We are up and reading! Our first major unit of study in literacy is a reading unit that focuses on setting up our Workshop routines, independent reading and thinking deeply about our reading. Each class begins with a mini-lesson and follows with an "off you go" to practice. We're tracking our reading stamina in our Reading Logs and will be celebrating our accomplishments by recording completed texts in our Book Logs. Our lessons right now are focused on reading our books "knowing we're going to write about our the text, seeing more."
Our homework has been 30 minutes of reading each night, and recording number of pages read in our Reading Logs. Looking at number of pages read helps us evaluate our rate and what's affecting it: genre, level of difficulty, and environment are things we'll take into consideration. Although we're recording pages read, it's important not to confuse this with the end result. Building reading stamina is critical, but reading is not a race. Stopping to reread parts that are confusing, taking time to look up a word, or going back to reread for clarification are key to strong comprehension.
Parents CAN help with reading progress:
*Monitor the environment your child is reading in. Are there too many distractions? Is 30 minutes too long a period of time right now? If so, break it up into two 15 minute sessions. Make sure 30 minutes of reading doesn't include breaks to get a snack...
*Discuss the book! Help deepen comprehension by asking what's happening in the book. "How does it compare to another book? What is the main character like? Does he/she remind you of anyone? How is the plot developing? Are you at an exciting part? What themes are emerging? What can someone learn by reading this book?"
*Help find "just right books!" A "just right book" is a book that your child is:
1. Interested in reading. Look at the cover together, talk about what it's about, what book it might be like, look at the author, has he/she or you read anything else by this author? Fuss about it, work to understand the beginning together by talking about it.
2. Have your child read the first page aloud, if there's five or more words he/she stumbles over, or isn't able to retell what happened, put it on the "save for another time" list.
*Help to make sure his/her independent reading book is travelling to home and school, each day.
*Help to check he/she has a "BUB" (Back Up Book) ready to go when he/she finishes his/her current book.
*Sign his/her Homework Planner, AFTER you've checked that the log has been completed.