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Reading doesn't always have to involve books. We've rounded up the best apps for children who are learning to read, ranging from traditional tales to interactive games that will improve their reading as they play. Subscribe to add to wishlist. Best for simplicity. The phoneme appears on screen, and your child is encouraged to say it aloud then trace it with their finger. They then gain access to an interactive story that uses the phoneme. These start with simple one-word stories, and increase in difficulty as children progress through the app.

Using the microphone of your tablet or phone, your child reads the story aloud, karaoke style. There are 43 stories in total, and you can also set up more than one player profile, which is handy if you have two or more children at different stages of learning to read.

Best for complementing school reading. These interactive titles, available on the Me Books app, tie in with the school reading scheme , and focus on encouraging children to read aloud. Each story is introduced with notes for parents, explaining how to use the book, what questions to ask your child, what to discuss after reading it, and so on. The best feature is that your child can record themselves reading the story, and play it back to themselves, you or their teacher: a great way to track progress.

It progresses from introducing phonics letter sounds, to sight words and building vocabulary, to reading e-books and then to reading comprehension. It then gives them access to a map with bundles of activities matched to their reading standard; these include animations, games, songs and more. Once your child has got through all the activities in a section, they unlock an e-book, ranging from simple texts with one per page through to stories with a wider range and depth of language. There are over 2, e-books in total. They can choose to read the book themselves, or have it read to them.

Best for familiar characters. CBeebies Storytime, free, Apple and Android This app is a virtual library of books to share with your new reader. Your child can choose whether to read the story by themselves, or have it read to them as they follow the words on the screen. Many of the books have interactive features that also test comprehension — hiding Peter Rabbit and his friends from Farmer McGregor, for example.

Stories are written in a clear, easy-to-read font. You can have up to 12 books at a time in your collection, and return them to exchange for new ones. Best for reading aloud. Each animal has its own short poem describing its characteristics: a good early introduction to rhyme. Flip Flap titles are available to buy individually or as a collection, and include Ocean , Safari , Jungle and more. Best for Dr Seuss fans. This app brings the classic story to life, and continues the theme of helping new readers.

Add new words. Words like the following are good to start with, because they will be encountered frequently in books and are somewhat irregular in their spelling:. It is writing time, and the kindergartners are sitting in chairs with paper and pencil before them. Their assignment: to write about the weather that day. Miller is moving about the classroom, coaching individual children in this endeavor. Amir is now looking out of the window at the clouds. I hope it will snow. Then draw a picture to go with it.

Make sure you put yourself in the story and in the picture. I want to see you in the snow. For example, write on the board and recite:. Have children join in on the rhyme, and point to each word as it is read. These words should be taught as sight words so they are recognized instantly.

Children need ample opportunity to write. Stock the kindergarten classroom with a variety of paper, writing utensils, and materials for book-making glue, tape, stapler, book covers. Early in the kindergarten year, some children may still be scribbling and drawing pictures. By the end of the year, they will be independently writing most uppercase and lowercase letters, using invented spellings for many words, and working on a growing repertoire of conventionally spelled words.

Have children make their own letter dictionaries. Each child will need his or her own notebook, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, old magazines, safety scissors, and paste or tape. This is a year-long project. Remember to print both uppercase and lowercase letters. When you are ready to proceed, pass out the books to the children, telling them that these books are going to become their personal letter dictionaries.

Have the children find conventionally spelled words to copy on the appropriate page. Encourage them to draw a picture of the thing, if possible, or to paste in a picture from an old magazine. Use the dictionaries as a way to reinforce class activities and lessons with letters and words. Kindergarten is a great time of preparation for the challenge of real reading.

Toward this end, we list a particular set of accomplishments that the successful learner should exhibit by the end of kindergarten. As with the list of accomplishments for the preschool child, this list is neither exhaustive nor incontestable, but it does capture many highlights of the course of literacy acquisition. Although the timing of these accomplishments will vary among children, they are the sorts of things that should be in place when children enter first grade.

Begins to track print when listening to a familiar text being read or when rereading own writing. Understands that the sequence of letters in a written word represents the sequence of sounds phonemes in a spoken word alphabetic principle. Demonstrates familiarity with a number of types or genres of text e. Uses phonemic awareness and letter knowledge to spell independently invented or creative spelling.

Writes own name first and last and the first names of some friends or classmates. What I have done over my 27 years is pick what I think works and incorporate it. Every day, the children need to hear reading, and they need to be involved in the reading process. I do a lot of phonemic awareness with songs and games, as well as exposing them to a lot of print with labeling in the room. I do believe phonics is important. We also have a daily chit chat in which we talk to one another through writing.

They write to me about their pets, their families, what they saw on television. Then the next day, I give them back a written response. It becomes an ongoing correspondence. Although becoming literate is a lengthy process that begins in babyhood, first grade is a most important year. First graders enter school expecting to learn how to read on their own.

Their parents and teachers expect this as well. Anyone who has witnessed good teaching can attest that it is nothing short of an art, requiring remarkable talent, skill, and devotion. Teaching this age group, in particular, presents major challenges. In just about every school in America, some kids enter the first grade reading on a third grade level, whereas others are not able to reliably recognize all the letters of the alphabet. Teachers, most of them faced with more than 20 children, have to find ways to make sure that each child makes progress each day.

How do successful teachers accommodate the individual learning of so many very different first graders? Sometimes they team with each other, even across grade levels, for small-group instruction suited to the abilities and interests of their students. Sometimes they set up groups within a class: the children benefit from working together, and the teacher is able to move around, focusing on a single group or taking time for one-on-one instruction with a struggling child. Sometimes teachers bring in volunteers or specialists to help challenge more advanced students or give individual help.

Or they use whole-class activities designed to be interesting and successful even in classes with the most diverse mix of abilities. All of these approaches—and many others—can work, so long as teachers avoid turning groupings into self-fulfilling prophecies that limit children. First grade is the time when children bring together the many language and literacy skills they have been attaining—book and print awareness, phonemic awareness, letter and word knowledge, background information about different topics—and start getting comfortable and quick with the conventions of associating letters and sounds.

Ultimately, teachers must ensure that each child will not only read well, but also will enjoy reading and rely on it to learn new things as they move on with their lives. As in the previous section on kindergarten, in the following section we present activities for first graders in order to illustrate for family and community members, concepts underlying reading instruction. Many of the activities presented are ones expected to take place in the first half of the year. We expect that the individual activities included will be helpful for most children; however, they are examples rather than comprehensive curricula in themselves.

From parents to policy makers, an urgent question is: What does a good reading program look like? There is no single answer, as each day, millions of children all over the country successfully learn to read under a great variety of approaches. What we do know, however, is that the most effective reading programs share certain common features, and that there are certain activities that all first grade children should be doing.

For a child to read fluently, he or she must recognize words at a glance, and use the conventions of letter-sound correspondences automatically. Without these word recognition skills, children will never be able to read or understand text comfortably and competently. Teachers help children with this hurdle by providing intense and intentional instruction on the structure of oral language and on the connections between phonemes and spellings.

In addition, first graders need intensive opportunities to read, each and every day, meaningful and engaging texts, both aloud with others and independently. In first grade and throughout the early grades, teachers should include explicit instruction on comprehension strategies, such as summarizing the main idea, predicting, and drawing inferences. In addition, first graders must have ample encouragement to write, even when this means using creative or inventive spelling.

In the usual family tradition, everyone has gathered in the kitchen for a pancake breakfast. After the dishes are cleared, Evan is ready for birthday presents. Evan makes a grab for his presents—ready to tear at the wrapping paper. Evan tears open the envelope. After a struggle, he pulls out a birthday card.

Can h…ard.. They eye one another with shock. This is the first time that Larry has ever volunteered to read something. But he has never seen this card before, and so now they are sure: he has become a real reader. Evan sets about tearing open his presents. One of his new treasures is a train set, the other is a book. Finally, to help children understand the books they will encounter, reading classes—and all curricula in the primary grades—should help build their background knowledge and vocabulary in a rich variety of domains—from animals and the solar system to the ordinary workings of life, such as supermarkets and subways.

By first grade, many children have acquired some experience with phonemes in spoken language and with written letters, and they have a growing understanding about the uses and purposes of books and print. For children who need additional practice in these areas, some of the activities described in earlier sections of this book can be adapted with special content for first graders. Note that many of the following activities can be woven casually into daily first grade life, as children and teachers get to know each other.

Tell children you are going to play the Name Game. Do it again and ask children to join in. Count the number of claps and point out that some names get just one clap, and other names have many. Just as important, make sure that children also can put words back together from their syllable parts. When the children are confident and competent about the syllable-level activities, do similar activities working with phonemes, the. Have children break apart and put together the separate phonemes of simple one-syllable words.

Try connecting this activity to the personality of classmates. For example, use picture cards that represent simple one-syllable words and have each child pick a favorite card. Now, call on a child to hold the picture card up while you say the word. Then say it again, but this time with pauses and claps between each phoneme. For example, Sophia has a picture of a star. Let the class repeat it after you, or let Sophia pick other children to break the word apart. Jones, a first grade teacher for more than 10 years. But the alphabetic principle is wonderful thing too, in and of itself.

She is talking to a young woman, a student teacher who appears about 20 years old. This is her first week on the job. One suspects she sees the alphabetic principle as a sort of medicine that has to be swallowed, rather than something that could be celebrated and loved.

But then one day, you notice that there are some small sounds—phonemes—that you hear over and over again in different ways in different words around you. It keeps coming up. Even more thrilling: you can use those letters to recover the sounds that someone else recorded for your reading. But with the alphabet, everyone can read what anyone else has written, even people who do not know each other. On another day you and the child might keep the picture concealed at first. Ask the classmates to put the word together, rewarding them by showing the picture. Eventually, work on elaborations by getting the children to identify their mystery word in a sentence.

As an elaboration of the letter dictionaries described in the kindergarten section, have each child make a personal alphabet file with 26 folders—one for each letter of the alphabet. They can make the files with folded construction paper. Have them write the letters, both upper- and lowercase, on index cards in each file. Over time, have them put names, other words, and pictures into the appropriate letter file. When new words come up in vocabulary lessons, reading, or other activities, ask the children to add them to their files.

An alternative to this is the use of an index card box. Each child has an index card box with dividers for each letter of the alphabet. Children put words, names, pictures on cards and file them under the appropriate letter. Create activities to send home daily for any child who is still having trouble. Build enthusiasm by treating the words as collectibles. Give children words or pictures for the files as rewards. Ask children to bring in a favorite word from home one that a family member helps them write and illustrate and add it to their folders.

Set up a bank for children to trade or borrow words or pictures for their files. Use the files in your lessons. Pair the children up and let them find a few words they can trade with each other to copy into their file and put on their index sheet. Have a different child each day help you pick something to read to the class. Ask questions that will help the children discuss the meaning of what is read but also to notice the different structures and conventions.

For example, you are supposed to get all the food items mentioned on a shopping list, but not on a menu! How do you know what day the listing in the television guide is for? What kinds of printed material tell you who wrote it and where is this information shown? What is different? Which kinds of printed materials are only a part of a whole, and how do you find that out? How does the table of contents work? What is supposed to be fact and what is fiction, and how do you tell?

Then, have the children circle the words that begin with the target letter and put their finished and corrected copies in their alphabet files for that letter, ready to be used for hunts and trades along with the other words in folder for that letter. During first grade, the emphasis is on moving from pretend reading to conventional reading, relying less on others to read, and more on oneself.

By the end of the year, every first grader should be able to read aloud with comprehension and reasonable fluency any text that is appropriately designed for the first grade, at least on a second reading. A book that is appropriately designed for the first half of first grade should be read with reasonable fluency and comprehension the first time through. By now, they are decoding accurately any phonetically regular one-syllable word, and they are able to rely on the alphabetic principle to attack unknown words.

They also should be able to recognize common, irregularly spelled words by sight e. Across the days and weeks of the school year, there should be a clear plan for when new curriculum elements will be introduced—with sufficient time for intentional and intensive treatment by the first grade teacher.

Just as important, children need ample time to explore and practice, so that what they have learned becomes easy and automatic. Books and kits, as well as district-, school-, and teacher-made materials, offer many activities for first graders. As always, different children may be concentrating on different elements at different times. Making Words —Give each child a set of 26 letter cards, with corresponding uppercase and lowercase letters printed on either side vowels in red, consonants in black.

You announce and display the letters for the day: one or two vowels and three or more consonants. Now you call out words for the children to make—at first a simple two-letter word, and then succeeding words with more letters. In this way, children practice spelling and reading 12 to 15 additional words each day. One at a time, the teacher displays the correctly spelled word, taking care to point out letter-sound correspondences and spelling patterns. The highlight of this routine is the mystery word—one that the children must discover on their own by using all the preselected letters.

As part of the activity, the teacher helps children explore new words, sorting by various spelling or phonetic features, such as word families, rhymes, common vowel and consonant combinations. Making words is a fun and engaging activity that also gives teachers the opportunity for explicit instruction on specific spelling-sound relationships and the alphabetic principle in general.

Struggling children benefit from working with a limited number of letters at one time. Also, the activity is inherently motivational: children at all levels can experience both success and instructional challenge as the lessons get more complex. One study found that first grade children who used these activities showed significant improvement in their reading abilities.

Some students were even able to read fifth and sixth grade passages. This is particularly noteworthy, since teachers and parents alike often worry that whole-class instruction will slow down higher-achieving students. This clearly need not be the case. These words are posted on the word wall and, as a whole group, the children practice reading and spelling them with daily chanting, clapping, and writing routines.

Save time for the children to add the words to their alphabet files. New words are added weekly, maybe at the suggestion of different children. By the middle of the school year, first graders should be readily talking and writing about new texts they are reading. They are learning how to summarize, how to locate the main ideas, and how to make connections, both factual and emotional, to life and to other reading. They are beginning to draw inferences from text—understanding what is not stated explicitly, why something is funny, and what will probably come next.

In short, they are becoming readers—building an interest in various types of books, as well as increasing comfort with the ideas, information, enjoyment, and language that print can bring them in their everyday lives. By the end of this year, first grade children should be reading and comprehending both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for first-grade level. They have an expanding language repertoire, and they should be spending at least 10 minutes reading aloud to someone each day. Research shows that, with daily encouragement to read, practice, and enjoy books, students can improve their fluency, word recognition, and comprehension skills.

They also gain motivation. For these purposes, children need high-quality materials, including a range of texts selected for their unique interests and abilities. Give children the chance to thoroughly master more difficult texts through repeated readings. Choose books that children know and enjoy and set up various rereading arrangements such as whole-class, small-group, and individual rereading assignments.

Remember to treat various small groups sensitively, depending on the ability of the students. You also may wish to send children home with a book to reread with a parent, older sibling, or other caregiver. So that the child has a trophy for her efforts, ask the caregiver to write a note back, for example, with comments about what he or she liked about it. The next day, during whole-class time, have the children do a choral reading. Were you surprised at their reaction? Today is hot cross buns day in Ms. Cane loves it.

And she loves the fact that in this single activity she can integrate so many of her first-grade reading goals. The recipe forces the children to explore syntax. It helps them build their vocabularies. It requires word attack strategies. It demands their comprehension. And finally, hot cross buns give the class a chance to work as a team on creating something wonderful together—all thanks to their reading skills. Soon, the classroom looks something like a bakery. Cane has brought in a stack of cookbooks, measuring spoons and measuring cups, mixing bowls, flour, sugar, and other ingredients.

The children are gathered around in a circle and each has a copy of the recipe. Cane settles the issue to her satisfaction, but makes a note to herself that she must casually bring these words up again later to be sure that the children have understood. At her prompting, the class chants,.

The class repeats it after her. One person misses this part of the discussion. Like I said. All the way through. A few minutes later, the class reads the recipe once again. This time, Julie says the word correctly. About two hours later, Julie encounters the word again.

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This time she reads the word correctly, confiding to Ms. Cane, who graciously treats this as a new and valuable revelation. Put the yeast in water until it gets soft. Meanwhile, mix together the milk, oil, sugar, and salt. Sift together the flour and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture and the milk mixture together to make dough. Crack the eggs. Beat thoroughly.

Add eggs to the dough. Beat thoroughly again. Add yeast and currants to the dough. Cover up the bowl and put it in a warm place to rise until the dough is two times as big as it started …. Surround class reading sessions with discussion and activities to help children develop their comprehension and vocabulary skills. Prereading Activity Help children develop background knowledge and vocabulary they need to understand the text they are about to read. Find related text and information to share with them and have them do projects and other activities that will enrich their understanding of the concept, setting, or topic of the new text.

Look for new, unusual words in a story and discuss them together. Ask children to use the new words in another sentence. Talk about words that are synonyms or antonyms of the new words. Reading While the class is reading a story, be sure to orchestrate pauses for questions and discussion that will help comprehension.

Make children feel comfortable enough to ask their own questions. Some of the conventions of written language can cause problems for a young reader. Imagine the child who has just learned to tell time and then encounters the. And yes, an hour always contains 60 minutes. Help children build their comprehension skills by encouraging them to. But how did Frog feel about it? Summarize: discuss issues of plot and lead children to summarize what happened in the story. For nonfiction, make a list of all the major facts or ideas that the text contained.

Develop character understanding: ask questions about the motives, interests, and concerns of real or fictional characters in their texts. Ask what this tells us about Toad.

That he is a character who cares about friendship more than glory. Relate texts to their own lives: encourage children to make connections between the texts and themselves, their homes, their neighborhoods, their feelings and aspirations. If children read an illustrated essay about animal tracks, ask them to talk about the animals and birds in their backyard or neighborhood, and what sort of tracks they might see.

The discussion can go in many personal directions from here. You might ask children what traces they leave behind when they take a walk. Or the class might consider the lives of scientists who study animal tracks and whether or not this might be an interesting field of work. Give children a writing or drawing assignment connected to what they have read.


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They can do this in groups, in class, or at home. To get children started, ask them if they think the author expressed himself or herself very well and why. Ask if the story could have been improved and if there was something else they wish the author had added to his or her work. Ask the class if they think other children might like the book and why, and suggest that they include this information in their advertisement.

Help them to come up with slogans and a dramatic or enticing scene from the book that would work well for illustration in their advertisement. With the reciprocal teaching approach, I model for them and show them the kinds of questions they need to ask. I might start with sequence, asking what happened first in a story. With fairy tales and nursery rhymes, I ask them to find similar themes. They need to hear it, see it, and try it themselves. By the end of the year, first graders should be correctly spelling three- and four-letter short vowel words. They are composing fairly readable first drafts, paying some attention to planning, drafting, basic punctuation, and correcting.

Also, they are increasingly comfortable with a wide variety of writing formats: stories, descriptions, letters, and journal entries, as well as illustrations and graphics. It is important for parents and teachers to understand that invented spelling is not in conflict with correct spelling. On the contrary, it plays an important role in helping children learn how to write. When children use invented spelling, they are in fact exercising their growing knowledge of phonemes, the letters of the alphabet, and their confidence in the alphabetic principle.

It is the kind of error that shows you that the child is thinking independently and quite analytically about the sounds of words and the logic of spelling. Yes, first grade children should be expected to correctly spell previously studied words and spelling patterns in their final writing products.

But experimenting with spelling in the primary grades provides an invaluable opportunity for new readers to understand and extend their lessons on letter-sound and sound-spelling relationships. The combination of invented spelling and well-designed instruction over time ensures that their independent spellings of new words will become increasingly correct even as it makes studied words easier to remember. At the beginning of first grade, the challenge of writing something all by oneself is brand new to many children.

Start them out with a topic that is familiar and manageable. Tell children they are going to write a book about themselves. Explain the concept of a work in progress, and provide each child with paper and a folder in which they will keep their work. Tell the students that, when all the pages are finished, they will put them together to make a book. Show them where you are keeping the files when they are not in use. Begin the first writing session by asking children what kinds of things might be in a book about themselves.

Keep a running list on a large piece of paper that all can see.

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Their responses might include things they like to do, their favorite colors, favorite foods, their family, where they live, their pets, etc. When they are finished, tell them that you are going to put the list aside for future use. Now, tell children that they are going to create page one of their books and that, since this is a book about them, page one should say who they are.

Have children draw a self-portrait—as detailed and personalized as possible. Then have them write their names beneath the drawing. You may wish to have the children discuss and share their pictures. At the end of this session, have children date their work and put it back in their files. On another day, take out the list that the children developed and read it back to the class, giving them the opportunity to add or change things. Let children choose anything they wish from the list. Once they have decided on an idea, they can begin writing or drawing.

Continue in this way, over the course of several weeks, having the children work on a page at a time, chosen from their original list of topics. While they are busy writing, circulate around the class and give individual help in writing captions for pictures and spelling words. During some or all of the writing sessions, you may wish to invite a few children to share their work with one another and offer constructive responses to their classmates.

Tip: When the project is finished, you may wish to take an instant photograph of each child to paste on the front of their finished books. Have children write and read their own writing. Supply paper and writing utensils and invite children to write and illustrate their own stories. If children use invented spellings, ask them to explain how they figured out how to write one or two intriguing examples. Develop dialogue or chitchat journals. Tell the children that these journals will give them the chance to tell you about anything they want.

The only rules are that they must write at least two lines in their journals at least twice a week. They can write about their pets, their friends, their families, their favorite television shows. Tell the children that twice a week you will read what they have written and that you also will follow the rules and contribute at least two lines each time.

After they make an entry, have children drop off their journals at the front of class in a bag. With the daily chitchat, you also have the chance to give them regular feedback and motivation to write. Use your responses to provoke an ongoing written dialogue about topics, ideas, and experiences. As time goes on, interesting exchanges will unfold. Spelling words complements reading them. Choose a list of five words that match the letter-sound patterns the children currently are learning to read. Say the first word as part of a sentence.

Then say it alone. Then say it very slowly, almost pausing between each sound. Now go to the board and call for the class to help you choose the letters you should write in order to spell it correctly. Do the same routine for each of the next words. Then have the class read the list from the board.

Next, have each child take a piece of paper while you erase the board. Say the words, one by one, in a different order, but stop after each word to give the children a chance to write it. After everyone has written the first word, choose one child to go to the board, say it slowly, and write it. Give everyone a chance to fix their spelling before you go on to the next word.

Ask the children to spell the words for someone at home that night. They should also ask that person at home to write down a sentence that the child has dictated for each of the five words, leaving a blank where the word should go. Next day, read the sentences from home and have the child fill in the blank. In first grade, it should all come together: language and literacy skills should combine to turn children into real readers. A particular set of accomplishments that the successful learner should exhibit by the end of first grade are shown in the following table.

Again, this list is neither exhaustive nor incontestable, but it does capture many highlights of the course of literacy acquisition. Although the timing of these accomplishments will vary among children, they are the sorts of things that should be in place when children enter second grade.

Reads aloud with accuracy and comprehension any text that is appropriately designed for the first half of grade one. Accurately decodes orthographically regular, one-syllable words and nonsense words e.

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Uses letter-sound correspondence knowledge to sound out unknown words when reading text. Has a reading vocabulary of to sight words and easily sounded-out words. Monitors own reading and self-corrects when an incorrectly identified word does not fit with cues provided by the letters in the word or the context surrounding the word. Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for the grade level. Shows evidence of expanding language repertoire, including increasing appropriate use of standard, more formal language.

Distinguishes whether simple sentences are incomplete or fail to make sense; notices when simple texts fail to make sense. Composes fairly readable first drafts using appropriate parts of the writing process some attention to planning, drafting, rereading for meaning, and some self-correction.

Uses invented spelling or phonics-based knowledge to spell independently, when necessary. Produces a variety of types of compositions e. Engages in a variety of literacy activities voluntarily e. On opening day of second grade, teachers typically face two sets of students: those who read well independently and those who appear not to know how to read at all.

Most of the second group seem to have forgotten—during a summer with no reading practice—what they learned during the first grade. Others failed to learn properly in the first place. A major task, then, is to ensure that all students understand the alphabetic principle—and then move on. In third grade, this instruction should extend to spellings and meanings of prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Beyond securing, or resecuring, these skills, the second and third grade curricula have two major goals:.

The main goal of this book is to help prevent reading difficulties in young children. For this reason, emphasis has been given to the prekindergarten years, kindergarten, and first grade—a formative and influential time for language, literacy, and reading development. Certainly, the kinds of activities described in previous sections of this book should be continued and integrated into existing teaching materials—and adapted to the needs of students.

In particular, students who are still struggling with the alphabetic principle and decoding skills will benefit from activities described in the first grade section—with adaptations and content for second or third grade. However, by the time children reach second grade, they have already built up personal histories of successes or failures with reading. In addition, teachers are well into a district-mandated curriculum or published program, and they are expected to continue with the scope and sequence that they have started.

That is why this section does not. Rather, we provide an overview of accomplishments for second and third graders. Certainly it is not exhaustive. Rather than a checklist of milestones, we offer parents and teachers a general direction for instruction and development. I work on making it fun. Instead of reading groups, we have book clubs. I change the grouping frequently. At times, I make groups based on ability so that I can focus on kids who need help.


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  8. Also, sometimes kids push themselves a little harder when they hear someone who reads a little better. Then everyone feels comfortable, even if the abilities are mixed. There are times when I pick the book, but there are other times when I give them choices. That gets them more involved, because they feel more empowered. My experience is that the more interested they are, the more they want to read. Then they start to understand. They learn that you read because you are trying to make sense of the text.

    If children are to move ahead and read independently at the next level, they need practice, reading and rereading, in both fluency and comprehension skills. One ambitious study of 14 second grade classrooms reorganized the curriculum to give students strategies for understanding text and a great deal of practice to build fluency. After reading each text selection aloud, the teacher discussed it with the class and taught vocabulary. For comprehension building, she used story maps,. Each student then read the selection again at home, preferably aloud to a parent. The next day, students read passages once again from the same text, this time to one another in pairs.

    In addition, children wrote in their journals and read books of their own choice for 15 to 20 minutes each day at school and at home. The results were quite positive: children showed significant growth in their reading skills across the school year. The answer is yes. But how we go about it makes all the difference. It is important to explore new words and concepts at every opportunity and to revisit them frequently, enriching their usage and meaning. In addition, they also build their vocabularies through reading.

    As stated throughout this book, kids need to read every day, both in and out of school. An encouraging message for teachers of low-achieving children is implicit here. Children can learn to monitor their own reading process and develop better comprehension skills. Explicitly teaching children to use conscious strategies is effective, according to several studies, particularly with children at risk.

    One example is a method called reciprocal teaching, which focuses on an exchange of turns in dialogues between teachers and students. No books, no curriculum, no computer can replace the enormous value of good human-to-human teaching. One thing these teachers had in common was an effective and deliberate plan to offer instruction that meets the diverse needs of their students. In their classrooms, they made it a point to.

    In reciprocal teaching, teachers give children practice in four strategies: predicting, questioning, summarizing, and clarifying. Children and adults take turns leading discussions about the text. The goal is not only to practice the strategies, but ultimately to come to conclusions about the meaning of the passage read. In the reciprocal teaching model, the text has content that can spur discussions. When they are first learning these techniques, teachers give a lot of guidance. Reciprocal teaching has been studied mainly for its effects on high-risk children—with positive results.

    First and second grade students have shown significant improvement in listening comprehension, as well as fewer referrals to special education and remedial programs. In addition, teachers reported that children who previously appeared to have a disability functioned quite well during the reciprocal teaching sessions. By the end of second grade, children should be able to read and comprehend both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for their grade level.

    They are accurately decoding phonetically regular, two-syllable words and nonsense words. They are using their phonics knowledge to sound out unknown words, including multisyllable words. And they are rapidly gaining the ability to read the longer, more complex sentences of written language with fluency and expression. Children should be motivated enough to read voluntarily for their own interests and purposes.

    They should read to find out answers to their questions and be well acquainted with the purposes of many different print resources, such as dictionaries, atlases, chapter books, weather reports—even joke books. They are. In their speech and writing, they are showing an expanding repertoire of language and vocabulary. Second graders should also be busily learning how to learn from text. They are interpreting information from diagrams, charts, and graphs, and they recall facts and details. They are participating in creative responses to texts, such as dramatizations, oral presentations, and fantasy play.

    They are comparing and contrasting characters and events across stories and offer answers to how, why, and what-if questions in nonfiction texts. They are explaining and describing new concepts and information in their own words. They can identify parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

    In second grade, children should be correctly spelling most previously studied words and spelling patterns. When spelling a new word, they are representing all the sounds, even if they are still spelling some of those sounds inconsistently. They are rapidly incorporating the spelling patterns of the words they have studied into new words they attempt.

    Increasingly, they are becoming writers, using formal language patterns, such as quotes and proper verb forms, in their writing products. They are making reasonable judgments about what to include when they write, and they are now able to productively discuss how to revise, edit, and refine a piece of writing. With some organizational help, they are writing informative, well-structured reports. In the process, they are attending to spelling, mechanics, and presentation for final products, which may include a wide variety of formats, such as short stories, research report, and letters.

    When they have it available, students at this age are using computer technology for composition and presentations. By the end of third grade, students should be reading aloud with fluency and comprehension any text that is appropriately designed for the first half of third grade. They should also be able to read any third grade text, fiction or nonfiction, with understanding. They should have the independent control to reread sentences when necessary. They are increasingly comfortable at using letter-sound correspondences and structural analysis of prefixes and suffixes to decode unfamiliar words.

    Most third graders are reading long fiction and chapter books independently, ideally at least 20 minutes every day outside school. During class, they are taking part in creative responses to texts, such as dramatizations, oral presentations, and fantasy play. In their speech and writing, they are demonstrating. They are also using resources to get the information they need e. Increasingly in the third grade, children are learning to read and learn from nonfiction texts.

    They are summarizing major points and discussing details. They can distinguish cause and effect. They can identify the main idea and supporting details of a text. With information and reasoning, they are examining the bases of hypotheses and opinions. As roots, prefixes, and suffixes are taught in class, they are learning how to take words apart to infer their meanings. Not only are they now able to identify specific words or wordings that are causing them difficulties, they are increasingly able to use comprehension strategies and surrounding information in the text to infer or enrich their understanding of a new word or concept.

    Their writing is now beginning to take on sophisticated language patterns, such as elaborate descriptions, figurative language, and dialogue.

    Reading Tutorial Program

    When producing reports, they are able to combine and write information from multiple sources, but they often need help in paraphrasing and, certainly, in giving credit for sources. With assistance, they are reviewing, editing, revising, and clarifying their own writing, including attention to spelling, mechanics, and presentation. Previously studied words and spelling patterns appear correctly in their finished products. Sets of accomplishments that the successful learner should exhibit by the end of second and third grades are shown in the following tables.

    Again, these lists are neither exhaustive nor incontestable, but they do capture many highlights of the course of literacy acquisition. Although the timing of these accomplishments will vary among children, they are the sorts of things that should be in place before entering the next grade. Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for grade level.

    Accurately decodes orthographically regular, multisyllable words and nonsense words e. Accurately reads many irregularly spelled words and such spelling patterns as diphthongs, special vowel spellings, and common word endings. Reads and comprehends both fiction and nonfiction that is appropriately designed for the grade. Shows evidence of expanding language repertory, including increasing use of more formal language registers. Reads nonfiction materials for answers to specific questions or for specific purposes.

    Takes part in creative responses to texts such as dramatizations, oral presentations, fantasy play, etc. Shows sensitivity to using formal language patterns in place of oral language patterns at appropriate spots in own writing e. Productively discusses ways to clarify and refine own writing and that of others.

    With assistance, adds use of conferencing, revision, and editing processes to clarify and refine own writing to the steps of the expected parts of the writing process. Reads aloud with fluency and comprehension any text that is appropriately designed for grade level. Uses letter-sound correspondence knowledge and structural analysis to decode words. Can point to or clearly identify specific words or wordings that are causing comprehension difficulties. In interpreting nonfiction, distinguishes cause and effect, fact and opinion, main idea and supporting details.

    Begins to incorporate literacy words and language patterns in own writing e. With some guidance, uses all aspects of the writing process in producing own compositions and reports. With assistance, suggests and implements editing and revision to clarify and refine own writing. Produces a variety of written work e. Recent advances in computer technology offer new support for reading instruction.

    Digitized and high-quality synthetic speech has been incorporated into programs focusing on phonological awareness and issues related to emergent literacy. These include letter-name and letter-sound knowledge, phonological decoding, spelling, and support for word decoding and comprehension while reading and writing stories. Computer speech, along with interesting graphics, animation, and speech recording, has supported the development of programs that are entertaining and motivating for both prereaders and beginning readers.