Multisensory Monday- Activities for Controlled Readers

Posted by Brainspring on 29th Mar 2015

Oral Reading Activities PageHi everyone,

Welcome to Multisensory Monday!

Controlled readers are one of my favorite tools for struggling readers.   They are excellent for building decoding skills and fluency because they only contain skills the student has been explicitly taught.  That means the student will be able to read each and every word accurately (of course, they may need to be reminded to sound it out if they make an error).  Oral reading using a controlled reader is part of the Phonics First lesson plan and is contained in many other programs as well.  During the oral reading part of the lesson, the teacher is going through the story with the students, making sure they are reading accurately and applying reading strategies, as well as modeling and allowing the students to practice fluent reading.

What do you use for Oral Reading practice with your students?

While this prescribed Oral Reading part of the lesson is very important, it should only be the beginning of the students’ practice with the controlled reader story.  Students should continue to practice the story multiple times in multiple ways.  The more practice they get with the story, the quicker their decoding will become, leading to more fluent reading.


5 Day Reading Plan

Today’s multisensory activity is a 5 day plan for a controlled reader story.  If you are using Phonics First, I highly recommend using the Phonics First Foundations Stories, otherwise you can use whatever controlled reading material you have been using with your program.

I made a worksheet that can be printed for students to keep with their story and use for each activity if you would like to use it.  These activities will also work perfectly well on their own.

Controlled Reader Activity Page


Day 1

Oral Reading as part of phonics lesson, guided by the teacher.

Day 2

Students whisper read the story to themselves; then read silently in their heads; then read aloud to a partner.

Day 3

Students read story to themselves or a partner and circle or highlight all the words that contain the skill from the phonics lesson.

Day 4

Students read the story to themselves or a partner and underline all the Red Words or sight words.

Day 5

Students read the story to themselves or a partner; then identify the characters and write or draw about one thing that happened.


Following this plan, by the end of 5 days students will have practiced with the story at least 7 times!  If you ask the students to read the story to you again, you should notice a big improvement in their decoding and fluency.

What other ideas do you have for activities with Controlled Readers?


Quick Syllable Word Sort

Who doesn’t love a quick and easy activity?

This week Dite has a quick and easy to make word sort that can be used to help your students practice identifying the syllable types you have taught them.

Check it out on her blog:


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