If your young readers have already mastered fun reading activities like Eagle Eyes, Lips The Fish, and Stretchy Snake, you may be asking yourself what to do now? Or, maybe you have some students who could use some higher-level reading strategies. It’s time for the Chunky Monkey reading strategy. I love the Chunky Monkey reading strategy so much because my students really feel a sense of pride when they see that they are able to read known chunks of words in order to read a new unknown word. I am so excited to share with you how I use the Chunky Monkey reading strategy anchor chart and activities in my classroom!
What is the Chunky Monkey Reading Strategy?
The Chunky Monkey reading strategy is such a wonderful strategy for your higher-level beginning readers. After your students have mastered letter sounds, visual clues, stretching, and blending sounds, they are ready to move on to using chunks of an unknown word to decode it.
The Chunky Monkey reading strategy asks students to look at an unknown word to see if there is any chunks in the word that they do know. Many times these will be smaller words or common word family letter combinations.
Then starting with the chunk they do know, they work to the letters around it to start sounding out and blending. It’s a great strategy that students will use for years to come.
I love the Chunky Monkey reading strategy so much because it’s so empowering for my students. Seeing those “lightbulbs” go off as they realize that words and sounds don’t just stand alone, but they can often use them to help read other words !
Chunky Monkey Reading Strategy Introduction
I begin introducing the Chunky Monkey reading strategy with a question. I ask my students if they know what food a monkey likes to eat. This is usually where the entire class screams “BANANAS!” at me. This is the perfect time for me to pull out my monkey puppet and banana toys from the play kitchen in the classroom. I tell my students that they are correct. Monkeys do love eating bananas. Then I explain that the monkeys have to take bites or “chunks” out of the bananas to eat them. And, there it is . . .the connection to reading. I explain that just like the Chunky Monkey, we can take chunks out of words to help us read them.
Next, it’s time to pull out a leveled reader that I know will have some new words my students don’t know. If it’s a book about monkeys, even better. I begin reading to my students but with lots of intentional pauses.
When we come to a new word, I pause and say, “Looks like we’ve come to a new word we don’t know yet. Let’s have Chunky Monkey help us read it.” Then, I write the word on the whiteboard or chart paper and work through the process of finding chunks and decoding the word collaboratively as a class.
For example, if the word is “fishing”, I ask my students to take a look at the word and see if there is a “chunk” they do know. Depending on the time of the year that she do the lesson they might identify “sh”, the word “fish” or even the “ing” ending. I draw a box or circle around the chunks they know. Then, we sound out the word. However, when we get to a chunk we say the chunk sound instead of each individual letter sound. Next we use the Stretchy Snake reading strategy we group it all together and read the word. My students love this activity so much. They really feel so proud of themselves when they realize they are able to read some new bigger words.
Chunky Monkey Reading Strategy Anchor Chart
After this, it is time to dig into the Chunky Monkey reading strategy with an interactive anchor chart. We start with this adorable monkey front and center. This image always reminds students of our discussion about monkeys and how they bite chunks out of their bananas.
Next, I introduce our fun Chunky Monkey reading strategy rhyme. This simple rhyme helps students to understand the strategy and remember it. The goal of the strategy is to look carefully at the new words to see if there are any “chunks” they can already read. I let them know that a chunk can be two or more letters that they already know how to read, a smaller word, or an ending they’ve learned.
Once students understand that we are going to use “chunks” of the words to help us read, it is time for some group practice. We begin by looking at some sentences with new words they haven’t been introduced to yet. I ask students to look at and read the words they know in the sentence.
Then we identify words we don’t know and use the Chunky Monkey reading strategy to decode the words. This anchor chart resource includes 8 different words that can be used as part of modeling the strategy and guided practice. If you want to make up your own words based on the group’s reading level that’s great too.
The Chunky Monkey reading strategy anchor chart reminding students to follow the Chunky Monkey reading strategy steps including:
- Pause when I come to a new word
- Look for little words within the new word
- Use my finger to chunk it out
- Say the chunk I know
- Sound out the leftover letters
- Blend it all together to read the new word
We continue to practice this strategy until the students have an understanding of how to apply it on their own.
Chunky Monkey Reading Tool
Sometimes students have difficulty finding chunks they know. However, it is often because they get distracted with all the other letters in the word. This Chunky Monkey reading tool is such a help! Students will use the monkey to cover other letters in the word. This helps them really see the chunks they know.
Using the templates, I print the reading tool on brown card stock. If I want each student to have their own, I ask them to cut out the reading tools and write their names on the back. If I’m planning to use these in centers I will cut them out myself and laminate them so we can use them over and over.
To use the Chunky Monkey reading tool, just grab some leveled readers and let students start using the reading tool to chunk out words they aren’t familiar with. Students love using their Chunky Monkey reading tools to help them “chunk out” the new words.
Chunky Monkey Reading Strategy Practice
Once we have done some practice as a group, it’s time for some individual practice. These Chunky Monkey reading strategy pages are a great way for students to practice using the reading strategy to decode words they don’t know yet.
I like to begin with the pages that ask the students to find the chunks. This really helps them practice the strategy and the concept of looking for chunks in words.
Then we move on to the pages that have big words already chunked. This gives the students practice reading chunks and blending them. Once they figure out the word, they will draw a picture of it next to the word. This is a great comprehension check.
Chunky Monkey Reading Strategies Cards
After introducing the reading strategy, it’s time to add some Chunky Monkey practice to our centers. The Chunky Monkey clip cards designed to help students practice finding chunks in words. The more they do this the easier it will become for them. It’s a hard change though, as we’ve already spent so long teaching them to sound out letter by letter. But with practice they will begin to make the switch.
Students will use the Chunky Monkey Reading Tool to look at words and “clip” the chunk that fits from a list on the side of each card. This clip card reading center is so much fun and a great way to practice.
Another fun activity is the Chunky Monkey Match it game. Students use the Chunky Monkey reading strategy to sound of the different parts of a word. Then, they match the word to a picture. The words are already “chunked out” and a great way to practice reading and blending chunks together.
These activities are easy to prep and organize. I put this activity together using a small pencil box or zip-loc bag. Inside the pencil boxes, I put the cards, a few clothespins and a chunky Monkey Reading Tool. It’s easy to add to center stations or for students to grab and take to their desk.
Chunky Monkey Student Craft
We finish up our week with a Chunky Monkey craft activity. The students love this activity, not just because of the craft, but because they have realized they can read some big words with the help of the Chunky Monkey reading strategy.
First, students will create their very own Chunky Monkey. They love having their own version of our class anchor chart. Next, students will grab a book, a Chunky Monkey Reading Tool and start searching for unknown words. When they find one, they “chunk out” the word and blend it back together. Then they add the word and a drawing to their craft activity.
I hang these up in my classroom or send them home with students to share with their families. The students are so proud to show all the “big words” they can read.
Grab Your Chunky Monkey Anchor Chart And Activities Set
You can grab the Chunky Monkey Reading Strategy Activities in the Emily Education store. With these intentional activities your students will be so excited to try reading those new big words!
Save these Reading Strategy Ideas
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