Good Readers Tackle the Tricky Parts

As first graders become ready to be more fluent and accurate readers, it is good to stop and give or review instruction on how they can read 'tricky' words.  We love to teach this unit just after returning from Winter Break!  It's a perfect time to review good reading strategies!

Here's the complete unit we teach on Tricky Parts.   
At the end of this blog post, you can grab the FREE tools and resources to teach this unit too! 

Introducing the Unit
These are our favorite texts to introduce the Tricky Parts Unit!  I Don't Like to Read (affiliate link) is great for reluctant readers and building confidence!  The main character learns that slowly learning letters and words, he can become a reader!   A Is for Salad (affiliate link) is super funny and can be connected to the importance of being sure to read with accuracy to help the story meaning.
Teaching the Unit
Books with repeating patterns and rhymes help readers to read tricky words and also feel what it's like to be fluent readers.  Below are our favorite books!
Books with repeating phrases: Rosie's Walk, The Wind Blew, Don't Forget the Bacon (affiliate links)
(affiliate links)

 To prep for this lesson, we love to use this cute book, Wiggle (affiliate link) as an example of using picture clues to help with tricky words.  We cover up some words and kiddos had to use the picture to help figure out the word.  After reading Wiggle whole group, kiddos work in partners to use the same strategy with simple guided reader books.  
 Here's the book Wiggle with a few words covered up.  Kiddos use picture clues to figure out the word.

People House by Dr Seuss (affiliate link) is also another great book to illustrate using pictures to help with Tricky Words!

Here's how kiddos can practice independently or with partners!
Using simple guided readers, kiddos work with partners to find the word that is highlighted using picture clues.  Grab the transparent Post It flags here. (affiliate link)
Identifying the words that match the picture!

These cards are in the FREE pack at the end of the post!  Using small magnifying glasses, kiddos go letter by letter and stretch and sound out the words until they can read the whole word.  The kiddos love using the magnifying glasses to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out their words sound by sounds. 

Let the kiddos play word detectives for this activity!  Make simple sentences with a word that can easily have the first letter or blend shown, and the rest of the word hidden.

This is another activity for the kiddos to use their word detective skills.

Ending the Unit and Promoting Individual Practice
Wrap up the unit with two different writing responses.  First, give the kiddos a scenario and tell them they get to be the teacher and tell what the student should do to get past the tricky part.  They will LOVE it!
You can also give kiddos a strategy checklist to keep in their book boxes for times they get stuck on a Tricky word.

  You can grab this FREE pack to get all the ideas, resources, and printables we shared in this blog post!  Click the picture below.

As you wrap up this unit, consider sending home this FREE SPARK bag!  Our SPARK bags help inform your parents of new skills the kiddos have learned!
(and kiddos can practice more at home too!)

Need more reading tools?  
Check out our FREE webinar 'Interactive Reading in the Primary Grades!

Use these tools to engage your readers with strategies to interact with texts. We share easy to implement resources to use in the classroom and at home.   For attending the webinar, get access to a file with the 5 reading tools featured above so you can make your own classroom sets!
Come grab some new ideas to refresh and re-energize your ELA time!

Click here to view the webinar!


  1. I love Detective LaRue. Thank you for sharing some great decoding strategies. I can certainly adapt and apply them to reading groups with my fourth graders.

    Have a great week!

    Fit to be Fourth
    Follow me on Bloglovin

    1. Yes, definitely something you can adapt to fit your needs! Have a great week!

  2. I love this. I would really like to have the "I can statements" with the little detective. But, I can't find them in your store. Am i just missing them or are they unavailable?

    1. Thanks for your interest in our post. We hadn't thought about putting those headers up for download, but we just added them. Enjoy!

  3. Look at all of this word detective fun!! I love that you used different books! And, I've never seen Wiggle! It looks really cute! Thanks for linking up such a great post!!!

    Have a great week!
    Collaboration Cuties

  4. Love these books and activities. I am teaching many of the same strategies right now, so I am definitely going to incorporate some of your great ideas. My kids would be so excited to use magnifying glasses!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Compassionate Teacher

    1. They did love the magnifying glasses; anything to get them excited!

  5. Ohmygoodness- this post is just amazing! I love all your little activities to go along with each strategy- I can't wait to use your written scenarios-- i've done that verbally but never as an actual written response- what an excellent idea!
    You girls rock! Thanks a bunch!
    Aylin :)
    Learning to the Core

    1. Thank you, Aylin. You're sweet. Your kiddos will enjoy the activities!

  6. Your students are very lucky to have you helping them think about the reading strategies they are applying! I love your freebie mini-book! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Fun ideas! I haven't read the Wiggle book. It looks really cute. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Have a great week.

    School Is a Happy Place

    1. Thank you! We hope your week is off to a good start!

  8. Love to read it,Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks.

  9. Your ideas are so fun! I started teaching the Lucy Calkin’s reading workshop lessons this year. She has a unit on becoming a word dectective that I just started last week— but yours looks so much better!! I’m going to go back and incorporate your ideas into my lessons. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Very interesting information I can find here. I like your all informative posts very much.
    Hotels in the World

  11. Such an interactive way you suggested. it certainly will create the good bonding. You can try to skill up the communication by giving them early childhood education Omaha. Here they can find others to get themselves active and through different activities they can unleash their potentials.