Making use of the Resources in the Megabook of Fluency and the books and songs of Eric Litwin (Part three)
Doctor Sam Bommarito
For the past two weeks I’ve been talking about the work I’m doing with an after-school group. The group meets for an hour each Tuesday. It is voluntary. We call it the Reading Club. My partner in the endeavor is the building learning specialist. In addition to the 20 club members, who are 1st and 2nd grade students, there are also 6-7 upper grade students who come in to help with centers, paired reading et. al. For my part of the program I am using ideas drawn from the Megabook of Fluency and selected materials for Eric Litwin. Last week I focused on my use of ideas from Megabook of Fluency. This week I’m going to talk about how I am using/will use resources from Eric Litwin and from selected web-based site to help implement that program. I’m also going to talk a little about the way I teach word strategies.
The after-school program is meant to be a supplement to the building program, not a stand- alone program. I’m trying to motivate the students to want to read, to read with prosody and to use word strategies based on both analytic and synthetic phonics.
For the kids I talk about two different ways to figure out words. One is to “sound them out” (traditional synthetic phonics). The other is to “say the first sound and think of the clues” (my adaption of analytic phonics). I tell them to use the one that works best for you first. I also tell them if one way doesn’t work, try the other. I want to point out to any readers who might be nervous about my promoting “word guessing”, that in fact what I’m promoting is “educated word guessing” based on crosschecking. Marie Clay talks about “crosschecking”, i.e. using more than one of the cueing systems concurrently. That means making sure that the “guesses” make use the visual clue (first sound) and work with the meaning clue (picture or how the story is going). So if the child was guessing the word “sun” for something they see in the sky, but the text actually says star I WOULD NOT accept sun. I would prompt near point of error by saying that “ ’sun’ is a very smart guess, but does sun start with the ‘st’ sound and look at that picture. What other word would work here that starts with the ‘st’ sound and goes with the picture? (The picture, of course, is a picture of a star).
As I’ve already mentioned I picked Eric and his books for our groups first favorite author because his work incredibly motivating and it promotes the use of crosschecking as I’ve just described it. They are predictable and engaging. They often include real life lessons or teach relevant literacy lessons in an entertaining way. Kids REALLY want to read his books. I told my kiddos that I learned that it pays to find a favorite new author from time to time. It pays to learn all about them and to read lots of their books. I told them that for our first favorite author, the after-school group would be explore books by Eric Litwin. I also told them if they wanted to find their own new favorite author for the year I would help with that. They know that later in the year we will all talk about our other favorite authors and pick a new author for the group to focus on after Christmas.
Eric has turned out to be a very good choice for a first author. Several of the students raised their hand when I asked if they have heard of the book Pete the Cat Book- I Love My White Shoes. I then told them that Eric had written a new book, called If You’re Groovy and You Know It Hug a Friend (https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/books/if-you-re-groovy-and-you-know-it-hug-a-friend-by-eric-litwin/)
I read/sang some of the book to them. Rather than go straight to the full book, I then used the session to practice the song “If your Happy and You Know It”. That fit in exactly with learning to read/sing a new piece and then practice it for future performance.
Here’s how I expect this to play out over the next few weeks. Eric’s site is a treasure trove of songs and videos (see for yourself https://www.ericlitwin.com/). It includes free downloads of songs and lively video renditions based on his books. For instance, the Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes has a free download of the song. So does his new book. I’ll be encouraging parents to let their children visit the site and listen to the songs. I’ll also encourage them to use these books as night-time read alouds, and even let the children join in the reading. Parents are welcome to buy them if they want, but they are also readily available at the public library. Because we meet only once a week, the VOLUNTARY performance songs/poems practice during the week (recommended by Rasinski) will be done once a month rather than weekly. I’m also trying to get permission to use one of the several programs that allow students to share videos with parents and students within the class (and only within the class). In that way their “performance” is something they can share with the whole group. There are also other things going on within reading club, especially as it relates to direct instruction in phonics & other reading skills, that I will discuss at a future date. This includes sharing how to “talk big about little books” .
Now I want to take a moment to talk about an important UPCOMING EVENT here in the Midwest. The Early Childhood Conference, which is usually held at Lake of the Ozarks each year is being held at Harris Stowe University in St. Louis. MARY HOWARD will be one of the keynotes. Bill and I will be leading a panel discussion at one of the sessions. If you are in the Midwest Region please have a look at the website.
Happy Reading and Writing
Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, big fan of Eric Litwin)
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PLEASE USE THE LINK BELOW THE PICTURE TO GO TO CONFERENCE SITE
Copyright 2018 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization
Thanks for continuing to publicize the conference, Sam. When you do so, please make “Missouri Early Learning Conference” a live link to the website so people can check it out with just a click. Thanks again. Willy Wood President, Open Mind Technologies and Educational Solutions International 573-356-1572 https://www.willywoodteaching.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/willy-wood-81523620/
Hi Sam. Thank you for this wonderful article. I am driving back from Ithaca NY after four shows today. And a week on the road. Loved the blog post. I will make comments and share early tomorrow. Thanks, Eric
Sent from my iPhone
Have a safe trip! Kids just LOVE you stuff and the wonderful thing is you build in authentic life lessons, so they are both entertaining and informative.
Hi Sam. Thanks for this wonderful blog. I think there is an important and misunderstood stage between shared reading and conventional reading. And, in this stage children use a great deal of prediction. Prediction is facilitated by writing techniques such as rhyme, rhythm, call and response, repetition, patterns, and picture cues. Repetition in particular results in children remembering parts of the book. All these elements combined with the child’s current level of word recognition and decoding create success. The children read successfully. They learn to love books. They read more and consequently become better readers. And, they move forward with conventional reading with more confidence, word recognition, print awareness, fluency, and a love for books and reading. Please do a follow-up on this blog and let us know how everything went. Thanks, Eric Litwin
Thanks Eric for your comment and for following this blog. Of course, I do plan to do a follow up. I want to let enough time pass to see “what takes” both in terms of students getting involved in the regular practice and in parents getting involved in reading aloud with their children. I want to alert readers that in just a couple of more weeks the next issue of Missouri Reader is coming out and your interview for that will be included. When that “goes live” I’ll alert readers that it happened. I can’t agree with you more that predictable text is one of the things that benefit early readers It is important that as children begin to “remember parts of the books” the also learn to notice words, and which word is which. Learning to match is so important!!!!. So is reading text that they find fun and enjoyable, and my hat is off to you because you are a MASTER at creating such texts!!! Happy Reading and Writing Sam