Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 6: Literacy

Students match letter cards into pairs.

  • Sets of letter cards with 6 matching pairs of letters
Get Ready
  • Show students how to create an array of cards
  • Demonstrate the game with a student
  • Give each pair a set of cards
  • Start with a minute of free exploration
  • Ask students to create their array
  • Remind students when they draw a card they must say what it is aloud and place it face up in its place
  • The same student draws a second card
  • If the cards match, they remove both cards
  • If it does not match, both cards are turned face down
  • Students should be encouraged to help each other and to play in team
  • When both students feel they know all six letters, they call the teacher over to demonstrate letter naming of the six letter
Students focus on the short a sound.
"Short a makes the a sound in had."
"d makes the d sound in dad." 
"Together  a-d makes the ad sound in mad."  
"Let's say these words together."  
  1. had
  2. dad
  3. mad
  4. bad
  5. sad

Friday, September 4, 2009

HELP Daily Plan for Parents and Teachers

We are getting close to starting the year.  Let's look at what a typical literacy block will look like.  At first it will seem like a lot to do- but it moves very quickly. 

Opening Magic/Daily Tone (10 min)
  • Do the Opening Magic activity for the day.
  • Emphasize oral language development.
  • Present the Daily Tone
  • Emphasize language development
    Phonemic Awareness (5 min)
    • Play the Phonemic Awareness Game listed for the given day or choose an alternative of your own.

    Alphabet Recognition (5 min)
    • Play the Alphabet Recognition Game listed for the given day or choose an alternative of your own.

    Phonics (10 min)
    • Show letter/sound focus.
    “Today’s letter is the letter i.”
    • State the focus rule.
    “The letter i can make the /i/ sound i as in pig. Make that sound.”
    • Listen to students making the sound.
    • Show the word grid and the letter combination.
    “Look, we have the letters ig together. That makes the sound ig. Make that sound.”
    • Listen to students making the sound.
    • Make the sounds of partial word again.
    • Have students repeat the sound again while you point to letters.
    “We are missing a letter here. Let’s put one there and make a word.”
    • Show a letter and make sound.
    “This is the letter ___. It makes the ___ sound. Make the ___ sound.”
    • Listen to the students making the sound.
    • Put the letter in front of the other letters. Say the word.
    “This word is ____. Let’s say _____.”
    • Repeat steps until you have made all five words.
    “Let’s read all five words aloud.”
    • Briefly define each word.
    • Conduct Word Performances.
    “Okay, now find the page that looks like this in your books. Use your letter cards to make words. If you have a word, raise your hand. When I get to you, say the word to me. If I agree that it is a word, write that word in one of the space on your page. You have two minutes, ready, go!”
    • Show students how to place the letter card in the blank space
    • Demonstrate how to sound out the word.

    Print Concepts/Fluency (10 min)
    • Review the print concept focus of the day.
    • Point it out in the story.
    • Read the Bo Bug story of the week.
    • Use the Reading Fluency strategy for that day.

    Comprehension (5 min)
    • Ask the comprehension questions for the day.
    • Encourage students to check back in the text for answers/confirmation.

    High Frequency Words/Vocabulary (5 min)
    • Introduce the vocabulary words of the day.
    • High Frequency
    • From the stories
    • Select and play one of the vocabulary games.

    Family Learning Connections (5 min)
    • Introduce the day’s family learning connection.
    • Complete the Before You Go Home portion with students.
    • Model the At Home part with students.

    Closing Ceremony (5 min)
    • Facilitate one of the Closing Ceremony ideas.

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Daily Tone

    After all children have arrived, staff members present a brief overview of the day by highlighting key events from the prepared check-off board. Present the daily message, wisdom, joke, or riddle. Conduct the goal setting activity. The Daily Tone is designed to help establish a predictable routine, promote inferential thinking, reading skills, and planning skills.

    Students will:
    Recognize different forms of oral and written language.
    Analyze and discuss the meanings of words, phrases, and messages.

    Research Connection
    Several early childhood language and literacy practices are associated with improved literacy learning including cognitively challenging, vocabulary rich conversations with adults (Phillips, McCartney, and Scarr, 1987; Dickinson Cote and Smith, 1993).

    Instructional Implications
    To expand their language skills, students need a wide variety of language experiences not strictly limited to those they may typically encounter.

    The Daily Tone includes explorations of many language types such as riddles, jokes, environmental print, and figures of speech.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Opening Magic

    As children arrive, staff members initiate open-ended group thinking and learning games. This allows for instant engagement of children through fun, child-centered learning experiences that help build friendships, social skills, and the community.

    Students will:
    • Develop enhanced oral language skills
    • Match language use to the social context

    Research Connection
    When play is interesting and important to children, they are eager to learn the new vocabulary, new physical skills, and new social behaviors that allow them to stay engaged in play (Jones and Reynolds, 1992).

    Instructional Implications
    Oral language development can be supported by establishing a positive atmosphere where students freely express themselves.


    Opening Magic uses games to create comfortable situations for children to explore the use of oral language. For example, the game Back to Back invites students to introduce themselves to each other through a game.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Vocabulary Overview

    HELP builds vocabulary by providing many experiences with words in and out of context. Daily vocabulary activities include acting out words, finding related words, and matching words to pictures.

    Students will:
    • Build sight word vocabulary
    • Understand word meanings from stories
    • Explore relationships between words

    Vocabulary Defined

    Vocabulary typically refers to an understanding of the meanings of words. There are two types of vocabulary: oral and print. Typically, the larger a reader’s oral or print vocabulary, the easier it is to make sense out of text.

    Vocabulary Research
    Vocabulary instruction that is appropriate to the age and ability of the reader leads to gains in comprehension. Vocabulary can be learned incidentally in the context of text or while listening to others. In addition, learning words prior to reading a text is helpful and encountering words in various contexts enhances vocabulary development.

    Instructional Implications
    Vocabulary should be taught both directly and indirectly. Repetition and multiple exposures are important. Incidental learning of new words in rich contexts, rather than during isolated practice, enhances the acquisition of vocabulary. Employing multiple vocabulary instructional methods is superior to relying on a single method.

    Vocabulary Strategies

    HELP features a comprehensive and multifaceted approach to vocabulary development that combines explicit and systematic vocabulary instruction with a variety of supplementary vocabulary development activities.

    Each day, one or more vocabulary words are introduced and explicitly taught through the vocabulary activity. Following reading experiences, students integrate newly learned vocabulary into literature responses. Vocabulary words are taught prior to reading. Vocabulary exploration activities such as “word dramatizations” are used to investigate vocabulary words and offer multiple exposures to new vocabulary in different contexts.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Reading Comprehension Overview

    HELP builds reading comprehension by providing questions for each page of the story. Comprehension improves with vocabulary development. HELP includes daily comprehension activities that involve responding to questions from the story. Students look back in the story to find the answer.

    Students will:
    • Build reading comprehension skills
    • Learn the parts of a story (setting, character, conflict, and resolution)
    • Read for meaning and self-monitor

    Reading Comprehension Defined

    Reading comprehension refers to the acquisition of meaning from text. Comprehension is the purpose of reading and supports all other academic learning.

    Reading Comprehension Research
    Reading comprehension is a complex cognitive process that cannot be understood without a clear description of the role of vocabulary development and vocabulary instruction. In addition, it is an active process that requires intentional and thoughtful interaction between the reader and text.

    Instructional Implications

    In general, teaching a combination of reading comprehension strategies can improve reading comprehension

    Reading Comprehension Strategies

    The HELP Curriculum systematically presents and applies a variety of text comprehension strategies. The Bo Bug Activity Guide includes literal, inferential, and evaluative questions; student self-reflection ideas; story structure and retelling activities; and text summary responses.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Reading Fluency Overview

    Fluency refers to the reader’s ability to read orally with speed, accuracy, and expression. Although fluency is a necessary factor for reading comprehension, fluency instruction is often not provided in classrooms. The two primary instructional approaches to supporting reading fluency include guided repeated oral reading and independent silent reading.

    Students will:
    • Improve reading accuracy
    • Learn to read with expression
    • Learn to read with increasing speed

    Reading Fluency Research
    Guided repeated oral reading has been shown to have a significant and positive impact on word recognition, fluency, and comprehension across a range of grade levels. Several early childhood language and literacy practices are associated with improved literacy learning including being read aloud to in an expressive manner from an appealing book (Clay, 1979; Purcell-Gates and Dahl, 1991; Dunn and Dunn, 1981; Ahrens-Gray, 1990).

    Instructional Implications
    Fluency is best supported through repeated guided oral reading opportunities where the teacher provides systematic and explicit feedback to students.

    Reading Fluency Strategies

    HELP sessions are carefully structured to maximize student involvement. Smaller groupings allow for increased reading opportunities, higher levels of student engagement, homogenous grouping by reading level, and increased teacher support for students with the greatest instructional needs.