Monday, July 20, 2015

Making Reading Fun!

Hey everyone!  I finished up 4 weeks of summer school not too long ago.  I had a lot of fun because I really stepped up my teaching game.  I wanted to make it as fun as I could for the students.  They just finished a long year in Kindergarten and still needed to do lots of learning.  So, instead of the same old things we do during the school year, I made things super hands-on, fun, engaging, and exciting!

Below I talk about some of the activities we did to work on letters, sight words, reading in general, and writing.  I hope you can take some of these ideas and use them with your summer school students or even with your students during the school year!


GET ORGANIZED!
First, get organized!  Pre-assess your kiddos so you know exactly what kind of lessons (or remediation) they need.   I keep everything I need for RTI/one-on-one Reading remediation (flashcards, books, assessment data, etc).  That way, their time with me is all focused on learning


USE THEMES!
It is always more fun when you're most boring of things (i.e: flashcards) go along with your theme. Make a theme for the week or the month!  It'll excite the students and make those boring things more fun!

BE REPETITIVE!
Let's be honest......flashcards can be boring.  BUT, repetition is a must (especially for your lowbies!) I fancied my flashcards up by adding fun little themed clip art.  Each week, I introduce new themed flashcards.

Have your students practice their words/letters DAILY!  But, make it fun!  Have them trace words/letters in sand (see pic below)!


USE FOOD!
Gotta' keep it FUN, right? What is more fun than playing with food?  Each day, I have one of my activities include food.  On this day, we used letter cookies to help identify letter names.  Let me tell ya, they work harder when food is involved!


BE HANDS-ON!
During sports week, I used foam baseball stickers (found at my local craft store) and a baseball mitt (cut out of construction paper) to practice addition and number identification.  You could use the materials for reading/letter id too!  Just get the baseball foam stickers - write letters or words on them.  Call out the letter, sound, or word and have students find the correct sticker.  When my students were done collecting all of the baseballs, they peeled off the back of the sticker and stuck them on their mitts!



Simple can be fun, too!  I took a long piece of bulletin board paper, wrote letters on it, and attached it to the wall.  I called out letters or sounds and my students slapped them with their "magic wands" (fly swatters). 

We busted out the Lakeshore Learning Easy-Grip Sponge Painters for some hands-on letter practice.  I let them pick any letter and stamp away!  While they were stamping, I was asking them questions like "what letter is that?", "what sound does it make?", and "what word starts with that letter?".  They were playing AND learning. :)  
When my students walk in and out of the room, they slap the hands.  I have hands with sight words and hands with letters.  It seems like a TON of words...but, this is what the board looks like after 3 weeks.  I introduced/reviewed 2 pre-primer words each day.  


We also practice our sight words with my Sight Word Sentences.  It is a page of sentences that all start with the same 2-4 words (Dolch pre-primer sight words).  The repetition is AMAZING for struggling students.  By the last sentence, they've started to remember the word and are reading the sentences.  *This picture shows one of my incoming first graders helping an incoming Kindergartner. So sweet!

USE WRITING TO HELP READING!
My students always have a writing activity.  Yes! Writing and reading go hand-in-hand!!!  Although I help my students spell the words, they come up with the answers AND must read back their sentences to me.  Sure, we took some time to paint fish and make baseballs.  But the activity also involved writing and reading!



Students wrote rhyming words on baseballs, cut them out, and glued them on their mitts.

The students made a baseball with red paint (for the stitching) and then wrote if they liked baseball or not.

So, the key to helping your students with reading in the summer months (and all year long) is TO MAKE IT FUN - get organized, use themes, be repetitive, use food, make lessons hands-on, and have your students use writing to help their reading!

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