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Teacher Talk

Welcome to Teacher Talk, where our authors 'talk' early literacy with teachers. You'll find practical classroom strategies and tips from real educators, as well as personal stories and innovative approaches to improving your teaching practice.

  • Starting a New Shared Reading Book with Kindergartners (Video 1 of 7)

    Join literacy consultant Debra Crouch as she shares a big book with a San Diego Kindergarten class. This introductory session focuses on meaning and cognition of Which Pet is Best?

    Watch how Debra models her thinking about how the book works.

    Most conversation happens as whole-group discussion, until the turn-and-talk at the end of the book.

  • Deepening Meaning: Returning to the Book with Kindergartners (Video 2 of 7)

    This follow-up reading's focus is about deepening meaning of the book. Debra again models her thinking and invites students to turn-and-talk several times during their second reading of Which Pet is Best?

    Students join in reading the text aloud with the teacher as they choose.

    Debra uses a pointer to track the print by moving fluidly under the text, as all students in the class have one-to-one match established.

     

  • Building Vocabulary During Shared Reading with Kindergartners (Video 3 of 7)

    In this installment with Debra Crouch, she and her students revisit the text to focus on vocabulary —specifically, describing words. Students discuss numerous describing words in the book.

    With each word discussed, Debra reads the sentence on the page to establish meaning, discusses meaning of the vocabulary word, and then rereads the sentence to put the word back into context. Students join in reading the text aloud with her as they choose.

     

  • Word Study: Returning to the Shared Reading Text (Video 4 of 7)

    Before the video begins, Debra had students draw and write a response to the book: write about a pet you think is best. After collecting the students’ writing, Debra examined their writing to determine an appropriate teaching focus for word study.

    Debra determined that the word study focus would be to encourage students to ask themselves, “Does the word look right?” after they write a word. Several children had or could have used the word “because” in their writing. So this became the example word for their new strategy.

  • Modeled Writing with Shared Reading for Kindergartners (Video 5 of 7)

    This modeled writing experience gives children an opportunity to hear a writer decide what to write about, how to say the ideas to be written, and to notice strategies and conventions for getting an idea onto paper.

    Literacy consultant Debra Crouch writes about a topic the students had already written about: the best pet. After discussing the topic with students, Debra discusses different ways to begin the opinion piece and that the piece needs to include reasons to support thinking. She emphasizes rereading to check your writing and maintain meaning.

  • Extend Oral Language with Kindergartners (Video 6 of 7)

    This lesson happened just before the first reading of Which Pet is Best? The book had been used in several reading sessions the previous week. In this session, several pages, not the entire book, are used as a warm-up at the beginning of shared reading time to extend oral language. Students join in the reading as they choose. The language focus is on continuing to use positional words. The vocabulary of “lumberjack” was used by students during the previous week and, as it was a known word, we used that word.

  • Extending Oral Language, Small Group Kindergarten (Video 7 of 7)

    Small Group reading to extend Oral Language

    Watch as the teacher leads a reading lesson with a small group of kindergarten children.

    The teacher invites each child to look at the pictures in the book and asks the child open questions about the story. Most of all, the teacher prompts the child to use their own words. She also asks the children questions starting with "which" and "where" to encourage the flow of communication. The teacher encourages the children to "add into the thinking", while supporting their ideas and concepts.

    As a result, the child displays a curious interest and communicates their thoughts about the book with the group.

  • Managing Guided Reading Groups with “Warm” Running Records

    Managing guided reading groups often generates a multitude of questions about flexibility: How do I know which children go in which group? Which books do I use in a particular level? How do I know when my students are ready for the next level?
  • Guided Reading and Reading Strategies

    Guided reading is a small group opportunity to support readers as they apply known reading strategies. David Hornsby, in A Closer Look at Guided Reading (2000), describes guided reading as a time when “the teacher helps the children use strategies they already know so that they are able to read an unfamiliar text independently, with success.” Those reading strategies have been modeled and demonstrated during whole class read-aloud and shared reading. During guided reading, the intentional use of wait time by the teacher encourages the use of reading strategies. When children are developing as readers, the use of reading strategies is slower and less automatic, meaning students require more time for processing. Teachers who wait when students make an error, rather than immediately giving a correct word or automatically prompting a strategy to try, provide students the opportunity to self-monitor and self-correct. This is when learning to be a strategic reader occurs.
  • Close Reading and Guided Reading

    Close reading and guided reading can exist in the same instructional environment.  By reading closely in guided reading, a reader is encouraged to apply all their known understandings about how texts work to figure out meanings the text brings into existence.  When close reading of a text is viewed as comprehending a text in an intentional manner, it can be powerful within the context of guided reading.

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