Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving on Thursday

Many of our young readers are ready for chapter books - more words, fewer pictures - so we thought we would begin by reading aloud some of the first books in some of the series that they can choose such as the Magic Tree House series. By reading the first book in a series, the students can meet the characters and get a feel for the books to see if they might be interested in others in that same series. We started by introducing the class to eight year old Jack and his seven year old sister Annie as they are transported to another time when they open a book in their magic tree house. We first read book #1, Dinosaurs Before Dark, which the children loved. We just couldn't resist adding book #27, Thanksgiving on Thursday right before the holiday. Of course, we realized that we might need to add a little additional background knowledge to this historical fiction when we asked them to guess who the characters might meet on this adventure and they guessed George Washington and Abe Lincoln! We did fill in with some traditional Thanksgiving books of the first celebration between chapters! Make sure to ask your child about the adventures in the Magic Tee House! And have a wonderful, gratitude-filled holiday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guess who got slimed?

I hope your child told you that after our Veteran's Flag Raising on Friday, all of the students gathered to watch our Principal get slimed! She had agreed to be slimed if 90% of the students met their Readers-to Leaders goal for the first nine weeks! 92% met the goal!

In our classroom students had to take a book home every night, Monday through Thursday, read it to an adult and then log the book and bring the log back each week to get the books counted. We believe that there is nothing better that you can do for your child than to listen to him read every night. The book that your child brings home is from the collection of 12 books that he keeps in his "Book Buddy" and practices reading during Readers' Workshop. We want the children to read the same book many times because each time they reread the same book, they become more fluent and understand better what they are reading. Your child changes out his books each week. If your child happens to forget to bring home a book one night, you can substitute with a book from your own home library or a book from the public library or you can ask your child to bring home two books the next night. Occasionally you might want to do something different, so for about one week out of each nine weeks you can also choose to read to your child and have him log the book that YOU read. Choose a chapter book that is something that you both will enjoy. Reading at home is all about developing a love for reading and developing a habit of reading every day.

If your child did not meet his goal the first nine weeks, he should make it up this nine weeks and then read the 30 books for the second nine weeks (that's 55 books in all). If you ever want to know how many books your child has read, just ask. We are really trying for 100% of our children meeting the goal the second nine weeks!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creating Mental Images

Our class has been working on creating mental images when they read. By visualizing what they read our students become part of the story which in turn helps them comprehend. As I read Miss. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney the children closed their eyes and created mental images in their minds. Using white boards each child drew what they saw and we discussed each student’s visualizations. As the week went on the students began to compare their mental images. Discussions abounded about color and details. I can’t wait to see how they can use this process in their writing as well!