One day last week Miss N was told she could write about anything, and I would not be helping her with the spelling. (I wanted to check what she would do by herself.)She chose to write about a familiar story from her book box. Grandad had helped Max to rehearse his role as the wolf in the class play. Unfortunately on the day of the play Max was not well and Grandad took his place. Miss N wrote:
Max was sick because he had a sore throat. Then Grandad pretended to be the wolf.
Miss N showed that she could easily compose 2 sentences that made sense. She began each sentence and name with a capital letter and she finished each sentence with a full stop. She confidently wrote the words that she knew and she willingly had a go at unknown words. She regularly reread what she had written so far and she often said the next words aloud before she wrote them. She made some changes as she went. She self corrected ‘he‘ and she crossed out ‘a’ but then chose to write it again.
What she did not do was stretch out any words aloud in order to hear the parts. After she was finished I helped her to think about the words that were not correct. I drew a letter box for each letter of a word and I slotted in the letters that were correct in her version. She easily recognised what was missing from ‘sick‘ to make it look right. (She wrote ‘ck’ in the one box until I clarified that only one letter was to go into each letter box.) After I pronounced the word ‘throat‘ for her she easily added ‘th‘ to replace the ‘f’ in her version. I told Miss N to stretch out ‘sore‘ before she wrote it and she quickly realised that the word contained ‘or‘, a word she knew, and then she added the ‘e’ on the end herself.
The trickiest word was ‘pretended‘. Together we said the parts pre-ten-ded. She wrote pre-en-ted, so I had her slowly say each part again until she heard all the sounds in order.
The following day Miss N independently stretched out some words as she was writing. Every day there are opportunities for Miss N to try out ways of solving words. She knows that some letters go together to make a sound, e.g. ‘oa‘, ‘th‘. She knows that some words are a bit like other words she knows, e.g. or / sore, and she thinks about what she would expect to see, e.g. ‘e’ on the end of sore.
Words can be solved in many ways. (See Ways of Solving Words for Writing.) Every day the student writes a sentence or sentences during the lesson. The more words that he or she can write down quickly(without a lot of working out), the more time and energy there is to add further detail to the little story.
High frequency words are words that are used a lot. A high frequency word is often used as a word to take to fluency. As an example, 1 of my students wrote ‘dey‘ instead of ‘day‘. This is a word that will be very useful to know in the future, and as he almost wrote it correctly, it was a suitable word to take to fluency.
He was asked to slide his finger underneath my copy of the word and to look at it from left to right to get a ‘picture of it in his head’. He was then required to write it many times on the working-out page. He also wrote it with his finger on the table. He was encouraged to write it quicker each time so that it was becoming more automatic with each experience.
The next time I see him I will check to see if he is still able to write the word. (If he can’t he will go through the process again. Perhaps also writing it on the whiteboard and in the air.)
Have you noticed the page on this blog called Levels? The purpose of it is to gain an understanding of the expectations for the students as they reach each reading level. Parents of our new students might like to have a look.
I have previously posted the following information- As the students move through the reading levels, they are required to build upon what they already know and to gradually demonstrate a shift towards independence.
The Levels page contains a summary of the expected skills at each reading level BUT it is only a guide. Children rarely move through any predetermined list of behaviours in the same order as each other.Some skills / strategies will need a lot of revision, and others may be well known before the levels listed on the page.
The aim is to always read fluently and to seek to understand what is being read.
Below is a demonstration video of a teacher using the PM Oral Literacy Sequencing Cards. It shows the types of questions that children can be asked to promote thinking about the story and retelling what happened and why. The children look at the picture cards (pages from the book), and use their prior knowledge (own experiences) to answer questions about who is in the book, and the setting (where it takes place).
The teacher uses the vocabulary (words) from within the book and encourages the children to think about some words that describe the characteristics of the characters, e.g. big, enormous, small. The events that happen in the story are sequenced (this came 1st, then this, this was last) and the children can describe the problem (no fish) and the outcome (didn’t give up, fish came). There was also a question asking the children to think about a possible answer that was not directly in the book (Mother Bear could have gone …..)
At home, you might like to ask your child some similar questions about a book. He or she might occasionally like to draw some of the things that happened (in order) and either talk about it or write about it (you might write down his / her sentences to make the task easier).
Last week was my first week back after minor surgery. With 2 professional development days, and being absent in the middle of the week, it was a rather slow start for my students.
On Friday the Reading Recovery teachers went to Ballarat for our latest Reading Recovery Ongoing Professional Learning session. The overall theme was writing. This included watching a video of Noella Mackenzie. She talks to parents about how young children explore writing at home, and during the early years of preschool / school. Children learn many things, including talking and writing, by observing, copying and interacting with those around them.
It is worth watching the video, even if you no longer have very young children.
To view the video click on the picture to the left.
You can download the accompanying brochure from Noella Mackenzie by clicking on this picture. (Or here for a different version.)
A valuable quote from the transcript of the video is-
As you talk with children you help them to develop their language use, you help them to build their vocabulary and they will notice more about the world around them. Knowing lots of words helps with reading and writing.
Alas I am still absent from school whilst I recuperate from a small operation. On the positive side, at least it gives me an opportunity to catch up on lots of reading! I really value the posts written by Alison at Learning At The Primary Pond.
Her following post explains why Reading Recovery teachers are strongly advised to move students beyond reading Levels 1 and 2 books as quickly as possible. (Click on one of the links below to take you to the entire post at Learning At The Primary Pond.)
There was an interesting segment on Lateline (ABC 18/07/2017) about research proving what many of us have known for a long time; hearing words in context greatly assists us with identifying new words as we see them when we are reading.
To quote the corresponding article:
“The take-home message for parents is: ‘Talk to your kids. Try and use new and complex vocabulary. Take the opportunity to explain what that means during conversation or during shared storybook reading’.”
Click here to view the segment. The corresponding ABC News article can be read here.
I am currently on leave after a short stay in hospital. Hopefully I will be back after a couple of weeks.
It was good to catch up with most of the parents at our recent Parent Teacher Interview Day / Evening. Everyone commented on the improvement that their children were showing at home.
Some students are in the very early days of their series of lessons and we all look forward to seeing how well they progress in the future. The students that have finished Reading Recovery should continue to read, read, read. Their learning is not finished!
I sent some extra books home with the current Reading Recovery children who were at school on the last day of term. Don’t forget to hear reading every day. At least one book per day.
There are many opportunities to read and write during the time away from school. I easily found some ideas by searching the Web, including:
Magnetic letters are arranged on a whiteboard at the eye level of the student. The letters may be in multiple lines (an array), or they may be in a random group (like the above picture). The student is asked to sort the letters for different purposes.
Sorts to focus attention to the look of letters – examples:
Find all the ones with circles, e.g. o a, tunnels, e.g. h, n, sticks, e.g. i l, etc.
Put together the ones that are the same, e.g. f f f f, and different, e.g. y u s p
Find ones with circle (curves), e.g. a, g, d, c, o, e, u
Find ones with sticks, e.g. b, h, k, m, n, p, r
Sorts for fast recognition of letters–examples:
Child pairs or groups letters which are the same, e.g. h h h j j j k k k
Teacher names letters, child moves them
Child moves and names letters
Sorts to recognize letters in various forms– examples:
Sort letters of different colour, e.g. h u t r s m l n b f d h m s c h r b w d
Sort letters of different forms, e.g. g G g G
Pair upper and lower case letters, e.g. Tt Uu Mm
Sorts to help link letters and sounds– examples:
Sound to letter: T says word, child finds beginning letter within array of known letters. Letter to sound: T touches letter, child says word starting with that sound
If your child has some magnetic letters at home you might like to try some of these sorts on your fridge.
During the past week my students have continued to use their books to choose 3 ‘interesting’ or ‘special’ words to include in their daily sentences. The following examples demonstrate their current composing.
Student 1 is still Roaming. He was asked to choose 1 word to include in his sentence: Fat Cat is hungry and he scratched Kitty Cat.
Student 2 is only a few weeks into his lessons and he composed more than he could write (in the time he had) so I wrote the ending for him. Kitty Cat is eating Fat Cat’s food and he saw her and he said, “Go away!” and he chased her.
Student 3 picked out 3 words from her chosen book and she composed a story that was very different to the original story: I found a baby chimp in the forest and it didn’t have a mum so then I took it to my house and then I patted it.
Student 4 asked if he could pick a word from 3 different books in his box and he wrote: I wonder if I could ride a bike at the forest to see a fox.
On another day the same student wanted to write about a very recent experience that was important to him: The dental van was a little bit scary because I thought they would take out my teeth.
(He definitely did not need any extra inspiration for a topic!)