Let's talk about READING today. On day 1 of kindergarten we begin with our first big book, "I Like Me" and have lots of fun with it. The students do what their good at - getting up on their feet and acting it out. We focus on comprehension and using our "Eagle Eyes" (StrategiesPosters” by Hope King, free on TeachersPayTeachers.com) to look at the pictures as a reading strategy. My students get a little paper book to take home that they can read. We have a blast reading it together a couple times during the day as they color it. Of course they don't really know what they are doing, especially if they don't have one-to-one tracking yet, but they use the pictures and their "Eagle Eyes" and feel like a "Million Bucks". For the past 2 years I've used a free book off of TPT called, I Like School (free at TPT from – Can-You-Read-It-Yes-We-Can) but it doesn't matter what book you choose. In this book I write in the word I, with a yellow highlighter, on the blank lines, so they can trace it or just leave it alone, depending on their abilities.
Day 2 - first month we do the same: shared/close reading, guided reading with little paper take home books, and lots of read-alouds. Our beginning reading strategies include "Eagle Eyes" and one-to-one tracking, using all different pointers on big books, our chart writing, the wall (projected books), little books, poems, and anything else we can find. We begin having fun with phonological awareness, playing sound games with; syllables, rhymes, alliteration, and more. At the same time, we are beginning to learn a few sight words: I, a, am, can. "Knowing a few words" is the key to understanding concepts of print, as the students learn that words have a space on both sides, words are read left to right and top to bottom, and words are made up of letters in a special order. Through our reading (and writing), we are learning letters and their sounds at all different rates, based on the students' abilities. By the fourth week, it is usually time to introduce another reading strategy called, "Fish Lips" (I can use my fish lips and get my mouth ready to read by making the first sound of words). This is important because, by now, there are a few students that know their letters and sounds and are ready to read with beginning phonics. It is also time to model for all the students what you can do when you know your letters and sounds. During this first month everything is wrapped around FUN, without boring worksheets. Magnetic letters, individual white boards, sand writing, letter fishing, magic boards, mini chalkboards, and more are used to practice letters and words in context. Lots of acting, role playing, crazy voices, masks, video, and pictures are used for comprehension. There is no stress and the students are praised for every baby step, even if they are very slow. Students are told over and over again, all they know how to do and what good readers they are becoming. There is no homework and parents are informed weekly of what we are working on and what to expect and not expect.
Second month and beyond we continue the same as above, refining our reading strategies, building phonological awareness, beginning phonics, and adding more and more reading strategies. At this point the students are beginning to show their many different levels of learning, so they are grouped differently and work on what they need (not what I want). I begin using leveled little books (not paper) and our at home reading program begins. I now have a helper (parent, grandparent, community member) come in every day to listen to each child read his/her book and then take it home. Again I have a handout for the parents that explains what reading strategies we are working on, and what ones we are not yet ready for (Stretchy Snake - sounding out words). It is awesome! The students get to pick their own "real" book out of their leveled bin to read and take home. (I'll explain in a different post how to set up an at-home reading program; purchasing the books, forms, and how to get the help). Students publish their own little books (more on this in the writing post) and read these to everyone.
"No One is Just Like Me", "Color Words Tell More" and "Sequencing is Easy Using Numbers" are for sale now for $4.00 each. They each contain 32 pages and at least 4 weeks of instruction covering all of the common core ELA standards. The rest (all 9 units) will be for sale within a month. Download the preview and let me know what you think.
Have Fun REAING!