Adventures in Literacy Land: read aloud

Showing posts with label read aloud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label read aloud. Show all posts

4 Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Reading Roadblocks

4 Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Reading Roadblocks (Anchor Charts, Text Gradients, Diagrams, Act it out!)

I had the distinct privilege of presenting just recently at the Virginia State Reading Association Conference in Richmond.  One of the workshops was on Vocabulary.  I blogged briefly about this presentation in my latest blog post on my website, but thought I would give you a more in depth look at vocabulary here today.

Anchor Charts/Prediction Posters

4 Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Reading Roadblocks (Anchor Charts, Text Gradients, Diagrams, Act it out!)
I am a big fan of Anchor Charts.  Done the right way, anchor charts are invaluable to your students. Anchor charts can be pre-made but must also allow for editing, if an unsuspected word misunderstanding occurs.  Pre-assessing a book for vocabulary roadblocks is a must.  Pulling out words you believe will create "comprehension potholes" or "run the story off the road" are a must for a successful Read Aloud. Before reading a book, introduce words to your students out of context.  Talk about the meaning.  Demonstrate the meaning.  Discuss how this particular word might be in this book.  You may even want to read the sentence from the story.  Preparing for vocabulary can help students spend time on higher order thinking than on the meaning of a single word.  One type of anchor chart is the Story Map.  Words from the story, both common and new, can be written on post-it notes given to the students before they read the book.  Students will predict if the words belong on the map in provided spaces:  Characters, Setting, Actions (verbs), Things (nouns) and New to You.  If they encounter a word while reading that needs to be moved on the chart...they can easily be moved.  

Text Gradients

4 Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Reading Roadblocks (Anchor Charts, Text Gradients, Diagrams, Act it out!)
I actually LOVE text gradients.  Typically, text gradients are used in the upper elementary but every kindergarten teacher has tried to get her student's to use words more descriptive than small or big.  The famous "said is dead" refrain is heard in every first grade class.  So, let's talk primary text gradients.  A wonderful way "add color" to writing is using paint strips.  (I live in fear of paint strips eventually costing money.)  The paint strips can be put in library pockets in the writing center and students can take a color strip to make their elephant "enormous" or their ladybug "tiny."  


4 Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Reading Roadblocks (Anchor Charts, Text Gradients, Diagrams, Act it out!)
Providing students with diagrams is a great way to introduce vocabulary that is both familiar and unknown.  When studying about bats, my students were excited to learn bats had thumbs.  They look very different from our thumbs, but they are still thumbs.  They were also intrigued by the membranes in their wings.  We compared the membranes to duck's feet.  We even found out turtles, otters and some reptiles have webbed feet.  Diagrams draw the student in and help them write about animals and make comparisons.

Act it Out!

4 Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Reading Roadblocks (Anchor Charts, Text Gradients, Diagrams, Act it out!)
When we were preparing to read The Knight Before Dawn, I introduced some words to the students before we read.  One of the words was "precipice."  I needed to relate Jack dangling from a precipice on the castle tower to the students in my class.  First, I showed them pictures of large cliffs in the desert or on mountains. Then, we went to the playground.  The only cliff they really knew about was the playground equipment.  One at a time, the students went to the edge of the playground equipment and they yelled, "I AM ON THE PRECIPICE!"  Then they were allowed to jump off the "cliff."  Trust me they all knew what a precipice was and when Jack was hanging from the precipice they could anticipate his falling!  That's the power of vocabulary!

These are just a few ways you can make sure to introduce children to wonderful vocabulary words they can use to write, make connections, and understand.


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?