Thursday, June 14, 2012

Early literacy with preschoolers

My whole world revolves around being a mom these days.  I love it that way. There was a time, however, when I did things other than be a mom.  I worked several jobs and got a college degree in Education.  Graduated with honors, actually (yes, I am bragging, but it was hard work!). I graduated in December and before I could get a job, I was pregnant with my first. Now that my son is three years old, I felt like it was time to start flexing those rusty teaching muscles. We did a week long lesson on a book, where he progressively took over reading the book for me.  When I posted the end of the week video on Facebook, people were impressed with my kiddo "reading" the book. He really more memorized it, although he does remember certain words from the book if I write them down and ask him what they say.

Here's how we did it. First, he is in a summer program with a wonderful teacher and one of her sight words of the week was "it."  I looked through his Brand New Readers and picked out a book that had the word "it" in it multiple times. It was a very repetitive story - the little girl does something to get the ball moving, the dog catches it.

Day 1: First I wrote down the word "it" and put it in our pocket chart on the wall in the kitchen. He loves having words in that chart. He very quickly learned that i-t- spells it. When I introduced the book for the first time, I showed him the pictures and read the description on the inside cover of the book (all Brand New Readers have this, it's a great tool).  We talked about the dog and the little girl and what they were doing.  Then I showed him the word "it" in the book and asked him "What does i-t spell?" When he answered correctly I said "Good! Every time you see the word it, I want YOU to say "IT!" We read the book through twice, with me pointing to the words as we went.

Day 2: I showed him the cover of the book and asked him if he remembered the title. He said "It says 'CATCH!'" *smarty pants* I asked him if he remembered what they were playing, he said they were going to play catch with a ball. Ball was repeated every other page, so when I started reading I paused at that word and asked him "Do you know what that says?" He said "Ball?" I said "Yes, so every time you see b-a-l-l, you can read it!" Catches was also repeated, so we did the same with catches. We read it twice through, this time with me holding his hand and trailing across the words while we read.

Day 3: My little smarty pants was able to read the book to me. He trailed the words with his fingers like a pro and looked at the picture if he came across a word he didn't know.  My hubby said "He just memorized it." Well... yeah, he did to an extent, but that's the point of sight words (which was the main focus).  So I made a game with the text of the book.  I wrote out the whole book in sentence strips.  RJ and I used them as a puzzle to put the story together.  I would read him a line, he would decide where it went in the story.  We built the story from title to end, then read it together. I would pop-quiz him on the more common words.

Day 4: I went out and bought a pocket chart to put our story puzzle into.  We ordered the story - this time, RJ was able to tell the difference between the action words throw, hit, and kick by using his beginning letter sounds. He was able to order the story himself.  I then gave him a pointer and had him read the words. I am going to try to upload a video below showing how he did:

Hopefully the edits will work and the video will turn right side up hahaha. He loved doing this every day.  The words he has retained from the story are "it" and "ball." The repetitive nature of the story gave him the confidence to read fluidly, and he loves using the pointer. I can't wait to start the next book with him!