Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kindergarten Writing Workshop

What does Writing Workshop look like in Kindergarten? Perhaps you'd be surprised how diligently our students work once they've gathered all their materials and tools.
Writers think of a topic first. They often plan their piece by making a quick sketch on each page and then rehearsing what they're going to write orally. Next they write their words. They go back and reread and add details to their pictures and words. This is called editing.

Please take a look at some writing samples from our class. We've been writing easy-to-read books to share with our friends. When they're finished, students put them in a basket for our Class Library. We've been studying the features of mentor books and noticed many of these type of books use a sentence pattern. So our student writers are trying that too. We're learning about the conventions of writing. What makes our writing easy to read? We have a spaceman tool to help us leave spaces between words.
"Baby cousin is crying."
"I like nachos. My brother doesn't. I said Yummy. Brother said Yuk."

Above you can see examples of typical kindergarten writing. These writers are recording sounds they hear in words, spelling high frequency words correctly (for the most part!) and they are beginning to leave spaces between words. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Your Child is Reading!!!  


You might be wondering what you can do at home to help your child with her reading?
1. Continue to read storybooks at bedtime. Picture books are wonderful. They have rich story language and vocabulary. Cuddling up with a parent and listening to the voice of a loved one while they read an adventure, what could be better than that?
2. As you're reading the story, have your child look at the pictures and talk about the details with you. Ask, "What do you think will happen next?" This helps the child make connections and fosters understanding.
3. Discuss the story after reading it. Use the transition words: first, next, then, last, finally. Have him name the characters. Who does he think was the most important character?What was his favorite part of the story? Why? Did the story remind him of anything in his own life, or another story?
4. If your student brings home a little book from school in his blue envelope, have him read it to you. Get comfortable. Before he starts, ask him what will help him keep his eyes on the words? (Point under each word.)
5. Early emergent reading books usually have repeating 
phrases. These books boost the child's confidence. They contain many high frequency words (aka sight words, words we know in a snap, words from the word wall). "Sounding out words" can be a strategy to solve unknown words, but have you ever tried to blend the sounds in the word "said"? It is important for your child to learn his high frequency words. They are the anchors that will give them the confidence they need to decode other words.
Still, getting your mouth ready with the first sound in "said" and looking at the last letter, and thinking what word makes sense here, what sounds right, are very useful decoding strategies.
6. If your reader is stuck on a word, have him check the picture for clues. Any information he gets from the picture plus beginning sound clues will be helpful.
7. You might notice he goes back to the beginning of the sentence and rereads. That too, can be a helpful strategy.
8. If the child is struggling, give him the word and have him move on. In school, I sometimes ask if he'd like some help.
9. Praise your reader when she uses a good story voice. Explain it sounds like music to your ears and makes the book more interesting to you. When she reads smoothly, and not word by word (kind of like a robot), she's reading fluently.