Monday, December 28, 2015

Complementary Strategies: Phonics and Meaning

Image result for reading difficulties

The nature of reading difficulties is complex. Many children have difficulty processing letters and sounds. Others can decode text but have trouble understanding what they have read. What is a teacher to do? What does research support? 
Phonics instruction or whole-language?
 Do we have to choose?

Reading instruction is not one-size fits all. Instruction may involve phonics, strategies for constructing meaning, or both. Over my career, I have developed the belief that children need an integrated approach. As a parent of a bright child with dyslexia, I saw the need for phonics. Complementing the phonics instruction, I worked with him on developing meaning and expressing his thoughts and ideas about the text.  He finally became a reader when he found a series that he could read and enjoy. (This supports the idea that readers to need to read a lot and read interesting books that they choose.)

Research also reminds us that complementary strategies support struggling readers:

" Since reading essentially involves two basic and complementary processes: learning how to decipher print and understanding what the print means, an integrated approach to reading instruction is mandatory. This assertion is consistent with key findings from Cowen’s (2003) synthesis of six major research studies of approaches to beginning reading – each of which concur that reading for meaning and understanding cannot be taught separately from direct phonics instruction.19 Likewise, and despite the cautions of Adams (1991) and Moats (2000), in making the case for a ‘balanced approach to reading instruction’, Strickland (1998) notes: ’Avoiding instructional extremes is at the heart of providing a balanced program of reading instruction’ (p. 52)." Found Here

I like Strickland's statement! Teachers need a toolbox full of strategies that will meet the needs of students. We cannot rely on just one strategy or approach to reach our struggling readers. Teachers need professional development and support in order to reach these struggling students.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Carl's Christmas

I love using picture books when working with students. It gives them the opportunity to invent the story. I love hearing their ideas and seeing what they notice. I have been reading all of the Carl books by Alexandra Day. My grandson loves them! 

Here is a writing paper to go along with Carl's Christmas. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Making Class Books

Image result for making class books

This cute example of a class book is an ABC book using the animals children have drawn.

 Ideas for Making Class Books

Here are some ideas for making class books with your Pre-K and Preschool students!

Fun in PreK-1 uses transportation as the lesson.


Second graders can make books too! Bookmaking with Kids will give you ideas!

Get together as a grade level and read the following article. How can you incorporate this idea into your content subjects?

Check out this article by Nellie Edge about making class books!
More ideas for little ones HERE.

Finally, one of my favorite teachers who makes class books is Tammy from Forever in First! I know that her students enjoy reading these books all year long. She makes class books and also posts the most wonderful ideas for creating readers, writers, and researchers. You should follow her posts!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Morning Message

I wanted to share a picture from a friend of mine. Her son was enjoying the morning message in kindergarten. I believe that morning message is important. I am happy he had time to write it! They could easily move to personal messages from here!

Here is a Scholastic webpage that talks about the importance of morning message!

Here is an article about the morning message in early childhood classrooms. 

Morning message is a great way to use continuous text, teach phonics, and model reading and writing strategies.