Saturday, April 13, 2013

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 4/11/13

Read-Along Story Time for Beginning Readers, 4/11/13

Name That Character 
I printed out colored pictures of several characters from picture books and easy readers that I thought would be familiar to kids in this age group. The list included Madeline, Olivia the Pig, Frog and Toad, Elephant and Piggie, Fly Guy, Pigeon, Ladybug Girl, and Fancy Nancy. The group was a little younger than usual, and none of them are yet reading independently, but they knew all the characters except Ladybug Girl and Fly Guy. 

Making a List 
After we had gone over some characters, we made our own list of the kinds of books we like to read. Many of the  responses were repeats from the Name That Character activity, but not all. We also used the whiteboard on the easel instead of posterboard which made it a lot easier for me to write things down. The only downside is we didn't get to save our list to hang up. In any case, before the list got erased, here's how it looked: 

Bag of Verbs
In a brown paper lunch bag, I put 20 slips of paper with verbs printed on them. I explained what a verb was, then we chose words out of the bag at random and made motions to illustrate their meaning. Since the group was small, each child took two turns choosing words. If the kids had been a bit more advanced, I would have had them help me read the word, but as it was, they were great at getting into the spirit of  things and acting them out.

This week, we read Wild About Books. I chose the story with my regulars in mind, since they're all nearing the end of kindergarten and would "get" a lot of the humor, but even these younger kids did well with it. The only part they really didn't engage with was the section where the scorpion reviews the insects' haiku. Oh well.

This week's read-along was a poem by Lee Bennett Hopkins called "Good Books, Good Times." I tried using this with a Pre-K group very early in the year and found that it did not work well for chanting as a class, but it worked better as a read-along. The kids were not readers, but I showed them that each line started with the word "good" and they said at least that word with me in every line. We also learned what "fiction" means. 

Writing and Drawing Activity 

I created a handout, again with bigger kids in mind, which asked the kids to write or draw the books they would like to see on their bookshelves. Two boys who were at the story time where we read Chicken Butt insisted on writing Chicken Butt as the only title on their shelves. They also asked me to write "Miss Katie Butt" but I said I didn't really like that and asked them to choose something else. In the end, everyone just colored, and that was perfectly fine. I plan to save this activity - and perhaps modify it as a way to prompt kids to share what they read with this summer. It would have been a perfect writing activity for my kindergarteners and first graders. (Click here to download a copy of the handout as a .pdf.)

After this session, I can actually feel a predictable structure coming together for this story time, which makes me very happy. I'm so thankful to the library associate at my branch who filled in for me a couple of weeks ago because she used a poem with the kids, which gave me the idea of using a one-page handout instead of a homemade booklet, which has made a huge difference. I also think having a set structure that repeats each week will keep the behavior problems under better control. My thought is that we will use the Name That ________ activity as a means of introducing and reviewing vocabulary. Making a list gets the kids talking and sharing information. Acting out words helps with vocabulary and also gets the kids moving around. (I have other sets of words to use in the future as well, including sound words and musical instruments.) Doing the read-aloud before the read-along allows me to keep a structured story time setting until just before we draw and color, so there is no opportunity for the kids to get distracted and start being overly silly. I plan to use this same approach next week, and hopefully many of  the regulars will be back to join me!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...