In this issue......

* Editor's Notes
* Love Of Reading
* Guided Reading
* Teaching Comprehension
* Writing Strategies

Editor's Notes

Thanks again for subscribing to my monthly newsletter.

The main focus of this newsletter involves reading and writing which are critical elements in the development of young children and can be the keys to an effective and practical literacy programme.

Last month, I facilitated a workshop to Faculty of Education student teachers at York University in Toronto. During the workshop, the student teachers and I discussed how to handle a number of typical situations that arise every day during the school year.

Topics included, Teacher/Parent Communication, Assessment and Accountability, Day-To-Day Routines, and Discipline and Behaviour. I video taped our discussion of each scenario and over the next month or two I will be adding new pages to my site that encompass each situation.

Please visit my site and click on the RSS symbol at the bottom of the navigation bar and add me to your favourite RSS reader so you don't miss these informative updates.

Love Of Reading

I believe that our society today is not doing enough to encourage our children to read. Teachers and parents must serve as role models and do more to promote and assist their students and children with reading, such as providing them with access to books at school, at home and at the local library that they will find enjoyable and interesting.

This may be especially true for low income families who may have very little access to reading materials.

One of the impediments in many cases, to students reading on their own for enjoyment, may be their inability to comprehend more complex concepts and vocabulary. Read my strategies on teaching comprehension below.

As I mentioned on my website, motivating students to read doesn't have to be taxing and stressful. Finding fun and new ways to give students a solid grasp of the basics is not easy but here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Create a balanced reading program in your classroom. Hooked on Phonics programs provide interactive lessons, fun skill-building activities, and high-interest stories and books that appeal to all kinds of learners—helping you meet the diverse needs in your classroom.

2. Robot Reader is a set of printable reading games and printable phonics games. These printable reading activities and printable phonics activities are designed to develop essential literacy skills for 5-10 year olds.

Be sure to have a look at these great games that were designed to get children interested, motivated and succeeding in reading. Teaching reading has never been easier!

Read my page on motivating students to read and get more of my strategies in this area.

As I've mentioned several times on my website there are different types of learners, for example visual, auditory and kinesthetic. This applies to reading as well.

Don't just use phonics or a whole language approach. Start with a phonics approach in the students' early years since it's critical to learn the fundamentals and build a good foundation for the alphabet and its sounds.

Provide some variety to just rote learning using worksheets by introducing books and stories that your students will enjoy. Also vary your teaching methods from having students read to themselves, reading aloud to the class or playing reading games. "Guided Reading" is one other teaching approach that can be used.

Guided Reading

Guided reading is the bridge between shared reading and independent reading.

A "guided reading" approach involves the teacher:

* Dividing up students into small groups where all students in the group are at a similar skill level.

* Selecting books that are not too easy or difficult, offer some level of challenge and are of topics that students are interested in reading about.

* Providing guidance to the students while they read if they have a problem and then discussing the text afterwards.

Students are responsible for using strategies they have learned to figure out words and meaning of the text such as analysis of sound-letter relationships and word parts, and finding embedded words within the text.

The goal of guided reading is for students to develop their reading ability through independent reading to the point where students can read a variety of texts with ease and good understanding.

Teaching Comprehension

Reading comprehension can be enhanced by teaching students to make connections; for example text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world.

Text-to-self connections are relatively easy for young students to make by relating story characters and their experiences to their own lives and experiences.

Text-to-text connections for higher grade level students means having them compare characters within a story, one story to another, i.e. one theme to another.

Text-to-world connections is the most advanced concept. Have students make connections between what they read and real life experiences that they have had.

Writing Strategies

Going hand in hand with the above reading strategies, here are some strategies that teachers can use to motivate students to write.

* To help your students think and develop ideas, you can have a class discussion, pair share or share in a group situation. Brainstorming is also a useful strategy as long as the comments are related and make sense.

* Be positive and encouraging for any ideas presented by students and allow students to make their own decisions and show their creativity.

* Provide sentence starters and leading questions for students who need some assistance.

* Use role playing to develop characters, their relationships and story lines (older students).

* Discuss results in a group or class setting to develop, expand and incorporate story lines.

I hope you have found this newsletter informative and provided you with some useful tips and strategies that will motivate your students to read and improve their reading and writing skills.

Until next month keep well, enjoy and happy teaching!!


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