Improving retention and bring joy to a young learner using the “See, Say, and Do” approach.

by Gay Beck

Grades K-2


Teachers of young students need approaches that everyone feels successful in the classroom right away.

I have found that the “See, Say, and Do” method ensures success, deepens comprehension, and creates joyful learning and retention for beginning learners.

“See, Say, and Do” is simple.

If I’m teaching letter recognition, for example, I first encourage students to:

–See, by encouraging them to recognize a letter in many different forms – in a book, as a magnetic letter, in a poster.

–Say, by sharing the way we say the letter, for example by using a verbal path such as “around, down, a” to create the letter “a.”

–Do, by releasing responsibility to the students and encouraging them to make the letter themselves using their fingers in a sand tray, even as they continue to say “around, down, a.”

When I employ this same strategy to teach children to read, I begin by modeling the reading of a book. Next, I suggest that kids read together with me. Then, I gradually release responsibility, encouraging students to read on their own.

“See, Say, and Do” is an essential strategy for young learners. Incorporating movement and a variety of reinforcing activities embeds the knowledge and also makes learning engaging and fun.


What I did well…

I felt I explained this strategy well in the initial video interview. It provides the scaffolding to understand the video portions. I was glad I got the teachers involved with the salt trays, tracing and repeating the prompts.  I felt they could feel my passion for the teaching method: See, Say and Do. Their energy for what was being taught contributed to the overall success of the lesson. They felt successful by being involved in the process. I modeled a student-centered environment where participants could engage and use their 5 senses to learn!

I believe they could see how all children could feel successful in using so many different modalities to learn. I felt they more deeply understood the To, With and By method by participating in the lesson. They were engaged in trying several different learning styles, which I feel can help them to give their students experiences with various learning methods. I appreciated the way they shared ways to use this method with ELL students and asked questions at the end. I felt I covered building brain fluency and how to feel successful as learners!

What I would do more of, better, differently…

I would relax a little more and let my personality come through! I would try not to look at my papers when giving directions;  I would try not to move quite as much when speaking to the group! I would give a few more ideas on how to incorporate this strategy in their classroom settings. I would ask what additional resources they needed from me to implement this strategy. I would also discuss using this method more for struggling students in small groups. I believe that trained aides or volunteers can work with small groups and get great results with the See, Say and Do method. This is an important component to implement this strategy. It can also be used during guided reading practice or in centers.

I still want to grow this practice by…

I remain passionate about the See, Say and Do method! I believe it can help all learners to build more brain fluency but especially struggling learners. It is a great method to teach ABC’S and high frequency words. I also enjoy modeling and assisting other teachers in using this method. It continues to build confidence in young learners. I believe the video of me with my K students shows how it can increase their belief in their ability to learn and retain the ABC’S. It engages them as they use their hands to feel the salt, trace the letters and shake the magnetic letters! They have fun and I wish I had more time to use this method daily in my K classroom schedule. I can have trained aides and volunteers do this with small groups! It’s fun and engaging for them and keeps the joy in learning!

About Gay Beck

Gay Beck currently teaches kindergarten at Highland Elementary in the Alpine School District and has also taught kindergarten in the Washington Sch...

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