Friday, August 7, 2015

Concepts of Print

Are you back to school yet?  The schools in my area returned last week.  As you get settled into your routine and start shifting into the academics, prepare for the painful reminder that most of your kids have no idea how to read -- like no clue at all where to even begin!  Remember those kids you waved off in May or June -- those BIG kid READERS AND WRITERS?  Well, you gotta start somewhere.  

So today I'm going to share a couple ideas for going back to the basics with Print Concepts! 

When your sweet little kinders happily prance into the classroom on Day 1, half of them won't know how to handle a book, let alone read one.  It is my suggestion that, after some assessment to see where they are in the process, you do majority of your Print Concepts teaching and learning in small groups so you can truly focus in on individuals and you're teaching what THEY need to know -- not more, not less. 

I like to use posters and lots of modeling to teach the concepts. Posters are a great way to introduce an idea because of the visual component.  Then, they are always accessible and visible for kids to refer back to as needed.  

Concepts of Print is a pretty big undertaking -- so I like to break it down into three main focuses 

*Parts of a Book/Book Handling
*Reading Behaviors (Tracking Print, Return Sweep, Pictures Vs. Print)
and *Conventions of Text (Capital letters, Punctuation, Word/Sentence Study)

Teaching the Parts of a book obviously requires a lot of modeling and a lot of repetition.  I suggest getting their hands on real books as well as taking this time to introduce small paper books, like the ones you might have them reading each day in Guided Reading.  Confession: I LOVE take-home emergent readers.  LOVE LOVE PUFFY HEART LOVE. 

I don't have a picture of what I actually use, so you will have to settle for the digital version.  I use a pre-labeled teacher modeling book and an emergent reader as well as some cute little prompt cards.  The card might say "Show me the front cover of your book" and students would point to the front cover.  The next prompt card might say "Highlight the page numbers in your book" and they can DO THAT in these little paper readers -- because they are THEIRS! Then they can take them HOME and tell their grandma all about it! ;) 

When teaching Reading Behaviors you really learn where your kiddos are as readers.  Some of them will know where to start reading, and some of them won't even know that we read words!  Here are a few activities I love for teaching students to track print one-to-one and to practice that good old return sweep

I also like to give students a variety of maniuplatives to use when tracking print.  Fingers are great (hey, they always have them!) but sometimes you have to up the ante to up the engagement and motivation! 

Love these little Magic Wands (10 for $3 at Target in the Party Favors Section!)

When it comes to teaching Conventions of Print, I really like to hone in on the difference between letters, words, and sentences.  Students need to know that letters are the building blocks of words and that words are the building blocks of sentences! 

We do a lot of highlighting, underlining, and counting in our Emergent Readers (again, they're paper, and they belong to the kids so they are free to mark them up!) 

One tool I LOVE to use to teach Reading Behaviors AND Conventions of Print is the Morning Message. 

1. You can model Concepts of Print while you read it aloud. 
2. You can manipulate it as you go. 
3. Students can share the pen to show their understanding. 

We mark ours all up!  I start out by reading the message aloud, using a pointer or my finger to point to each word as I read it.  I read it aloud by myself once, I invite the kids to read it with me (still tracking print) the second time, then we dive into it!  We circle capital letters in one color and punctuation end marks in another.  We use a dot under each word to count them.  We underline each sentence to count them. We pull out a focus word and count the letters and recognize the first and last letters.  It's the PERFECT tool for pulling everything together! I like to do Morning Message whole group as it is something that we can truly complete TOGETHER. 

And of course, after teaching a lesson, modeling the skill, and working together with the kids on it, I like to release them to work on it independently.  Sometimes this just means sending them off to "read" in their book baskets, sometimes it means completing a printable and sometimes it means working on the same activities we did together during their station time. 

I absolutely LOVE teaching Kindergarten students to read.  If you're like me, then your favorite part of Kindergarten is looking at those sweet babes at the end of the year knowing EXACTLY where they started.  They make such a huge transformation over the course of the year.  They leave as readers and they start RIGHT HERE! 

All the activities and printables you saw in this post are available in my TPT store.  Just click them image below to check it out! Happy Reading!