Saturday, May 31, 2014

A reading success!

I'm running a reading group in my kindergarten this spring.  I have four kiddos, all reading at the D level (F&P score).  Two are very motivated to read, but the other two try to race each other through the books, paying little attention to the actual process of learning.  They race because they are competitive, but also in part because the books are boring to them.  One of my racers is a boy and I've been trying to find something that would appeal to him as our books about puppies don't seem to do it.  I selected a non-fiction book about tadpoles and frogs with him in mind, but he wasn't interested and the girls squealed in disgust, much to my amusement!  We started a unit this week on "day and night" so I introduced a new book to the group called "Night Workers," about people who work at night.  He loved it!  The cover picture is a road construction vehicle in a tunnel at night and he was hooked before even opening the book!

Yesterday I asked my mentor teacher if it would be ok to let him read the book in front of the class.  It's not something we normally do, but I knew it would make him feel motivated and it was relevant to our day/night unit.  In How People Learn, John Bransford notes that social opportunities have an effect on a learner’s motivation, saying “young learners are highly motivated to write stories and draw pictures that they can share with others.”  He was excited about the idea, practiced his reading with diligence, and read the entire book to the class with pride.  I was equally proud of him!

In my classroom I would take the opportunity to let all students read to the class, if they wanted too.   There are A level readers in class who run over to me after reading group time to read their new book to me.  They are working with the para in the room and are so proud when they learn a new book.  I know they would be equally excited to read to the class.  I think it would also give the class a chance to practice understanding differences between students and a chance to encourage and support their fellow classmates, whatever their learning levels are.  Perhaps each day or each week there could be time for a couple of students to read to the class.  I think it would be a win-win for everyone!

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