Tomorrow they’re back and some thoughts on reading

Tomorrow, we get back to work. The kids come back. I’ve only seen them for 5 days out of the last 31 days. We had spring break, then a week of school and then track break (ours is a year round school, which might be confusing for some. The kids go to school for the same number of days as kids in a regular 9 month schedule, it’s just that they have several breaks scattered through out the year instead of one long summer break, this allows the school to 20% higher enrollment than in a regular school with the same number of rooms. At any given time, only 80% of the students and staff are at school). It’s usually pretty nice, but being out one week, back one week, then out two weeks was just goofy.

We’ve got so much to cover and learn before the end of the year, and it’s good to get back at it. Of course report cards are due at the end of the month so we will be doing some assessments to see what progress they’ve made since last time. We do report cards three times a year. A lot of the data can come from testing that we did prior to our break, but there are some areas on the report card that weren’t covered in the testing.

I am so impressed by the level of progress that my class has made this year. I THINK part of it is that I get better and better at what I do, but I’m sure part of it is also the group of kids I have this year. Some years are just harder than others. I don’t know if it’s sun spots during their mother’s pregnancy or what, but there are some years where the WHOLE grade level is just messed up.

I’ve been reading about reading. It’s something I’ve really been interested in as a teacher. I first started teaching kindergarten back in 1990. It never made any sense to me to do the letter of the week thing, even back then. I knew there had to be a better way. I graphed out letter usage in the Dolch list and started with the most frequent usage and worked down to the least frequent. It was a start.

Then in first grade I took a course on a modified version of Reading Recovery (Marie Clay) which comes out of New Zealand. About that same time, I was doing some research on reading, beginning with Articles published in the field, primarily in the journal of the International Reading Association.

Now that I’m back in Kindergarten, things have changed. There seems to be a little more consensus on, if not HOW kids learn to read, at least on WHAT they have to learn in the process. We might have a better idea of what good readers do. Some of what they have us doing as teachers is to try to give the non or low readers those skills. There are some thought provoking observations over here.

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2 thoughts on “Tomorrow they’re back and some thoughts on reading

  1. all i can say WOW!
    i amazed by how long you have been teaching. i would say you have achieved a lot.
    18years is a long time. dealing with young children for such a long time is not something that i can deal with.
    i would be more interested about your experience as technology specialist.

    i also agree with the fact that you would not get great kids all the time. there will always will be kids who lack the inspiration to study or do not like to study at all.

  2. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE FACT THAT EVERY YEAR BRINGS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT GROUP OF KIDS. BUT EVENTUALLY WE HAVE TO GET ACUSTOM TO THEM AND WORK WITH IT. I ALSO THINK THAT WHEN WE BEGIN TO TEACH READING TO OUR CHILDREN THE SIGHT WORDS ARE EXTREMELY HELPFUL. WHAT I DID IN THE PAST WAS INTRODUCE 1-2 WORDS A WEEK (DEPENDING ON THE GROUP OF KIDS I HAD) AND AT THE END OF THE WEEK TEST THEM BY ASKING FOR THE SPELLING, TO FIND IT IN A SENTENCE, BOOK AND EVENTUALLY READING IT OFF A PAPER. I THINK UP TO THIS POINT YOU’VE DONE A SPECTACULAR JOB.

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