We have had so much fun practicing with some of our higher level comprehension books that force the kids to figure out tricky vocabulary words and really infer beyond the text to understand the story.
We read the book The Stranger (Chris Van Allsburg). This story really puts the kids to the test to see if they can be careful to pay attention to all the small details that are on each page and put them all together to figure out who the stranger is. We stopped on each page to check for understanding about the WHO? and WHAT? and by the end, the kids were so proud of all the thinking they were doing to figure out who this stranger really was.
We spent time reading the book The Sweetest Fig, by Chris VanAllsburg. The kids shared so many questions and connections, it was easy to see the thinking they were doing in order to figure out what was happening in this story. We had lots of vocabulary questions to figure out in this book, because it takes place in France.
This week our readers worked on changing their voice to match their characters’ feelings. We noticed a lot of little clues in the text that help us know when and how to change our voice like: ellipses, bold print, italics, CAPITAL LETTERS, quotation marks, and more. The kids had so much fun looking for these clues in their own books!
We also learned to hold on to the lessons in our stories. In our fiction books, our characters are always facing some sort of trouble and have to figure out ways to solve these big and small problems. We can learn from our characters, and can even act the same way they do, when the same kind of trouble happens to us!
This week our readers really got to know one of our favorite characters: Mr. Putter.
We learned that as we read fiction books we need to study the main character. When we do, we can figure out what he likes, dislikes and how he acts. In our book, Mr. Putter Drops the Ball, we learned that Mr. Putter really likes to nap and he’s worried he might be too old to play baseball!
We should pay attention to all the other characters too! Each character is so different. Understanding all the characters helps us to make better predictions about the story. In our book, we also met Mrs. Teaberry, who is brave and confident. She is sure that Mr. Putter is not too old to play ball.
Later in the week, we remembered how important it is to go back and reread. When we reread, we usually notice something new about our characters that we may have missed during our first read.
Finally, we talked about noticing our character’s feelings and when those feelings change. If our character’s feelings change, we can “take action” and change the sound of our voice. Our first graders are becoming such expressive readers!!!
This week, we continued on our “reading adventure” and packed our suitcases full of strategies to help us understand our reading.
Earlier in the week, we remembered to retell the important parts of our stories. We used sticky notes to mark the pages with the most important events and retold each part to our reading partner.
We also reviewed how important it is to reread our stories. When we reread, we notice things in the pictures and words that we might have missed during our first read. The more times we reread our books, the better we understand our stories.
Finally, we chatted about connections. We learned about text-to-text connections and text-to-self connections earlier in the year, but this time around we noticed connections between different parts in the story. The events on one page may show the trouble and another page shows the solution or one page might be the cause and another page shows the effect. We had fun discovering and sharing about the parts of our stories that go together… like a puzzle.
We began a new reading unit this week as we set off on an ADVENTURE with the characters in our fiction books. Our books can take us anywhere – the beach, the mountains, a treehouse, a tea party and so many more places. We want our first graders to be excited about reading because of all the adventures they can go on and places their reading can take them!!
So we “packed up our suitcases” with some reading strategies and took off on our adventure! As we were getting ready to go, we talked about one of our familiar strategies “take a sneak peek”. We can learn so much about our book by studying the front cover, reading any information on the back, and checking out the chapter titles before we read.
As we read more and more of our books, we noticed that our characters often move to different places and the time changes too!! We want to be aware of a change in setting, so we looked for clues in the pictures and words to help us stay right on track.
Finally, we worked on making predictions about what might happen next. We had fun guessing the next action in some new books with our favorite characters!
We are excited to go dig deeper into our adventures next week!
Our focus during Readers Workshop has been UNDERSTANDING what we read. This week, we learned about some “tools” that can help us if we become confused about what we are reading.
Our first “tool” to help us understand what we are reading is to check if we are “getting” what’s happening. If we read a page and something doesn’t make sense, we can ALWAYS go back and reread slowly and think about what is going on. We can even chat about what’s happening with our reading partners to make sure we’ve got it.
It is also important to make a movie in our minds as we read. Our movie can fill in the little parts that might be missing from the words and pictures in our story. It can also help us better understand what the characters are thinking about or feeling. We closed our eyes and turned on our movie cameras to help us imagine our Zelda and Ivy book as a movie with music, dialogue, and lots of emotion.
As our books get longer, they often include a lot of character dialogue. It’s important to stop and think about who is doing the talking. Sometimes the word “said” will help us figure out the character that is speaking, but other times we have to infer.
Our first grade readers added more “tools” for solving tricky words to their reading strategy tool box this week! One of our new tools is to read our words part by part. If we slowly say each part, a really long word with lots of syllables isn’t as tricky anymore. (j – ump – ing = jumping)
We also practiced using words we know to help us figure out new words. If we already know a word like will, we can use part of the word will to help us read a new word: thrilling.
We found that to figure out some words in our books, we need to try many different vowel and consonant sounds until the word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right! Sometimes there are so many sounds to try, but we won’t give up!
Finally, we realized that there many words in our books that we know in a snap from practicing all our sight words this year. We practiced reading familiar words quickly, instead of saying each sound, because we know them so well.
Our first graders have been loving the Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways book that we’ve been using to practice with all of our new reading tools. If you are looking for a new series to read, definitely check these books out!
This week our readers practiced some new strategies to help “triple check” that our words are correct.
We learned that readers are always thinking about the story. Sometimes when we are stuck on a tricky word, thinking about what’s happening in the story will help us figure out a word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right.
We also learned that the words in our book should fit together like a puzzle and should “sound right” when we read them. As we were solving tricky words together, we often asked, “What word fits in this sentence?”
Partner time is our favorite part of readers workshop!!! We LOVE coaching our reading partners and figuring tricky words together each day. Way to go, first graders!!! Keep being the BOSS of your reading!!!