Wednesday, January 30, 2013

5 Major Components of Reading

The five major components of reading are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. According to the Reading Rockets web site (2013), "When using any teaching strategy, teachers should (1) help students to understand why a strategy is useful, and (2) describe explicitly how the strategy should be used. Teacher demonstration, modeling, and follow-up independent practice are critical factors for success. Student discussion following strategy instruction is also helpful." These components are interrelated because you just cannot have one without the other. When a student become proficient in these areas they become successful readers.
Phonemic awareness is when students identify sounds and are able to utilize those sounds to make words. Today during my PLC meeting with PreK I showed them how to use elkonin or sound boxes. These are simple boxes on a piece of paper usually accompanying an illustration.There is a box for each phoneme--not for ea. letter. The students push a counter up into the boxes as they say the sound. Here is an illustration of one I found on Google Images:

This is a quick and easy activity that would be good to introduce during small group and then put at a literacy center.
Phonics is when students identify letter sounds and the letter itself. Making words with magnetic letters or using poetry or alphabet chants are easy ways to practice phonics.
Fluency starts with letter sounds, moving to sight words and then onto reading text. You are considered fluent if you can automatically do it. A great fluency activity isthe A/B partner reading. I am such a fan of this technique! During guided reading, I have them read with a partner. They sit EEKK! style--elbow to elbow, and knee to knee. Both children have the same text. One child reads while the other follows along. The reader asks the follower a question related to the story to make sure the follower was listening.
Vocabulary is fundamental to reading. Vocabulary words help us to build background knowledge and associations of words in order to communicate effectively. While reading an article by Ruddell and Shearer (2002), a students says, "I used to only think about vocabulary in school. The whole world is vocabulary." That statement resonates with me because we must have the foundation of vocabulary in order to be successful readers and writers. A wonderful way to tie vocabulary into a lesson is to keep index cards or sentence strips with a Sharpie nearby and as the class learns vocabulary in a whole group setting, add the word to the word wall, and question them about its definition.
Comprehension is when students make meaning and connections from the text. To help with comprehension graphic organizers, especially that compare and contrast two different texts, are easy to implement to help with this area.

Works Cited
Reading Rockets.Org. (2013)Classroom strategies. Accessed on January 30, 2013 from: . Ruddell, M.& Brenda A. (2002). Extraordinary," "tremendous," "exhilarating," "magnificent": middle school at-risk students become avid word learners with the Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy (VSS): asking students to choose their own vocabulary words maintains interest and builds connections with content areas. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 45(5).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Money vacuum

If you have not been to the web site Very Jane
, go. Go now! Well, after reading this post. This site is my money vacuum. I am addicted to this site. I think it would be worse if I had a little girl, but thankfully, I keep myself in check when I say, "What am I going to do with a tutu?" and delete it from my cart. 

but I do have this coming my way in orange. And I am thinking of adding this:

but not sure on a color yet. And look at this!!!

Only 5.99!!
I like that most of their stuff is under $20...mainly under $10. And no, I am not getting paid or freebies for talking about this site. I actually found out about it on Mrs. Lemon's 2nd Grade Blog!
Last week, I got a confirmation from Reading Horizons to be a guest blogger on February 5th. Exciting!! We utilize their program at our school especially with our ELL students. They always have really great free webinars and free online training. Check it out!!
So we are painting over our son's old murals in his bedroom. His nursery was Classic Pooh...I have always had a thing for Winnie the Pooh even as a child. Then when he was about two we made his room Eric Carle theme. Don't get me started on my Eric Carle obsession!!! Let's just say this lady has several autographed books (even big books) of his! They are all made out to my old Kindergarten teacher lol but who cares that I bought them at her retirement garage sale.

Eric Carle rocks!!

So bye bye Grouchy Ladybug and Brown Bear and Hungry Caterpillar...the room is now a classic blue. And guess what theme the murals will be??? Super Mario! Itsa gonna be spaghetti-o! Yes, it is fun to type in a Mario accent.
I will post pics as soon as we are done. He has the biggest room in the house so the painting it blue is still going on. Ben has been hard at work! My husband Ben is an artist and a former art teacher (he is taking a life break from that but works part-time at Target). Sooooo he does all the awesome mural work. We also painted my old Kindergarten room at my school with murals from book characters...but I think they are all covered up except one.
Anyway, my little boy is now 8 and growing so fast. He needs to stop! He tells me all the time he will care for me and feed me applesauce when I am old. :) Love being a mom!
I am in my last grad class!! Eeek. Then I have my practicum, graduate, take my test and am an official "Reading Specialist." Is it weird that I have a feeling of "what next?" I tease with the notion of getting my doctorate but my mother-in-law says I am a glutton for punishment and Ben says I would be paying $50,000 to a university to write a book over three years. :) He knows I will do what I want anyway because he married a hard head. Last night we had the debate about how long we had been married! He shaved a year off. I was like, "How could you not know our 11th anniversary is coming up?" He was like--

P.S. Update-he ended up being right!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Even my blog is OLD

Even my blog is OLD!!! My first post on here was 1-11-2007. Six years baby!!! Oh my gosh. Harrison was two years old when I started blogging. I was a stay-at-home mom who really just wanted to keep a journal of life at its best. I am still an insomnia queen. Oh, and a drama queen!! For the record, princess Granny looks totally fierce and yes I will be rockin' a tiara in my old age!!!!

My passion is for teaching

Thinking about the key to good teaching when it comes to breaking down words...

How can I make this intimidating aspect of language and grammar into something exciting? I think teachers still struggle with that. My opinion is that if you are teaching and the students are not only actively engaged, but also discussing, teaching each other, and moving around the room, there will be learning taking place.

Teaching students about base words, morphemes, graphemes, prefixes and suffixes cannot be done correctly by just handing them a worksheet. Give students tiny mirrors from the craft store or the dollar store. Have them hold them while saying words slowly or making the sounds. Do "duck lips" where they purse their lips shut while saying the word and feeling the syllables or have them touch their throats to measure the syllables. Give them index cards cut up and have them write the word out the way they hear the divisions ex. mis-con-duct on 3 cards. Give them counters and have them move one up each time they hear a division. These are the skills that will help them decode words, not a worksheet or a textbook. I feel strongly about getting students doing and not just listening to the "sage on the stage." I think I feel so passionate about it because I struggled with reading as a child and had teachers give up on me. It just took one to believe me and then reading and writing came easily.