Q: How do I do the “Peanut Butter” part of Sandwich Style teaching?

Adorable Boy Making Peanutbutter SandwichHow to Make a Great Teaching Sandwich

I’ve said that Sandwich Style teaching is best for beginning readers. It’s a “bread-peanut butter-bread” system in the form of: “Fast Flash the words-read the book-Fast Flash the words.”

So one mom’s question to me was, “Can you elaborate on the peanut butter part of the ‘Sandwich’? Am I reading out loud, tracking the words with my finger, at least the first couple of times? Or am I pointing to the words and waiting to see first if my child can read the word, then saying it if he doesn’t?”

Good Question!

And here’s the answer:

  • First, this is teaching time, not “read aloud snuggle time” (which I enthusiastically encourage for bedtime, etc.), so…
  • For teaching time, it’s ideal that you sit across from your child, not beside. Why? So you can watch his eyes and where they are–or are not–directed.
  • So let’s say you’ve just done Fast Flash with a few word cards related to the book you’re about to read.
  • At this point, your child should have a “pointer” (unsharpened pencil) so he can follow along.
  • You also use a pointer (rather than a “finger in the face”; it keeps things impersonal and fun, especially if you use colorful/character pencils.) You help him stay on the correct word.
  • YOU read in the beginning. All you want is for him to follow along and repeat the words after you.
  • As he begins to learn some of the words, when you get to that word, pause and let him try, or you can say “Your turn!”
  • Give him the answer quickly if he doesn’t know it…this is not a test, just a chance for him to volunteer if he knows the word. We’re all about encouragement, so we give prompts quickly when needed.
  • As time goes on and your child progresses, he will read more and more of the words, and you less and less, until he’s reading it all.

Why Teach Sandwich Style? BRAIN

It’s all about the brain, the brain, the brain.

Repetition is vital in teaching our learners with Down syndrome. The brain needs to see it quickly (see Fast Flash) and very frequently. This is the most effective way to get words to stay where we want them: in long term memory. But that’s another topic for another blog…

So what we’re doing with this Sandwich is: feeding those words into the brain; then reading a simple personal book in which the child sees those words used; then zooming those words into the brain again with Fast Flash. End of both the session and the Sandwich! Goals: teaching and engagement.

What about testing? For testing, see errorless testing techniques.)

Have fun with this! Meanwhile, I’m off to the kitchen for a PBJ…

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  • Mary

    I just wanted to say how happy I am to have found your blog. My son (7 yrs) has a diagnosis of autism with developmental disability. He is extremely visual and also very social/fun-loving–similar to the typical DS learning style that you describe on your site. I am in the process of setting up a home reading program for him and all the information you provide here is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!

    • Natalie Hale

      I’m so glad it’s helping, Mary. If you want automatic delivery of these blogs to your wall and you’re on Facebook, just go “like” my page there: https://www.facebook.com/DownSyndromeReading. You’ll get them as soon as I post them. All the best to you and your son!

  • Angela C.

    Thanks so much for answering my question! Extremely helpful!