Focus: Power Words
What is 2 Green?
2 Green readers can read 75-125 Power Words at flash speed.
At this level your child will know 75-125 Power Words, and will use them as a reliable and familiar support framework when reading. They will be able to read these words in books they have never seen before and out of context, such as on lists and flash cards, at flash speed. The combined 1G and 2G Power Words (totaling 120 words) make up more than 50 percent of the words used in English text. When your reader comes to a word they don’t know, they will successfully use initial consonant blends and four digraphs (sh–, ch–, th–, wh–) as clues to help decode the word. Your child is officially reading at the first-grade level. Congratulations!
I can recognize and read 120+ Power Words at flash speed.
I know the spelling-sound correspondences of common initial consonant blends and four digraphs (sh–, ch–, th–, wh–).
What Makes 2 Green Books Unique?
2 Green books use simple sentences, clear pictures and the 1 Green and 2 Green Power Words. Any other words that appear in the books can be “guessed” by using the first letter sound (or consonant blend/digraph) and the pictures as clues.
Try reading this sample 2G book
Your child should be able to read the title of the book, but you may need to help her with any new words.
When your child comes to a “tricky word,” encourage her to self-prompt using these four Word Attack Strategies.
1 ) Stop if something doesn’t look right,
sound right, or make sense.
2 ) Look at the picture.
3 ) Say the first letter sound.
4 ) Reread by going back and trying again.
If your child gets stuck on a word that she got right when it appeared on an earlier page in the book, ask her to go back and reread that earlier page and then try it again. Word repetition is common in 2 Green books for this purpose.
Point out punctuation marks to your child and encourage her to pause for commas, raise her voice for question marks, and add some excitement for exclamation points. When you do a read-aloud for a bedtime story, you can point out punctuation and show how it guides you to read with expression.
Use the words in the 2 Green books to teach your child about consonant blends and digraphs by pronouncing the single sound each makes, not as a blend of two separate letter sounds.
Consonant blends are two (or three) consonants together, in which each consonant can be heard in the single blended sound. The blends your child will first learn are:
br–, cr–, dr–, fr–, gr–, pr–, tr–, wr–
bl–, cl–, fl–, gl–, pl–, sl–,
sc–, sk–, sm–, sn–, sp–, st–, sw–, tw–
Digraphs are two consonants which when combined make a distinct single sound that does not correspond to the sounds the letters make. The four most common digraphs your child will learn first are:
sh–, ch–, th–, wh–
Ask your child questions about what they’ve read to keep the focus on thinking and learning, not just on whether they got all the words right. As the complexity of the books increases, this is especially important. Avoid, however, making it sound as if you are testing your child. If they don’t know the answers, you could try rereading the book to discover the answers together. Here are the types of questions you might ask:
About the plot:
What was this book mostly about? What were the most important things the author told us?
What were some different kinds of animals in this story? Where did the little girl want to go?
How are _____ and _____ in this book alike (or different)? How are _____ and _____ in this book connected?
What word tells how ____ feels (or smells, tastes, etc.)? What did you like most about this book and why?
In addition to the Power Words, there are “category” words your child will begin to master. These words appear on the 2 Green Skills Card for the following categories: Contractions, Number Words, Days of the Week, Colors, Family Members, Shapes, and Direction Words.
What Mistakes Should I Correct?
Make sure your child says one word for each word on the page.
Make sure the words your child supplies start with the right first letter and make sense.
When your child is stuck on a new Power Word that is hard to guess based on the meaning of the sentence, just tell him the word.
When to Move to the Next Level
Once your child can read 2 Green books with great fluency and strong comprehension, it’s time for the next level: 1 Blue. American Reading at Home plans to make additional levels available on our site very soon. In the meantime, ask your child’s teacher for a list of books at your child’s independent reading level and use them to practice reading at home for 30 minutes each night.
Watch these videos to see what successful reading practices look like and how to coach a child when they get stuck or make mistakes.
what if my child is struggling
Learning the Power Words at 2 Green poses the same set of challenges as learning the Power Words at 1 Green—there are just more of them and the words are a bit more complex. Continue to build upon the types of activities that worked for your child at 1 Green. If you didn’t need to use the activities at 1 Green, you may need to try them for the 2 Green Power Words. Remember, children typically need to see and say a new word 40 times before they know it.
Flash Cards. Use our laminated Power Word cards on a ring, or make your own flash cards and keep them in a ziplock bag.
Speed Games. Adrenaline actually helps to encode words into memory, so play hard and play fast. If your child isn’t up on his feet, try to say the words as fast as he can—adrenaline isn’t kicking in yet. Make it a race to see how fast he can say all the words, using the flash cards or the 1 Green Skills Card.
Concentration. Make 2 cards for each word and lay all the words out facedown in a grid. Take turns turning over 2 cards. If the words match, and your child can read the word, he gets the match.
Go Fish. Make 2 cards for each word and play the traditional card game Go Fish, taking turns asking for and then drawing cards until a player gets a Power Word match. We recommend playing with just 10 words at a time.
Sandwiching. Because Power Words are low-meaning, they aren’t that interesting to learn, so it can help to “sandwich” them with words that your child loves and cares about. Make up some flash cards for high-meaning, special words (e.g., the dog’s name, sibling’s name, best friend, cartoon character, etc.), and “sandwich” in the Power Words to form short sentences.
Kinesthetic Encoding. It’s time to get active. Write the words on a large piece of paper, some poster board, an easel, or a blackboard. Ask your child to stand up and pretend to trace the letters in the air using his arm in big, sweeping motions as he slowly says the word (not the letters). Turn on some good tunes and have fun with the big motions.
Auditory/Visual/Tactile Encoding. Get out the crayons and markers and practice writing the words. As your child writes the word, have him also say the word slowly (stretched out). You want him to say the whole word, not the letters, to help encode the entire word into long-term memory.
Every child is a good reader with the right book. Browse our books and collections.