Balanced Literacy Handbook - Independent Reading

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					Independent Reading
Balanced Literacy Connection to CORE Curriculum Standards: Reading Students learn and effectively apply a variety of reading strategies for comprehending, interpreting and evaluating a wide range of texts including fiction, nonfiction, classic and contemporary works. R-R4 Use phonetic skills PO1 Identify consonant sound/symbol relationship R-R5 Comprehend meaning in simple selections PO1 Understand print concepts PO2 Derive meaning from picture clues PO3 Derive meaning from illustrations PO4 Derive meaning from print using sound/symbol

Definition:
Independent Reading provides children the opportunity to choose their own text and practice reading on their own. The reading materials available include many familiar texts, big books, song charts, children’s literature, student-made books, environmental print, book baskets of leveled texts or other appropriate selections.

Why?
Independent Reading provides children the opportunity to practice using different reading cues and strategies with a variety of texts. It allows children to assume the responsibility for reading. Independent Reading encourages children to value reading as an enjoyable habit and allows children to experience the successes and pleasures of reading for themselves.

Student Objectives - Students will:

 practice reading and applying reading strategies independently  build self-confidence and independence as readers  integrate the cueing systems independently on familiar text -the semantic cueing system (meaning cues/picture cues) -the syntactic cueing system (structure cues) -the graphophonic cueing system (visual cues/letter-sound)  practice reading with fluency and phrasing  experience the joy and success of reading

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Suggestions for INDEPENDENT READING:
1. Provide materials at the various reading levels:  texts which have been read to the children and used in shared and guided reading  books which have been made by the children  books/magazines/poems chosen by children  books from the school library  texts should vary in genre  the selection of reading materials should be changed regularly with children taking part in the sifting and sorting process  texts should de displayed in well-lit areas and easily accessible to the children  environmental print (words, songs, posters) which can be read around the room  reference materials, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. 2. May collect familiar books into individual book baskets. 3. Plan for and allow a variety of opportunities for children to read independently throughout the day. 4. Assist children with selection of reading locations. 5. Assist children who have difficulty choosing a selection to read. 6. When children are reading, assist as needed--being sure not to interrupt others. 7. When time period is over, coordinate organized return of materials to proper places. 8. Give children the opportunity to share books they read with class.

What INDEPENDENT READING Might Look Like:
Independent Reading in Ms. O’Connell’s class varies from day to day. Today as the children enter the room, they will have a period of time where they will select books to read. To avoid too much moving around, each child may select three books. Some children choose books from the collection of desert books and garden books, both categories related to classroom themes. Other children select books from the science center, or the tubs of specialized books on topics such as “friends”, “numbers”, “alphabet” and so forth. Still other children choose from literature sets, leveled reading sets, or baskets of miscellaneous books and magazines. Ms. O’Connell explains to the class that she is going to set the timer for five minutes, and during these five minutes, everyone has to be looking at a book. As they read, children may share their books with a buddy. When Independent Reading time is over, children are encouraged to put 44

their books back carefully in the same container or place from which they selected the book. Covers should be facing out and books should be placed right side up. After it is over, Ms. O’Connell pulls aside the children who had an especially difficult time sitting with a book for five whole minutes. They discuss again how they can look at the pictures to try to figure out what the story is about or to name the colors they see on the pages, or how they can go through and think of the names of as many things as possible pictured on each page. Ms. O’Connell encourages these children to try to decide if they like the book enough to want her to read it to the whole class. Ms. O’Connell has to do this several times with various children in the room (not always the same ones), but by the end of the month the children really can sit still with a book for five minutes. Ms. O’Connell will extend the reading time to ten minutes and will hold that level for a while. Children are getting the idea that what is in books should make sense to them and others. By approximating reading the books over and over, many of them are even able to identify some of the words that occur repeatedly in each book. Certainly the motivation of reading to their peers has helped some of the children to become more interested in reading and in words. They also are becoming exposed to a variety of genre. Yesterday, Ms. O’Connell had another Independent Reading time where the sets of leveled books were available and children could select from the tubs of books that Ms. O’Connell had placed on the table. Many of these books were books with simple patterned language created by the class after a Shared Writing experience. They could choose freely from among these books and again, buddy reading was acceptable. During daily choice time, children often choose texts to read and extend their independent reading time. Sometimes Big Books become the focus as one child becomes the teacher and other children the students. Still other children investigate I Spy books or books on a favorite topic such as snakes or dinosaurs. Children who are highly interested in books serve as role models for other children and the enthusiasm is often contagious. During choice time a specific interest can often lead to a trip to the library for two or three children at a time to find books of special interest, checked out in the teacher’s name for use in the classroom.

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Phonemic Awareness
Definition:
Phonemic Awareness is the ability to distinguish the sounds that make words. It is an understanding that speech is composed of individual sounds. Children begin to develop these concepts at home and in school settings with early childhood caregivers and teachers. They learn best when the adults who care for them plan for the activities to happen in relatively informal and enjoyable ways rather than as a set of rigidly prescribed, formal lessons.

Why?
Phonemic Awareness plays an important role in the reading success of early readers. Phonemic Awareness is an important component of emergent literacy. It builds the foundation for developing a sound/symbol relationship.

Possible Activities/What It Might Look Like:
                Clap the number of syllables in names and words Read aloud nursery rhymes, poems, and storybooks with patterned rhymes Read aloud poetry and stories that contain word play Read aloud rhyming books Sing songs Allow children to fill in the rhyme when reading, chanting, or singing familiar poetry Play rhyming games, such as a rhyming bingo game (cover pictures on bingo card that rhyme with ones drawn from a hat) Generate as many words as possible that rhyme with a known word Play blending and segmenting games Recite tongue twisters Read aloud books and sing songs that contain alliteration Slowly stretch the sounds of short words to demonstrate each sound Identify similarities in sounds at the beginning, middle, end of words Discuss interesting patterns in literature during Read Aloud and Shared Reading Play simple consonant-substitution games (e.g. “Take the c away from cat; put in p and you get pat.” Play “I’m thinking of a word.” (e.g. “It begins like ball and ends like tack.” 46

Phonics
Balanced Literacy Connection to CORE Curriculum Standards: Reading Students learn and effectively apply a variety of reading strategies for comprehending, interpreting and evaluating a wide range of texts including fiction, nonfiction, classic and contemporary works. R-R4 Use phonetic skills PO1 Consonant sound/symbol relationship R-R5 Comprehend meaning in simple selections PO4 Derive meaning from print using sound/symbol Writing Students effectively use written language for a variety of purposes and with a variety of audiences. W-R1 Relate narrative, creative story PO1 Create narrative PO2 Create story PO3 Create message W-R2 Spell simple words PO1 Use sound/symbol relationships Definition: Phonics is the relationship between the sounds and letters of words. The most effective way of teaching phonics is through meaningful context. Why? It is one of the three cueing systems (graphophonic) used by all children to read. It is used by all children to write.

Possible Activities/What It Might Look Like:  Use children’s names to connect letters and sounds  Read aloud alphabet books  Make own alphabet books  Teach letter names and sounds in reading - Read Aloud - Shared Reading (refer to Shared Reading section) 47

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Teach letter names and sounds in writing - Modeled Writing - Shared Writing - Guided Writing - Independent Writing Encourage children to stretch the word slowly, aloud, thinking about the way it sounds, and write the letters they hear when they are attempting to spell words. Use a variety of alphabet charts to establish key words/pictures for sounds: -word walls -graphs -class name charts

To comply with the statute that was approved by the Arizona State Board of Education in September 1998 which states that beginning in the 2000 – 2001 school year, each school district shall adopt a reading instruction program for K-3 students which includes research-based systematic phonics instruction, the district recommends Patricia Cunningham’s approach to phonics. Patricia Cunningham’s material for Kindergarten includes Month-by-Month Reading and Writing for Kindergarten. “In selecting activities, teachers must be mindful of the age and developmental levels of students, the need to keep instruction engaging for young learners, and the need to create context that allows students to make connections between the activities in which they are engaged and their use in meaningful literacy acts.” - D. S. Strickland

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