Because my students are second language learners, I introduce vocabulary that might impede meaning before we read the story. For each word I show the word and a picture of that word. (bus, hallway, desks)
I ask: What does this illustration show us about the word's meaning? Where do we see a bus? A hallway? A desk? Students see these throughout our school, so I have found the understanding is there. They can point to a desk and our hallway outside our door.
These words are difficult to pantomime, so we do not pantomime these. However, these words are fairly straight forward and students often understand and retain meaning based on the picture.
Prediction and Understanding the Text
Good readers predict or think about what is going to happen in a story.
I say: Who can tell me what the word ‘predict’ means? (think about what is going to happen in the story) I make sure to explain to the kids that good readers confirm their predictions when they reach appropriate places in the text. I say: We use the text and the pictures to help us confirm or modify our predictions and what we are understanding from the reading.
We reread the story together and stop at the following stopping points to predict, modify predictions and confirm understanding.
page 6 I stop and ask: Boomer seems to be a little confused. How do you think he will feel and react when he realizes he is going to school?
pages 13-14 I stop and ask: Boomer seems to understand why he is in school. So far he has played with toys, gotten into paint, and gotten into the lunches. I wonder what is going to happen next. I predict he will take a nap. What do you think? (give think time)
I direct: Turn and talk to a partner and tell your partner what you think will happen next with Boomer.
I often provide a linguistic pattern for my students to use, as their English is very limited. I coach: You can say, “ I think Boomer will _____.
pages 17-18 I stop and ask: The story tells us that a loud bell rang. Where do you think Boomer and his owner are going now? (give think time)
I direct: Turn and talk to an elbow partner and tell them your prediction.
I often provide a linguistic pattern for my students to use, as their English is very limited.I coach: You can say: “I predict _____. “ Or “I think ___.” Why use linguistic patterns?
What is the teacher doing?
While students are collaboratively conversing, I am monitoring and assisting where necessary. I sweep the room and stop and each pair of students. If they are struggling for thoughts/ideas, I use guided inquiry to encourage them: Do you think Boomer will run out of the classroom or go home with the teacher?
With limited English speakers sometimes all they need is a suggestion to get them going. I give them two choices to encourage them to think and speak. Some students will tell me that they don't agree with either of my suggestions and will then generate their own thought. My real goal is to get them to think and then show their thinking through conversation.
When I work through predicting with a text, the message I want to send to students is that we are actively thinking about the text as we read. Many students think that reading is simply 'word calling' and I want students to know that reading is much more than that!
Making predictions and confirming/modifying them also stresses the use of text in meaning-making. I want students to use the text for understanding and this is a structured way to practice text dependency.
Revisit Circle Map
We revisit the circle map with "I can ___ at school." in the center that we built in the previous lesson. The focus sight word for this writing is CAN, while we are reviewing I and at.
I say: Boys and girls, what are some things we can add to our map that tell what we CAN do at school? Yesterday we came up with "I can write (count, play) at school. As we read the words, I am tracking with my finger so that students see we read a circle map from the center out.
I give the students think time to generate new activities that they CAN do at school. I stretch the words that students generate to add to the map and challenge students to tell me the letter that goes with each sound, just as we did in the previous lesson.
As I record ideas on the map, I illustrate each idea. The illustrations will help the kids find the words they want to write later in the lesson. I let the students guide the length of this part of the lesson and how many ideas we add to our map. If it seems cumbersome or overwhelming for the students to generate language, then I stick to just a few ideas. If there are many ideas, we add as many as time will allow for.
Writing Off the Map
Students are still seated on the carpet with me as I model how to write off the map. I say: We will be writing off the map exactly like we talk off the map-from the middle out. What do we write first on our paper? (name and date) I write my name and date.
I ask: What do I write first? Let's look in the middle of our circle map. (I can) I write "I can" on my paper. I move my finger out to touch the word "count" and I think aloud: I think I am going to write "count" because I like to count at school. I am going to write the word "count" and you help me with the letters! How do I write /c/? (c) How do I write /ou/? (ou) How do I write /n/? (n) How do I write /t/? (t)
I move my finger back to the middle and touch the last words "at school" and say: Now I need to finish my sentence with our last two words "at school." Watch me as I write "at." Before I write 'at,' I leave a space after 'count.' I use my finger so students have a concrete reference for the size of a space between words. I copy the word 'at' from the circle map.
I follow the same procedure for the word 'school.' I conclude: What do we put last in a sentence? (period)
I release students to their desks and they begin writing off the map. As students are writing, I monitor and assist where necessary.
Reading Our Writing
I always have students read their writing back to me. We do this every day, so students are familiar with the procedure. I have them read back to me so that I can see how they are applying sight word knowledge, letter/sound and blending knowledge and tracking. This particular writing piece also allows me to see if they understand the return sweep.
If students are struggling, I have them echo me and I help them to track by using hand over hand and moving their finger along as we read. Here is a picture of "hand over hand" while I work with a student on letter formation. The strategy looks the same whether you are working on letter formation or teaching a student to track while reading. You simply put your hand over the student's hand to guide them gently.
If time allows, we sing the Boomer song!