As we wrap up our unit focused on characters, we talked about how good readers are thinking while they read. One of the ways that we think is by making connections to what is happening to our characters. As we read, we stopped to think, ‘Would I feel the same way, if that had happened to me?’ or ‘Do I know of any other characters, from different books, who have felt this way before?’ Connections help us to understand how characters feel and infer why they are acting the way they are acting in different parts of a story. Making these connections will help your child to have a deeper understanding of story events and prepares them to be able to talk about character traits.
Next week, we will focus our attention on fluency. The kids will practice rereading over and over again. We will encourage the kids to scoop their words into longer phrases, paying attention to punctuation, using a storyteller voice, and showing our feelings through our voice and facial expressions!
This week, we continued to spend time thinking about our characters. We paid close attention to how our characters were acting, what they were doing, and what they were saying. We asked, ‘How does the character feel?’ and then we backed up our thoughts with proof from the text.
We noticed that we could tell a lot about how our characters were feeling just by listening to the words they said. We used clues from the pictures and the characters bodies to help us figure out their feelings.
Trixie feels upset. I can tell by the way she is waving her arms and her eyes are big.
Piggy feels confused. I can tell by the way she says, “I have no idea.”
This past week in reading, we spent time focusing on the characters from our books. The kids did a great job noticing who their characters were and even finding who the main character was in their story.
We pulled out some of our favorite characters, Pete & David, and study them as characters. The kids had plenty of schema about both characters from other books, so they knew some of things the characters might do. As we read the stories, we noticed that there were patterns to what happened in each story. Sometimes the patterns were in the words and sometimes the patters were with how the character acted. Patterns help teach us about characters and can even help us predict what might happen in a story. We noticed that Pete stays calm and upbeat throughout his stories and we noticed that David has a hard time making good choices, but then always seems to turn it around in the end.
The kids did a great job of being on the lookout for patterns in their character books!
This week, we continued to focus on common chunks that we see in words. We focused on words with ED endings. ED typically makes three different sounds when it is at the end of a word. We worked on sorting words as we listened to the sounds the ED made.
The kids are noticing our H Brothers, R Sisters, and ED endings in their books and all over the classroom!
This year, we will gradually introduce our students to many different chunks that they can use when decoding a word (vowel teams, r-controlled vowels, etc.). This week, we focused on H BROTHERS (th, sh, ch, & wh) & R SISTERS (ar, er, ir, ur, & or).
We learned how good readers stop and check when their reading doesn’t look right, sound right, or make sense. This awareness is crucial for beginning readers who sometimes make the mistake of skipping or changing words. Your first grader can read more carefully by using a reading finger and reading at a moderate pace.
If your child does make a mistake, encourage him/her to fix it, by saying, “Something didn’t sound right (or look right) in the sentence/on that page. Can you find it?” After fixing the mistake, make sure your first grader rereads the corrected sentence to ensure comprehension. We introduced the students to the idea of a guard dog as a way for the students to be on the lookout to see if they are letting in (or out) any unwanted words.
This week, we focused on using what we know about word families to help us figure out new, tricky words. The kids noticed word family words that they knew in a snap. When we took a closer look at those words, we noticed that words from the same family all end the same.
We then used that same word ending to help us figure out other, tricky words with the same word family ending.
We also talked about how good readers stop and check when their reading doesn’t look right, sound right, or make sense. This awareness is crucial for beginning readers who sometimes make the mistake of skipping or changing words. If your child does make a mistake, encourage him/her to fix it, by saying, “Something didn’t sound right (or look right) in the sentence/on that page. Can you find it?” After fixing the mistake, make sure your first grader rereads the corrected sentence to ensure comprehension.
This past week, we continued to focus on how to decode tricky words while we’re reading. We reviewed the strategies from last week and if we still need help, then when we come to a tricky word, we skip it (Skippy the Frog) and read the rest of the sentence. Once we have read to the end of the sentence, we try it again (Tryin’ Lion) from the beginning of the sentence and make a good guess for the tricky word (using the context clues from the sentence).
The kids have now met: Lips the Fish, Eagle Eye, Chunky Monkey, Stretchy the Snake, Flippy the Dolphin, Skippy the Frog, and Tryin’ Lion. That is quite a list of strategies. But, most importantly, when they have tried a strategy and have a good guess of what they think their tricky word is…they NEED to be careful. Careful Caterpillar checks to make sure that their guess makes sense, looks right, and sounds right. When the kids guess a tricky word, they need to ask themselves those three questions to self check and make sure that their word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, then good readers keep trying to figure it out!