There is something so magical about watching a child learn how to read. It is similar to seeing a baby’s first steps being taken. A few steps forward, a bit of tottering backward, a hard plop to the ground, maybe a few tears and then back up, determined to get from here to there. It is the same as I watch our Nature Growers, who are in this magical phase of their brain where the corpus collosum is fusing the left and right hemispheres of their brain, allowing for the process of decoding symbols and attaching meaning to it- otherwise known as Reading.
But how do we get over those first few steps, that may or may not be joyful, painless experiences and move on to a place where we are running and skipping through books? Practice. Just as the baby tries over and over to master the art of bipedal locomotion, our learners are slowly propelling themselves forward in reading by reading everyday. You learned about “Write to Self” in the last newsletter, we also have a process in class called Read to Self.
Imagine this scene…As students finish lunch, they pack up and get their book boxes. Inside are some Good Fit books- books that they can read most of the words and some Stretch books- books that they can’t fully read yet but are engaged by the illustrations and what they know of the book. Bodies stretch out here and there, moving desks around to get comfortable, grabbing pillows to lounge on, putting on headphones (without any sound) to increase focus-ability. We set the timer for 10-15 minutes and as they read, there are whispers to each other for help with a word and the silent passing of books to each other. This is a quiet time in our classroom that is a balance to the talkative, boisterous elements of our day. This is a time when each learner gets to fully immerse themselves in what they are doing without juggling the wants, needs, interests of anyone else. Being attuned and collaborating with others is so key to building social-emotional intelligence and we get to put that back into our experience when we do Read with a Partner. Therefore, during this time, we strive to really protect the flow of learning for each child by setting the individual focus goal and supporting students to keep that plan.
As students are reading, Leticia and I circulate, having individual reading conferences with students, asking them to read parts of their Good Fit books to us and coaching the use of reading strategies. The goal is for the learners in our classroom to read a good fit book every day as the “locomotion” forward in reading happens from this steady practice. You saw the results of that at the conferences as each of your children read a book to you, showing their steps towards masterful reading.
To help you stay connected to your child’s experience at school, and gather important data, you can ask your child…Where do you sit when you do Read to Self? How does Read to Self help you? Is there anything about that time you would change? I’m curious about the answers!
Lena Garcia, Head of Education – Teacher Mentor
Leticia Barahona, Co-Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Shannon Minor, Board President
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