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Friday, September 28, 2012

Helping Preschoolers Understand WHY We Read

The purposes of reading, and the joys that it can bring, are not always obvious to this latest generation of kids being brought up in a highly digital and immediately-gratifying day and age. So this kick-off month of September with my students has been all about exploring the concepts of why we read, how we read, and where we read books.

I feel like Literacy Launchpad gets better and better each year, and I think this month has been the best month of Literacy Launchpad ever. Really. I was pleased with how well these lessons worked, how well-received they were by the students, the conversations we had about books, seeing the look of comprehension and intrigue in each of their little faces. And it was just FUN. I really feel every one of my students has benefitted equally from the teaching parts of our lessons, as well as the fun and motivating parts of our lessons this month!

This summer I was coming up with all kinds of crazy-long book lists for Literacy Launchpad, more books than we would ever come close to reading in a year. But I have decided to try to squeeze in some book-talks each month for some of those books we didn't have time for, but that I wish we had.

The books that were selected to be read during class this month were:

Born to Read by Judy Sierra

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hill

The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertram and Susan Bloom

We started week one off with talking about why we read. Our story, Born to Read showed how helpful reading can be, and how much fun too. Of course, with all the cool things we do in class each week, and all the wonderful books we read, the students are definitely understanding the joys of reading. I introduced the students to a variety of different types of picture books through some fun games like "Musical Books." This was a great activity to get us all talking about books and voicing some of our own reading preferences and opinions.

Week two we saw Rocket the dog learn to read, and discussed when and how we might learn how to read books on our own too. We talked about what things we first need to know before learning how to read. Did you know that a love of books is the most important thing needed to become a successful reader!? We're moving in the right direction! During this lesson we thought about what kind of books we might want to read at Literacy Launchpad this year and created our own book cover to show our opinion to the class. This project helped give me an idea of what kinds of units might be fun to do with the students the rest of the year. I want them to feel like they get a say in some of what we read. We practiced book handling as well this week by going on a scavenger hunt within various picture books. The kids did really great with this, I was very proud of them!

This last week of our September unit was all about finding the right place to read. I could really see it all coming together for the kids during this lesson. Each class group seemed very engaged in our discussion; there was great participation. I loved hearing about all their favorite places to read. We made fun pictures where we put ourselves in a picture of a place where we thought it might be cool to read a book. We colored in our pictures of reading places; these projects each week are great for giving our hands something to do while we further discuss our book of the week and the concept we're learning about. An activity for our hands also helps get those gears in our heads turning and gives us something special to take home and remember our lesson by. This week we also charted our favorite book of the month. We all got to express our own opinion by placing a vote on the chart of what book we liked best!

The rest of this year is going to be fabulous. I am so impressed with the progress my students are already making! Next month we're going to be reading some (Not-too) creepy books! There's one new title I'm particularly excited to share with the kids. Stay tuned!

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