Adventures in Literacy Land: creating life-long readers

Showing posts with label creating life-long readers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creating life-long readers. Show all posts

Make Reading Fun!

Hi! This is Heather from Campfire Curriculum with Helpful Heather.  Can we all agree that students who are motivated and engaged will become better readers?  If we want students to be motivated, we must be too!  If we want students to be engaged in activities linked to reading, we must be too!  I hope that this post renews your love for literacy and puts a little pep in your step!  Happy Fall Ya'll!!!
Can we all agree that students who are motivated and engaged will become better readers?  If we want students to be motivated, we must be too!  If we want students to be engaged in activities linked to reading, we must be too!  I hope that this post renews your love for literacy and puts a little pep in your step!  Happy Fall Ya'll!!!

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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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Teachers as Reader Role Models

Friday was my last day of school for this year and I am already thinking about plans for next year.  This school year I started a new role in a new school as a math coach and in an effort to learn more about the math content, I have left many of my reading coach thoughts behind.  However, next year I want to do my part in creating a community of readers in my school.  One of my favorite ways to show students that I was a reader was to show them exactly what I was reading.  I didn't take pictures of how I did this :(  However, I did find pictures of what my fabulous high school teacher/academic coach friend did, and I can't wait to share with you her display.  Her display put mine to shame.


Let's take a look at each part of her display in detail.  At the time, Mrs. Stone taught ninth grade English for two periods to a group of students she had been teaching since the sixth grade.  Each year she looped up with her students.  They had formed a very special bond with her.  She spent the rest of her day being a master teacher (academic coach) to the other teachers in the high school.


She, like myself, was always reading more than one book at a time.  In order to keep up with what was current and be able to recommend books to her students, she read a lot of young adult fiction.  Not mention that we both LOVE reading young adult fiction books!  I love how she printed miniature versions of the book covers to use instead of just listing a title.  Book covers are works of art themselves and I love showcasing them.  They are first impression students have of the book.


Using book covers again, she listed the books that were in her TBR (to be read) pile.  Her students had lists in their notebooks of books they were interested in next and hers was just a visual representation of that list.  The students liked to see what she would be picking from next and the list also encouraged the students to check out the books themselves.


Once she finished reading a book, she moved the book cover from "is reading" to "has read."  She would then give book talks on the books and the line would begin of students wanting to check that book out.


At the beginning of each quarter, Mrs. Stone had a conference with each student and helped them set a personal reading goal.  The goals were set in terms of number of pages read, not number of books.  Students kept this tracking form in their notebooks.  Students were not competing against each other; they were working on meeting their own individual goal.  The student completed the title and page number section.  Mrs. Stone would then initial the completed column after they showed her in some fashion that they comprehend what they read.  I really liked the progress bar at the bottom.  Once a goal was set (hers was 3000 pages), the students divided the goal by four (750 for her) and set smaller goals on the way to completion of the major goal.  As students neared the completion of their goal, they colored in the progress bar so they would have a visual of how far they had come.

This post is dedicated to Mrs. Stone.  She is still working at my last school and I miss working with her on a daily basis.  She is a true inspiration.  She cares deeply for her students and inspires them to take their reading to new heights.



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Building Confidence In The Struggling Reader

 
 
 
 


Hi everyone! Emily here, from The Reading Tutor/OG. I'm excited to share with you in this brand new year! Today, I'm going to open a discussion. Many of us work with challenged or struggling readers every day. As a classroom teacher, you recognize how vital it is to reach out and help these students not only experience success, but to develop a love of reading.

I work specifically with struggling readers and the challenge for them to gain success is ever present. Reading the written word is a constant reminder of their struggle. And yet they keep on keepin' on. When a lesson is especially tough or you've been working with this child or group on a strategy or skill for what may seem like forever, what pushes them to remain steadfast? What keeps them encouraged and confident?

I've surveyed a group of teachers and teacher bloggers, asking them to share some of their advice. They came up with some great suggestions! At the end of this post, please comment with any ideas you may have. Thank you!

~Ways To Build Confidence~
  1. Nicole: "Small realistic measurable goals. Keep a graph and celebrate growth . We have a wall of fame...kids earn an index card brick upon making a goal. They also wear a lanyard for the day that has a sign saying "I met goal! ASK ME ABOUT IT! ". Staff and students ask and they are happy to talk about their success."
  2. Michelle: "Students are responsible for completing a reading response journal entry each week. I praise well written entries and the student has the option of reading them aloud to the class. Praise goes a long way and often my strugglers have excellent examples to share with the class."
  3. Zanah: "I have done reader's theatre to build the confidence of my struggling readers. They love to put on the play for their friends. I can see a big difference in them after they have a part in the play. We do 1-2 every quarter."
  4. Meg: "Personal shopper" experiences...I make "dates" with kids to go to the library for one on one shopping. They love it. I really think that when they read just right books and learn to love reading, so much takes care of itself. I also really try to touch base with them daily as to their nighttime reading, ask them about their books, etc--make that personal connection to show them that I care about their reading...and it usually rubs off on them. I also like to send happy emails/notes home when they finish books or do great things--because families can be HUGE players in this--helpful or NOT helpful!
  5. Brian: "Every year I have at least 6 students who are at least one-two levels below grade level. Many of these students come from homes that do not have a lot of books in them. When I send book orders home, I talk with those children individually and ask them what books they like. Then I purchase them, and set them aside for those students."
  6. Debbie: "I have my struggling readers read to students in lower grades. We go to the library and pick out books that the "younger students" would like….and they also happen to be books that the struggling readers will be able to read more easily. The younger kids are so excited to hear stories from the "big kids" and my struggling readers feel like super stars!"
  7. Lauren: "Selecting books that are at their easy level once a week, selecting books for small group that you know they are interested in and asking students for their choices, allowing choice in take-home books, stickers for first graders, genuine praise and lots of it, happy notes to the classroom teacher and to parents, doing cheers like a round of applause for each other, wearing a "reading expert" hat back to the classroom after reading group, reviewing their reader's log to see how much they have read, reviewing goals and celebrating when they accomplish them, inviting the principal in to observe and to praise and encourage. Just a few I can think of off the top of my head."
  8. Deniece: "A teachers can be a great encourager. Tracking fluency growth in second grade and up helps show progress."
  9. Stacy: "They also love to read to younger students. So, pairing with a younger book buddy."
  10. Carla: "I think one way to build confidence is to find work that is done well from the children to highlight. I agree with Stacy on pairing with younger readers. Reading to a furry friend is a fun way to ease anxiety and improve fluency. We have a therapy dog visit once a week."
  11. Jenny: "Letting them go back to a book from the beginning of the year, and seeing how much easier it is. It's especially powerful to record their reading and let them hear the difference.  I also have them graph their progress- fluency, sight words, level, etc. You do have to be careful about that with fluency (progress but not speed reading!) but some way of seeing growth is so important."
  12. Melissa: "I tell my students to "kiss their brains" when they've done amazing work."
  13. Amanda: "I have a "CHEER" box... when my students do something great we pull a popsicle stick with the name if a cheer or chant... we do it together. It is a great way to bring large muscles into it."
  14. Emily: "I believe, encouragement, praise, enthusiasm, positivity, and trusted patience will help a teacher cross the bridge to any struggling reader." Taking the time to listen, find out their interests, what makes them uncomfortable about reading, and building a strong parental line communication is key. 
Thank your for visiting Literacy Land today. I want to extend a special thank you to all my teacher blogger friends for providing me with  their wonderful suggestions. This post was truly a team effort. Have a great weekend. I'm looking forward to reading your comments!
  
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Reading Aloud with Children

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Well, at least for youngsters who love to read!

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars with good reasons to read with young children daily and encourage parents to do the same!

Studies show that reading aloud to children, especially young children, has a great impact on reading development.  Children who are read to for at least 20 minutes each day actually have been shown to perform higher in kindergarten classrooms than those who don't get that reading time.

I remember learning all of this when getting my Masters, which was something I had never really thought about.  I thought my mom just read to us because she enjoyed it, much like I do now.  The graphic below gives a perfect picture of how reading helps children's vocabulary grow so much.  Which student is going to have the best advantage as reader?

This is true of students who have been read to as well.  Their vocabulary is much higher than those students who have not been read to.

There are many other benefits to reading with your own children (or grandkids, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or even younger siblings).

1.  It helps them learn new vocabulary.  My daughter loves to read the same books over and over and over and over.  We have read the book Freight Train by Donald Crews a million times.  From this book, she has learned her colors and cars on a train.  She can even recite the words in the book.  Such a simple book with a simple message!
2  It teaches directionality.  When you read with a young child, they watch your every move!  They seem to know which page you are on, no matter what.  I have started to point to the words as I read books with my two-year old, and she follows along with me.  Now when she "reads" a book on her own, she looks at the words in a left to right fashion.

3.  Reading aloud aids in comprehension.  Now that my son is in the fifth grade, I still read aloud to him.  Right now we are in the midst of the Harry Potter series.  Since there are no pictures, he has to visualize everything in the book for himself.  When he watched the movie six weeks after finishing the first book, he actually noticed the differences.  It shows me how much he was paying attention to the contents of the book!

4.  Children can ask questions, lots of them!  By nature, children are curious.  So, when reading aloud to them, they can stop and ask questions about what is happening in the book, on their own terms.  In school, the teacher doesn't always stop for questions because there may not be enough time.  While reading the Harry Potter books, my son doesn't always ask the questions right at the moment we are reading.  He asks in the car, in the grocery store, at dinner, and any old time.  Many times he is predicting and wants the answer, but I always tell him that we will have to keep reading!

I have always read aloud to my two kids, since before they were born.  Yes, I was that mom!  My parents read aloud to each of us every single night for as long as I can remember.  As I became a Mom, I realized the importance of reading with my children for at least 20 minutes each day.  And it has worked beautifully!
My son reading to my daughter

Reading with your children, or any children you know, creates readers.  They learn at an early age that reading can be fun and exciting.  They understand that it takes you to places you can only imagine.  They BECOME readers!

Reading aloud doesn't always have to happen at the same time, just make it happen every day!  And what a better time to start than right now!

So, what books do you like to read aloud?







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Motivating Big Kids and Teens to Read

Hello, Literacy Land readers!  It's Lauren here today from Teacher Mom of 3 to continue a collaborative discussion about motivating readers and sustaining that momentum. Last month I shared my tips for Motivating Our Littlest Readers. You can read that post here.







Today, I want to share ideas and professional reading suggestions to keep the spark alive with older readers- those in grade three and above.  Some of you may not know that I have spent roughly half of my twenty-five years in education working with students in grades 6-12.  Although much has changed since I first stepped into my classroom back in 1989, one constant remains:  kids of all ages are wired to learn, are curious, and want and need to see purpose and authenticity in their learning.

As literacy teachers, we want to ignite the spark and fan the flame to create life-long readers. Miller and Gallagher state that "The highest priority is to create lifelong readers".  But what happens when the spark that was ignited in the early elementary years wanes?  Just the other day, one of my dearest friends who teaches eighth grade ELA, stated that her struggling readers see no purpose in reading.  They are burned out by the time they get to her classroom from reading to prepare for the "big test".  They see no joy in reading.  In the book Readicide by Kelly Gallagher, he states, "Students are taught that the reason they should become readers is to pass a test" (p.17).  Jeffrey Wilhelm, author of You Gotta BE the Book shares that we must help students to pursue reading in a personally, meaningful way.  In addition, Smith and Wilhelm found that boys, especially, want to understand the value of reading and need a reading purpose that relates to their lives.

But how do we as teachers accomplish this?  How can we create passionate readers and share with parents the importance of continuing to encourage their children to read at home?





Here are a few ideas that research supports and that I have found to work in my classroom.




Tips for Teachers:  Creating Passionate Readers

  • Before we can help unmotivated readers, we need to find out why they are reluctant to read.  Is it because they are struggling readers, reading below grade level?  Is it because they are are not interested in the texts we use in the classroom?  Are they burned out from too much test prep and lack an understanding of the importance of reading?  Do they see no joy in reading?  Is it because the way we are presenting, teaching, structuring our lessons does not appeal to their learning style?  Once we determine the why and diagnose the issue, then we can work to remediate.

  • How do we accomplish this?  I suggest using interest surveys, learning styles assessments, Multiple Intelligence surveys, and student conferences.  Laura Candler has some free resources for determining students' learning styles and interests.  Check out free printable forms here and here to get started.

  • Gallagher recommends that we use the 50/50 approach when planning our reading instruction.  That is, 50% of reading in the classroom should be recreational, independent, student-selected reading.  The other 50% should be academic reading. Gallagher shares that if we are only doing academic reading, we will not develop life-long readers ( p. 109).  He goes on to say that "Kids who do the most recreational reading become the best readers" (p. 42).

  • Make sure that every student has a book to take home and read for fun that they have selected and that they have an invested interest in. This is the single most important issue in our quest to develop readers (Gallagher, p. 46).

  • Implement teacher and student Book Talks, Graffiti Walls, flexible reading groups, literacy circles, and acknowledge all types of reading as important including magazines, digital texts, audio texts, manuals of how to fix things or to figure out how things work, or reading about how things work. Be passionate and enthusiastic in sharing your own reading experiences. Allow for student choice and time for reading in the classroom.




Of course, this is just a starting point.  For more information, check out the following professional books to help ignite passionate, life-long readers and thinkers {click on the pictures to view the books on Amazon}:






























What ideas do you have to motivate older readers?  How do you instill confidence in struggling readers and help them to discover the joy and pleasure of reading?  Share your ideas in the comments section!







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