Adventures in Literacy Land: Concept of Word

Showing posts with label Concept of Word. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Concept of Word. Show all posts

Fun with Christmas Carols!

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea here from Reading Toward the Stars with some quick and easy ideas for using seasonal songs in your classroom.

I have been working with my kindergarten students with gaining concept of word.  This is something that our current reading program lacks, and it is heavily assessed throughout the year.  This past week we worked on using the song "Jingle Bells" for concept of word practice.  They used bingo markers to put marks under the words in the poem.

After doing that, we counted the words in each line and went back and read the poem, while they pointed to the dots as we said each word.

After reading through the poem, they then looked for various letters in the poem and marked them.

They really had fun with this and can't wait for the next poem.

This week with my older students, we are going to work on reading Christmas songs and not singing them.  This helps with fluency practice since the students have to attend to the words and think about what they are reading.

I am going to use my Fluency with Christmas Carols with them to help them with this.  We will READ the songs. Then they can fill in the blanks with words from the songs to practice.  You can grab this freebie by clicking {here} or on the picture below.

How do you use holiday songs in your classroom?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Counting Words in Sentences

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars here with a a fun and easy to do activity to help with

I am so glad that all of our beginning of the year literacy assessments are complete!  That means I can actually enjoy working with students, my favorite part of my job!

One of our reading program's biggest weaknesses is helping students gain concept of word, an essential skill for learning to read.  {Check our Carla's post on COW by clicking here.}  With kindergarten, I start with that during week 1 because these students really need it!

So many times the students I work with have never been read to until they enter school.  Some, surprisingly, have never been exposed to words!  This baffles me as I spend my days and nights immersing my own children in reading.  It seems like a simple concept, but some families find it hard.  As a reading specialist, it is my job to close the gap!

One of the things I start with to help students understand that sentences are made of words is a simple activity ~ Counting Words in Sentences.  To do this the teacher reads aloud a sentence to the students.  The students use cubes or counters and slide them up for each word they hear in the sentence.  It is all done orally by the teacher, and the students listen.

Here it is in action in my classroom!
We start out with our counters on our boards.
We move the tiles up for each word in the sentence.
This sentence has 3 words in it!

I always start off with three word sentences and work my way up to sentences with up to 10 words.  This is a great way to help students understand that what we say is made up of separate words, so what we read is made up of words as well.  It builds a connection between the spoken word and the written word.

To try this out with your students, you can grab a copy of my Counting Words Boards freebie by clicking {here} or on the picture below.

How do you help your students make the connection between the spoken and written word?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Developing a Concept of Word with Emergent Readers

Hello from Comprehension Connection!  Today's post is aimed at the Emergent Reader and will hopefully provide some help and guidance for the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten teacher.  The specific topic is how to develop a concept of word (COW) in young readers. I chose this topic after requesting input from my Facebook readers on the types of activities that are used in the regular classroom to work on this skill and how much time is devoted to it.  Interestingly, there were misunderstandings on exactly what Concept of Word meant.  Many understood it to be matching speech to print or being able to track.  However, Concept of Word is a bit more than this, and it is *the* sign that an emergent reader has become a beginning reader.  

What is a Concept of Word?
A Concept of Word (COW) is the culmination of a student's automatic knowledge of letter sounds, his/her ability to isolate the beginning consonant sound, match spoken word to the print and realizing that words are separated by space, and remember words in isolation that have been previously taught. A student's COW develops in stages.  
Developing Concept of Word

The student shows following at each stage:
1.  Has left to right directionality, but no word awareness. Writing looks like squiggles across page.
2.  Points along with stressed units (syllables or words, but does not differentiate).  Writing begins to include some letters, but they are random.
3.  Points to words and says syllables. Writing begins to include beginning sounds of words.

Rudimentary Concept of Word Development

The student is approaching the beginning reader stage when he/she:
4.  Points to words and begins to self correct when he/she gets off track. Writing now includes beginning and ending sounds, but may not include vowels.

Firm Development of a Concept of Word

The student has reached the beginning reader stage when he/she
5.  Demonstrates accurate tracking of print.  Writing includes space between words and short vowel words include beginning, middle, and ending sounds. The reader in the video below is not completely  firm, but very close.

How Can Teachers Work to Develop COW With Students?

The first step with Concept of Word Instruction is to teach the poem to the students.  They need to have the poem memorized, so that they can accurately match the memorized words to the print they see. Teachers can use pictures that represent the text or hand motions with common nursery rhymes and finger plays.

Check out this informational post demonstrating how to develop a concept of word with emergent readers. Includes video modeling and a free COW poem to print and use.
What follows is the fun part for me!  The best way to develop COW is by playing with words, sentences, and a large assortment of pointers.  I mean really...don't we all love swinging around a light saber once in a while??  The pointers in the greatest demand in my room are most definitely my light sabers, but magic wands are very popular too. I also recommend flyswatters of various designs. They are perfect for boxing individual letters or for finding sightwords.

When working with my kinders on pointing, I place a touch point under each word.  I discovered this tip when I downloaded freebies from .  I downloaded short vowel word cards for a game that included a dot under each sound.  (perfect for blending, but that's for another post).  Anyway, I transferred that technique to developing COW.  As we continue to develop COW, I put my students more and more into leveled books.  I continue to use this strategy with projected books on Reading A to Z and with other powerpoint resources I've made.  If you are a primary teacher, Reading A to Z is a subscription that is well worth the price.   The projectable feature has been very beneficial to my students for modeling and practice, but there are many other resources for beginning readers available on the site.  You can explore that further {here}.

Check out this informational post demonstrating how to develop a concept of word with emergent readers. Includes video modeling and a free COW poem to print and use.Matching words in isolation to words in context is another activity that fosters an understanding of print. Teachers can use different fonts with the word cards.  Using Dolch words with various games helps students to identify them in context too and helps students recognize when their tracking is off.
Marie Clay refers to Concept of Word as "Reading the White Space", and this activity has helped my students recognize this.  I model how to separate words by cutting between them like pulling apart puzzle pieces.  In fact, we often take the pieces, mix them up, and reorganize them to make the individual words become the line of the poem.

Check out this informational post demonstrating how to develop a concept of word with emergent readers. Includes video modeling and a free COW poem to print and use.

After we have worked a few days with the sentences strips and words in isolation, I transfer my students to the book form.  With the book form of the poems, I spend time on letter identification, sighword identification, using picture clues, and even comprehension.  The children enjoy highlighting, boxing, underlining, and marking with mini stickies features I ask.  In the pictures below, you can see where we highlighted sightwords (I normally call it, "I Spy" which means it's a game).  We also mark by boxing around the letters by name and sound.

Even though comprehension is the focus with instructional readers, emergent and beginning readers need modeling of comprehension skills too.  After all, as students begin to read, they need to understand the meaning in order to cross check their accuracy.  For beginning readers, the picture clues provide a support to this understanding.  Teachers can have students "read" the text and decide what is missing in the picture. Above, you can see the apple before coloring and after.  The apple in the picture needed to be colored in order to accurately match the print.  
For this picture, teachers might ask,
 "How can you tell she loves to eat apples?"
For this picture, the teacher might ask students
 to connect the picture to the words that describe it.
With my students, I typically work with a poem for a 3-5 days depending on the poem's difficulty. The last thing I do with my students is give them the poem on a single sheet.  We practice reading without the aid of touch points, highlights, boxes, etc.  I have them prepare the poetry page for their keepsake book, and as the year goes, the poems we use increase in difficulty.  Our kindergarten teachers use thematic teaching, so the poems I choose to use with my groups typically parallel what is happening in the regular classroom.  I do not use the same poems in my room though because I try to provide them with new experiences to build upon skills that are developing in the classroom.  Plus, new poems keep the learning fresh and fun.
Check out this informational post demonstrating how to develop a concept of word with emergent readers. Includes video modeling and a free COW poem to print and use.
If you'd like to add this poem to your COW collection, feel free to download your own copy using the image below which shows what is included.  I also have a yearly bundle for $20.00 that includes 39 COW sets.
Pin for Later:
Check out this informational post demonstrating how to develop a concept of word with emergent readers. Includes video modeling and a free COW poem to print and use.
Now, readers, it is your turn.  Please share the clever ways you work on these skills or any observations you have made with your students.  Have a great start to the school year, and thanks for visiting today.