Friday, July 19, 2013

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers (Letter S), 7/17/13

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers (Letter S), 7/17/13

Some families have made this story time a regular part of their week, so we have a nice core group of kids, many of whom were back again for this session. We also had some newbies join us for the first time, including one baby and one toddler who were decidedly not old enough to participate. (These adults who insist that 18 month olds are beginning readers are not doing their children any favors, just saying.) All told, there were roughly a dozen kids of varying levels, and three whom I would consider readers.

iPad Presentation
As I did last week, I displayed a series of pictures of things beginning with S, which were accompanied by sentences to encourage the kids to read. The kids who could read did indeed tell me what the sentences said, while the little kids happily called out the name of the object in the picture. At the end of the presentation, as I have also done in past weeks, I displayed the images of those items we would be discussing further at story time. 

Again, I don't have the  right to distribute all of the images I used, but the text I wrote is as follows: 
I hear sounds with my ears.
This cat is sleeping.
I like to wear my yellow shirt.
This is a pair of blue socks.
In summer, I wear shorts.
I can count to six.
Are you afraid of spiders?
Snakes slither and hiss.
You can build a sandcastle.
See how high you can swing!
Slip down the slide!

What could you cut with scissors?

Read-Aloud / Read-Along
I don't ordinarily choose an easy reader as a read-aloud unless  the language is exceptional, but I decided to try We All Sleep from the We Both Read series, because I knew it would prompt the kids to read some of the words on the side of the page designated for the child reader. The text was a bit long, and only one child actually read any words aloud, but some of the little kids picked up the repetition and by the end, they were calling things out as well. The oldest kids in the group, who are rising first and second graders, didn't seem bored, even when the vocabulary might have been too easy for them, which was great to discover, as I have plans to do a session of this story time for rising first through third graders at our main library in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure I'd use this specific book again, but a call and response approach does work, and I'd to explore ways to use that model.

To highlight the word "sounds," I re-used Ears Hear, which was a favorite at my school-age class visits this Spring. This group was a little shy about making noise, but by the end when it was time to scream, they all had the hang of it.

Bag of Verbs
This continues to be the best activity I've ever used with any school-age group. It gets a little wild, but it's a nice way to involve everyone. Only one child routinely refuses to have a turn, and it's because she outright refuses to participate at all, much to the chagrin of the huge family entourage that comes with her to story time each week.

Silly Sentence Sort
I invented this game myself, hoping to create an activity that a mixed age group could easily do together. The concept is based on sorting the laundry. I created four sets of words, each printed on a different article of clothing. On shirts, there were subjects for sentences, such as "The fairy" or "The giant." On the shorts, there were verbs, all in the present tense, such as "steals" or "cooks." The left socks were all adjectives, and then the right socks were all nouns. Each child took a turn selecting one article from each category and clipping it (sometimes with help) to the clothesline.  Then I wrote their sentence for them and handed them the paper so they could later illustrate it. I'm going to try making a Flannel Friday post about this activity either this afternoon or next week, so if you like the idea, stay tuned!

Silly Sentence Illustrations
After every child had a turn creating a silly sentence, I passed around crayons and colored pencils and had the kids draw pictures to accompany their sentences. Only the oldest kids really got into it, but some of the preschoolers whose parents were right there also helped them do theirs. Though the game and illustrations took a long time, and the adults were restless, the kids never lost interest, and they were great about waiting for turns and following instructions.This would have been easier to do with ten kids all on the same level, but even with toddler siblings it was still a success.

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