Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Great (sight) Word Race

I found this fun printable from Reading and it has quickly become L's favorite way to practice his sight words during our "Beyond ABC's" learning time. I printed out the game board and put it in a page protector in his binder to use with dry erase markers, so we can play it over and over again with different words. 

L doesn't even realize that he is practicing his graphing skills, too. And, his number recognition skills (from using the die). Oh, and his fine motor skills (coloring in the boxes). I think I love this activity as much as he does! 


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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

15 Minute Lesson: "I See A...on the farm"

15 Minute Beyond ABC's Lesson for I See A... on the Farm

Learning Materials: 
  • Print and assemble this farm mini book for your child's reading level; preK, K or grade 1. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page that I linked and you will find the page templates to open and print.)
  • Print this activity sheet that goes along with the book. (There are other activities sheets for the book, but this is the one I would choose to use with my own son. You may use all the sheets, or none of the sheets and substitute with another activity of your choosing.)
  • crayons

Word Working Skill: Sight Words
PreK level book: I, see, a 
K level book: live, on, a
Grade 1 level book: have, name(d)

Decoding Skill: Use picture clues to decode content words (horse, chicken, cow, etc.)

Comprehension Skill: 1) Recall of facts presented in the text. 2) Using prior knowledge to connect to the text. 

How to Divide your 15 Minutes:

You will have to choose which skill to really focus on. If your child is a pro at reading the sight words but is really struggling on the content words, then spend more time on talking them through the decoding strategy. If he can read the book without a single error but can't recall a single animal that was named, then spend more time rereading the book and discussing the text.

Before Reading:
Introduce the sight words and practice with them a bit. You can do this any way you'd like. Play a short memory game with the words, have your child trace the words with different color crayons, paint the words, build the words with letter tiles, whatever!

Show your child the book cover and ask him what he thinks the book will be about. Read the title to him and ask him if he has ever visited a farm. "What did you see when you went to the farm?" Do a "picture walk," just looking and discussing what you see in the pictures without actually reading the book. Your child may point to words here and there and read them. That is okay, but gently redirect his attention back to the pictures and your discussion.

During Reading:
Set a purpose for reading by telling your child that when he gets to words he does not know how to read, then he should look at the pictures for help. Model this throughout his reading. Try your very best to not just tell him words that he misses or correct his errors. If he does not correct his own errors, say something like, "Now, does that make sense?" Or, "Is that what you see in the picture?"

After Reading:
Praise him for reading the entire book on his own. Praise, praise, praise! We love to celebrate when we finish a new book. Then, ask your child to retell what he read in the book. What animals live on the farm? Complete the activity sheet that goes along with this book.

Extension Activity: (If you have time left, or want to spend more time.) Have your child draw a picture and write 1-2 sentences about a time he went to the farm, or what he would like to see if he were to visit a farm. If your child is a pre-writer, then have him dictate his sentences for you to write.

Remember, these 15 minutes that you spend teaching your child how to read is not the only time that he will spend learning each day. These 15 minutes are meant for direct one-on-one instruction of a reading skill or strategy. Have fun exploring other farm books, crafts and activities throughout the week, in addition to the other play-based learning your child does.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Simple Glue Ornaments

Yes, craft projects are literacy related. They allow the child to practice his fine motor skills, as well as develop listening and speaking skills (listening to and following directions, sequencing, etc.). 

Big L had a friend over to play this day, so we decided to try out this idea that I got from Play at Home Mom LLC

  • wax or parchment paper
  • hot glue gun
  • elmer's glue
  • food coloring (if you want to tint the glue)
  • gems, glitter, or any other embellishments
  • string, ribbon or plastic lacing cord

Make an outline of the shape you want to make with hot glue on wax or parchment paper. Let dry. Now, your child has a space to fill with elmer's glue. Let him squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, making sure there are no empty spots left. If he goes outside the line, that's okay. You can trim it off when it's dry. 

Embellish your ornaments with gems, glitter, whatever you want or have on hand in your craft supplies.  Let dry for at least 1 day, depending on the thickness of the glue. 

Peal the dried glue off of the wax paper. Trim around the edges to make them look a little cleaner. Punch a hole in the top and add string or lacing cord to hang. We hung them from our chandelier with fake spider webbing. 

We can't wait to play around with this craft some more, changing the shapes, colors, embellishments. I think it'll be a while before this one gets old. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

PART 3 Beyond ABC's: Teaching Your Child to Read in Just 15 Minutes a Day

You've read PART 1: Getting Organized, so you now have a handy-dandy notebook and a place to keep all your teaching/learning materials.

You've read PART 2: Ongoing Assessments, so you know exactly which sight words your child knows, his level of phonemic awareness, his reading level (if he's reading at all), and his comprehension ability.

Now, you are ready to teach...

PART 3: Planning Lessons.

When planning lessons for my child, or for any student that I tutor for reading, I aim to include all 5 components of reading into each lesson. However, only one skill from one component will be my focus during a single lesson. You only have 15 minutes to really focus your instruction, so don't try to cram too much in all at once.

Some examples of what your lesson focus could be:
  • a decoding strategy, (i.e., using the picture to figure out an unfamiliar word)
  • a phonics rule (long a words, short a words, beginning sounds, etc.)
  • a phonemic awareness lesson (rhyming words, alliteration, etc.)
  • a comprehension skill (retelling, sequencing, etc.)
The list can be infinite, but these are just a couple examples to get you thinking. Of course, the skill or strategy that you teach will depend on what your child needs to be taught. How will you know what he needs to be taught? From your ongoing assessments. If you haven't administered any assessments, then you seriously need to do so.

Every single lesson that you teach should include a book. Every. Single. One. This is just a little neuroses of mine. Whenever I observed a teacher in the classroom teaching a small reading group, I expected to see, I don't know, something for the children to read, perhaps? Sure, you can teach a very effective lesson without a book, but what is the point if you remove the one element that gives purpose to your lesson? That's like teaching someone to swim without going in the water. Just let your child dive into a book and practice what you are teaching him! If he's not reading on his own yet, then read the book to him.

I like to focus my entire 15 minutes around the book I am using. I carefully select a book that is not only ability-level appropriate, but fitting for the skill or strategy I am teaching.

Confused, yet? Let me show you what this would look like in action....

Book: How Frogs Grow (Fountas and Pinnell reading level C)
Lesson focus: Sequencing (a comprehension skill)

Before Reading:
Remind the child that he read this same book the day before. (Yes, you may revisit books!) Ask him what he remembered about the book, and engage in a casual discussion for a couple of minutes. Review content vocabulary: eggs, tadpole, froglet, frog.

During Reading:
Set a purpose for reading by telling the child that you want him to pay attention to the order of events. Which comes first, second, third, fourth? Have the content vocabulary written on index cards and display them in from of the reader as a reference.

After Reading:
Ask the child to put the content vocabulary words in sequential order, matching them to illustrations from the book. (Eggs, tadpoles, froglets, frogs) Have the child dictate a sentence for each word while you write the child's sentences on a piece of paper divided into four sections. Then ask him to draw his own illustrations for the sentences.

"Eggs are in water. Tadpoles come out. Froglets have legs and tails. Their tails get smaller and smaller. Now they are frogs."

I'll post more of my lessons in subsequent posts. But, in the meantime, figure out what your child needs to be taught and start teaching!

Have a question or comment? Leave it below. Or, find me on Facebook.

Also, check out this post and many, many other awesome ideas on Living Life Intentionally's Linky Party #50.