Teaching Reading ~ Get it Right!

A relative asked me my why a 5 year old could recognize a word like weather yet couldn't read yet. I said, it sounded like the child was exposed to these words regularly and therefore committed them to memory, a drill and kill, rote learning approach. She asked about the value of this. I responded that, memory is one of many strategies required to learn to read. Teaching a child difficult words prior to the child understanding basics doesn't make sense to put it mildly. Children aren't vessels waiting to be filled up with information. Unfortunately some private schools in their attempt to convince parents that their children are brighter often use this approach ~ it's shortlived, this I know. Did this child attend private school? Yes. It will remain nameless.

The task of learning to read is a very complex process and is developmental in nature. Learning to read requires sound symbol recognition of the alphabet, it requires understanding of the consonant sounds at the beginning and ending of words, it requires picture cues, sight recognition and decoding skills. Most importantly, it requires really good resources that are developmental in nature. Books that have high interest and low vocabulary, books with repetitive patterns.

I have taught the art of reading for a long time. I taught a developmental child  with an IQ of 60 to read when others had given up; when I was told she would never read. I have provided my daughter with strategies, tips and resources to help my grandson read. He reads for enjoyment and information and reads well beyond grade level and has since kindergarten.

Have questions about teaching reading? Post away, although I no longer tutor, my advice is free!

Bell Work Fridays - and More!

Do you ever notice that by Friday afterrnoon both you and your students lack zest and motivation? The last thing you want to do on a Friday is work on a mundane paper/pencil tasks.

You need to kick it up a knotch. Inspire your student and get them hooked to learn right through to the bell.
Whether it's bell work or work for 'Early Finishers' , here are a few great ideas for 'pick me up Friday afternoons:
  • Try the bell work ideas here.
  • Conversation circle: students sit in a circle and you begin round robin question/answers  with the opportunity to pass (Favorite activity this week, least favorite activity, compliment about a student, where I'd rather be, what I'm most looking forward to this weekend etc.
  • Statues (play tunes, students wiggle/jiggle and when the tune stops, students strike a pose - repeat
  • Mystery Person - for example: my mystery person has a dog, got an A on their science test and was sent to the office this morning, the person guesses gets to do the next mystery person.
Add your own ideas in the comment section.

Revise and Edit

Revising and Editing

Today our students have access to computers to do their writing and therefore access to the grammar and spell checker. Perhaps this is also why they're writing has taken a step or two backwards.  After all, they spend a great deal of time texting and using text shortcuts. However, they still need to know how to edit their own work. These revise and edit self-checking worksheets are a great way to start.

A great way to use some of these checklists is to laminate them, give each student a laminated copy and let them re-use them. Wipe them each time and they're then ready for the next task.

Be sure to check out the fact and opinion writing worksheets to get them motivated to write.

Be sure to share with your colleagues.

Finding Great Resources Online

Pinterest Can Be Misleading

I am a fan of finding great teaching tools and resources online. I have used Pinterest but as time goes on, I'm finding it less useful and certainly gimmicky and cluttered. When you find something, it often leads to a sales page or the link is missing. I find I'm surfing via Google once again to find some truly great resources.

I've been an educator for what seems like a lifetime. Without a doubt, the internet has made my job easier. I rarely buy resources at the teacher's store anymore.

Good or bad, it's just the simple truth. Instead, I take time to create what I used to buy and offer it free online.

Truly great educators share, after all, why reinvent the wheel? Should you have the desire to share your woksheets, send them along. I'll post them and give the credit back to you. If not, always free to grab the resources you find at worksheetplace.

This month, be sure to visit our shape books category to get your students motivated to write.