Using repetition and review in our teaching is an important way that we remind learners of what they’ve learned as well as build on what they know.
A few years ago, I wrote a post called The M & M’s of Learning: Multiple and Meaningful Exposure. And looking back on that post from ten years ago, I must say that I still feel our learners need multiple and meaningful exposure with the concepts we teach!
What is Repetition and Review?
Struggling learners often need more time to process the concepts we teach them. This is where repetition and review come into play.
In their book, From Talking to Writing, Jennings and Haynes say, “Repetition and review (spiraling) are critical. Sometimes students appear to understand a concept, only to forget it a day, week, or month later. It is not until students have automatized a skill that they can effectively remember and use it as a foundation for new tasks.”
Simply put, repetition and review help to remind us that we shouldn’t have a “one and done” kind of teaching mentality.
2 Reasons Why we Should Use Repetition and Review
1. We want our struggling learners to be able to independently and automatically use and apply the skills, concepts, or strategies we teach. If they can’t remember them or don’t have time to process them, they can’t apply them to new tasks! Using guided practice, repetition, and review is KEY to helping our learners become independent learners!
2. Repetition and Review support executive function skills include like:
- the ability to think about concepts in a flexible way
- the ability to follow through to complete a task or goal
- the ability to prioritize and organize information so it can be applied
- the ability to stay focused, even when frustrated or bored
These executive skills are necessary for our kids to become successful with independence.
4 Practical Teaching Tips
1- Use Guided Practice
Guided practice is when we give our learners time to practice a skill or strategy we’ve already taught with our support and immediate feedback. This is a time that we allow our learners to practice a skill or strategy with our help in a safe setting. We can think about guided practice being a bridge between teaching and independence.
Guided practice can be used one-on-one or in a small group setting.
After we explicitly and systematically teach a skill, strategy, or concept, we can be tempted to think that our learners are now ready to apply the new knowledge with independence. We might give them practice pages or an assignment for independent work. But our struggling learners especially aren’t quite ready to use it independently just yet.
That’s where guided practice comes in. During guided practice, our learners need to see how to practically apply and use the new teaching.
Read more about guided practice in my article, The Importance of Guided Practice.
2. Model a step-by-step processes the same way each time.
For example, if you’re working on decoding final stable syllable words, the process for tackling each word should be the same each time, which provides repetition and review.
3. Provide repetition and review in a flexible way.
It’s true that part of systematic teaching is keeping our teaching predictable. But when it comes to guided practice, it’s okay to help our learners see how they can apply the knowledge they know in different and flexible ways.
So instead of asking your learners to do dictation, you could throw in a word sort that reviews several skills you’ve already taught them, like our free vowel team word sorts.
4. Help learners apply their background knowledge (what they already know) to a new concept.
If you’re teaching longer closed syllable words, like kitten, we can go back to those one-syllable CVC words (such as kit, ten) and show your learners how they can use their decoding skills and knowledge to help them read longer words.
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