Sunday, December 7, 2014


Reading is an integral part of our day at school, just as it is in “the real world”.  Reading takes place throughout the day in a variety of ways.  We read signs, instructions, and books. I read to the children, children read to me, the children read to themselves, and they read to each other.

The children in our class read at varying levels. All the children have strong pre-reading skills such as: knowing how to turn the pages of a book, that words go from left to right, and that when you come to the end of the page, you go the next page.  They can following a story line, recall details from a story, and “read” pictures in a book.  All the children can recognize letters in the alphabet, know letter sounds, and all are reading words at varying levels of competence.  Best of all, all the children in the class love books.

Of course, beyond this there is a wide range of reading ability in our classroom. As with everything, each child is on their own journey.  Just as children learn to walk and talk at different times, children learn how to read at various ages. 

There are a wide range of reading activities that are done during the day. Below is a description of a couple.

Most days begin with the children taking turns reading a poem. The poems are by well know poets as well as unknowns. There are silly poems and serious poems. Some rhyme, others don't. There are poems we need to think about to understand what the author was saying, while others just make us laugh. Last week's poem was: 
Last Leaf
by Shirley Johannesen Levine

Long look down
Fall to the ground
Happy to be 
     Red or orange
           Or even brown
                 Happy to be
                       Falling down
Look left, look right
Twirl around after night
      Sunlight's bright
      It's all right
To be a last leaf on the tree-
   Just shout: "Look at me!"
   And let go
Last leaf down
To the ground!

A new tradition has developed with our poem reading. After we practice reading a poem for a couple days, the children like to put motions to the words. One child reads, while another child acts. It is a fun addition.
Quiet reading time is a lovely time of the day.  It primarily happens subsequent to morning recess. After running and playing, we come into the room, the lights are turned down, children can get out their pillows, or find a quiet corner and read. During this time, I read with children one on one. Towards the end or reading time, the children can "bubbly read". They can choose another child or two and look at books together. 

Practicing reading in front of a group is another important skill to cultivate. Reading the poem is optional but  everyone participates in being a "guest reader". This is a reading activity that the children practice at home so they can feel confident and prepared when they read to the class. This activity also requires the other children, who are the audience, to practice good listening skills. We just finished the first round of "guest readers" and will have another round before the end of the year. 

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