Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Building Confident Emergent Readers!

Hi friends! Kelly here from Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten! I hope that the school year is off to a fantastic start for all of you :) 

 Today I am talking about one of my favorite topics: 

Before I get started, let me just tell you that in no way do I have ALL of the answers for teaching reading. I don't think that is possible! All teachers have their own style, flair, and tips for helping their kiddos learn to read. Today I want to share with you some of the activities that I supplement in my classroom. 

This is my second year now teaching first grade, and I have found that I really need to bring in a TON of my own activities, printables, and resources to meet all of my students needs. Our district using a reading program, and we have readers, workbooks, and all that, BUT I still feel like it's not enough! My goal over the summer was to create some basic phonics based activities that I could use with my students when I introduced a new sound or skill. I want my students to not just learn to read, but to LOVE to read… that is my ultimate goal! 

We definitely spent the first couple weeks of first grade reviewing sounds/alphabet skills. Check out some of my favorite alphabet tips here: 

Now we are really getting into the fun part of reading: putting sounds together, blending, and starting to read confidently! Each time a new phonics skill is introduced to my students, I like to have them make a "foldable" of that sound/skill: 

I LOVE these foldables because everything they need is on one piece of paper. They get to practice a phonics skill, as well as their sight words! We have done a lot of these already and my students know the routine. They can almost do them independently! First, we fold the reader and do our highlighting together. We then read each sentence outloud either whole class, or in our small group. During this time, we practice tracking and make sure that we are pointing to each word as we read. 
Next, students need to read their foldable 3 times. They color a happy face each time they read! Finally, they get to write all of the words from the word family or phonics skill on the back of the reader: 

We also use these readers for partner reading too!


I am a BIG fan of partner reading! In my classroom, it happens frequently and sometimes for only 5 minute intervals. I like to get my kiddos up and out of their seats. This is how I choose partners: 
I use "milk and cookie" partners! Each student has their name on either a cookie, or a glass of milk. I got these cut outs at the dollar tree. I shuffle them around and pull a cookie and a milk glass to be partners each time we are getting ready to read. My kids know that they will have a different partner each time. As soon as they are given their partner, they find their partner and find a quiet space quickly. They sit "knee to knee" with their partner on the floor, and don't start reading until everyone has a partner. When everyone is in their space, I start the timer. My kiddos alternate reading to each other until the timer goes off. I usually only set the timer for about 3-5 minutes. Later in the year we will probably add a little more time! This takes a lot of practice, but it's really rewarding! My kiddos love helping each other, and I love walking around and listening to them read. :) 

This year we've also been working a lot on rhyming words and word families. Word families really help students to make connections when they are reading. I created another foldable for my students that focuses on each short vowel and word family combinations. 

On each foldable, students fold on the solid line and cut the dotted line to make the flaps. We also highlight the word families. 
Under each flap, students can glue pictures OR draw their own pictures that rhyme with the word family on the flap: 

Here is what the inside of the foldable looks like when they are all finished: 

Another great tool that I am using for my emergent readers are my comprehension minis stories for short vowels: 
We use these whole class or in small groups. My students start out by highlighting and reading the vocabulary words. Then, we read the story and highlight the words as we go. Next, we read the story again together fluently. Finally, students read the story independently. 
When we are finished reading, students answer the comprehension question, and write a sentence of their own.  The last step, is drawing a picture to illustrate the story. I don't have them do their picture until after I have checked the sentence that they wrote. 

Here is a close up of what each phonics story includes: 

Some of my students are already reading fluently and independently and I want to ensure that they don't become bored! Differentiation is key when we are working on reading skills. At this point in the year, I have about 7 fluent readers who get to come over to our small group table and compact out for a challenge comprehension story. 

These stories are similar to my phonics comprehension stories but are a bit more challenging. New vocabulary words are introduced, and students need to find the main idea of the passage. My fluent readers complete these pages completely on their own and feel so proud of themselves! I have themed these stories by season, and have new ones for them to work on each month, so it makes it a lot of fun too : 
Sight words are HUGE in kindergarten and first grade, and I like my students to not only practice reading their sight words, but writing with them as well. This is part of our daily morning work routine: 

Another thing I am trying to remember this year is to let my emergent readers have fun!! My kids love building words with magnet letters or letter tiles during small group time: 

Teaching reading can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time! I love that there are constantly new ideas and practices that emerge to help children grow in their reading confidence. I always strive to change things up for my students and bring in resources that really meet the needs of each class. I am always ready to learn new tricks or tips to enhance my reading curriculum :) 

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Happy reading!

Here are some of the products that I mentioned in this post: 

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