Wednesday, 30 May 2018

A follow up post, how is reading going in our play-based class

At the beginning of this term I wrote a blog post about the changes I wanted to make to our reading.  This blog post is located here.

Currently we read individually with children that are developmentally ready, this may be after four months at school, or eight months, or even a year.  It really doesn't matter and we do not engage with reading until we feel a child is ready.

Currently in our group of 38 we are reading with around 14 children.  We make sure we check in with them at least twice a week.  We have about ten children who are close to being developmentally ready.

My lightbulb moment at the end of last term was around phonics.  I have always believed that exposure and specific teaching (when ready) of the letter (symbol) and sound relationship was absolutely essential.  However I then just expected children to know how to use this understanding in the reading process.  Often I pushed on with the development of other strategies in reading thinking that the ability to sound out would 'just happen.'  It wasn't until I read a post about decodable books on face book that a light went on for me. 

In my usual enthusiasm I madly downloaded as many free books as I could and purchased some cheaper ones from amazon (scholastic) and star fall.  The intention being to try them out and invest in more expensive ones that have a more NZ context if we see the benefit.

Well, can I just say wow, wow, wow!  These texts have quickly allowed children to develop confidence and make the link between what they know about phonics to the text.  Their eyes light up when they realise there are no 'tricks.'

It has only been four weeks, but already this approach is paying off for us.  Not only in reading, but also in writing.  Confidence is brimming and we have helped to make the link between our direct teaching of phonics and reading.

Thank you to whoever started the conversation on face book, you have already helped to make a huge difference for our children.

If you are looking for a cute way to help children develop early phonetic awareness, check these guys out.

Not related to decodable texts, but does relate to our work with storytelling.  This guy is brilliant, Tony's Sketchbook.  Love it.

And a math twist, these guys are super cute!

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