Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shared Reading

Today the Schultz Center's Literacy 101 visited Randi Timmons and Elizabeth Conte's classroom. Now I have to admit that it's pretty brave to invite a classroom of teachers into your class the week before you have Winter Break (with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads!) but the Timmonte Team did just that and showed just why they have such an outstanding reputation. Randi and Elizabeth invited their children to perform several of the shared readings they have been practicing this week for the teachers who dropped in through live video stream.

The first was a song, He'll be Drivin' 8 Big Reindeer sung to the tune of She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain.  Songs are a wonderful way of having kindergartners learn to match the words they say to the words they see, to learn that text runs left to right and top to bottom, or to learn where to start reading a piece of text.

The next was a holiday poem that stressed color words. This poem was introduced to teach the students to use intonation with punctuation which is a part of fluency. We comprehend text better when we use intonation with punctuation so we know how the author intended for the text to sound. Randi and Elizabeth used "echo reading" (I read a line, then you read a line) to teach the poem, but will move to choral reading (we all read together) and then to students reading parts as the week continues.

The final piece was a story that the students wrote as a language experience together with the teachers. The purpose of this piece of interactive writing was to encourage the students to use the vocabulary words that they have been learning as part of their Vocabulary Unit  in their writing. This too was taught by "echo" reading to provide the most support since the text is challenging reading for most of the kindergartners.

After the shared reading, Randi and Elizabeth joined Haley Alvarado and Meredy Mackiewicz who were teaching at the Schultz Center today for a debrief via live video stream. The Timmonte Team shared other poems, songs, a morning message, a class promise, big books, and chants that they have used and will be using when they return from the holiday. Shared reading can be used for Readers' or Writers' mini-lessons, Skills Block or to teach and reinforce content in Science and Social Studies. The only requirement is that you enlarge a piece of text so that all the students can see it together. This is a differentiated technique as it allows your highest readers to actually read the text but provides support for your most challenged readers to read along. 

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