Sarah Gets Angry: A Sight Words Reader
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It was simply too much, too soon. Tears and frustration became our new normal. I wanted to let her quit trying to read altogether. And in some ways, I did.
But not because I was giving up on her. At the end of the grueling kindergarten year, I felt I had no choice but to take her out the school that had crippled her confidence and left her feeling unmotivated, angry, and not good enough. For a year, I homeschooled her while I searched for alternative schooling options.
And even though I was eager to see her learn, I stopped pressuring her to read. So I kept reading to her. I got her audio books from the library. But ignoring the voices from all around us — the knowledge that other kids her age were reading chapter books and the requests from well-meaning family members who asked her to read to them — was hard to do.
Then finally, this past Christmas, my husband bought my daughter a few comic books. Since she and her younger brother had recently become interested in superheroes, like Batman and Wonder Woman , it occurred to him that she might like to have some of the books rather than just watching the shows. My daughter loved the strong female characters and storylines. She was interested in the structure of the comics, too; how she could see the story being played out as she scanned her eyes over the page.
There was a certain drama that drew her in.
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She was enthralled with the comics and everywhere we went, they were always in her hand. And slowly but surely, after all her resistance, I started to hear her sounding out the large words, without prompting. Soon, she was picking out graphic novels , novels in comic-strip format, at the library. So far, her favorites are stories about girlhood, friendship, and unlikely heroes. They can help kids develop more complex reading and analytical skills, using the images and text together to develop a greater understanding of the story, and of storytelling itself.
The fact that she was developing important reading skills was a bonus. She actually wants to read again for the simple joy of it. Somehow, comics did the trick. But really, it was writing her own rules for learning that brought back her confidence to even want to. It was finding something she loved, and letting that guide her. This Sunday, the morning paper came in the mail.
While I paged through it, looking for something to read, my daughter stood next to me, holding out her hand.
I knew what she was waiting for. Students need conceptual knowledge to make connections between new words, their prior experiences, and previously learned words and concepts Newton et al. Cindy relayed an incident that taught her the importance of building conceptual knowledge when working with unfamiliar words. She had instructed her students to look up the word pollinate in the dictionary, write two or three sentences using the word, and then draw a picture illustrating its meaning.
Unfortunately, the definition contained many words that the children did not know such as pistil and stamen. It was obvious when she reviewed their work that her students "didn't get it.
Sight Word Motions | Language Arts | Teaching sight words, Sight words, Classroom freebies
Within the constructs described above, teachers employed a variety of instructional strategies. Nine categories of instructional strategies were identified during the observations:. The most commonly used strategy was questioning. As the teachers read and encountered a word that they thought might be unfamiliar, they would simply stop and ask about it.
This strategy usually occurred at the beginning of an instructional exchange. For example, after reading a section of Sarah, Plain and Tall MacLachlan, , Debby paused to ask her students about the word bonnet. It is interesting to note that most of the teachers repeated the question several times in their initial utterance. Questioning was also used to assess the students' existing word knowledge and to determine if students had effectively used context clues. Once a correct response was given, the exchange ended and the teacher resumed reading, as seen in the following sequence.
Debby: [reads from The BFG , Dahl, ] "So I keep staring at her and in the end her head drops on to her desk and she goes fast to sleep and snorkels loudly. Alternatively, the teacher might provide the definition and ask students to supply the term.
Sarah Gets Angry. A Sight Words Picture Book
For example, in an after-reading discussion, Patricia asked students to recall the meaning of research to review or assess word learning. Patricia: And what was it called when they look in the encyclopedia for information? What was that word, John? This strategy can prove difficult. John and several of his classmates made incorrect responses before the correct answer was given.
Providing the Definition. At times, teachers chose to provide a definition of a word.
Word learning is enhanced when the explanation is made in simple, child-friendly language and the typical use of the word is discussed Beck et al. This strategy was more commonly used in embedded instruction, as seen in the following example. Barbara: [reading Duck for President Cronin, ] "On election day, each of the animals filled out a ballot and placed it in a box. Wrote down who they wanted to vote-or who they wanted to win the election. Barbara thought it unlikely that her students would be familiar with the word ballot , so she simply provided the definition in terms that kindergartners could understand.
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An expedient means of providing word meaning is to state a synonym for the word. This method was used often in conjunction with recasting. That is, the teacher repeated a sentence, replacing the target word with a synonym, as seen in this example. This strategy was used extensively by Barbara to reinforce word meanings. For example, in a postreading discussion, she went back and reviewed key events in the story, simultaneously reinforcing the meaning of the phrase a bit.
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Although her focus was comprehension, the students heard the target word alongside a recasting with a synonym many times. Barbara: So what happened here? They mixed red, they mixed blue-but it's still red. But why? Why is that Sarah? Barbara: Right, just a little bit of blue. Just a tiny small amount.
But that wasn't enough to change the color, was it? Providing Examples. Word knowledge can be extended and clarified through examples that may be provided by the teacher or elicited from the students. Students learn how the target word is related to other known words and concepts and are given opportunities to use the target words, further strengthening word learning Beck et al.
Teachers help students make their own connections when they ask for examples of how or where students have heard the word used, or remind them of situations in which they might have encountered a specific word. As Patricia introduced a folk tale, she wanted her students to be prepared for the regional language they would hear. Although she did not use the word dialect , she explained that the language in the story would sound different to them and asked them for examples from their own experiences.
Patricia: This is a story from Appalachia and they use a different kind of language. Uh, they speak in English, but they kind of talk — what do you call it — country. Have you ever heard people talk like that?