Happy holidays

happy holidaysAnother term is over already! Time for a well deserved break.

But let’s not forget about reading and writing during the holidays. The best way to be ready for the last term of the year is to maintain the momentum of all the learning that has been happening.

Reading does not have to be restricted to the school take-home books. There are library books, e-books, websites, games, recipes, advertisements / brochures, instructions etc.

There are also many opportunities for writing including wishlists for holiday activities, helping with shopping lists, emails to friends / family, writing letters and taking photos and adding captions etc.

kids stuff

Follow the links within this post to find some ideas and check out the Useful Fun Links page. 
See you back at school in 2 weeks time. smile

Decision Making

thinkingAs we are reading there are many decisions that we need to make, e.g. do these words make sense, look right and sound right? Sometimes our students do not know if they making good choices between words.
A student who cannot decide if a word is right or not may:

  • Stop reading (probably thinking: Is that right?)
  • Ask: Am l right? Is it ___?
  • Look at the teacher for help.worried
  • Change a word that was right.
  • Have multiple tries without deciding which word is right, e.g. looked, look, like.
  • Use a questioning voice.
  • Not respond, shrug or say ‘I don’t know’.

The child may be used to always being given help.

If the child gives a correct response and looks questioningly at us and every time we respond with statements such as ‘You’re right!’, ‘Mmm-hmm’, or nodding / smiling, then the child is not being taught to think for himself. We are doing the thinking for him.

Also, if the child makes a mistake and we jump in every time saying statements such as ‘Oops!’ or ‘Not quite” or “That’s not..”, we are not teaching her to check her own reading and we are doing the thinking for her.

Whilst it is natural for us to want to praise and encourage or help the child, we should get into the thinkinghabit of waiting until after the child has had time to confirm or reject his own attempt at a word.

We should ask ‘What do you think?

Then we can give extra prompts to help the child, if required, e.g. ‘What can you do to help you?‘ ‘What letter would you expect to see at beginning / end?’ ‘Think about ____ (the picture / story so far)’.

Am l helping or hindering the student from learning to make her own decisions? Am l jumping in too quickly to assist? Does the student know l expect her to independently try something and check it? Am l trying to move the book along quickly by telling the child too much? These are questions that l am asking myself.

From Teaching Students to Confirm Using Sound and Letter Knowledge. By Lorianne Fittzgerald

Picture Book Walk

In our Reading Recovery lessons, a picture walk is a shared time between the teacher and the student before he or she is asked to read the readingbookbook for the first time.  The student holds the book, turns the pages, and describes what is noticed in the pictures. He/she may be able to describe where the story happens, the characters in the story, and what might be happening on each page.

Picture walks may spark interest in the book and give a purpose for the student to want to read and learn more about it. Picture walks can also help the student to connect the pictures in the story to their own experiences.

I have been very impressed with how each of my current students can introduce themselves to a new book each day. I have not needed to contribute very much at all. My role has been to check that the new vocabulary is known (e.g. tractor) and to introduce ‘book language’ (e.g. after all).

You may like to have your child do a picture walk sometimes when he /she is looking at a library book, or another book, that has not been read before. Children should be encouraged to talk more about books (or anything else) because it encourages them to quickly recall words they have heard or read before to communicate what they want to say.

picture walk 2Here is a short YouTube video of a picture walk. A picture walk during Reading Recovery is quite short.



picture book walk youtube Here is a much longer YouTube video of a picture walk of The Three Pigs. A first grade child is describing  what the pictures are telling him.


picture book walk pdf

To read more about a picture book walk click on this picture from earlylit.net for a great brochure.