As a teacher, I am always looking for areas to improve on. I am always looking at data and my students to see where my teaching can serve them better. I’m also learning through conferences, professional books, webinars, etc. One area that I’ve REALLY focused on t years is reading comprehension! We always work on comprehension but it’s been more teacher directed, oral or verbal discussions and just skimmed the surface. I knew my students could do more and deserved the opportunity to do more!
Read It Up
A couple years ago, our districted purchased an IFL unit for us to use as an “exemplar” unit for teaching literacy. The unit was for two books: Brave Irene and Dr. DeSoto. These books are complex texts for kindergarten. The skills being taught within the unit were also challenging and complex. After reading through the unit and what was expected, I knew immediately that my students COULD be very successful with the skills IF they had the right tools, support and scaffolding. Because I believe this: my students (and all students) will succeed with the right supports in place. And thus was born READ IT UP!
After the success of our IFL unit I knew that providing READ IT UP creations for our text would improve our reading comprehension skills. And I was RIGHT! This year, we have been using READ IT UP weekly to work on comprehension skills and I have seen a drastic improvement in our comprehension skills. Skills included are: story maps, predictions, retelling, making connections, cause/effect, problem/solution, sequencing, main idea and details, character traits and more.
Read It Up! is an all inclusive resource. Everything is included to make planning and prepping easier. We generally spend one week on a text. However, these resources can be used for a day or more than a week. They are adapatable to meet the needs of your class and district. For example, we do a Creepy Carrots day and spend an entire day doing Creepy Carrots and we do gingerbread stories for two weeks!
Reading Comprehension: Turn And Talk
My teaching style has shifted to more student discussion. This helps the students build confidence in their learning and builds language capacity. As we’re reading the text, we talk. We do a turn and talk to share what we notice or to make predictions or to answer text dependent questions. We also do whole group discussion using text dependent questions. The key is to get the kids to talk about the story. Then they have ideas to share out when it’s time to share. The turn and talk helps remove some of the fear to share their thoughts and ideas!
As we read, we create our graphic organizers. We might be filling in a story map, idenitfying character traits with text evidence. We might also do graphic organziers after we read the story such as identifying main idea or problems and solutins in the story.
A big focus for our Read It Up and comprehension instruction is writing in response to the text. We want our studetns to talk about books but also to be able to write about the text. The thing to remember is that the standards for kindergarten say writing, drawing and dictating. So we make sure our studetns utilize those options. Some students write a sentence or two about the story. Some draw a picture and write a word or two. Some draw a picture and dictate to us. Those are all acceptable and meet the standards. One thing we do is have students come to our table one at a time and orally tell us about their drawing so we get a better understanding of their level of comprehension!
The studetns work is scored using rubrics. This gives us a uniform asystem of assessment so we can have data to guide our instruction. The rubrics work if the student did writing, draws pictures or dictates their work to you. This was important for me because our students are all working at vairous levels and it’s important to meet them where they are!
With Read It Up you can choose to touch on multiple skills or you can choose to focus on 1 skill and do a deep dive into that skill. Each activity can also be easily differentiated to meet the needs of all students! Read It Up also works for small group instruction!
Read It Up: Grammar
Our Read It Up! resources also contain a grammar lesson. The grammar skill is closely related to the story and allows for whole group, explicit instruction of the skill and independent practice. We might do nouns, singular/plural words, prepostions, etc.
Read It Up: Graphing
Each Read It Up resource contains a graping activity to accompnay the story. Not only are we working on math skills (counting, graphing, analyzing data, etc) but we’re also building in language development. When studetns place their choice or vote on the graph, they have to share their vote and give reasons or details. This helps with higer order thinking skills and persusive writing. This sharing is done in turn and talk but can also be done whole group!
Read It Up: STEM
We also try to incorporate some science and STEM activities into our Read It Up. Why? Because I am a HUGE believer in integrating lessons and standards across all subjects. It just makes sense and makes our job a bit easier and helps students with critical thinking, problem solving and higher order thinking skills! Students can complete their STEM challenges alone or with a partner. They talk, they discuss, and strategize. They solve problems and buidl language! Then they write and draw about their challenge.
Here is a suggested Scope & Sequence-based upon when we use the texts in my classroom. Please note, we add new Read It Up! creations to the collection frequently so this might not be an exhaustive list of all the available creations within the collection at any given time.
AND CHECK THIS OUT! ALL OF OUR READ IT UP CREATIONS ARE ALWAYS BUY 1, GET 1 50% OFF! And you can get as many as you want!
USE CODE BOGO50 at CHECKOUT! VALID ONLY AT THE TKS STORE! CLICK THE IMAGE! AND REMEMBER TO ENTER THE CODE AT CHECKOUT!
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