Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Learning to read is a crucial and mysterious skill that all children need for success in school, but just like walking and talking, every child learns to read on their own time schedule.  Some children seem to read almost automatically, while others learn through a step by step procedure.  Some children learn to read before they start kindergarten while other children start to learn to read when they are in first grade. 

In our classroom reading is part of almost everything we do.  It is an integral part of our day at school, just as it is in “the real world”.   Reading does not just happen when a book is taken off the shelf; nor does learning to read.  Reading takes place throughout the day in a variety of ways.  I read to the children, children read to me, the children read to themselves, and they read to each other.  We read for a variety of purposes: to gain information, for enjoyment, for instruction.  Singing songs, saying rhymes, listening and reading poems and stories all help children become competent readers, as they experience the sound and rhythm of language. Having conversations and listening and telling stories help build children's communication skills and expand their vocabulary, which helps them become readers.

Here are some examples of reading activities in a typical day
The day begins 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. This weeks poem:

"This Tooth"
by Lee Bennett Hopkins
I jiggles it
jaggled it
jerked it.

I pushed 
and pulled 
and poked it.


As soon as I stopped, 
and left it alone
This tooth came out
on its very own!

During Math, the children read instructions in their Singapore math books.

Quiet reading time is a lovely time of the day.  This reading time usually happens in the morning before lunch.  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 read books together. 

Every day I find time to read books to the children.  Even when children are competent readers, it is still important for them to be read to.  Reading to children exposes them to stories that are beyond their reading level and introduces them to literature they might not choose on their own.  As more sophisticated stories are read to them they become acquainted with more advanced vocabulary, story lines, and characters.

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.  Our "guest readers" activity also helps the other children practice being a respectful audience.

The best way to support your child's reading at home is to takes time out each day to read to your children and have your children read to you.

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