Showing posts with label readers' workshop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label readers' workshop. Show all posts
It's the second week of our book study on The Reading Strategies Book, by Jennifer Serravallo.  And I'm LOVING this book so much!!

If you've missed this book study, you can catch up with these links!
Getting Started
Goals 1 & 2: Emergent Reading and Engagment
Goals 3 & 4: Decoding and Fluency
{affiliate links are included in this post}

This week we are talking about Goals 1 and 2: Supporting Emerging Readers and Engagement.  For me, these two goals go hand in, let's look at them separately and keep in mind how they relate too!

Goal 1: Supporting Pre-Emergent and Emerging Readers

It probably wasn't until I had my own kiddo at home that I was super passionate about these little readers.  Through parenting, I learned that a few things were vitally important to the success of my kiddo as a "conventional reader" as Serravallo calls it!  It's imperative that my son knows that he CAN read.  Even when he couldn't conventionally read.  He CAN hold a book.  He CAN retell a story.  He CAN infer based on the pictures and what he is reading.  He CAN learn new vocabulary.  So many times, we say things that make our pre-emergent readers aware that they "CAN'T" read... and then they're less motivated or ENGAGED in reading to even try! :) I'm more aware now than ever that we must watch our language with our own kids and our school babies! #steppingofsoapbox

I loved so many strategies in this section, but I've narrowed it down to 2 for the sake of time! :)

Strategy 1.7: Act It to Storytell It

This is a favorite in our house.  Cooper LOVES reading in character voices.  He loves copying our voice after we read to him-- "Let me try, Momma!"-- and he even loves making his stuffed animals look like the characters in the story.  Talk about making a little on feel like he is a REAL reader.  This strategy helps him feel a part of the reading, while also giving him the chance to hear and practice fluent and expressive reading.

And....let's talk about how engaging it is to listen to and practice character voices! {See how connected these goals are???}  I'm just a firm believer that significant time spent reading aloud, talking about books, and modeling fluent reading, is a prime indicator of how ENGAGED readers will be when they begin to read independently.  And in the last year, through parenting experiences, I've come to believe that this time spent may be the single most important factor in reading success later on in life.  Looking back over my 10 years in the first grade classroom, I can definitely pick out kids who were and were not read aloud to, who had or didn't have parents and adults that talked about books or modeled fluent reading!

Our favorite stories to do this with are Elephant and Piggie Books.  These books are FULL of opportunities for character voices and acting out!  They are short enough that my guy can easily say, "Let me try!" after I read a speech bubble and he can imitate my fluency!

Strategy 1.2: The WHOLE and Teeny Tiny Details

I absolutely LOVED this concept and it was something I have not directly done with kids before... Yay for new ideas!  The basic idea is to go back through a story after you've read it and use your finger to circle the whole page and answer what it is about.  Then, use your finger to point to one teeny tiny detail and describe that.  This is such a great way to work on summarizing, main idea, and supporting details with emerging readers...and another great way for parents to talk about stories with their kids!  I especially love this with non-fiction books!

Goal 2: Teaching Reading Engagement

I remember many years having first graders--mainly boys--who couldn't care less about reading.  And unfortunately these were almost always my kiddos who were struggling a little in reading also.  Many times, what I noticed was that if I could just get these kids to a guided reading level F, they would be set.  It seems like many of the books available to read below an F just aren't that engaging content wise--especially for boys.  Yes, we tried non-fiction readers as much as possible, but it just seemed like around E-F it started clicking and they were engaged and reading suddenly!

Like I mentioned earlier, engagement is such an important key to reading success and it starts early.  I love how Serravallo says,

"Sometimes to help students with engagement, you need to work on comprehension."

Yes!  That's why I believe pre-emerging skills and engagement are tied so closely together!  But when it is JUST engagement, this was my favorite strategy from the book...

Strategy 2.1: A Perfect Reading Spot

I love this so much.  And with flexible seating being the way to go these days, it really can be easy to do!  I left the classroom on "mommy leave" before flexible seating became super popular, but even then, my classroom was set up with several options: pillows, chairs, stools, an old desk, and the original flexible seat...THE FLOOR! :)

I loved letting kids find their favorite book nook and did find that something that simple did help kids focus on their reading better.

And I adore this anchor chart she had in the book.  Totally wish I would've used this when I was in the classroom!

Student choice is so important.  And empowering them to make them feel like they have control over what is happening can be so powerful....and the key to good engagement!

What were your favorite strategies from Goals 1 and 2?

This summer, I've been tutoring a sweetie in reading.  We are working a lot on finding ways to remember to get our mouth ready for the first sound.  You know, instead of like making up whatever random word comes to our mind??? :) #realtalk

Here's a look at some of the strategies we are using and how I used this in my first grade classroom!
{This post contains a few affiliate links.}

Pop The Bubble

This is one of my favorite whole group games to use with my kiddos no matter what content we are learning.  It works well for whole group and small groups, and is a fun way to keep everyone engaged while practice knowledge level skills! :)

I simply show a task card on our interactive white board.  I chose pictures and words purposefully so that their can be more than one option for each picture.  The picture below could be "gift" or "present."  And I quickly know who is getting their mouth ready and paying attention to print by who answers "gift" and who answers "present!"

When students have their mouth ready and know the word, they but an air bubble in their mouth to let me know they are ready. (No shouting out!)

Then, we all kids are ready, I simply say, "POP!" and they all blurt out the word together!

To add even more engagement, poke your finger toward the group (don't really poke kids, K? :) ) to "pop" their bubble without saying anything.  It's amazing how many eyes you can keep on you doing this! :)

Guided Reading Warmups

In small groups, I love using these task cards when getting our mouth ready is our focus strategy for reading.  There are two sets of task cards in this with support (highlighted beginning sounds) and one without (no highlighted sounds).

There are several ways we do this.  We just go through them flash card style and play Pop The Bubble.  Or, I give each kid a card to practice on their own and then we go around and quickly share!

Mouth Ready Gloss

This idea came to me this summer through tutoring and my tutoring kiddo is LOVING IT!  I used this Burt's Bees and took off the wrapper.  Then, I just used some colored sharpies to write on the side of the chapstick.  Last, I added a small piece of washi tape to the top cap for some extra decoration!

Of course, this wouldn't be sharable in the classroom! :)  But you can find cheap chapstick here for less than $1 each if you need to buy several for a small group or class set!

You can find all of these materials from this post in my Reading Strategies Intervention Packet!
When Common Core came along, it became much more important to answer text dependent questions in first grade.  I immediately started trying out the best, most developmentally appropriate ways to do this with first graders.  Many ideas were blah and not so great.  But a few stuck.  Maybe it's because I like color coding, or maybe it's because first graders like using anything that's not a No. 2 pencil...But either way it was highlighters for the win with text dependent questions!

Here's a look at how I use reading passages in guided reading to help first graders answer text dependent questions.

Why Text Dependent Passages in First Grade?

As a general rule, I start using reading passages once a week in guided reading groups around January.  I use them with any groups level C (dra 4) or above.  And I typically start passages around October/November for groups who are reading at a level I (dra 16) or higher.

Part of my reasoning for this January routine change is because of state testing that comes in April.  First grade is the first year for that in our state and I want my kiddos to be familiar with the format.  The other reason (and especially the reason I start them earlier with my higher groups) is to show diversity in texts.  We can read fiction and non-fiction, but we can also read passages (like magazine or newspaper articles in the real world) or recipes, or poems.  It's important to me that my first graders don't "box in" what reading looks like.

What Does A Passage Routine Look Like For Guided Reading?

When I first introduce passages in guided reading, I model it.  I show them what it looks like for me to silently read the passage.  This is familiar to them because we do close readings throughout the year as a whole group (read details about close reading in first grade here.)  During a close read, students must circle sight words they see during the first read.  During a passage reading in guided reading groups, I tell my first graders that they can read and circle sight words or just read for comprehension.

After modeling this once, they are usually ready to go!  The next time they come to guided reading for passages, they have their passages set out at the table and know to sit down and immediately start reading.  If they finish reading early, they read over the questions and answers quietly while they are waiting.  No one answers any questions yet...I don't even let them have pencils or highlighters yet! ;)  They can also go back and reread the passage.  But they are to quietly read the entire time.  Depending on the passage length and level of my kids, I may give up to 5 minutes for this.

Once we are finished reading, we go over the questions together.  Most of them should have had time to read over the questions, but now we are ready to answer.  We read the questions together.  I will tell them after we read the question if "the proof is in the passage" on this one or not.  If it is a text dependent question, we highlight the question number in green.  Yes, I always go in stoplight - yellow - red.  Call me crazy, call me OCD, that's just how I roll! :)  Then I ask them to put their finger on the part of the passage that proves the answer.  Once we agree on the answer and the proof, we highlight the proof in green--the same color we highlighted the question in and fill in the bubble with our pencil.

So, ideally, when we are finished, we can look back and see all of the "proof in the passage" and which question that evidence answered, just by our color coding.

Yes, you can do this with crayons, but highlighters are just like magic.  I'm talking immediate engagement.  You would think those things inked pure gold!

As my groups get confident with this, I may start to gradually release the responsibility to them by having them answer the first question and highlight the proof on their own.  And then 2 questions.  And then 3... But honestly, I don't really even consider making this completely independent until they are at least on a level I/J (dra 16/18) and have had lots of practice with text dependent questions.  Let's face it...this is hard stuff we are asking 6 and 7 year old babies to do.  And while they can rise to the challenge, I believe that letting go of our support too soon can hurt many kiddos.  (Side note: the week before state tests, I do make all of my groups try this on their own and then we go over it... just because of state testing realities. #boo)

How Do You Differentiate Text Dependent Passages?

In my Rock That Read passages resource, you will notice that I have 3 levels for every passage.  That is to give access to a range of kids in our first grade classrooms who need practice with text dependent questions.  Before I made my own, I was always frustrated with finding passages on multiple levels for my firsties.  And as a BONUS, these passages each have 3 levels and the same questions (for the most part) ...which means I can use these whole group as a close read and go over the comprehension questions together.  The content is the same...the reading level is differentiated!  It also means, I could pull a multi-level guided reading group for my kids that need extra practice on comprehension and we could focus on comprehension skills without having to worry about finding a text that everyone can read!

Want to try a sample for FREE first?  Go download the freebie here!

All of the passages from this blog post came from my Patriotic Rock That Read Passages Resource.  You can also get the entire year 20% off in my Rock That Read Bundle!

One of the things I love about our Weather Unit is the awesome blend of literacy and science.  Literacy and social studies just seem a little easier and more natural sometimes.  But with the help of The Wizard of Oz, the blend of fiction reading and the science of weather is perfection!

We are reading a revised version of The Wizard of Oz and each of the first few chapters introduce one of the main characters.  I love to use this book to teach character traits, but this year, we added a little bit more technology into this project!

After each chapter focusing on a specific character, we worked at our table groups to "pass the pen" and brainstorm traits of that character {Cowardly Lion in this picture}.  

Then, I collected all 6 tables' character trait webs and we shared each one aloud.  As I read a trait from each group's web, we talked about whether or not we had read evidence from the text to support that trait... And with our "bubble test" coming up soon, I was so pleased with how well they were able to defend their character traits....or politely argue against someone else's trait!

As each trait was agreed on, I typed it into a wordle.  My kiddos were already familiar with wordles because we use them to brainstorm adjectives to describe our ranch hands/student of the week each week.  But they love them so much, that any excuse to tie in a wordle is good with my firsties! #easytoplease

I use abcya for my wordles.  One reason that I love this one (there are a ton of wordle sites out there) is because it's super kid-friendly.  Like my first graders can make their own wordles with very little guidance (but a lot of modeling) when we get to use our laptop set!  This time, I had our wordle this screen on our Smart Board so they were definitely more engaged in defending and politely arguing against character traits because they were dying to have their group's word added to our wordle! :)

Then, we click to turn our words into a wordle!  With a few adjustments on font and layout and color, we landed on some pretty perfect wordles!  Here are a few of our favorites....

After Spring Break, we will be using our knowledge about character traits and text evidence to decide which character said what!  And this activity was the perfect building block for next week's activity!  You can find the character trait webs and more in Wizard of Oz companion packet!

At the beginning of the year, I blogged about how I was making my new district's requirement of readers' workshop work with what I already knew was best for kids.

It's been an adventure to say the least!  So, I'll be spending a few blogs talking about the changes I made.  This one is all about  >>> Readers' Response!

I have begun giving reading group assignments during readers' workshop to be completed independently.  This is not much different from the past.  However, in years past, we have completed graphic organizers, readers response or phonics sorts together during a guided reading group or I've sent it home for homework.  This year however, our homework system looks different so I didn't want to add to that list.  And, can I just be honest?  I'm pressed for time during reading groups and just don't have the time to work on graphic organizers and such during guided reading.  This has allowed me to shorten my time I meet with each group {about 15 minutes} so they can go back and work on their task independently at their desk.

I've always thought it would be nice to be able to have kids work on these assignments on their own, but never really knew when that would happen during the day!  Now that my kids no longer rotate through literacy stations, it opens up the time for them to work on other goals!

Here's a look at some of the Readers' Responses I am assigning for guided reading groups.

1. Sight Words
For my low babies (level C and below), we are working on sight words right now.  Once we've read our book, I make sight word flash cards for each of them with the words they missed in their book.  Their "assignment" is to read their sight words each day to a buddy at their group to help them check for accuracy.

When they return to me for their next reading group, they must be able to read all of their sight words correctly for a DOJO point {our reward system}.  I give them a star for words they read accurately so they know what words to focus on the next time if they miss any.  The star system also helps them know which words to feel confident about and which words they need to have a buddy check them on.  I was unsure of just how well this would work, but I'm glad to report that these guys have been working their tails off and each time I check them they know more sight words!

This could also be differentiated to letter ID if you have super low babies! Other times, they use their list of sight words they missed from their book to rainbow write or play one of their other games from my sight word packet.

2. Phonics Sorts
For my kiddos reading on a D or higher, one of the things we work on is identifying phonics sounds from the books we are reading.  This are so many ways this can be done, but I like to introduce the sound and practice decoding words together in guided reading and practicing reading the words in context with their guided reader.  Then, I give students a sticky note to record a certain number of words with that phonics sound.  They must have found that number of words (usually 3-10 depending on the level) by our next reading group and they must be able to read them on their own for their DOJO point.

If an extension is needed, I pull a sort from my K-2 phonics packet as additional practice.

3. Graphic Organizers
For kiddos reading on a D or higher, another focus I use is comprehension.  After we have read our book during our group time, we review a specific graphic organizer or and then they complete it on their own.  I have a ton of these in my Guided Reading Packet and these are the ones I mainly use.  You could of course do one together first so they know exactly what to do before you give it as an "assignment," but after that, as long as we have discussed it, my first graders are pretty good at completing it independently.

In my Guided Reading Packet I have organizers for: retelling, sequencing BME, asking "I Wonder" questions, recording facts, venn diagrams, and more!

4. Readers' Response
For kiddos on a level G/H or higher, we begin working on answering specific comprehension questions in writing.  (Of course, kiddos on lower levels orally answer specific questions, but it's a whole new ball game writing answers to questions!)

Here is a response page that I can use with readers' on a level D or higher and can usually trust them to do it correctly on their own!  I've given this as an assignment from reading group (notice the due date I wrote for them in pen in the corner!) and also given this as a readers' workshop activity for listening to a story in a listening station. 

I suppose I'm a little lucky because several of our guided readers have comprehension questions on the back cover.  So, we use those questions and I have students record their answers on sticky notes (basically because I hate using extra copies and first graders think stickies are pretty much awesome!)  I check their answers the next time we meet for a DOJO point and we discuss the questions at that time.  Usually, by the time they are at this level we spend more than just one session on a book.  Day one is reading the story and answering the questions as their assignment and day 2 is discussing the questions to begin to model literature circles.

Once my kids get well above grade level, I'd say level J/K or higher, we begin reading chapter books. My highest group just started a Cam Jansen book.  I write my own readers' response questions for each chapter and make them into a journal.  You can check out this one in my store and I hope to add several more titles in the future!

I usually do a chapter book and then we do a few picture books for a while because I like to have them reading a variety of texts!

These 4 independent work assignments hit on most of the 5 essential elements of reading {phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary}.  And the ones that aren't sufficiently covered with independent assignments get reinforced or taught solely during guided reading.

Do you give assignments to your reading groups?  I'd love to hear your ideas too!
We are back from our February break and celebrating Dr. Seuss in first grade! 

Of course, I have my favorite Seuss activities that I do every year, so I will not rehash those again.  You can read up on my old favorites HERE.

This year, I added a few new activities to my Seusstastic Rhymes Packet.  We focused a little more on characteristics of Dr. Seuss' writing.  Here are our top 3 ways to write like Dr. Seuss!

1. Creative Writing

Dr. Seuss is famous for his creative, imaginative writing!  We introduced this idea by reading and studying his imagination in books like To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, and The Cat in the Hat.  Because let's face it: You have to be a creative writer to come up with some ideas like that!  We then did our own creative writing in our journals by writing about what it might be like if WE ran the zoo or what would happen if the Cat in the Hat visited OUR house!  It wasn't fancy....just plain ole journal writing...but they turned out so so cute!  In fact, I wish I would've had them write it on the "cute" writing prompt paper from my Seuss Packet because I would've loved hanging these in the hallway!

2. Wacky Words

One of my favorite things about reading Dr. Seuss stories is his love for wacky words!  You just can't help but giggle when he writes them!  This year, we read a few of his books like Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to listen for wacky, nonsense words.  Then, during Readers' Workshop, my first graders worked with a buddy to read a Dr. Seuss book together and look for wacky words.  We shared our wacky words during share time!

Then, we worked on reading real and wacky words from One Fish, Two Fish... and sorting them into real or wacky.  There was even a "blank" card for the firsties to make up their own wacky word--which they LOVED doing!

And on a more serious note....I really put a lot of stock into this activity this year because of my school's focus on the DIBELS assessment.  I am finding that a lot of my readers struggle decoding nonsense words.  And while I used to believe that it didn't matter because real readers need to **make sense** of words as they read anyways...I'm beginning to think that reading nonsense words DOES matter.  As we've studied our newest phonics program through the help of our district literacy coach, we have found that as readers begin reading multi-syllabic words, the syllables they have to break words into to read are often nonsense words.  For example...

basketball --> bas * ket * ball 

In order to decode this word, the reader HAS to be able to decode nonsense words!

Since this revelation, we've been working more on nonsense words and I'll be adding a brand new packet I've been using to help us with this in my store soon!

3. Rhyming

Rhyming books are just so fun to read!  And Dr. Seuss is one of the BEST at this!  During our author study, we read and listened for rhyming words in Green Eggs and Ham and highlighted the rhyming words in our close reading (read about last year's adventure with this for more details and pictures).  We added this final type of Seusstastic writing to our anchor chart...

 Then, we brushed up on our own rhyming skills in readers' workshop...

And next week, we will be tackling writing some poetry like Dr. Seuss!

Catch all of these activities and much much more in my Dr. Seuss Packet!
Now that we are in February, we are almost to the end of our American Contributors unit.  We have been researching George Washington and Abraham Lincoln this week.  I have blogged about several activities already so I will not rehash them.  This post will focus on how I tied our big idea unit into Readers' Workshop and Writers' Workshop mini-lessons...because let's face it: We don't have a lot of time.  The struggle is still real... So, when I find a way to tie reading, writing, and content together into one big block of time, I'm a happy teacher!

This is the 2nd post of 3 posts (for now) about our Readers' and Writers' Workshop focus on fact and opinion.

During our first two weeks of our American Contributors unit, we worked on recalling facts from a text that support each person's contribution and how to choose what to write about.  You can read about that in this blog post.

Then, our reading focus became listening to decide if information is a fact or an opinion.  Read the first part to this mini-series in this blog post!

This week I had two goals in mind for Readers' Workshop to wrap up our unit.  Let's take a look at the first one for this little blog! :)

Our first focus was...

We "graduated" from giving facts after only a few pages to listening to the whole article or book and then recalling facts from the entire text.  I think this helped kids filter out the minor details and focus on what's important!

The first day of Readers' Workshop this week, we started reading one of my favorite books...The Important Book.

We read each page and talked about what was important about each topic and what was interesting.  We also discussed WHY the important fact was chosen as important.  We read the book across two days in Readers' Workshop to keep the lesson part "mini!" :)  We charted our discussion.

During Writers' Workshop they chose a topic and wrote about what is important and interesting about their topic in the same pattern as Margaret Wise Brown.  We just did this in their journals, but they were too cute not to share!

So how does this tie in with content?  Because after these activities, we were able to move on to charting important and interesting facts on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.  Here's the beginning of our chart for Lincoln...

No, the dry erase board chart isn't the cutest, but it got the job done.  And this was the perfect segway into our Writers' workshop time where we talked about which kind of facts we need to include when teaching about someone.  This chart helped make it easy for kids to see that while the interesting facts help give our writing style, it's our duty as authors who teach our readers to include several important facts as well.  And this made a HUGE difference in their informative writing!

Now that we've got our facts down pat, we will be moving on to how to choose facts to support our OPINIONS!
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