standard book form on paper, permission to use these free web-based resources will no longer be available.

A quick sample of some special Stevenson clues

Check out this one page pdf file: