Tuesday, May 17, 2011

the day the magical reading fairy visits...

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.


Educators' News said...

I was amazed to see there were no comments to this posting after 24 hours. What a wonderful story, and so well told. Witnessing the moment when a child finally comprehends that those black ink splotches on a page are letters with sounds that make words with meaning is one of the true rewards of teaching little kids.

Steve Wood
Educators' News

Brilliant Bundles said...

Isnt it the best to watch kids learn!? I love that too, more than anything. My daughter Lucy (2 yrs) is just exploding all the time with new knowledge and its so exciting. Iv been working to create this project (all handmade by me) to be able to share that love I have with parents of infants and toddlers. I wondered, if you had a minute to check out my pitch video on the project, If you had any insight on what iv done so far in the way of also having this be something that special needs kids would benefit from? I have over 9 years experience in early childhood, but virtually no experience with special needs. I appreciate your time! This is my project link...please also feel free to share, this is my dream!