Adventures in Literacy Land: Kindergarten

Showing posts with label Kindergarten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindergarten. Show all posts

Six Summer Reading Tips

Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called KindergartenBy the end of the school year Kindergarteners have started to figure out how to read for themselves. They are voracious learners that are thinking of themselves as readers. How can you keep them reading when they go from this reading environment...
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
to this summer environment...
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Children who read during the summer gain reading skills. Create a summer full of reading with these 
six summer reading tips. 
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Go on Book Trips
Visit your local library or book store often during the summer. Make sure that young readers have their own library card and consider getting them a special book bag. Investigate summer reading programs at your local library and book stores. Sign up for a summer reading program. 
Scholastic Summer Reading Program
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program
Half Price Books Summer Reading Program
Be a Reader
If kids see adults reading they will understand the importance of reading. My  8th grade son and I still love to read side by side, especially during the summer. This summer I have been reading in these fun pajama pants.
Six summer reading tips for Kindergarten graduates. Follow these six simple summer reading tips to inspire little readers to read during the summer months. By Jonelle Bell/A Place Called Kindergarten
Schedule Time to Read
Swimming, camps, sports events, vacations and many other activities are fun things to do during the summer. It is important to help young readers fit reading into their busy summer schedule.  
Environment Full of Books
Make sure that early readers have a variety of reading materials on hand. They need their own copies of stories that they love along with a combination of informational text and storybooks or early chapter books. Subscribe to a children's magazine to give little readers something to look forward 
to reading every month. 
Read Together
Summer is a great time to read a chapter book to your little reader or practice your storytelling skills. Improvise with different character voices to 
make stories come alive. 
Be a Rainy Day Reader
The best thing to do on a rainy day is to read a book. Make a list of rainy day books so that you are ready when the clouds roll in. 
Happy Summer Reading!




                        
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Making writing stick!

Writing in Kindergarten can be such a daunting task at times.  So many kids have never been exposed to writing before.  Sometimes they don't even know how to hold a pencil!

In order to teach Kinders how to write a complete sentence, they also need to understand what a complete sentence is.  So often, students at this age speak in single words or phrases.  In my writing center, I combine these two skills and embed my sight word lessons into it at the same time!

While planning the order in which I teach sight words, I always try to make sure that we can use them to build sentences.  For example, the first sight words that I teach are "I" and "see."  This way we can use our new sight words to write a sentence, "I see ___."

Here is my list of the sight words that I use and the sentences that we create with them!


So on Monday, I introduce our new sight words.  We even practice reading a few sentences with these sight words in them.

On Wednesday, we do a shared writing. I give each student a word card to help them with building our sentences.  I have several word cards with different themes that are stuck in a folder with Velcro.  This way students can manipulate them when we get to center time.  Once each student gets a card, I have them take turns using the word in a complete sentence using our new sight words.  I write them down as they tell me.  We discuss spacing, capital letters, periods, etc, all while writing the sentences.  Once every student has a had a turn, we practice reading everything that we have written.



On Friday, each student writes their own sentence using our sight words and a word card that they have chosen.  They illustrate their picture and then we put them together into a class book.  Our book goes in our library so that our kids can read their own writing during library time!

The following week, during writing center, our students will practice building their sentences with word cards, writing them, and illustrating them!  They have gotten so good at sight words and writing with this center!







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Using Reader's Theater to Build Fluency

Many of my early readers read word by word, with little expression. I need to provide experiences for them to read more fluently and with proper phrasing and intonation. This will not only make their reading sound better, it will make the content more comprehensible. 

Read-alouds and shared readings allow teachers to model how fluent reading sounds and shapes the understanding of the text. 

Rereading stories helps students practice reading books on their independent reading level to improve their fluency and comprehension. 

During guided reading groups teachers can build fluency and support children’s expressive reading through choral reading, reading along with books on tape and reader’s theater.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
I love developing my students’ fluency skills using all of these strategies, but my favorite way to work on fluency and reading expression is reader’s theater. I first fell in love with reader’s theater when I read Sharon Taberski’s book Comprehension From the Ground Up and had the opportunity to meet her.  Since there were not many Reader’s Theaters for Kindergarten she encouraged me to write my own.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Reader’s theater helps readers develop fluency, build detailed retells and improves phrasing and expression when reading. Reading, speaking and listening are combined to make reading an engaging experience for my students. My students LOVE performing reader’s theaters and look forward to Theater Thursday when we break out the microphone for our weekly performance. Check out Comprehension From the Ground Up and consider adding reader's theater to your reading workshop.
 
Are You My Mother? from Jonelle Bell on Vimeo.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Check out more about Reader's Theater on my blog, 
A Place Called Kindergarten.
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When Whole Group Writing Transfers to Independent Writing


Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Isn't that every teachers dream?  

You do whole group lesson and after whole group lesson you want the students to transfer your whole group lesson to their independent journal writing.  Creating routines in kindergarten is as much about giving them tools, as it is about giving them time to practice the skill.  Our school system has adopted a new reading program and one of the writing lessons is persuasive writing.

Michelle Brinn, a fantastic kindergarten teacher, was tasked with 2 things:  Introduce your students to persuasive writing and do it in a 1/2 day kindergarten program.

We talked about how we could expose our youngest writers to persuasive writing and get it done in a 20 minute daily writing lesson.  Another obstacle in Michelle's lesson would be time.  She decided it would be a modeled writing, just to manage time.  We mapped a plan:
Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Monday

Decide what two items the students will compare.  The topic needs to be something that is easily understood...not every child will have opinions on soccer v baseball (of course, soccer is better) or whether summer or winter is the best season (of course, summer is better).  BUT they will probably have an opinion about whether dogs or cats are the better pet.

Tuesday

Talk about Option 1:  dogs.  What are 3 reasons dogs are great.  The students were eager to tell why their liked dogs, but we stuck with 3 ideas.  She asked them to keep all their other ideas for later in the post.

Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Wednesday

Talk about Option 2:  cats.  What are 3 reasons cats are better.  Once again, students were eager to share their ideas.  Students liked how cats were quiet.  

Thursday

The vote!  Students were asked to vote for their favorite pet.  They chose dogs (of course, they did).  Michelle asked for more reasons why dogs were the best choice.  Their ideas were fantastic.  

Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Friday

The wrap up!  Students were finally asked to write a closing sentence.  Michelle asked for MORE reasons dogs were chosen and the students came through with great ideas.

It was a success.

As a whole group writing lesson for the week, it was definitely a success.  The students were excited about pleading their case for why dogs were better than cats OR why cats were better than dogs.  BUT the really exciting part was getting ready to happen...

Independent Journal Time

With all the chatter and opinions about cats and dogs going on in her classroom, Michelle asked the students to write about it in their journals.  We were THRILLED with the results and I think you will be, too.
Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again:  Too often we give students excuses, instead of tools.  Michelle did a fantastic job of giving her students a tool for persuasive writing.  She gave them an easy plan...and time to practice. 

If you'd like a FREEBIE Persuasive Writing Card, click the image below.



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Already Ready

Years ago a friend of mine would host soup nights. She would make a few pots of soup (her mom’s beef stew was my favorite), the kids would run around and the adults would visit. Flash forward a few years and we were all too busy with our growing kids to have soup nights, but one of my soup night friends wrote a book about Preschool and Kindergarten writers. In 2008, Matt Glover published his first book with Katie Wood Ray. This book, Already Ready Nurturing Writers in Preschool and Kindergarten changed my teaching and classroom writing environment forever. Ray and Glover believe that children do not need to “get ready” to be readers and writers, but that they are already readers and writers. They believe that writing may be a better way to lead children’s literacy development than reading. I have found this to be true in my classroom. 
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.
Ways that writing has made my Kindergarten students 
become better readers…

Kindergarteners will write books about topics that interest them. When you present children with mentor texts that they can make connections to, they will write about their own experiences or knowledge and want to have that book in their book box.
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.
The writing workshop model builds stamina for writing and reading for long periods of time. The more they practice writing and reading the better they become at writing and reading.
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.
Using invented spellings transfers to confidence and phonetic skills that students use to stretch out words when reading. 
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.
It is difficult to make something if you don’t know anything about what it is you are trying to make. Developing an understanding about texts gets students excited about literature and gives them a deeper understanding of stories and how to write them. 
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.
Sharing the books children have made with others builds fluency skills and allows children to express their intended meaning…and they are reading. 
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.
When children buy into literacy activities it makes others want to join the club even before they know much about reading and writing.  Our littlest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. It is our job as teachers to inspire, support and lead them in the right direction. 
Read how writing workshop activities improve reading skills in Kindergarten. Writing workshop is a must in a Kindergarten classroom. Read how our youngest learners are already ready to be writers and readers. There is also a link to a great professional resource.


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Inspiring Little Readers

Hi! I am Jonelle Bell from A Place Called Kindergarten. I teach Kindergarten in Ohio and am a mom to 3 sons. (Both rewarding and challenging jobs.) I am excited to be joining Adventures in Literacy Land as it celebrates turning 2. 
I look forward to sharing my love of literacy with the readers of this blog.
Inspire Kindergarten students to think of themselves as readers by establishing reading routines at school and at home. Fill your Kindergarten classroom with lots of books and make connections to these books during reading workshop. Create a Kindergarten classroom of students that think of themselves as book lovers and readers.
My expertise comes from 25 years of teaching and learning from little readers. There is no greater joy as a Kindergarten teacher than to watch 5 and 6 year olds gain the skills needed to become readers. From phonemic awareness, alphabet knowledge, concepts of print, listening comprehension, vocabulary to decoding and comprehension every milestone is a cause for celebration. 
(Read more about these skills in Jessica Hamilton's post HERE.) The list of skills little readers need to build a reading foundation is long, but they also need to think of themselves as readers and make connections to books and authors to fall in love with reading. 

We start the year off with establishing reading routines at home and at school. At the beginning of the year many Kindergarteners do not think of themselves as readers and reading may not be a part of their routine at home. 

Here are some things that I do to inspire my little readers...

Develop Family Reading Routines
It is important for early readers to spend time reading and being read to. One of the first things that I do at the beginning of the year is help parents understand the importance of making reading a part of their daily routine. Read to Your Bunny is a great book to read during your parent information night at the beginning of the year to establish the importance of nightly reading. 
Inspire Kindergarten students to think of themselves as readers by establishing reading routines at school and at home. Fill your Kindergarten classroom with lots of books and make connections to these books during reading workshop. Create a Kindergarten classroom of students that think of themselves as book lovers and readers.
"Read to your bunny...and your bunny will read to you."
Create an Interest in Characters and Authors
I have a huge book collection in my classroom. Most of the books go untouched until we spend some time reading about a character, learning about an author and making connections stories. Then...watch out...there becomes a frenzy for that character or author book box. 
Inspire Kindergarten students to think of themselves as readers by establishing reading routines at school and at home. Fill your Kindergarten classroom with lots of books and make connections to these books during reading workshop. Create a Kindergarten classroom of students that think of themselves as book lovers and readers.
-keep your book area organized by your students' interest
-make finding books and putting books away manageable
-keep a list of characters and authors displayed and make connections to them
-buy several copies of class favorites like...
               
Make Connections to Books
Connecting 5 and 6 year olds to stores, characters and authors make for some interesting conversations. I had a conversation with a student about how he is afraid to go to sleep at night, but is making a plan just like Scardey Squirrel does to help him fall asleep. Priceless!
Inspire Kindergarten students to think of themselves as readers by establishing reading routines at school and at home. Fill your Kindergarten classroom with lots of books and make connections to these books during reading workshop. Create a Kindergarten classroom of students that think of themselves as book lovers and readers.
Read Favorites Again and Again
Both at home and at school you need to read little readers their favorite stories again and again and again. During read to self I love hearing retells of Goldilocks or Pigeon stories, especially from my struggling learners. They are able to do this because we have read those stories several times. 
Inspire Kindergarten students to think of themselves as readers by establishing reading routines at school and at home. Fill your Kindergarten classroom with lots of books and make connections to these books during reading workshop. Create a Kindergarten classroom of students that think of themselves as book lovers and readers.
Readers and Book Lovers
I call my students readers and book lovers all throughout the year after we establish what it means to be a community of readers and book lovers. 

A community of readers is a place where children...
-want to read every day
-refer to themselves as readers
-choose books thoughtfully
-handle books carefully
-share favorite books with their peers

I love teaching literacy skills and inspiring my little readers! 
It is my hope that they will leave Kindergarten with the confidence to continue to think of themselves as readers and book lovers as they continue to grow in the area of literacy throughout school.
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How to Make Your Kinders and Firsties Reading Rockstars with RTI


Do the very letters R-T-I have you freaking out?  Do your palms feel sweaty and is your heart racing? Well, you are probably not alone if this is the case, but I am hoping that your life in kindergarten and first grade will become just a little easier after I lay out a few RTI ideas for you. 

RTI can be a little overwhelming to navigate, but this post explains how to make it work for you and your students without losing your mind.

For our beginning readers (who are likely emergent at this point), there are several core skills to master, and here they are...
Letter Name Recognition 
(Upper and Lowercase)
Letter Sounds
Rhyme
Concept of Word
Sightword Recognition
and 
Word Building with Short Vowels
You may be thinking, "Yeah, that's great, but what do we do to make sure they know these?" Well, we start with identifying what they know, what's in progress, and what's unknown. You may be required to use an assessment from your division or maybe you've created one of your own. If not, the assessment set below would work well for your beginners. Parts of it may not be useful at this time of the year, but you may be able to use pieces of it as a probe for your students as they learn the skills or as part of your progress monitoring. This assessments includes all but the sightword recognition part, but I am going to direct you to a great website that has all you need for sightwords. The School Bell has been around a long time (at least 10 years I think).  [Here] is the link to the [Dolch Kit] which presents the Dolch words from highest frequency of use to lowest, activities and games for the word lists, assessment materials, and more.  


Once you've screened your students, you'll want to rank the results and identify who is lagging with each of the skills and target them. By ranking, you'll be able to form your groups. You'll want to focus the greatest amount of your time on your bottom quartile kids. If you have assistants who work with you regularly or parent volunteers who are able to tutor, charge them with the task of addressing these specific needs with your struggling student(s).  If you set it up in a gamelike format, your little people will enjoy this special attention which will also help you move them along the reading continuum. Of course, you too will want to focus on these skills in your guided reading time too.

Lesson Time
With your targeted students, you'll want to spend about twenty minutes (in 5 minute increments) to address letter names and sounds, rhyming, Concept of Word, sightwords, and writing during their guided reading time daily (tier1). With quick moving lessons, you will be surprised how much you can get done in these short snippets of time.  Activities you use could included the following:
  • Letter Names/Sounds-Magnetic letters, Name puzzles, Matching letter and picture with beginning sound, sorting fonts, matching upper and lowercase letters, I Spy   
  • Rhyme-Sorting pictures, Matching pictures that rhyme, poems, I Have. Who has?, Rhyme bingo, and word family work.
  • Concept of Word (COW)-nursery rhymes and simple four line poems, cutting apart sentences and putting them back together, highlighting the space between words, placing touch points below words. and lots of modeling.
  • Writing-draw and label, copying tasks, name writing, and framed sentences
  • Sightwords-use the COW time to focus on sightwords in context.  
If you are in need of go-to materials, I have developed three sections of a growing RTI kit.  So far, I've completed the Letter Names and Sounds Section, Rhyme Time, and the Concept of Word Bundle. Here's a preview of each:
 
The letter/sound kit includes 70 pages of lesson directions and activities, and the rhyming kit includes 58 pages.  All of the activities are set up to be fun and interactive for tutoring sessions or small group.

Includes 40+ poems that will last all year long
Scheduling
RTI is a team approach including the regular classroom teacher, paraprofessionals, reading specialists and special educators. The classroom teacher is responsible for tier 1 instruction (your core instruction).  This includes both whole and small group lessons within the classroom.  Tier 2 instruction is typically provided by an interventionist in a "push-in" or "pull-out" format, and for those still not progressing, tier 3 instruction is offered in a very small group of 1-3 students per teacher. Tier 3 instruction is best when it's provided by a certified teacher or specialist, but if this is not available, the classroom teacher may be asked to provide tutoring time. Schedules are best determined by the individual schools where the "big picture" includes available personnel, the daily routine, and numbers of students needing assistance.  [This powerpoint] is very well done and explains the scheduling process well. It is so important that there is team planning. Those not needing tier 2 or tier 3 instruction should be involved in enrichment activities during the enrichment/remediation block.
Progress Monitoring
Once you've got your routine established, the final step is to make sure you monitor your students' progress.  With tier 2 students, you will need to assess with an assessment every other week and with tier 3 students, you'll assess weekly. Once mastery is demonstrated, regroup or move to the next lagging skill. 
For more information...
There are many great blog posts on this topic out, so if you're looking for information for older readers or more on beginners, you might check out the following blogs and posts.  These ladies are much more knowledgeable on this topic than I.   

Button  Button  

As I mentioned, I am still learning too.  I hope that this helps give you a few ideas to work with to help your beginning readers.  

If you have a successful RTI program in place, it would be wonderful to hear more from you.  Please take a moment and share your experiences.



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