It is extremely important that your first grader (soon to be second grader) reads consistently over the summer. There are 95 days of summer vacation before school starts again. (Yes, I did count the days.) Research has found that children who do not read can lose up to three months of reading achievement! The solution to this problem is simple… have your child set a goal of reading 20 minutes a day. This reading can be on Raz-Kids (this will still be available!), library books, books in your house, or even books online (Storyline Online is a great site). Establish this on the very first day of summer and be consistent.
To help your child stick to his/her goal, use the two sided reading goal paper that will come home this week. Save this paper and attach it to your refrigerator or important message place. Use the chart side for keeping track of reading minutes (20 minutes/day). The other side has some great second grade books that your child will love reading. You can find these books at most libraries and bookstores. Just in case your paper gets lost, you can download another copy here (Summer Reading Goal, Summer Reading List).
This past week in reading workshop, we spent time growing our independent reading stamina. The kids worked hard to…
- Be URGENT. (Quickly find a spot and get right to work.)
- Stay in one spot.
- Work quietly. Shhhhhh.
- Warm up to each book and point to the words when reading.
- Read the WHOLE TIME…build stamina!
The kids have gotten quite good at finding books that are “just right” to keep in their book boxes. We established the class wide habit of rereading books if they read all of the books in their book box. This led to a discussion of how readers set goals for how many books they will read. We introduced a bookmark for keeping track of this number each day. Before each reading session, the kids thought about how many books they read the day before and about the books they had in their book boxes. They then set a goal for how many books they wanted to read that day. They tracked their goal for a few days to see if the number of books they read was growing each day. This also helped them notice if they actually had picked books that were “just right”. All in all, they spent a lot of time reading this week and building great reading habits. Way to go first graders!
We are looking forward to starting our “take home” reading program in the next few weeks. The first graders will get the chance to take a book home each night. These will be “just right” books, so the students will be able to read them independently. We want these books to be effortless so that students can gain confidence in themselves as readers. We are finishing up all the preparations for this program and we will let you know as soon as it is up and running.
Learning gains occur when there is a specific area on which to focus. This week, readers will approach their reading with a targeted reading goal. These reading goals are based on strengthening accuracy (reading the words correctly) or comprehension (remembering the story). As readers, there are certain aspects of reading that we do well and others that can be improved. Increasing awareness of these areas can help students take ownership of their reading skills. Students’ reading goals are posted on bookmarks which are used whenever they are reading books. Some readers are targeting strategies to help them read more accurately. Their goal might be to watch out for the middles or ends of words or to reread when the story doesn’t make sense. Other students who are already accurate readers might have a comprehension goal, remembering the who and the what after reading. Students are encouraged to focus on their goal in the regular classroom and at home. This week, ask your child about his/her reading goal.
First Grade: Learning gains occur when there is a specific area on which to focus. This week, the first graders approached their reading with a targeted reading goal. These reading goals are based on strengthening accuracy (reading the words correctly) or comprehension (remembering the story). As readers, there are certain reading aspects that we do well and others that can be improved. Increasing awareness of these areas helps students to take ownership of their reading skills and provides goals for improvement. Each student has a reading goal on a green (Accuracy) or purple (Comprehension) bookmark. Most first graders are working on using strategies to read words well. As a result, many students have an Accuracy reading goal (checking the middle/ends of words, or reading without skipping words). Other readers who are already strong in Accuracy have a Comprehension goal (remembering the Who? What?) while reading. The reading goal is written on a reading bookmark which is used whenever they are reading books. Students are encouraged to continue focusing on this goal in the regular classroom and at home. This weekend, ask your child about his/her reading goal.
Second Grade: Close reading is a new term in education with the introduction of the Common Core State Standards. Close reading is a method for uncovering layers of meaning which leads to deeper comprehension. At this time in second grade, this comprehension is essential to becoming a strong reader. Taking time to read and reread stories helps students to understand ideas and details, as well as how characters change throughout the story. After reading through the whole book, we reread the book together, stopping frequently to discuss interesting words, the events of the story, or the author’s purpose in using certain words or phrases. As you can see, this is DEEP work. You can do some close reading at home with your child, discussing the story in detail. By doing this you will be helping to build some great reading habits!
It was so nice to meet with all of you at parent/teacher conferences! Please feel free to email me if you have any follow-up questions about your child’s reading.
First Grade: Students have learned more useful reading strategies to help when stuck on tricky words. With the strategy, Chunky Monkey, readers look for a chunk or a small word inside a bigger word. Our students are especially looking out for H Brother chunks (th, sh, ch, and wh). Tryin’ Lion is a great strategy as readers reread and “try the line again.” Wise Old Owl is the captain of the strategies, always checking to make sure that the reading makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, Owl calls on the other strategies to help. Encourage your first grader to tell you about the different strategies and also to identify strategies as they are used. Several books have gone home and should be stored in the Book Boxes. Set aside reading time every night to allow for important practice.
Second Grade: Students have focused on one reading goal in either Comprehension (understanding the reading) or Accuracy (reading the words correctly). By identifying a specific reading goal, students can target that skill to become better readers. Those students who are strengthening Comprehension are reading to remember the details of the story. Books with many people or animals can be confusing, so we are spending time after reading to describe the characters and their actions. Readers who are working on Accuracy are using strategies such as using smaller chunks to figure out longer words or fixing up when their reading doesn’t make sense. Second graders are taking home some great library books at their just right level. Continue to set aside time every night to read and practice these books together.