All year Pixie's been reading books with one line of text on each page that stick to a pattern. Books like, "Look at the tiger. Look at the elephant. Look at the monkey. Look at me."
For beginning readers there is a lot to work on in these texts, but for the most part they can read them without actually knowing the words. Once they get the pattern down it's no problem. Really what we're teaching that early is that print contains a message, we read books from left to right, each word on the page corresponds to one word said out loud, and if you don't know what a word is you can check the picture. The basic building blocks of literacy.
Of course in whole group lessons we're adding high frequency words to the word wall, reading big books with more text, writing stories together through interactive writing, learning chunks like 'at', 'an', 'it' and 'ing' and directly teaching reading strategies. Still, Pixie's been plugging away on those simple texts.
The other day she was mid-book when she gasped. "OH MY GOD!" she exclaimed, "LOOK! This book has the word LOOK!! JUST LIKE ON THE WORD WALL."
I nodded. I did not point out that she'd been reading books with 'look' in them all year, or that the 3 pages she'd just read in the book also had the word look.
"MRS. LIPSTICK," she gasped again, "AND HERE'S THE WORD 'AT'" pointing to another word wall word. "They are the SAME as the word wall!"
Light switch on.
As soon as she finished her book she wanted to run around the classroom and show all of her friends that the word 'look' didn't just belong in the word wall, but was also in her book. Today she repeated the performance. Excited again that 'look' on the word wall was the same as 'look' in her book.
This is why I love my job. After months and months of laying down the basic building blocks of literacy, months and months of carefully planned guided reading lessons to help her be secure in those early literacy stages, the light suddenly flipped on. Things are starting to come together. You can practically see the gears turning. And on top of it all, I get to watch her be ridiculously excited about it.
I love teaching kids to read.