Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's our first full week - and we are off to a great start! 
Students have been busy practicing important reading routines and learning new ones including:

a) how to choose a "just right" book
    Every child has different interests and different reading abilities.  It is important that
    each student is able to choose a book that is "just right" for them.  If a book is "just
    right," your child should:
         * find it interesting
         * be able to read almost all the words independently
             ~ Ask your child to explain the 5-Finger rule to you! 
         * be able to read the book aloud with few or no "bumps"
              (it should be smooth/fluent)
         * understand the story
         * be able to explain/retell the story to someone else

b) how to read independently
    Students in our classroom created "rules" for Silent Reading and they are as follows:
        * be quiet/no talking
        * no walking around
        * READ! (don't be distracted)

    Each student in our classroom has chosen a "book nook" and will go to that spot when
    reading independently. (Ask your child where his/her nook is!)
    As a class, we are working to build up our reading endurance.  In the beginning of the
    year, students were able to read for 6 minutes and 42 seconds before someone spoke,
    stopped reading, or needed to get up/move around.  Last week, we were able to read
    for 7 minutes and 13 seconds.  Today, we read for 8 minutes and 34 seconds.  I am so
    proud of the progress we are making!!

c) the importance of "thinking about your thinking" as you read
    Good readers think while they are reading and it is important that students learn how
    to think when they are reading.  We have been talking about some of the different    
    kinds of thinking that students should do as they read - and I hope that you also
    encourage your child to:
          * Make Predictions
              Predictions are guesses about what is going to happen next.  When students
              make predictions, it shows that they are thinking about the story.  After making
              a prediction, students should read to find out if they were correct!
          * Ask Questions
               Asking questions about what is happening in the story is an important reading
               strategy.  Helpful starters include:
                       " I wonder why..."
                       " How come..."
                       " Why/how did..."
          * Make Connections
               Making connections is usually an easy and fun strategy for second graders. 
               They enjoy comparing their own experiences to what they read, telling how
               they are the same and how they are different.  Two types of connections
               students might make are:  
                    * text-to-self connections:  students make a connection between what they
                      read and something in their own life (e.g. a similar situaton, event,
                      experience, etc.)
                   * text-to-text connections: students make a connection between what they
                     are reading now and something they have read or heard before
          * Notice the Author's Language
              This is one of the trickiest reading strategies for students.  You can help your
              child notice the author's language by asking them to look for patterns (repeating
              lines/phrases, rhyming, etc.) or asking them if certain phrases help them get a
              picture in their mind (visualizing). 

Please encourage and support your child as he/she reads at home!  I can already tell that we have some great readers in our class!  Keep up the good work! :)

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