Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trying Something Different

I was introduced to a multisyllable intervention plan at the Iowa Reading Association conference last spring. I have noticed a need for some basic word attack skills in my older students (3rd & 4th grades). The plan was created by the 95 Percent Group, Inc. My hope is that it will provide instruction on how to apply knowledge of syllable types and divisions in order to read multisyllable words. So far we are learning the gestures and routines for closed syllables. The plan works well in a small group setting and we use a timer to make sure we stay within the planned time frame. I am getting use to the language and the order of each lesson and of course, it gets easier the more I do it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Washington Book Fair October 31-November 3

It is a great thing to start life
with a small number
of really good books 
which are your very own.
--Francis Bacon

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reading Lab, a Reading Intervention Strategy

Reading Lab is an important part of the Fairfield Community School District. It is offered in all of the elementary schools and in 5th, 6th and 7th grade at the Middle School. This program is a federally funded program called Title 1. The program is designed to help students improve their basic reading skills. At Washington Elementary we refer to this instruction as reading intervention. Early in September, the parents of Title 1 students will receive a letter in the mail telling them the reason their student will be given the opportunity to participate and what our goal is for that student.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Safari who?
Safari, so good.

     School has started and we are excited to be back! It is fun to see friends, teachers, new books and new rooms. This blog is for parents, friends, and teachers who want to keep up with news from the Washington School Reading Lab. The Title 1 program, called Reading Lab, is a supplemental reading program.
     Title 1 teachers from across the district have been working with kindergarteners this past week. We want to provide the best instruction possible and we use some assessments to help us know the areas we need to work in. It is a good opportunity for me to meet these little people who are new to our school and a chance for them to meet one more person who is a member of the Washington family. Learning to read and appreciate books is off to a good start! So far, so good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Summer--Don't Forget to Read

     Summer is a great time for families. Make it a great learning time for your kids. Help them continue those good reading habits they developed during the school year. Children who don't read on a regular basis during the summer start school in the fall already behind. They will waste valuable time in August and September trying to catch up.

     I found this great article about summer reading.  It says everything I wanted to say to the parents of my Title 1 students as we head into summer.
***The following information comes from the ccld (The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities). I found it at a site called LD Online, which is their official Internet site.

Summer Reading Tips for Parents

Summer shouldn't mean taking a break from learning, especially reading. Studies show that most students experience a loss of reading skills over the summer months, but children who continue to read actually gain skills. Efforts should be made during the summer to help children sustain reading skills, practice reading and read for enjoyment.

Reading builds visualization, thinking and language abilities. Taking the time to read with your child can help you evaluate your child's reading skills. A recent National Institutes of Health study showed that 67 percent of young students at risk for reading difficulties became average or above average readers after receiving help in the early grades.

Parents should remember that children need free time in the summer to relax and enjoy the pleasures of childhood. So summer reading should be fun. Following are a few tips to make reading enjoyable for your children this summer:

1. Read aloud together with your child every day. Find a place outside!

2. Set a good example. Let children see you turn off the television and read.

3. Read the same book your child is reading and discuss it.

4. Let kids choose what they want to read, and don't turn your nose up at popular fiction.

5. Buy books on tape, especially for a child with a learning disability.

6. Take your child to the library regularly.

7. Subscribe, in your child's name, to magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights for Children, or National Geographic World.

8. Ease disappointment over summer separation from a favorite school friend by encouraging them to become pen pals.  Reading and writing support each other.

9. Make trips a way to encourage reading by reading aloud traffic signs, billboards, notices.

10. Encourage children to keep a summer scrapbook.

Have a great summer!  See you in the fall!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So Many Books! - How Do We Decide?

The Scholastic book fair is always an exciting event at Washington school!
 So many choices, how can we decide?

     A child's book is something special--uniquely rewarding and pleasurable. It is never too soon to introduce children to books. Here are some basic points to keep in mind when making selections for children.
Babies and Preschoolers
  • They are attracted by brightly colored pictures of simple objects.
  • They are listeners, if a book with simple text and good rhythm is selected for them.
  • They are visually and mentally stimulated by wordless books that encourage them to create their own stories.
  • They are delighted with board books or cloth books (which have the virtue of being practically indestructible.)
Nursery School and Kindergarten
  •  Mother Goose, nursery stories, and other books depicting familiar objects and experiences are enjoyable to this age child.
  • These children like listening to slightly more complex texts with good rhythm and effective word repetition.
  • They are also coordinated enough to have constructive fun with pop-up and other paper engineered books.
Early School Years (Ages 5-8)
  • There are children who begin to read as early as nursery school and others who may not be reading until the first grade or later. 
  • For reading to the latter type of child, select picture books with strong story lines and character development.
  • For the child who is reading independently, choose a book with a straight forward story employing words that will be familiar from everyday use.
  • Third graders can usually handle stories of some complexity; the vocabulary should  be relatively familiar while including some challenging words.
  • Non-fiction books encourage children to read about topics that interest them and satisfy their curiosity about countless objects.
Older Children (Ages 9-12 and older)
  • Consider who the child is--his or her personality traits and personal preferences.
  • Make your selections with the child in mind; choose a non-fiction book or a novel in an area of specific interest.
*Adapted from Choosing a Child's Book, The Children's Book Council, Inc. New York, NY.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Web 2.0 Tools for 21st Century Teachers

Several teachers from Washington School are engaged in learning more about Web 2.0 technologies. It is definitely new learning and new exploring. Discovering how to access and use digital, interactive tools is both exciting and overwhelming. Diana Dell has some great thoughts on her web site in an article called Connecting Reading Instruction and Technology. She says, "Teaching with technology allows educators to better meet the needs of students with diverse abilities while at the same time increasing motivation of all students. Technology functions as a bridge to higher reading achievement by engaging students in learning that is relevant and meaningful."
To read more go to http://mrsdell.org/reading/.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The pirates are reading...2011

Arrrrrr you readin’ matey?

Washington School Reading Incentive 2011

It is time for an all school reading emphasis! This term, the theme is “Arrrrr you readin’ matey?“ Students will have a kick-off assembly on Thursday, February 17th explaining the ‘rules’ and prizes for participating. There are some fun prizes to earn.

The goal of the at-home reading program is for students in kindergarten through 2nd to read for at least 10-15 minutes each night, while 3rd and 4th grade students will read a minimum of 15-20 minutes per night for five of the seven nights per week. Those who meet their goal AND return their reading slip with an adult’s signature on the due date will receive a prize each week.


The grand prize for students meeting this goal will be:

A pirate themed movie: Peter Pan.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Basic Reading Inventories (BRIs)

Soon you will be getting reports of your child’s reading progress.  Some teachers may share your child’s BRI scores.  The BRI is a reading inventory that is given three times a year to all 1st -8th grade students.  Even if your child is in a special program for reading support, they are given the grade level passage.  This assessment helps teachers recognize which students have specific strengths and needs in the area of reading.  The Basic Reading Inventory measures three aspects of reading:

RATE: Reading rate is measured in words per minute.  The reading inventory is timed and then converted to a words-per-minute score.  Each grade has guidelines for the rate children should be at in the fall, winter, and spring.  Of course, you should always look for your child’s score to increase!  The best way to increase reading rate is to practice reading every day.  Even 15-30 minutes will help improve your child’s fluency. 

ACCURACY: As children read aloud to the tester, they are marking any miscues (mistakes) your child makes.  They are carefully trained to catch 4 main kinds of errors.  Substitutions occur when your child says a word that doesn’t match the word that is printed.  Your child needs to learn to look carefully at print and make sure what they say matches both the beginning and end of the word.  An omission happens when your child skips a word, or possibly a line.  When children skip lines it sometimes lets us know they are having trouble with return sweep or tracking.  An insertion is marked if your child adds a word that is not on the printed page.  Sometimes students are reading so quickly they just say what makes sense, without checking closely.   A reversal is marked if your child reads the words out of order.  Most students will recognize this doesn’t sound right and make a correction.  Repeating a word, phrase, or sentence is not recorded as an error.  Many children use this strategy to build meaning and check their own correctness.  The end goal of our reading program is to help teach children a self-extending system of self-monitoring so they can fix-up reading errors.  Therefore, self-corrections are also not counted as errors.  However, repetitions and self-corrections take time and may lead to a slower reading rate. 

COMPREHENSION: After reading the grade level passage, the tester will ask your child 10 questions.  Most of the questions are based on factual recall.  However, one of the questions is a vocabulary term, one is based on making an inference (reading between the lines), and one question requires the child to evaluate an event and rationalize why.  Understanding what is read is a top priority.  If your child struggles with comprehension, have them practice summarizing or retelling after every few pages when they read with you at home.  This will help them learn to focus, think, and ask & answer questions while they read independently!

The best recipe for reading success is choosing books at the right level and practicing daily.  Working together we can help your child find success.
Borrowed with permission from J. Smith, Title I teacher, Pence Elementary, Fairfield, Iowa