Sunday, January 31, 2016

Literacy throughout the day

As much as students learn from the explicit lessons in the curriculum I teach, they also learn from their environment. Kindergarten is a hugely important time for immersing children in literate environments -- surrounding them with reading, writing, listening and speaking opportunities. I thought I would highlight a few of the ways our students experience literacy throughout the day (whether they realize it or not) :)

Morning Message
Each morning we read the morning message together. In the beginning of the year, I read it to the students, and they interact with it in some way, including answering a question that I propose in the message, searching for letters of the alphabet, or finding the letters in their name. We also use this as a way to teach one-to-one correspondence (meaning touching each word as you read it). This is a very important early literacy skill.

Then, as the year goes on, I begin to craft the message with the children, like the example seen in the second photograph. At this point in the year, several students can start to read the message entirely on their own, which is exciting!

Word Games
We play lots of word games throughout the day, including "Build a Man" (also known as Hangman in other environments). :) We use sight words, names, and word family words to play this game. Here are some students playing it on their own at free choice time.

We do lots with names throughout the year, as some students are still learning to recognize the letters in their name. Others can read whole names and use them in play and communication, such as these students who are writing a list of classmate names. 

We learn a different word family every week. This week's word family was the "ug" family, including words like bug, rug, and hug. The students below are hunting around the room for the 10 hidden "ug" family words.

During workstation time (first thing in the morning) and other parts of the day, we play games such as Hidden Words, where students can write a sight word with a white crayon, and then color over it with marker to reveal the hidden word! Games like these are fun and easy ways for students to practice their literacy skills.

Readers Workshop
We have a minilesson on reading every day, followed by "Read to Self" time, in which students read from their own box of books. These students below just learned that readers have "superpower skills," such as pointing underneath each word as they read (using the snazzy superhero wands that Ms. Woods gave them...also known as a popsicle stick with a start sticker on

Reading Strategy Groups
Each day I met with small groups to work on reading strategy skills, including segmenting and blending words. The students below are using letter tiles to spell simple three-letter words like "bed" and "rug." After we do some word work practice, the students read a book that is appropriate to their ability level. Then I send the books home in those Home Book Bags that you see each week!

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