Thursday, April 14, 2016

Reading comprehension

Let's talk about teaching reading comprehension. 
What is reading comprehension?

“Thinking guided by print.”
(Perfetti,1985)

“Process, not a product, through which the reader draws meaning from the text.”
(Carlisle & Rice, 2002)

“Process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language.”
(RAND Reading Report, 2002)


 First, let's look at five ways we can instruct students to develop stronger comprehension skills.
Now, let's get to some comprehension-building ideas and activities!
There are many pre-reading strategies you can use to help with reading comprehension.


These are during or after-reading strategies:


Here are some other comprehension ideas-

Exit tickets are a good way to see what students gleaned from the day's readings.
Here is a short video on the How and Why of Exit Tickets



This door decoration (below) helps with using exit tickets. Students write on a sticky note and stick it on the door on the way out for a quick assessment of understanding. You can make this specific to reading. If you have younger students, they can draw a scene from the story read.


 Another comprehension strategy I like is known as Collaborative Strategic Reading (Klinger and Vaughn, 1999).
Students work in small, cooperative groups applying four comprehension strategies:
1. Preview (think about what they already know, predict what the passage might be about)
2.“Click and clunk” (monitor comprehension, use fix-up strategies as needed)
3. Get the gist (glean and restate the most important idea)
4. Wrap up (summarize, ask questions)

Graphic organizers and anchor charts can also assist greatly with reading comprehension.


Main Idea Anchor Chart...

Anchor charts were found HERE.



Here are some links to some sites that can also help with teaching reading comprehension.

Helps students improve their reading comprehension by questioning the text, thinking aloud, writing post-it notes, and participating in guided practice.



ReadWorks lessons are organized by skill, strategy, and grade levels. 

Free Reading offers ready-made intervention lessons organized by specific skill.

These resources guide students in grades 1-8 through a variety of reading comprehension skills and prompts for writing in response to text.  You can download  FREE samples for your grade level.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Putting a "Spring" in your step!



This is my doggy Kipper enjoying Spring. 
Kipper is 14 years old! Born in February 2002. 
And he is still my fuzzy-wuzzy, crazy dog.
Here's his un-glamour shot...


So Spring is here in its beauty! 
Sunday night we had a thunderstorm that was just nice to listen to.
I am ready to see bright dots of flowers appear all over Oklahoma.

I want to share some Spring teaching ideas.

I am obsessed with Eric Carle. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the first book that really "spoke" to me in Kindergarten. So I was surprised to see this very easy paper plate caterpillar idea.

I cannot believe I never thought of making caterpillars out of paper plates. I know it is weird because as an early childhood teacher you think of a zillion paper plate craftivities for students.


This is one I saw on DiscoverExploreLearn. I think my son will like doing this as a part of science. We have been studying air and clouds anyway so it fits in. Plus, I think if we put objects in the balloon or taped to it, we can see how much weight it takes to keep the rocket from taking off. 

Pool noodles are in stores again right now. I know Dollar Tree has them, too!

You can have students be engineers and sketch and write out their building plans. I think it is always important to incorporate writing in centers.

Here are three really cool cardboard centers you can make very inexpensively (and don't forget to add literacy and math skills into them!)




And this is fun but very good for fine motor skills and a way to make writing an adventure...
put butcher paper under tables/desks and let your students write and draw about a topic you are studying.


Sigh. I love thinking outside the box. 

Please share any of your ideas or any you have seen others do in the comments section! 


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Monday, April 11, 2016

Free admission at national parks!

National Park Week is April 16-24th and they are offering free admission to all national parks. Grab your planner! Here are all the free admission days for 2016:

  • April 16-24: National Park Week
  • August 25-28: National Park Service Birthday Weekend
  • September 24: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day
If you are not sure which parks are near you to explore go to Find Your Park!

Here in Oklahoma there are only three listed: OKC National Memorial,  Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and the Washita Battlefield. I called the OKC Memorial to see if the museum was free that week and was told it was not. But the memorial site is always free year-round anyway, so I am not sure what's up with that. Anyway, you may have more free national park services where you live. Worth a try for a free field trip!


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The need for early screening for Dyslexia

I saw this chart on Facebook and had to share the thoughts about it...

This chart shows the predicted paths of typical students in blue, and students with dyslexia in red.-The red path is especially problematic when SLD (Specific Learning Disability), a broad indicator under which students get services, is used because a student must be "not meeting standards" (failing) to get services. Even then, many schools do not distinguish dyslexia from other SLD and so intervention is not specific to the disability.

Currently consideration of SLD is not considered until end of 2nd /3rd grade, when evaluation is more expensive and intervention more difficult. (Early intervention is key!)

Decoding Dyslexia MA proposes: 
valid screening indictors for being "at risk" for the more specific dyslexia are easy and cost effective at age 5. If all students were screened for Phonemic Awareness (PA) and Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) teachers would have information on the 2 strongest indicators of reading failure in 3rd grade (proven in research as 87% accurate) before choosing instructional focus or method. Intervention would target early, the areas research indicates cause later reading failure, PA and RAN. Using the screening for all would provide teachers and parents a path to intervene targeting the skills and improving outcomes with out waiting to fail, without wasting resources on less targeted intervention that will not reach these students. Fewer students will require deeper evaluative diagnosis, because they will improve and join their peers on a more typical path to literacy.

Also, according to Decoding Dyslexia MA- 

Here is where you can find more info on Phonemic Awareness and how it relates to early literacy.


And I have my own link to share on  how early interventions help children with disabilities.


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Friday, April 8, 2016

Blogging is cheaper than therapy.

I guess, anyway! 
So I have been searching for a job related to literacy or as a Reading Specialist. I have been here at home two years and I love spending time with my son and homeschooling him, but there is a part of me that wants to find a position doing something I love. I have thought to myself, "what do I like to do best?" And the answer that always comes to my mind is "help others." I know that sounds like a broad stroke with a paintbrush, but specifically, I like to watch and help others learn.
So we shall see. If I am to spend another year at home, then I totally embrace that. I always try to be optimistic about life in general. :)

I saw a really beautiful Spring paper plate project on Facebook. 

Isn't it so pretty?!?

This is a cool way to re-use bottle water bottles...make a fairy house! Directions are found here.

Look at these bubble hydrangeas! Mix paint with bubble solution (or dishsoap and water) and give your child a straw to blow bubbles to the top of the solution. Lay a piece of white paper (preferably cardstock) to imprint the bubbles on. Cut out and add construction paper to your art!
I did try this with my classroom of students. Each had a small bowl and their own straw. We used copy paper and I believe water color paint. The effect was not so great. I would use acrylic paint instead!

So many cool Spring projects!

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Fri-YAY Fun-YAY!!























When the bottom comes off the three hole puncher...













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