Reading BreakthroughMay 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
For a while now I have worked every morning with four students from the three-year old class for a 20 minute period that is called Bell Work. I rotate each day which students I bring and use an attendance sheet to help keep track of who came last. During this time period I have been focusing on recognizing and writing the alphabet and numbers. In the past this time consisted of reading an alphabet book that focused on the letter of the week and then using markers to color and trace a corresponding letter worksheet. While the students had made huge improvements on being able to clearly trace the letters (at the beginning they all needed help and now I very rarely have to assist), I was frustrated because I knew that I could do more during this time. With this in mind I checked out a resource book on how to teach ABCs. This book had a lot of helpful and fun activities to reinforce the letters as well as a very simple mini-book for each letter. At first I dismissed the mini-book has being too complicated for the 3s to complete. But after thinking about it, I realized that if I helped them by cutting the books and stapling the pages together, not only would they be able to make the books, but I might be able to teach them to “read” or memorize them as well.
I was more excited than the children when I had them sit in a semi-circle around me and handed each of them their recently finished book on the letter K. Borrowing one of the books, I read through it first with all of them watching. Then I read the book with each individual student, making sure to move my finger as I read each new word. After I had done this with each student I announced that we were going to read the book together. I was elated when the students (in near unison) began reading their books. They needed some coaching still, but I watched in amazement as they “read” each page, following the words with their fingers. Even though they had memorized the pages, they were still going through the motions of reading. I was so excited when they finished! I told all of them how proud I was and told them they were great readers. Then I had them take their books and read them to the preschool director and their teacher. By this point they were as proud of their “reading” as I was of their accomplishment. For me, this was the ultimate confirmation that I was truly helping the children. It has made me even more determined to continue going over the alphabet and I am even thinking about going back to the letter A so that they can get a better sense of alphabet order as they hear a story, trace the letter, learn the letter sound, and make a book for each letter.