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Literacy Block Routine

Happy Monday!  It’s officially my birthday week!!!  And it’s Monday.  There is a story from my Monday that I just had to make into a video…make sure to check it out at the end of the post!

Today I want to share part of my literacy block routine.  I have used this routine for 3 years without much tweaking and I credit this routine for a big part of the success in teaching my students to read.  This is one of the questions I get most often:   what do you do to help your kids read so well?  So, here’s part of the answer!

Our day starts at 7:45 with arrival.  Arrival lasts until 8:00.  Announcements last unti 8:05.  Morning Meeting lasts from 8:05 until 8:20 (give or take!).   After morning meeting we sing 4 songs.  Little Hands is a great movement song that gets us ready for the day.  Alien Alphabet teaches us our letters in order.  Alphardy teaches letters and sounds with a motion for each sound (this is important later!).  and The Alphabet Zoo is just a super fun animal alphabet song that we love to sing!  As soon as we finish our songs,  we begin our literacy block.  Our literacy block lasts from 8:20-10:10 and then 11:10-12:10 is literacy with a writing focus.  Today I want to share our literacy kick off routine!

As soon as the morning meeting ends, we do our letters and sounds.  I ask the ‘staches what’s next and they say “letters and sounds.”  I ask why we do letters and sounds every day and they say so we can be better readers and writers.  I want them to understand that we have to know our letters and sounds to be better readers and writers.  I also use a football/cheerleader analogy with them.  It’s all about practice.  Do football players get to be good by sitting on the bench?  No.  They practice every day.  Do cheerleaders get to be great at cheering by standing around?  No.  They practice every day.  Can we be good readers and writers if we don’t work hard every day?  No.

Our letter and sound routine goes like this:

I point to a picture.  They say the letter, the picture and the sound.  Remember the Alphardy song (Dr. Jean, btw!)?  That is where our letter and sound chart comes from.  For example:  A apple /a/.  B bounce /b/.  And so on.  Early in the year, we do them in order.  After we get good at the routine, I switch it up and we do them in random order.  I also switch between whole group and individual turns.  This is key to our strong foundations in reading.  They are exposed to every letter and every sound every day!

After letters and sounds, we move to sight words.  We talk about sights being everywhere and if we want to be good readers, we must learn our sight words.  We are using a new sight word routine this year and already I have seen a huge difference in sight word recognition.  I will do a much more detailed post on sight words later, but it looks like this:  read the word, spell the word, decode the word if possible, use it in a sentence.  Tuesday and Wednesday is reading the word and using the word in a sentence.  Thursday is a grid that we read and color.  The grid goes home to practice.  Friday is a game or graphing activity.  
After sight words, we read our poem.  Each week we have a poem that is tied to our theme or letter.  I find poems on line and use those.  I do not re-invent the wheel.  This week we are reading a short 5 senses poem.  Last week the poem was about a pig who wouldn’t let me watch television.  I try to find poems that are easy to read and poems that are funny!  Monday is echo reading.  Tuesday is a mix of echo reading and choral reading.  Wednesday is choral reading and Thursday and Friday they are reading the poem by themselves (unless it’s a more difficult poem!).  I give this part of our literacy block big props for helping  my student develop better fluency!  They get to hear fluent reading daily and they practice fluent reading daily.  Sometimes we even incorporate different voices into our reading!
After our poem, we read an emergent reader.  The emergent readers are generally sight word based and tie into our theme and topic. I am trying to incorporate more science and social studies into our emergent readers!  We follow the same routine as with the poem.  Thursday night the emergent reader goes home for homework and Friday is when I ask for volunteers to read the book to the class!  This is a perfect time for some very short mini lessons on using sounds to help us read the words, concepts of print and using pictures to help us understand what we’re reading.
Following the emergent reader we focus on our sound of the week and our language focus of the week.  For example, today we brainstormed /t/ words.  We also counted syllables in words and identified rhyming words.  This changes weekly or bi-weekly depending on the language skills we’re focusing on.  The sound changes weekly.  
And now we are ready for our story and comprehension.  
That is a lot.  But guess what?  It’s rapid fire and quick.  This all takes about 15-20 minutes (not the story and comprehension)  True story.  It’s just quick, well practiced routines.  Monday is usually longer because it’s a new poem and emergent reader.  But generally 15-20 minutes is this foundation building that reaps major rewards.  
So that is what the first 20 minutes of my literacy block look like.  I hope that gives your some ideas ro answers some questions!  
Questions?  Comments?  Snide remarks?  Words of admiration?
Let’s have a little fun!   FREEBIE ALERT!   I was asked about updating my pretty in pink sight words to include Fry’s 100 words.  You ask and I do!  There is a boy friendly outdoor themed set that I will update later this week!
Click the picture to download your freebie!
And the winner of the $25 Oriental Trading gift card is…………. Laura Boudreau!!!  CONGRATS FRIEND!!!
But don’t fret…my Greg-tacular birthday glitter-nanza continues!  
How about another amazing t-shirt give away from teachershirts.com?!
That’s right folks!  You can win this shirt!  Just enter using the Rafflecopter!!!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js

And now my story of the day……………remember, this is the start of my birthday week………..yeah, all about me week………….

And since it’s almost apple time, please check out these fun apple Common Core creations!

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