Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Adjusting Your Reading Program for Success

Janice A. Suchy Helfen.

Four years ago the Madison-Grant School System in Fairmount, IN USA, began using the Four-Block Reading Program of Patricia Cunningham, Dorothy P. Hall and Cheryl M. Sigmon to improve reading skills for grades 1-3. The program differs from others in that it is a multimethod, multilevel approach which encompasses: Block 1. Guided reading; Block 2. Working with Words; Block 3. Writing; Block 4. Self-selected reading.
- Guided reading is when the teacher takes the children through a story by picture-walking and then reading the weekly selection to them. Later children re-read the story with a partner or in a small group.
- Working with Words has a variety of activities that help children look for patterns in words, recognize and spell the high frequency sight words so they can read and write independently.
- Writing takes place when the teacher thinks out loud and writes, using an overhead projector, modeling the way she thinks while writing. Students write and share their work.
- Self-selected reading lets students choose books at their reading levels from carefully arranged book baskets.
Four-Block allows every child in class to see her or himself as a reader and writer. Every one will grow.


Janice A. Suchy Helfen  (United States)

Park Elementary School , Fairmont

Janice A. Suchy Helfen has been with the Madison-Grant Schools since 1989. She has taught first and second grade students. Undergraduate degree: University of Dayton, Dayton OH USA and Master's Degree: Indiana University --Kokomo, IN USA

  • Four-Block is a multimethod, multileveled approach to reading for grades 1-3.

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)