Saturday, March 5
This post from 123homeschool4me.com is a great "cheat sheet" for people who are trying to get their heads around reading levels. It can be tough because there are several different systems out there to try to understand. Plus, just because a certain system says that a third grader should be reading a certain level doesn't mean it will necessarily be right for your child. Read their post here. Hope this helps!
What a thorough guide to help you understand the basic concepts of teaching a child to read! You can read the whole thing or just skip to the part of reading or pre-reading that you're most curious about right now. Love that Malia Hollowell at playdoughtoplato.com mentions starting with a child's favorite word - their name! Click to read the whole post here.
Wednesday, February 3
I know many of you struggle with what to say when your child gets to a word they don't know and looks up at you for the answer. One powerful thing you can do is nothing at all! I know that sounds revolutionary, but the goal is for them to be able to think of strategies on their own, so a short pause or a prompt of, "what could you do to figure out that word?" might go a long way. This Reading Mama has a fantastic post on more details about this very important topic. Find it here.
Thursday, January 29
One of the great frustrations in my career as a teacher of reading has been the sheer lack of good quality books available for beginning or "emergent" readers. Parents with the best of intentions will buy their kids the Level 1 readers at the book store but they are way too hard for little ones who are just learning how to read. I really enjoyed HeidiSongs' post about the books she used in her classroom. These are similar to the ones I use and in fact I own some of the very same ones. Please go over and check it out to get some new ideas for your readers. She says it's for kindergarten but I know lots of first graders who could use these too!
Sunday, January 4
Hi Friends! Happy New Year! Here's a great post on simple ways to help your child read more fluently. Usually that means smoothly like an expert reader would read it. I especially like that Julie from Make Take Teach mentions rereading books to help with fluency and having a more experienced reader read it, too. That's why I'm a huge fan of reading simple poetry. In my classroom, every Friday we would add a fun, easy to read poem to our poetry folders. We would practice reading and re-reading them every week so that we could learn how to read smoothly and with expression. Check the blog article out here.
Wednesday, December 10
Friends, one of the most visceral memories I have from my childhood is quaking in my seat waiting to read out loud in my eighth grade English class. Remarkably, round robin reading - the process of having kids go around and read out loud one at a time - is used constantly in classrooms every day. It's happening in my son's classroom. I've used it as a teacher before, too. However, on a gut level I know that it is fairly worthless. The aha! moment I had when I read this excellent article by Todd Finley is that is equally bad for both good readers and poor readers and reluctant readers. So who are we doing it for? It is hard to say. As a really good reader, I hated reading out loud anyway because I wanted to do it perfectly and I was shy. I would be surprised if anyone in the class was actually paying attention to what was happening in the story during student read aloud time. Finley's article gives great alternatives to round robin. I hope you will read it and think about how you could apply the strategies to reading at home. Echo reading, where you read and then they read the same thing, is easy to do. Shared reading where you read together is really helpful, too. Above all, remember that you reading aloud to your child, with all of your great fluency and expression and pronunciation, has been shown to be just as beneficial as your child practicing reading on their own.
Tuesday, December 2
God bless Jodie from Growing Book by Book! She is always putting up quality information and her Facebook shares are great, too. But this time she must've really read my mind. My favorite thing is to find free printable books for beginning readers on all of the fantastic teaching blogs. Mostly because it is a) very hard to find books that are easy enough for beginning readers and b) way easier and cuter than me making them by myself. Plus, I have found that my early readers really respond well to thematic books connected to the seasons and holidays. She has saved you and me time and made a beautiful list all in one place. I love it! Be sure to check it out here if you have a young reader in your house. Thanks Jodie!
Love this article by Ryan Spencer that I saw go by on my Facebook feed recently. I love it because it's a concise way of telling parents how to help their kids right now. I also love that he used the term "instant word factory." Do you ever find yourself doing that? Spitting out each word that your child has trouble with? I've definitely had my moments. Sometimes it becomes necessary, when I notice that a child is in a book that's way harder than either of us anticipated. Most of the time, though, I notice the power in staying quiet and seeing what happens. Sometimes it's harder, but it really is the best thing.
Friday, November 7
Wednesday, November 5
Melissa Taylor is always working so hard over there at her blog Imagination Soup. Here are some great new books for reading aloud to your beginning readers or for independent reading for readers who are a little bit more advanced.