We are lucky enough to have a third grade class come down once a week and read to us. Now because the teacher of this third grade class, I’ll call her Mrs. F., is one of the most amazing, creative, powerful teachers I’ve ever observed, known, and worked with (she’s beautiful too!), last week, she sent Mrs. D. and I an email. Would we like her to work with her class on doing some comprehension, letter and/or word work with our class? Would we? Um, heck yes!
With a little work, we created some simple materials using the charts and lists we’ve been using from The Three Habits of Highly Successful Reading Teachers. We met briefly with Mrs. F. and explained what we’ve been doing and she did the rest.
She made each of her students a folder to keep the materials in and then worked with them to find leveled books that would have lots of the words on our list. She then had her class use highlighting tape to highlight all, yes ALL, of the words on our sight word list so they could have our sprouts identify and read them in the books. Really? THIS is what collaborative learning communities should look like.
After their arrival, I began to circulate and listen in on the reading buddy action. It never ceases to amaze me how a kindergartner will respond to the one on one attention from an older peer. It also never ceases to blow my mind how a third grader will step up to the plate and take a kindergartner under their not fully developed wings. They don’t rise to the occasion, they surpass it.
When I came upon one pair of boys working together, I stood in front of them and watched.
“Do you know that word?” The third grader asked his buddy as he pointed to the word ‘come’ in the book… he had highlighted it with yellow tape before arriving.
My little guy looked at his list and then up at me.
“Go ahead, read your list and see if you find the word,” I prodded.
This is how we’ve done it so far. The children learn to read the list from the top and the repetitive reading as they look at the words help them learn the ‘chant’ first and then eventually be able to read them.
He started at the top and came to the word ‘come’ in the list.
“There it is! Come!” He shouted.
It’s never quiet when our third grade buddies come and that’s just fine. Learning isn't always calm or quiet.
“Look, here it is,” his buddy redirected him to the word ‘come’ in the book.
That little boy looked up at me like he had just discovered how the greatest magic trick in the world was pulled off. These words we’re learning… they’re in books! This was exciting, electrifying stuff.
As I continued to circulate around the room, I saw the same discovery taking place with other groups.
We’ve begun talking about Thanksgiving and what being thankful means. I am truly SO thankful for Mrs. F. and her class too. They are going to help our sprouts become stronger readers… and sooner than I ever would have expected too! I can’t wait to see how these amazing children help us grow and expand our learning all year long.
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