Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welcome Guest Blogger Lauren from Teacher Mom of 3

 Greetings from PA!  This is Lauren from Teacher Mom of 3! 

 I am just so very thrilled that Stephanie asked me to guest blog today, and I can't wait to meet more bloggy friends!

At the moment, I'm knee-deep in trying to finish my reader response and reading comprehension packet for kindergartners and first graders.  As a specialist and coach, I don't have my own class and I have to be ready to roll sometimes at a moment's notice with ideas and strategies to scaffold my little cuties' reading and literacy skills.  

Last year was the first year my school used the Treasures reading program for K-2nd grade. I loved learning the program and helping teachers to implement it in their classroom.  Now that I have a year under my belt, I'm designing this packet to align with the reading comprehension strategies that are addressed in Treasures and in our curriculum.  I'm creating graphic organizers that I can use to support the students while trying to foster independence and internalization of the process for each strategy.

So, I have returned to these two books to review, to refresh, and to find inspiration.  One of the many things I appreciate about these authors is that their texts are steeped in rich, current research.

Yesterday  I spent time reading by the pool (ahhh... summer!).  I guess I'm a nerd, but I had The Daily 5 in my pool bag.  I'm trying to read along with the blog book study that Live Laugh Love Everyday in Kindergarten is hosting.  I have already learned so much from the book study!

One message that jumped out at me today was that we need to teach with a sense of urgency and instill that urgency in our students.  Ten or so years ago when I was doing my clinical work for my reading specialist certification, my professor emphasized that we must  teach with a sense of urgency and that, indeed, every minute does count and every activity must be meaningful.  When you only have thirty minutes to work with a child or small group, it is imperative that you thoughtfully plan your instruction.  I know, I know, I'm "preaching to the choir"!

In chapter two of Daily 5, the 2 Sisters state, "... we always teach why we do things.  Creating urgency in learning establishes a culture where every moment of learning and practicing counts for students and teachers" ( p.22).

So, it is with a sense of urgency that I am creating this packet.  I want activities that are meaningful and that scaffold and help to practice strategic reading.

Today I am focusing on predicting. As I'm sure we all do before reading, I have students do a "picture walk" to get their brains ready to read.  When I teach older students I use the language of  "preview" or "text walk".  During a picture walk, students look at pictures of course, but also words and phrases that jump out at them.  With my four year olds and kinders, this also helps to reinforce Concepts About Print and parts of a book. They read the title, author, illustrator, and the back cover.  Inside the book they take a "walk" and think about the pictures.  Later, this is a great transition into one way to read a book:  reading the pictures, as explained in the Daily 5 book.

After a picture walk, kids are ready to make a prediction about what they think the book will be about. I define predicting as making a smart guess.  I tell kids that they have to use their smart brains to use the clues in the story to make a guess as to what will happen in the story or what will happen next. I want predicting to be natural and not forced or mechanical.  I want students to internalize the strategy.  

Below is a pic of how one of my first grade intervention students marked the text by making a "smart guess".

Many kids have innate abilities to use comprehension strategies like predicting and questioning.  You see this with kids as young as two or three years old during lap reading. They will blurt out a question, or a prediction as you are reading aloud.  However, for the students I usually work with, this does not come naturally and they need explicit teaching.

Predicting is complex.  One must take prior knowledge, the details/clues he/she notices and synthesize them together using inferencing.  One must also make connections and think ahead.  Predicting is an active reading strategy that leads to engaged readers.

We talk and discuss a lot in my small group instruction.  I strongly believe and research supports how important oral language is in learning.  I teach these steps when predicting, whether it is before reading or during reading:

* Think about what you know (setting, characters, title, pictures, schema/background knowledge)  These are your clues
*Based on what you know, what are you thinking?  What will this story be about? What will happen next?  What will the solution to the problem be?  What will the character do next?  How will the story end?
*Explain why you think this; how does what you know and your own thinking fit together?
*Confirm your predictions.  Were you correct?

I use anchor charts and mini-posters to help anchor the steps to students' learning.  We always talk first and even when I use a graphic organizer with the young ones, I use it as a visual.  I'll project it on my Mimio board and I'll record their ideas.  Or, I will draw pictures.  Or, we simply discuss and talk, as a natural conversation.

When students are ready, I'll release them to start using their own graphic organizer where they can draw and write.  I'm a firm believer that those that do the most work learn the most.  So, I should not be the one doing most of the talking, drawing, or writing,  My little learners should be.

You can grab the two predicting organizers that will be in my packet by clicking on the pictures below.  YAY!  Freebies!  The adorable borders are by:

Graphics  From the Pond  

Thank you, Stephanie for having me!  This was so much fun!
Have a super-duper week!


  1. Love the freebies!! Thanks :)

    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class
    I could use your help! Check out my latest post ♥

  2. This is a great resource for predicting! This is something that I'm constantly trying to touch upon in my classroom. Thanks for sharing!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  3. Thank you so much for the freebie! We are starting Treasures in the fall so I'll be excited to follow your posts!

    Owl Things First