Reading! Reading! Reading!
I like to use the phrase “good readers” in my classroom. It is important to explain to kids what good readers do. If they don’t know what they do how will they become “good readers.” Many students who come into first grade our emergent readers, they are beginning to read simple words. They usually have some sight word knowledge, however, part of every students success in reading is developing their confidence! Everybody is a reader in my classroom, whether they are reading chapter books or reading wordless books and creating their own story. It is our job as educators to assure students that they are readers!
One of the first lessons, I like to give at the beginning of the year is “What do good readers do?” Before allowing them to answer this question, I like to read the story Mommy Doesn’t Know My Name by Suzanne Williams. I ask them to pay close attention to what I do while I read to help them answer the question at the end of the story. On chart paper I write, what do good readers do? Then I ask students to help me create a list of what good readers do?
What do good readers do?
They sound out words
They use the pictures
They change their voice
They don’t read too fast
They read the words
The second lesson, I like to do is: where do good readers read? I like to ask this question because of a couple of different reasons: 1) I want them to realize reading is important in their lives, not just at school and 2) Reading can happen anywhere! Any book would work for this lesson. I enjoy reading A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood. Like the previous lesson, have chart paper and write the question where do good readers read?
Where do good readers read?
In a restaurant
In the bathroom (yes, a student actually said this!)
In the den
In the car
Under a tree
At the cabin
*The places are endless, have each child come up with one place.
The third lesson is How to Choose a Just Right Book! As you can imagine, this task is harder than it seems, considering the reading gap in each classroom is larger than it has ever been before. So this lesson should be done more than once throughout the school year. I like to pick out one of my big books to read so everyone can see the text. I also like to bring in a medical text book with small print and large words that even I can’t sound out (the students love to see there teacher struggle).
How to Choose a Just Right Book
1) I can read most of the words. (Five finger rule)
2) The words are not too small, too big, but just right.
3) The pictures help me read the words I don’t know.
I know there are probably more rule, but these are the ones I can remember and reinforce with my students.