Guest Post Series "The Professionals," Part 2

Hopefully you were able to read my friend Christine's guest post on the blog last week, which kicked off my new guest series dubbed "The Professionals." I'm introducing several of my friends who are all accomplished, creative professionals in their respective fields and have asked them to share advice, parenting tips, how they pursue their professional goals and more in each post. Christine, who is a talented and passionate teacher, is sharing the second half of her post on teaching children literacy. Read on!

6.) Vocabulary: Beginning readers must use the words they hear orally to make sense of the words they see in print. Vocabulary also refers to high frequency sight words, which are the most commonly used words that children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight so they can automatically recognize these words in print without having to use any strategies to decode.

· There are two parts to vocabulary: high frequency sight words (words that CANNOT be decoded), and vocabulary words.
· For sight words look up: http://www.wisd.org/users/0001/docs/GVC/WISD%20High%20Frequency%20Word%20Lists%20by%20Grade%20Level.pdf
· This is the list of all high frequency sight words kids should memorize broken down into grades. These are words that cannot be decoded and must simply be memorized.
· To help with memorization of sight words you can: begin by teaching the word to your child, put the words up on a wall so he/she sees them frequently, ask your child to find the word in newspapers, magazines, books, at the store. Play the memory game by putting the words on index cards. Make flash cards of the sight words and time your child to see how many he/she can recite in a minute. If your child can write, have he/she write the words on paper, chalkboards, or dry erase boards.
· For vocabulary words: read, read, read! The more your child hears words in a book, the more familiar he/she will become with vocabulary words.
· Speak to your child in complete sentences and using adult words.
· Give definitions of words your child is not familiar with
· Pick one new vocabulary word a week and study it all week long, put it up on a wall, have your child try and use it in a sentence, or identify when YOU use it in a sentence.

7.) Comprehension: Comprehension is the reason for reading. Good readers think actively as they read. They use their experiences and knowledge of the world, vocabulary, language structure, and reading strategies to make sense of the text.

· Comprehension is the most important part of literacy. A child can be an excellent, fluent reader, decode any word, or know an arsenal of vocabulary words. But if he/she cannot comprehend what they have read or written, the above skills are without value.
· For beginning readers, give your child a picture book and even if he/she can’t read, ask her to “tell you the story” using the pictures. Most children begin by looking at the pictures, flipping the pages and telling the story as they think it goes based on the pictures.
· The most basic steps of comprehension begin with conversation. Ask your child what happened in the book. What happened first, next, and last?
· Who are the characters in the story? Where there any villains? Where did the story take place? What happened?
· Use past experiences to connect the story to your child. Ex. Has this ever happened to you before? Did this remind you of a time when…? Where have you seen this animal before?
· Read a story to your child, then have him/her draw a picture of what happened in the book.
· Ask your child to predict what could happen next in a story. Before turning the page, talk about what they think will happen next. Ex. What do you think will happen next? Can you make a prediction?
· Encourage further comprehension skills by teaching inference. The most basic way is by using the pictures to decipher what has happened in the story, even when the text does not say. Ex. A picture of a boy with tears on his face but the text does not say he is sad or crying. Ask your child: how does the boy feel? (sad, upset, crying). How do you know he is sad? (because he has tears on his face, because he is crying, he looks sad).
· For older students, have them make a comparison and contrast chart (Venn diagram) on two characters in the book, or two different settings, or compare and contrast two different books.

8.) Spelling: the understanding that words are made up of separate speech sounds (phonemes) and that letters represent those sounds.

· Spelling is a combination of writing, phonemic awareness, phonics, and memorization.
· To reinforce spelling, all of the above literacy characteristics must be practiced regularly.
· Play the memory game with spelling words, have your child practice writing out words and use flashcards
· Remind your child to sound out words that can be decoded and memorize sight words.
· Have your child “write” the spelling words in the air with their fingers.

9.) Writing: writing is a complex task that balances purpose, audience, ideas and organization with the mechanics of writing (sentence structure, word choice, spelling).

· The only way to become a good writer is to write constantly. This begins as young as children can begin holding crayons, markers or pencils.
· Writing can be drawing a picture that a child then orally tells a story for.
· At the beginning stages, drawing pictures is a child’s form of writing and their way of communicating stories. Even if the pictures look like scribbles, if a child can orally tell a story and describe what they drew a picture of, this is considered writing (think back to the early days when humans drew pictures on cave walls)
· Have your child practice writing his/her name
· Tracing letters, writing sight words, vocabulary words, or creating sentences with magnetic words
· Use shaving cream or sand and have your child practice writing his/her name, letters, or sight words in the shaving cream and sand
· As they get older and can begin writing sentences, have your child write a daily journal of what they did that day.
· Make them write the grocery list for you, or cards to grandparents and siblings. 

Each child develops differently and as a parent we must evaluate what our child’s strengths and weaknesses and work on what we think they need the most or believe is the most important. Teaching literacy to children can become a part of your everyday routine if you choose to incorporate it into your daily activities. Simply by instilling a love of books and writing to your children will help them realize that reading and writing are fun and hopefully they will carry those beliefs into their years of schooling.


Thank you so much, Christine, for sharing such great information! And hopefully you, the reader, have been able to glean a fresh perspective or some helpful ideas and tips for your own kiddos! I know as mine begin to recognize more and more letters and express a desire to learn how to write or constantly ask what words say that they spot everywhere, I'll be implementing as much of this as possible. Literacy is as literacy does. ;)
post signature

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for two very interesting and informative articles,from your friend Christine.
    I am looking forward to reading more articles in you new series "The Professionals"
    Thanks for sharing :)


I love to hear from any readers out there, just keep it clean and friendly!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...