Welcome... to one of the
most exciting years of your child's school career ~ first grade. I would like
to invite you to help me make this a successful year for your child. Research
has shown that children who are supported in reading and writing at home do
better at school. The purpose of this site is to incorporate a family literacy
plan in our curriculum. First grade is a crucial year in the development of
your child's reading and writing skills, which are interrelated. Remembering
that you are your child's first teacher, I have developed a series of
minilessons which will be posted on this website intermittently throughout the
year. These minilessons will familiarize you with strategies to help further
your child's reading and writing skills. The plan is easy to implement and
basically consists of reading and discussing books together and encouraging
your child's writing skills in everyday situations. Thank you for partnering
with me in your child's education.
Section 1: Take Home Books
The take home books your child brings home
are short, predictable, controlled texts. The purpose of the booklet is to
provide opportunity to practice the words and skills we are working on in
school. The vocabulary and skills are cited in the back of each booklet. I
also send along a simple activity.
I recommend you begin by reading the title
and taking a picture walk. Encourage your child to comment on the pictures as
well as what the book might be about. Avoid frustration if your child
encounters a word he/she does not recognize or can't decode. You can help
him/her by using the following strategies:
* Skip the word and read to the end of the
sentence, then go back and ask what word would make sense in the sentence.
* Ask what word parts he/she knows.
* As what letter sounds he/she knows.
* Look for picture clues.
* If he/she can not figure out the word,
simply pronounce it.
After reading, talk about the book -- did
he/she like or dislike the selection? Why? Look back through the book and
review any words that were difficult for your child. Be sure to discuss the
words and their meanings. Rereading the book helps develop fluent and
expressive reading as well as better understanding.
Most importantly, encourage your child by
commenting on something he/she did well.
Session 2: Reading Aloud
To Your Child
Reading aloud is
important to your child's development in reading. As you read, you demonstrate
fluent, adult reading. As your child listens, he/she develops a sense of the
story and increases his/her vocabulary. Choose books that are above your
child's reading ability but are of interest to your child. Read with
expression. Pause from time to time to discuss the material with your child.
Take time to look at the pictures or diagrams.
Be sure to choose from a
variety of reading materials: story books, informational texts, fantasy, folk
and fairy tales, "how to" books, poetry, and humor.
Don't be surprised if
your child asks you to read the book over and over. Children benefit from
hearing a book read again.
Session 3: THE DAILY 5
The Daily 5, developed by
Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, is a resesarch-based literacy program. It
provides authentic and meaningful reading and writing experiences that are
student driven. There is high student engagement with a majority of
independent time spent reading. The five components are Read to Self, Work on
Words, Work on Writing, Listening, and Read to Someone. After whole group
focus lessons (reading strategies, comprehension, word work, conventions of
writing, etc.) are presented, the students choose and rotate through
independent work sessions or guided reading.
One of the most important
aspects of The Daily Five is independence. So, just how do first graders learn
to choose books they want to read? It's called I PICK and like an acrostic
poem, the letters stand for Independence, Purpose, Interest, Comprehension,
and Know [the words]. After modeling and practice, the students learn through
the year to choose books that "fit." At home or the library, you can encourage
your children to choose books that "fit." What if your child can't read all
the words but still chooses a book of high interest? Read it with them. We
have learned we can read the pictures, read the words, and retell a familiar
story as ways to read a book.
• Read to Self: With
their blue reading bag in tow, children read I PICK books independently.
• Work on Words:
Using various mediums (markers and white boards, clay, wikki sticks, stampers)
students practice the high frequency words.
• Work on Writing:
Students work on writing of their choice. As Ralph Fletcher (Craft Lessons:
Teaching Writing K-8) says, "You don't learn to write by going through a
series of preset writing exercises. You learn to write by grappling with a
real subject that really matters to you." Working on Writing provides students
with such opportunities.
• Listening: Set up
as a workstation, students listen to audio stories. The purpose is to allow
students to build vocabulary and fluency as they listen to fluent reading.
• Read to Someone:
This segment allows students to grow as readers and become more
self-sufficient as they partner read together and collaborate with a friend.
An integral part of Read to Someone is comprehension as the partners check for
understanding by summarizing what has been read. Students also learn to help
each other using our reading strategies with "coach or time?" when a partner
is having difficulty decoding a word.
SESSION 4: WRITING
WITH A PURPOSE
Another crucial aspect of
writing for children is authentic writing experiences. In this technological
era, children may not identify with writing because they seldom witness it in
action. Email, instant messaging, webcamming and texting as well as the cell
phone have become an integral and useful part of our lives, but these tools
have decreased the opportunities children have to see adults actually writing.
You can provide your child with authentic writing opportunities having the
"tools" of writing available ~ stock a box with pencils, crayons, markers,
erasers, paper, envelopes and scissors. Encourage your children to write
letters and make cards, make lists, and jot down notes. Most importantly, let
your children see you doing the same.
SURVEY FOR FAMILIES: As
you observe your child's reading growth, you may want to take a few moments to
think about the following :
1. Understands most of
what he or she reads.
2. Enjoys being read to by
3. Finds time for quiet
reading at home.
4. Sometimes guesses at
words, but they usually make sense.
5. Can provide a summary
of stories read.
6. Has a good attitude
7. Enjoys reading to
8. Would like to get more
9. Chooses to write about
From Fredericks, A.D., &
Ransinski, T.V. (1990). Involving parents in the assessment process. The
Reading Teacher, 44, 346-349.