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Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

More Random Tidbits About Our Language Reading Teachers Should Know

I'm sharing more ideas that I learned from my LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) workshop from a couple of weeks ago. 

More Random Tidbits About Our Language That Reading Teachers Should Know:  How many of these facts might change your teaching of reading?

The instructor, Carol Tolman, was brilliant and inspiring!  She really knows her stuff! See the previous post HERE. Here are more of the things I learned from her:

1. First Grade Instruction:

First grade Reading/ Literacy Instruction should be 40% Word Work. The other 60% should be Guided Reading, Writing, Oral Vocabulary, Oral Comprehension, and Handwriting. The word work percentage goes down slightly through the grades as the children get older.

2. Handwriting:

Handwriting is 85% linguistics and 15% fine motor skills.

3. Phonological awareness

Fifty-two studies have proved that phonological awareness is essential for reading success.  Quite often we need to back struggling readers up to this point.  (Phonological awareness is the skills that we could do "in the dark", before we start matching sounds to letters.  This refers to "Which word has the same sound as a in hat?" or "Which word rhymes with log?"

4. Words ending in S

Rarely do word ends in a single s unless it's plural. That's why words like horse and house have the silent e.  If house were spelled hous, it would mean "more than one hou". I honestly can't think of any exceptions to this!

5. Words ending in J or V

Words rarely end in Jor V  either. That explains the spellings of words like have and huge. Final e has several purposes, besides making a vowel long.

6. Words with tch

The spelling tch typically occurs after a short vowel, with ch coming after a long vowel or "vowel team". There are a few exceptions like such and much, but most words follow this pattern. I never knew this, and I had a tch in my maiden name! (After a short vowel, of course!)

7. When to teach phonics

Phonics should be taught through 6th grade (or later, if needed). After 3rd grade, kids respond better when it's called Advanced Word Study or Linguistics, but it needs to be taught daily.

8. "Air writing"

When "air writing", have children start with their shoulders, not arm or hand.  This makes a bigger neuron trace in the brain.

Well there you go! 
How many of these did you know?
What "reading facts" can you add to this list?

More Random Tidbits About Our Language That Reading Teachers Should Know:  How many of these facts might change your teaching of reading?

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups

One of the toughest things about being a classroom teacher is keeping those other kids engaged and learning, so I can teach reading groups.  

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups: It can be tricky to find activities that will keep them engaged and learning, but not distracting to others. Here are some ideas!

Here are some of the things I have my students work on while I'm teaching groups:

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups: It can be tricky to find activities that will keep them engaged and learning, but not distracting to others. Here are some ideas!

1.  Independent Reading  

This is the most important one! They do need to read daily, and it should be books at their reading level. My students browse for books from our classroom library, and keep books in book bags for independent reading time. I also let them relax with pillows. I try to make Independent Reading the best part of the day... it should be! See this post for more about my Independent Reading: Relax and Read!

2.  Content Reading

This is a great time to read about other topics, like science or social studies topics! I'm sure you'll find plenty of books or resources they'll love!

3. Read With a Partner 

This is very motivational for the children, and I sometimes use it instead of Independent Reading. They do love anything social!

4.  Independent Writing  

We do have Writer's Workshop nearly every day, but some of the children really love some time to get some writing done during reading group time. Since writing is usually at the very end of the day, they tend to be more productive when they get a slot of time for writing in the morning. It's a win-win! Here's a fun resource that mine have always found super motivating: ABC Book.

5.  Word Work 

This is an opportunity to work on those phonics skills! I tend to keep my word work connected to skills and patterns that we are working on in the reading program, but many of my students also need lots of review on short and long vowels, rhyming words, word families, and, of course, sight words.  There are plenty of resources out there, or make your own! My students love to use their whiteboards, letter tiles, and manipulatives for their word work. Click the images below for links to Amazon. (Affiliate links.) 

6.  Literacy Games and activities

Literacy games and activities can include word work, comprehension skills, grammar practice, developing vocabulary, reader's theater, or any combination of these. Again, adding that social component motivates the children. Games are such a great opportunity to practice skills, and they keep the children engaged and happy! Here are a few my students have enjoyed: Word Work Games.

7.  Digital Task Cards  

Any type of task cards are perfect for this time of day, but I happen to be a big fan of Boom Learning Digital Task cards! The cards (digital or other) can practice work work, comprehension skills, grammar skills, thinking skills, or even social studies or science! You can make your own or use task card you've found. Here are some ideas: Combined Review Task Cards.

8. Read with a Teacher Assistant or Parent Volunteer 

I do have a few little ones with very short attention spans or who just need a little more guidance. These children really benefit from reading with an adult. The adults are encouraged to stop and chat about the story and encourage understanding as well as enjoyment.

9. Practice Handwriting Skills 

Sometimes they just have to focus on making the letters touch the lines in the right places! We are lucky enough to have Handwriting workbooks, but any paper will do! They can even practice handwriting skills on whiteboards or chalkboards. Try this self-directed Cursive Writing bundle!

10. STEM Activities

This is a wonderful time for children to focus on a STEM project given at another time of the day or perhaps simply explore some of their STEM materials! 

What do your students do while you're teaching reading groups?

Ten Things for Students to do While You're Teaching Reading Groups: It can be tricky to find activities that will keep them engaged and learning, but not distracting to others. Here are some ideas!

Three Quick Math Brain Activities

Teachers can do many quick things to activate the brain while teaching math. 

Remember, the brain needs movement and active engagement to activate those dendrites! 

Three Quick Math Brain Activities: Here are three quick ideas for getting children to think about math, while keeping the brain engaged.

Keeping things fun along with social interactions are putting the brain in the best place for learning to happen. Here are some tricks I use.
1. Skip Count beanie toss: Skip counting is big in second grade.  Beanie babies are huge in my class. gairs of children pick up a beanie and start counting. The children say a new count every time they catch the beanie. They keep going as high as they can until time is up.  This could be done with Math facts, too!

2. Musical Math Facts:  Work in groups of 4 or 5. Put one less fact card on the desk or table. As the music starts, they walk around the table. (Dancing is optional!) Works just like musical chairs, but when the music stops, each child picks up a math fact.  The last person to say the correct answer to his/ her fact becomes the "cheerleader". (I use cheerleader rather than loser, as I insist they say positive things to their classmates, even if they're out. I always remind the boys that, in my class, "cheerleader" doesn't mean wearing a short skirt and shaking pom poms, it means supporting their teammates.)  I like to have several groups going at once, since more kids are practicing more frequently, and it goes more quickly. The teacher can keep an eye on those kids that need more guidance. 

3. Calendar March:  My students need to practice the days of the week and the months of the year until they know them by heart. From their desk position, they all chant the months of the year and march in any direction. (Of course, I remind them to keep their distance from furniture and people.) Then I challenge them to return to their seat by marching to the Days of the Week. 

Of course, feel free to adapt any of these ideas to your own grade level. I use most of these as a warm-up at the beginning of math, or as a break to keep the brain focused.

Of course, these three activities can be adapted for anything that needs to be reinforced. Rather than skip counting, math facts, or days of the week, try the same activities for some other subjects. Here are some ideas:

  • Spelling: practicing their spelling words, or "igh" family words
  • Reading: Name all the characters in today's story, or tell the main events in sequential order.
  • Social Studies: Name the 7 continents, or name as many states as you can

The possibilities are endless. And this is only the beginning of brain-based learning in the classroom!

Three Quick Math Brain Activities: Here are three quick ideas for getting children to think about math, while keeping the brain engaged.

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research - This post connects recent brain research to learning to read with some helpful tips.
I've read so much about the brain based learning lately, I thought I'd share some tips that connect the two.
  1. Move:  Kids need to move.  The moving helps the brain build dendrites.  Dendrites help the parts of the brain connect, which helps the memory.  If the children involve moving as part of the learning, it helps the learning to stick.  I find the more movement, the better.  I use a lot of Brain Gym in my classroom, as well as lots of other types of movements, just to keep the dendrites flowing.  Little tasks such as "take a walk around your desk", or "touch each wall" are great for the little ones.  If combined with a skill ("say a short e word as you touch each wall") will help even more!
  2. Work together:  Social Interactions are important in learning.  In reading, it's important that these pairings are done at similar levels, if possible.  Sometimes I let the children choose partners, but more often than not, I assign partners.  (I do a lot of team building exercises the first few weeks so they are comfortable with each other, and understand their responsibilities as a partner.)  Children can read in pairs, or practice spelling words in pairs, or use new vocabulary words in pairs.  Sometimes I'll have the pairs teach each other something I just taught.  (Teach your partner what sequencing is.)
  3. Coping with stress: 
    Teach children to deal with stress.  Stress is unavoidable, it happens, even to children.  But it prevents learning, so we need to help the children cope with stress in acceptable ways.  I've done several yoga, guided imagery, and deep breathing exercises with the children.  One of my favorites with children is The Tree.  The children stand straight with their hands at their sides, and imagine they are a tree.  First, the children take a deep breath in, while raising their head, imagining they are facing the sun.  (I have to tell them, if I can hear the breath, it's too loud.)  Their hands should stay at their sides, focusing on the sun shining on their "leaves" as they take in the sun's energies.  Then they lower their heads and exhale slowly while they imagine the energy going out through their roots (toes) into the soil.  A few inhales and exhales and they are good to go!
  4. The Arts:  I've always been a fan of arts in the classroom, and the research supports this.  Arts help attention span as well as working memory.  I'm not just talking about visual arts (although I encourage these).  Arts also includes performing arts:  singing, dancing & movement, and acting.  Reader's Theatre, drawing or painting pictures to reflect parts of a story, or making up a song about the setting of a story are some ways to connect the arts to reading.
  5. Make 'em Laugh: 
    Emotions play a huge role in memory, especially happy emotions.  I've always been a big fan of humor in the classroom.  (I doubt I would have survived this long without it!)  As long as the children are happy, there's a better chance for learning to be happening.  I make sure many of my Read Alouds are humorous books.  There are plenty out there!  Robert Munsch is a favorite of mine, as well as many children.  (I LOVE The Paper Bag Princess!)  Here's another list to start: funny-read-alouds .
All in all, keep them happy, keep them busy, and keep reading to them.  Reading to children is the very best way to help children learn to read.
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