This year, I’ll be going back to teaching kindergarten. Even in kindergarten, I run a full-blown reading workshop. So, yes, my reading instruction happens in less than fifteen minutes and then I send those lovely little 5 year olds off to…READ. No centers, no crafts, no stations (during reading workshop)…they just read. They have a basket of books and some tools that aid in their reading…but, I’m a no-frills kinda lady. We’re readin’ in this class. So what happens when they can’t conventionally read?
Lastly, I teach my kids to stand up for their reading rights. Lots of well-meaning families might respond to their child reading with something along the lines of “oh, you’re not a real reader because you didn’t read the words.” I tell them that what they are doing in school IS real reading and it’s ok to tell their family and friends that. I send them home with a poem on the first day of school so the conversation can begin at home. I also send the poem home AND a parent letter explaining the lesson that was taught today. This gets the family on board! Click the images below to learn more!
|These can be copied on flesh-tone colored paper or white paper.|
Well how ’bout that? I can teach my kindergarteners how to interact with the text on the very first day. In my mini-lesson, I will model how to pick up any book and read it. I’ll sketch out a chart that shows how to look at the pictures, give the characters voice, and notice what seems to be happening. I might even show them two books that day- a fiction book and a nonfiction book. A lot of us teachers don’t read nonfiction aloud enough. Our young readers won’t know how to interact with a nonfiction text if we don’t model it. Kids are quick. They’ll do what you show them! In addition, read aloud lots of books that are memorable but not memorizable. The more they see you interact with a story, they more they will know what to do with their time during independent reading.
You won’t do one-on-one conferring on the first day, but you can get around and meet with chunks of kids! During this session, use the directive- “Would you read this book to me?” instead of “Can you read this book to me?” This assumes that the child is a reader. It’ll make a big difference.
On the first day, coach your students into interacting with the book. Show them how to point out the characters and notice the details in the illustrations. Take notes on what you notice from the very first day! This is the conferring sheet that I use to confer the first few weeks of reading workshop. Click the image below to check it out!
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Now, of course this is not how we will spend the entire year reading, but it will give your students a reading identity and the ability to build stamina for independent reading. We will eventually bridge the gap from unconventional reading to decoding but there is always a place to support students in books that they cannot read. There is much to learn from this!