Monday, September 26, 2016

6 Mini Lessons for Visual Errors

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
This is the second in the series. As I stated before, I believe in analyzing your running records.  I recently re-posted a blog about just that (Be a Reading Detective).  Once you have analyzed the running record, then what?  You have to use that analysis to make lessons for your students.
After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
Students who have visual errors are using what they see (obviously).  This can include letters (horse for house), word length (hat for hit), analogies (car looks a bit like cat).  Here are 6 ideas for lessons when students are making meaning errors.

Frame it

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
I love this one.  I use this one a lot...I mean, A LOT.  One of the most powerful things I was ever told happened to me a few years ago at the Virginia State Reading Association. Jan Richardson was the speaker and, of course, she was amazing.  She said this simple sentence, "Keep your hand out of their book."  Think about that.  "Keep your hands out of their book."  This is one of those lessons.  If you teach the students to frame a word they don't know or aren't sure of, they will isolate the letters in the words and can make good decisions about decoding.  I actually teach this strategy during new vocabulary introduction in small group instruction.  Students frame the new word to isolate it.  It helps them focus on the word.

What would you expect?

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
The is an activity uses pictures to make the students think about what they should see BEFORE they see it.  Show them a picture and ask what they should EXPECT to see in the words. The lessons can be changed to include the beginning, middle, and end of the word.  

Same Beginning Sound

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.

Teaching students to listen for the beginning sound can help them look for the beginning sound, as well.  Practicing with a target word and a variety of pictures, students can find the picture with the same beginning sound.  This will help them make good choices when using letters and sounds.

Flip the Vowel

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
This is another exercise I use when teaching decoding strategies, as well.  This is a "double your pleasure, double your fun" activity.  Students who aren't attending to the ending vowel, should practice flipping the vowel.  Using both the long and short sound for the vowel can help the student determine the correct word needed for a sentence.  

Chunking (or using Word Families)

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
Using the chunking strategies is another decoding strategy.  We call it "look for pieces you know" in decoding.  We look for the part of the word they know and build the word from there.  The activity above is "If you know...then you know."  I first heard about this from Irene Fountas at a workshop years ago.  If helps them hang an unknown on a known.  

Confused Words

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
This is actually one of my favorite games to play with readers.  You know the students who say "was" or "saw" or "had" for "has."  This game is a fun practice.  Using the sheet and a die, students roll the die and read down the column as quickly as they can. It helps them quickly decode the words that are tricky.

Don't be fooled

There is a bit of a trick, though...using the picture in book is NOT a visual error.  The picture provides meaning...so we have to remember that.  Don't be fooled by the picture.

If you would like a sample set of these activities, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I AM...in Kindergarten

There is so much going on in a kindergarten classroom at the beginning of the year.  There are students who are excited, scared, happy, sad, joyous, and devastated.  There are routines to learn and curriculum to be taught.  If we integrate all our lessons, it makes it all easier.
I am...in kindergarten. Introducing word wall words in a variety of activities and lessons can help students gain a working knowledge of new words.
Our first week of school, we jump in head first and teach how to walk in a line, put their backpacks on the hook, find their chair, stand for the pledge, and sit for the moment of silence and that's all before 8 am.  As crazy as it is, this is the face of kindergarten.  This week we are also going to make color posters, talk about class rules, learn how to walk to the carpet, be "rug ready" and participate when asked. We are taught to raise our hand and not shout, "I'm done" a million times. We dance, we sing, we run at recess, and we get our snack ready.  AND we learn words.
I am...in kindergarten. Introducing word wall words in a variety of activities and lessons can help students gain a working knowledge of new words.
The first week we introduce three sight words: I, a, and am.  We introduce it during our Poem of the Week and put it on our word wall.  We talk about how "I" and "a" are both letters and words.  We introduce ourselves to each other, "Hello, I am Grant Collier."  We also find the words and letters in everything we do.
I am...in kindergarten. Introducing word wall words in a variety of activities and lessons can help students gain a working knowledge of new words.
Our school rules lend themselves to this perfectly.  The three rules for the school and each class are: 1. I am safe. 2. I am responsible. 3. I am respectful.  There is a class anchor chart made with the rules and pictures.  The students also make a student sample, but I don't have a picture to show you.  Friday of the first week of school our students a given directions for our first formative assessment.  This assessment includes matching colors to shapes, writing their name, and drawing a picture of themselves.
I am...in kindergarten. Introducing word wall words in a variety of activities and lessons can help students gain a working knowledge of new words.
We also make an anchor chart about good listeners.  Monday, the teacher wrote the title, "What go listeners do?"  The class has a discussion about good listeners.  Tuesday and Wednesday, the students help add words to the chart.  Thursday, students start their student-made chart by coloring the boy and adding the words.  Friday, students will order the words "I am rug ready!"  The following week, students will color and complete "I am..." sentences connecting reading with color words.
I am...in kindergarten. Introducing word wall words in a variety of activities and lessons can help students gain a working knowledge of new words.
In the following weeks, they will also use configuration boxes and sound chart pictures to write "I am a..." sentences.  This is fun.  Kindergartners think it is funny to read the sentences after they make them.  "I am a dog." brings giggles all around.

Keeping it Connected

Repetition is the best way to make words concrete. Research tells us students need exposure to a new word 14 times, but a struggling student needs exposure to a new word 44 times!  As the year progresses we will continue to circle back to words.  

If you would like the "I am rug ready." paper, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

7 Mini Lessons for Meaning Errors

Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.
I believe in analyzing your running records, you know that.  I recently re-posted a blog about just that (Be a Reading Detective).  Once you have analyzed the running record, then what?  You have to use that analysis to make lessons for your students.

Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.
For a quick review, students who make meaning errors are not using meaning to help guide their reading.  Meaning errors are only looking at the illustrations, story meaning, the text, or their prior knowledge. Unfortunately, these errors turn into a comprehension breakdown.

What do we do?

Here are some ideas for students who are making meaning errors. 

Picture Focus
Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.

Students are using the pictures, so let's make the most of this strategy.  Helping students use the picture to focus what they see, can help them make decisions about the story.  When there is a picture that could be many words (like forest and woods, in the picture above).  Help students look at the picture and name all the things it could be called, making it easier for them to recall the words when they are reading. Also, show them pictures and ask them nonsense questions. "Will I read about a lion at a swimming pool?  Will I read about a monkey in the arctic?

Sequence Activities
Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.

Knowing the beginning, middle, and end of a story creates meaning.  Using picture cards the students have to order can allow students to make sense of sequencing. Putting pictures out of order can require students to either know the correct order or be able to tell why they are not in the correct order. "We can't go to the brick house in the middle of the story, the fox won't be able to blow it down and if he moves on the stick house after that.  That brother pig would be in danger."

What can it be?
Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.

Students can be have fun with the "What can it be?" game. The teacher can show a little bit of a picture and then give the students clues to figure it out. Using this game is a great way to help students use what they know to help make educated decisions about the topic.  

Bubble Maps
Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.
Bubble maps help students build prior knowledge. Cooperatively making the bubble maps helps all students share in the combined knowledge of the group.  Before a book is introduced, making the bubble map about fall can help put language and vocabulary in their minds.  This can provide greater knowledge for students to make meaning of the story.

Semantic Gradients
Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.
I love semantic gradients, but anyone who knows me, knows this. This vocabulary integration helps students have a "dictionary" of synonyms to use while reading. In addition, they need to know the difference between cool and icy or the difference between big and jumbo.  Knowing these gradients, can help students make meaning choices when reading.

Context Clues
Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.
Lessons using context clues are good at any level.  Students will need to use what they know in the sentence or story to help make meaning choices. Using the picture above, ask students to name something that could e in the barn. Cow. Horse. Cat. Crab?  This is the prefect lesson for the "Skip and Reread" reading strategy.  Students practice reading to the end of the sentence, then rereading for meaning.

Make Connections
Helping students read with meaning is the goal of any lesson. Here are 7 lessons for helping students make meaning.
For some reason this is the "go to" strategy for many teachers. It's a great strategy, but it should be used in conjunction with other strategies.  Making connections automatically helps make the story have meaning. We've all heard of text to self, text to text, and text to world, but lately we need to make sure we are discussing text to media. Students are using laptops, iPads, and smart phones to read and learn about the world. They need to make connections with those activities, as well.

I hope these ideas can provide your students with activities for making meaning when they read.

If you'd like a FREEBIE SAMPLE SET of these activities, CLICK HERE or the picture below.



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reading IS Comprehension

You've heard it before, "My child can read anything you put in front of him, but he can't remember it or talk about it."  As many of you have tried to explain this is an example of word calling because reading by definition implies comprehension.
Don't be fooled by "reading" that isn't "comprehending."  Five WET PAINT signs gave me the perfect explanation that reading ALWAYS includes comprehension.
Well, it happened to me today.  No, I don't mean another parent told me about their "reader," I mean it actually happened to me.

This is our teacher back to school week.  You know what that means...meetings, planning, meetings, testing, meetings, scheduling, meetings...and it goes on and on.  It is almost a relief when the students come back because our schedules can become routines and consistency rules.  Another thing you need to know about my school is that we have a "California-style" school building in Coastal Virginia, that is, all the first and second grade classroom doors open to the outside.  We only have 2 main hallways in the main building, but the outside "hallways" are actually sidewalks. Last year, our AWESOME Assistant Principal painted green paw prints on the path to the kindergarten classes...so the kindergartners follow the paws and don't get lost.
Don't be fooled by "reading" that isn't "comprehending."  Five WET PAINT signs gave me the perfect explanation that reading ALWAYS includes comprehension.
Yesterday in the middle of the day, I walked outside my office and down the sidewalk to the main building...a walk I do at least ten times a day.  I had several things on my mind and I was making a list as I was walking. When I got to the main building door, I read the sign and finally READ the sign.  Oh no!  WET PAINT!  I looked at the bottoms of my shoes to see if I had walked through the paint.  When I looked back there were 5...yes, I said 5 signs I had walked past and "read."  THEN, when I got to the last one, I actually READ the sign.  Finally, there was comprehension.  The PTA had added yellow paw prints to the path.
Don't be fooled by "reading" that isn't "comprehending."  Five WET PAINT signs gave me the perfect explanation that reading ALWAYS includes comprehension.
What an stark realization...this is what students are doing all the time.  They are "reading" the signs and not processing ANY of the information...even though they might have read the same passage several times. We have to make sure they are reading WITH comprehension.  We need to make sure we are providing them with comprehension strategy instruction and practice. Students also need accountability with silent reading, so we can make sure it is ACTUALLY reading.

The next time someone says someone can "read anything," but "can't talk about it..." think about my Wet Paint sign.  It took me 4 signs before I actually comprehended what I was walking past.

By the way, I didn't walk in the paint, but I'm sure that was accidental. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Love Your Listening Center...Again!

What didn't work...

Listening Center used to be the bane of my existence...
finding a new book every week…
making sure it wasn’t too long…
making sure the tape worked…
making sure I had multiple copies…
making sure the headphones worked...
making sure I had an activity for each book...ugh.  

Then, I finally figured it out.  Listening Center is another center that once the process is taught…you’re golden.  Listening Center is a beginning center.  That is, the students who are going to the Listening Center go there at the beginning of center time.
Love Your Listening Center...Again!  Instead of going crazy finding weekly books and activities, follow these easy steps for a MONTHLY book.  You'll love the listening center again.

By making sure they started at listening center, everyone heard it together...and then moved on.  A small group of heterogeneously grouped students listened to the tape - WITHOUT headphones.  The volume was low, but everyone else in the room could hear the tape.  During this time, I did running records for the day.  I don't pull any groups until after the story, so that no one misses the story.

What does work...I promise!

Love Your Listening Center...Again!  Instead of going crazy finding weekly books and activities, follow these easy steps for a MONTHLY book.  You'll love the listening center again.
Now, I use listening center as another way to practice comprehension.  I choose one book PER MONTH!  That’s right…just 1.  Students also have all the materials they need in one place. The students have 4 opportunities to hear the book, while the product for each week is different.
Love Your Listening Center...Again!  Instead of going crazy finding weekly books and activities, follow these easy steps for a MONTHLY book.  You'll love the listening center again.

Setting the Weekly Goal

Students are asked on Week 1 to enjoy the book.  They listen to the book for it's entertainment value. After listening to the story, they get a folded piece of 12 x 18 manila paper and write the title and the author on the cover of their booklet. At the beginning of the year, I write the title and author on sentence strips for the students to reference at the table.  Once I got a SmartBoard, I wrote the title and author on the SmartBoard for student reference.  Towards the middle of the year, I teach them to write the title using the books.  They also illustrate the book.
Love Your Listening Center...Again!  Instead of going crazy finding weekly books and activities, follow these easy steps for a MONTHLY book.  You'll love the listening center again.
Students listen to the story again, but this week the goal is to listen for characters.  Students will write the main character names and either illustrate the characters or glue provided pictures from the story.  At the beginning of the year, we decide who the main characters are as a group and I write the names on sentence strips. As the year progresses, they write the character names independently.  You can provide post-it note flags so they can flag the character names.
Love Your Listening Center...Again!  Instead of going crazy finding weekly books and activities, follow these easy steps for a MONTHLY book.  You'll love the listening center again.
Students listen to the story again.  This week's goal is all about the setting. Students will write about the setting in the story and write a phrase.  At the beginning of the year, we decide what the main setting is as a group and I write it on a sentence strips.  They can get a "bonus sticker" if they can tell two different settings.
Love Your Listening Center...Again!  Instead of going crazy finding weekly books and activities, follow these easy steps for a MONTHLY book.  You'll love the listening center again.
Students listen to the story a final time and write a response to the story.  At the beginning of the year, I provide the sentence starter, “I like it when…”  We can also use starters: I do not like it when ..., My favorite part is..., The funny part is..., you get the idea.

Changing my listening center from a weekly book to a monthly book helped my students with reading comprehension.  My students could have book talks about the characters, setting, and events easily. It also helped with my sanity.


Monday, August 22, 2016

6 Reasons to PRE-READ Your Read Alouds

Read Alouds are by definition "read aloud" to your students, but it isn't just about reading the book.  It's about showing students how they can be entertained by books AND learn from books.  Reading aloud can contain lessons on story elements, story comprehension, author discussions, vocabulary and everything else in reading.
Make sure you pre-read your read aloud so you can get the most out of your reading time.  Here are 6 reasons for pre-reading those read alouds every time.
It can be the highlight of the day, if you take a few minutes to plan and pre-read your Read Aloud.
Make sure you pre-read your read aloud so you can get the most out of your reading time.  Here are 6 reasons for pre-reading those read alouds every time.
Books can be read for entertainment, but if you are reading for a purpose make a plan.  If you are pre-reading, make a plan.  Using post-it notes is an easy way to leave notes for yourself.  Jotting down key words on the post it notes or listing a question for your students at each place in the book, can create a calm read. Stellaluna is a great way to each Compare and Contrast.  Stellaluna is different from her bird "brothers and sisters," but they had some things in common, as well.  Knowing you are going to teach Cause and Effect the read aloud helps you engage your students in the book and make connections.
Make sure you pre-read your read aloud so you can get the most out of your reading time.  Here are 6 reasons for pre-reading those read alouds every time.
Most of you know my love of the Magic Tree House books.  I could probably teach any skill using these books...but they are great for vocabulary.  We read a Magic Tree House book in 11 days.  The first day is all about vocabulary, then it's a chapter a day with summaries and predicting and fun.  During the introduction day, we discuss any vocabulary they may need to fully understand the book.  In the book, The Knight at Dawn, we discuss the difference between night and knight, the words relating to castles (Great Hall, dungeon, Armory, and more) and the word "precipice."  We define it, model it, and own it before we read the book, then when we are reading the vocabulary doesn't stop comprehension.
Make sure you pre-read your read aloud so you can get the most out of your reading time.  Here are 6 reasons for pre-reading those read alouds every time.
Some books need practice.  The Three Ninja Pigs is a great retelling of The Three Little Pigs.  It is fun and the students love the story.  However, the entire book is written in limerick.  You need to practice the rhythm of the book, so students will be able to enjoy the rhythm and the story.
Make sure you pre-read your read aloud so you can get the most out of your reading time.  Here are 6 reasons for pre-reading those read alouds every time.
Flossie and the Fox is one of my favorite books.  It is another retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but is set in the south and is written using an old south dialect.  There are examples of non-standard English, so the reader needs to understand the story language, so it doesn't effect the comprehension or entertainment of the story.  

"All due respect, Miz Cat, but both y'all got sharp claws and yellow
eyes.  So...that don't prove nothing, cep'n both y'all be cats."
~Patricia McKissack

I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Patricia McKissack several years ago and she was a fantastic speaker and it made me love her books even more.
Make sure you pre-read your read aloud so you can get the most out of your reading time.  Here are 6 reasons for pre-reading those read alouds every time.
This is special to me...because I made the classic mistake of NOT pre-reading this book before I read it in front of my students.  I had ordered the book from Scholastic years ago and was so excited to read it when I got it, I didn't pre-read the book.  This is truly one of my favorite books, but by the end of the story, I was crying.  Yep.  Crying.  My emotions were slowly building with the friendship of the 3 main characters, story of Mr. Kodinski's shop and his back story, the disappointment on Miss Eula's face and how the children decide to help Mr. Kodinski when they didn't have to.  But at the end, when it says, 

"Winston, Stuart, and I are all grown up now.  We lost Miss Eula some time back, 
but every year we take some chicken soup up to Mountain 
View Cemetery and do just what she asked." 

Oh, goodness.  I'm tearing up just typing that.  So trust me, pre-read so you don't start the "snurping cry" in front of your students.
Make sure you pre-read your read aloud so you can get the most out of your reading time.  Here are 6 reasons for pre-reading those read alouds every time.
Finally, this is one of my favorite reasons to pre-read the book.  This book was in our leveled library and a teacher came to me frantic one day to take the book OUT of the book room.  She had not pre-read the book and she had shared it with her group of second graders.   The book is a standard retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but it's a little "real."  The huntsman "slices" the belly of the wolf with his axe to help Grandma and Little Red out of his belly.  Grandma is a little rattled by the close quarters of the wolf belly, so she has a glass of wine (the wine and bottle are in the illustration).  The huntsman takes home the pelt of the wolf to hang on his wall.  Yep, pre-reading is important.  
***Note:  I didn't take it out of the literacy library, I put a "warning" label on the cover.  

I hope I have inspired you to pre-read your Read Aloud.  Making the  most of the story, can capitalize on your instruction and showcase quality writing.  

I just found a website about reading aloud and I love it.  It is www.readaloud.org.  There are lots of downloads and explanations about how and why to read aloud to your child 15 minutes everyday. Check it out!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cold Read? Warm Read? Hot Read? What does it all mean?

I have been asked more than once about this.  What does it all mean? These readings for students are VERY different.  Each type of reading has a specific reason for doing them, what information we get from them, and when we do them.  Each reading has a value and a place in instruction. I'm hoping this will provide clear answers (and maybe a reference for the future).
Cold Read? Warm Read? Hot Read? Using each type of reading can help teachers create strong, independent readers through lessons, practice, and refinement.

Cold Read

In the world of psychics, a cold read is what the psychic can tell you about your future without having any information from you.  It's the same in the world of reading. What can I glean from what they can do independently?  What do they know?  The introduction is usually scripted and limited to a sentence or two.  We are asked to observe what they can do independently...without instruction.  Are they using strategies?  Is this level a comfortable level for reading; therefore, opening the door for instruction.

A cold read is done infrequently...usually three times a year (beginning, middle, and end of the year).  It is also usually done using a specific Benchmarking system (Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System, Rigby, Reading A to Z, Next Step Guided Reading Assessment, Independent Reading Assessment and many more).  Our school uses the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System, but I have used others in the past.  The books provided are unpracticed, that is, students are given a book they have never seen before to read and discuss. The accuracy, fluency, and comprehension point to an instructional level. 
Cold Read? Warm Read? Hot Read? Using each type of reading can help teachers create strong, independent readers through lessons, practice, and refinement.

Warm Read

A warm read is the reading assessment used most frequently with students.  These assessments can be called running records.  Students at levels A-M or DRA levels 1-28 should expect a running record anywhere from one time a week (below level readers) to one time a month (above level readers). This is an oral assessment of a previously taught and practiced book or a portion of a previously read book.  The running record is typically the day after the book is given.  Students have gotten an introduction, a vocabulary lesson, and practice reading the book in small group instruction.  The students practice independently when they have time (after work is completed or during independent reading time).  I don't believe the books should be sent home for practice before a running record.  The running record is used to determine how well the students understood the lessons from the day before, how they use their decoding and comprehension strategies.  Teachers can take note of progress on a particular strategy.

The running record is an integral part of small group instruction.  Each day a running record one student is given a running record at the beginning of the lesson.  When students come to my small group table, I ask one to read the book from the day before and the others can read from their bag of books (the previously 5 books), but not the book from the day before.  After the running record, I introduce the new book for the day.

After the group leaves, you must take the time to analyze the running record.  Analyzing their errors is the perfect way to determine what they need.  It will tell you what skills are weak and what lessons will make them stronger, but that's another post for another day.
Cold Read? Warm Read? Hot Read? Using each type of reading can help teachers create strong, independent readers through lessons, practice, and refinement.

Hot Read

I had a teacher tell me that running records were not useful.  Her students always made 100% and it didn't give her any useful information. My first thought was her students must be leveled incorrectly, but when I continued to question the teacher she explained she only did running records on Fridays.  I was confused.  I continued to question her.  Yep, on Friday she did all the running records from the week.  She had sent the books home for homework, she had required students to read the books to each other, and she had required the books to be read during daily independent reading time. Oh goodness. That's a hot read. She was right, there was no value in THOSE running records, because they weren't geared for instruction.

However, there is a value to a hot read, but it isn't instructional information for reading levels.  BUT, use hot reads for fluency practice.  Once students are familiar with the book, they can practice for expression, inflection, and intonation.

Go Forth and Assess

I hope this post gives you a clear explanation of these readings. Using cold reads, you can determine where instruction should begin.  Using warm reads, you determine student progress at that level.  Using hot reads, you can make the reading fluent.  Each reading has a purpose.