Monday, April 9, 2012

Exploring Through Literacy

                Children can explore ideas that are important to them while learning about literacy. Other subjects should be explored during reading and writing activities. When children are exploring something they are interested in they will be engaged in learning. It is important for the teacher to create these types of engaging opportunities for children. If children are exploring the world around them it allows for more meaningful learning experiences. Children need to be able to learn from one another, from their environment, and from experience. When children are learning about things that are relevant to their lives they are taking away meaning.

Children should be reading books and writing about things that they are learning about and exploring. When children have experiences themselves it will inspire them to write more on their own. When children read books that connect to personal experiences it makes the book more interesting. The children in your classroom can help create your themes or lesson ideas. Teachers should pay attention to the interests and needs of their students. Teachers can work hard to find meaningful books that connect to topics children are interested in learning about. Hands on activities can also be created to connect literacy to a personal experience. Literacy can go beyond reading a story and filling out a worksheet. Children will go beyond your expectations when you can make literacy connect to exploration.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shared Reading

                  Shared reading is an important activity you can do in your classroom. During this time the teacher is sharing this reading experience with the children. One of the things children can do during this time is to make predictions. They can make predictions based off of the cover of the book, the pictures, and the text. During this shared reading time child may read along with the teacher. There are so many interactions that can take place during this time. Children are learning while being engaged, when the teacher presents a shared reading. Big books are great for shared reading experiences.

                When shared reading time is presented correctly children have the chance to be creative and interact with literacy in a new way. These experiences can be very meaningful and teach different concepts, depending on how the teacher approaches it. Different activities can follow a shared reading that makes this experience even more meaningful. During shared reading time teachers can ask questions that inspire deeper thoughts. Teachers should be familiar with the book they use during shared reading. Being prepared will allow the teacher to ask more meaningful questions. Shared reading is a valuable experience that children can enjoy and learn from.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Literacy Choices

               Literacy choices should be well thought out and meaningful. Teachers can plan literacy choices that meet the needs of the classroom. Teachers can use charts to help children pick their literacy choice. The teacher of the classroom should interact with the students during literacy choice time. Teachers can ask questions that spark ideas and learning. Children have freedom to explore literacy in many different ways during this class time. The teacher can guide individual children or small groups during literacy choice time. This time also allows teachers to observe what the children are doing and to make assessments. Children have time to work together or by themselves to do something that they are interested in, while gaining literacy skills. Teachers can use white boards, letter magnets, notebooks, and several other materials to create different literacy choices. During this time children can make predictions, write, read, and more. Picking meaningful literacy choices will engage students and keep them on task. Changing the literacy choices to meet the needs of the students can help keep them engaged. When teachers know their students well, they can make choices that better fit their needs. Every learning experience can be meaningful when it is well thought out and it is created with the children in mind. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thinking of Literacy in a Social Manner

How do Children’s literacy skills affect them socially? How does literacy play a role in the social aspects of a classroom? When a child is removed from a group or an activity for extra help does this change the social dynamics of a class?
            Children observe and notice one another’s strengths and weaknesses. If a teacher is always putting down a student or correcting a student’s behavior that child’s classmates are taking note of these actions. Children see which students are leaving the room for extra help and they also notice the students that always have the correct answer. These actions can affect how students work together. Students may form groups according to their abilities that could exclude other children. Teachers might be forming these types of groups themselves without even realizing it. The classroom rules and routine itself may set up boundaries for certain children. These are situations teachers need to be aware of. Understanding the social aspects of your classroom can help you understand more about a child’s learning. When children of different abilities work together they can help each other learn, improving their skills. When a student teaches something to another student both children are learning. Teaching or helping another student out takes effort and reinforces concepts. Children need the time to work with other children in different groups. Creating groups where children never get to work with others makes social and learning problems. Teachers must look at the social interactions of their classroom, their daily schedule, and the classroom rules to create the best learning environment possible.      

Monday, February 27, 2012


                         What ideas do teachers and parents find to be important, when thinking about children learning how to read? What do we use reading for in our lives? How does this compare with the reasons young children are learning to read? Comprehension and being able to take away meaning from a text is a very important focus. We read something with the intention to understand the text and take some kind of meaning away from it. Texts sometimes have different layers of meaning to them. Therefore, different skills are needed to find the true meaning of these types of texts. Children are trying to develop skills or certain methods that help them understand or comprehend what they are reading. Teachers play an important role when it comes to helping children develop strategies to comprehend what they are reading.

                         Knowing how important reading is in our society it is teachers’ responsibility to give quality and balanced instruction about these types of strategies. This process should start when children are young so that they can use and develop these strategies throughout their life. Children are learning how to make connections, “infer information, understand humor and sarcasm, understand a characters point of view, and more” (Johnson & Keier). When children learn these skills, it helps them comprehend what they are reading. Teachers should “model strategies, explain his or her ideas behind those strategies, have students to be involved, create guided practice opportunities, and have classroom discussions about these different strategies” (Johnson & Keier). Teachers can help students learn the skills they need to comprehend meaning from what they are reading on their own. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sounding Out Words

            Children often believe they are in the habit of sounding words out, when they do not know what they are. This is one of the most common know strategies for learning how to read, even though this method focuses on a individual word rather than the overall meaning of the text. Our society often focuses on “reading accuracy” rather than gaining meaning from a text. 

        When looking at this subject it is found that “children use a range of strategies to solve words while reading”. Parents sometimes feel that sounding out words is their main tool when teaching their children how to read. Children take meaning from their readings to figure out words they have difficulty with. They think about what is going on in the pictures and text to solve the puzzle of the unknown word. Another way they find out a word they may not know is through using the structure of the sentence as clues. Children also use visual clues such as looking at the letters to figure out the word they are stuck on. Children are using other strategies when they may think they are just sounding out words. 

          Children have to do more than just sound out words because “sounds change with context”.  Children often go beyond sounding out words to become successful readers. When looking at how children learn to read there is much more to this process than just sounding out words. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reading With Children

       Reading out loud to children is a very beneficial activity. Teachers can bring in large books to read out loud to the entire class. This allows children to follow along together as a class, while the teacher leads the reading. Teachers should prepare before reading books out loud to students. Practicing reading a book out loud will make the reading with your classroom a better learning experience. This type of practicing allows teachers to figure out the parts of the stories that should be read in a different way.
    Thinking about what parts should be read fast or slow will add to the meaning of the story. It is also important to change the loudness of your voice when reading out loud.This adds to the storyline through emphasizing different parts with your voice. Using different voices for the characters and using different tones in your voice can bring the story alive. If you read a book in only one tone, one voice, and there is no expression in your voice then the words become more of a task instead of an experience. It is important to make literacy meaningful to your students, so every experience should be thought out.

          Children can participate in many ways during this type of interaction.  Reading out loud allows children to hear the words and create meaning from them, while still developing literacy skills. Children are able to repeat what the teacher has read, make predictions, learn new words, and much more. Reading books out loud with children is a great tool that can be very beneficial to the education of young children.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Literacy is Everywhere

Teachers and parents can share literacy experiences outside their homes or classrooms!

Where can we find good examples of literacy outside the classroom? Look around and see literacy in our everyday lives. Literacy is on our signs, our doors, and labels. Children can see how meaningful literacy is in our everyday lives through exploring familiar places, such as local stores or supermarkets.  Literacy can be seen when taking trips to local stores or supermarket through exploring:

Grocery lists
Newspaper Ads
Sale Signs
And More!

           This type of experience will also allow children to connect literacy to real life situations. Children will be able to associate meaningful experiences to literacy through this type of exploration. Children can also use literacy to document their findings. They can make maps of the store or supermarket. They can write and draw the people they see. They can take pictures of the area or video record events that take place. This type of exploration also allows them to collect print samples from the stores. Children can see their community in action in a meaningful way that promotes literacy skills. Children can also prepare for field trips through writing out their own grocery lists, making predictions of items they may find, or writing down questions they have about their future field trip. There are lots of ways we can think about the role literacy has within our community and it is important to explore these ideas with our children. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How Do You Define Literacy?

                Literacy is an important tool used in our everyday lives but the idea of defining what literacy is can be tricky. People view the concept of literacy in different ways. Literacy can be thought of as a necessary tool we use to communicate ideas with one another. Reading and writing are two core ideas thought of when the subject of literacy is discussed.  When thinking about what literacy means, how would you define what reading is?  Can someone read or take meaning from pictures in a book and if so is this a part of literacy? These ideas are important thoughts to consider when thinking about how children learn to read and how they see literacy. It is essential for parents and teachers to remember that it is important for children to take away concepts or understand the meaning of what they are reading.  

              Pictures can play an important role in helping children create meaning from their readings. Adults use pictures and visual keys to make meaning of their surrounding just like children do. We can easily recognize a stop sign before reading the word STOP based off of the shape and color of the sign. Literacy is something important that everyone should define for themselves through looking at all the different aspects involved.