Each year we ask that student read 25-30 books each nine weeks with the goal of reading one million words each year. Research tells us that the more students read the better they get at reading! In Kindergarten we log the books in class and also ask parents and students to begin the lifelong habit of reading every single day by having each student take home a "book in the bag" and log that book each night. In first grade we will hold the students responsible for this habit and only those students who log the 25-30 books will get the Readers-to-Leaders Award each nine weeks. To encourage students across the school to read, the Principal always promises to do something outrageous or fun for the students who meet the goal. Last year she was slimed, kissed a pig, invited students to play Bingo with her and invited them to a carnival. This year she started this first nine weeks by being duct taped to the wall for two hours while she read! Two of our students were chosen to help tape her to the wall and then all of the students had a chance to go by the wall after lunch and hear her tell them that she would do absolutely anything to encourage them to read. i guess now they know she really will do ANYTHING!
With this week's homework, you received a short length of rope. This piece of rope is related to a story that the children have heard in class. It's a story with some depth and children actually have to hear it several times and talk about it before they realize that the little boy in the story is blind and that his grandfather is preparing him for the time when he will no longer be with him. Our children have heard the book Knots on a Counting Rope in class where a Native American grandfather tells his grandson stories about his life. Every child loves hearing stories about themselves - on the day they were born, the stories about when they were a baby - those funny and happy family stories that are a part of your family's oral history. That is the point of this homework. We want of our children to hear about their life from you. They are actually writing "All About Me" nonfiction books in class so you may find some of these stories seep into their writing! Before starting, watch the video on this link (look for the story Knots on a Counting Rope) or below and then explain to your child that you are going to do the same thing that many Native American families do - you are going to share stories about your family! Then sit in a family circle and just make this a part of your dinner time each night and tell your children stories - share memories - about your family that make you happy, that make you laugh or even sad stories that are a part of your family's history. With each story tie a knot in the counting rope. The day before you bring the counting rope back to school, practice with your child a favorite story that they have heard so s/he can share it with the class. Happy memories!
What a wonderful world nonfiction opens up for our youngest children! This week we began a new unit of nonfiction literature. The children began by meeting with their partners. They noticed that these new books have photographs. They have a Table of Contents with numbers to help navigate the text. They are about real things instead of stories. For the next few weeks we will be enjoying this new genre! Make sure to choose some nonfiction books to read at home!
One of our standards in Kindergarten falls under Speaking and Listening. Kindergartners are expected to be able to talk with a partner and in front of their peers about the books they love. Today they brought in a favorite book and objects in a bag that they could use to give an oral book report. They sat in a circle and took turns reporting and listening. They were amazing as they wowed their friends with pop up books and books with pictures and recording of their grandmothers and so many other heart-felt and funny facts. They each responded in the complete sentence, "I like this book because _________." Believe it or not, this simple homework activity and "show and tell" in the classroom is the foundation for the Literary Analysis of a text that they will be required to write about in 4th grade. They have to be able to talk about the books they are reading before they can write about them. And... to be able to talk about books, they have to learn to be silent when someone else is talking (no small task!) and to look at the presenter while he is speaking and the presenter needs to learn to talk so his friends can hear and to make eye contact with his audience. All of this out of a simple homework assignment!