5 Techniques for Daily Spiral Review (233% Reading Growth)

Five Techniques for Daily Spiral Review (Get 233% Growth)

Achieving 233% Growth with Daily Spiral Review

Today, I’d like to share 5 techniques that are needed for successful spiral review – and I’m talking about getting more than twice the growth compared to classrooms that don’t use daily spiral review in reading comprehension instruction!

But first, a big thank you for all of the comments and feedback we received on our most recent blog post where we gave away four literacy block schedules and on the survey where you are helping us design the new reading comprehension warm-ups.

Now back to the topic at hand. In this post you will:

  • See how to transform 3-6 minutes of your daily routine into a learning machine!
  • Discover the case study where students achieved 233% growth!
  • Find 5 essential techniques for successful daily spiral review.
  • Have a chance to ask your questions and share your thoughts.

Also, I’d like to give you an entire week of reading comprehension warm-ups. There is a link at the end of this post.

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Daily Learning Machine in 3-6 Minutes

If you just joined the conversation, we are discussing the coming, no-prep reading comprehension warm-ups. But today, I want you to envision transforming 3-6 minutes of your daily routine with or without the reading comprehension warm-ups. Think about this…

Imagine walking into your classroom and pressing play – a consistent routine that spirals previously taught skills, so students can deepen their mastery of reading skills!

During these 3-6 minutes, students increase retention, boost reading levels, train reading fluency, and strengthen reading and spelling skills.

You use this time to fill gaps, build background knowledge, increase understanding of a variety of genres, and focus on comprehension.

Read more on Why Do I Need Daily Spiral Review in Reading?

Transform learning by spiraling previously taught reading skills, genres, and scaffolded questions at increasing levels of complexity.Click To Tweet

Daily Spiral Review Case Study

In the fall of 2017, we provided over 2000 classrooms with the free Word Study Spiral Warm-Ups and gathered data from a sample of those classes.

After 3 months of using daily spiral review, we administered a nationally normed comprehension assessment at the beginning and at the end of the time period.

Students who had consistent daily exposure to the systematic spiral warm-ups grew 7 months of reading levels, and their peer group who didn’t have the daily spiral warm-ups grew an average of 3 months of reading levels. This is 233% growth above average!

7 Months of Reading Level Growth in Only 3 Months of Time!Click To Tweet

Here’s How to Get the Same Results! (or better)

We stuck to five very simple techniques…but they are actually 5 principles to ensure you maximize retention and mastery of previously learned reading skills during daily spiral review. You can start using these techniques this week.

1. Spiral Review Must Be Consistent

It must be done daily – there’s no other way! Daily spiral review is not the same as 5-15 minutes every day or so – those are mini-lessons, not spiral review.

Daily spiral review is like working out or like those snowballs on cartoons. You don’t build the snowball with two large lumps of snow – you build them by rolling them down a long hill where a little snow is added with each rotation.

2. Variety in the Spiral Review

Introduce variety. During this 3-6 minutes period of spiral review, use different activities that:

  • Promote brief periods of talking about the content.
  • Write about the learning in open-ended formats.
  • Answer test-formatted questions.
  • Read with timed texts.
  • Read silently without the timer for close, detailed readings.

Also the reading spiral review should address a variety of skills across different genres. The content should also change from fun to serious or from poetic to academic.

3. Scaffolded Questions

The questions in your spiral review should scaffold students from basic or prerequisite skills, to a literal comprehension of text, to inferential thinking.

It’s not enough to just repeat test-level questions every day!

It’s not enough to just repeat test-level questions every day!

It’s not enough…

You get my point. Repeating doesn’t improve the value of the learning, but scaffolding does.

4. Priming and Cueing

The daily spiral review will strengthen student retention and retrieval if memory is primed prior to practice. This means a quick reminder or refreshing of prior knowledge.

Cueing is when your daily spiral review has images, sounds, or sights that repeat and tie into meaning. It helps students retrieve the correct schema and makes the learning richer.

5. Systematic Spiral Review for Reading

Here’s the big one! Your daily spiral review will produce the largest amount of learning if it:

  • Is well-planned to space out when each genre is readdressed, when skills circle back, and when the reading rates and text complexity increase.
  • Takes time to fill in gaps from previous grade levels.
  • Sometimes is simple and easy for students.
  • Sometimes it’s challenging and almost frustrating.
Review is not good enough. Spiral review in reading must be consistent, systematic, and scaffolded.Click To Tweet

What do you think about Daily Spiral Review?

What are your thoughts? Do you have experience with daily spiral review? What keeps you from a consistent routine? What challenges do you have with quality resources?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Have you heard about the upgrades?

Preview the spelling warm-ups at this page.

Join the free Word Study Membership

Increase Reading Levels. No-Prep.


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  • Jen says:

    How much are the reading warm-ups going to be?

  • Desiree says:

    Will you provide the materials you used? And what grade level?

    • Erica H says:

      Hi Desiree! Thanks for asking the question here…we used the free word study warm-ups combined with BETA versions of our reading comprehension warm-ups. You can see and use them in your account if you join the free Word Study Warm-Ups.

  • Nikki says:

    How often are the warmups updated?

    • Matt says:

      We update the warm-ups weekly…our reading comprehension warm-ups will start with those most requested skills from the recent survey, and they will build out from there.

    • Erica H says:

      We slowed the updating on our word study warm-ups to focus on reading comprehension, which are coming next week! As we gather feedback from classroom, we push new warm-ups using the most engaging and challenging activities…right now we have some new activities, but I can’t share them until next week.

  • Jake says:

    What test did you use to measure the results?

  • […] [Really. If you don’t believe me, look at this 233% Growth Article] […]

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