Reading… Real Quick!

Hello friends! 
     I’m going to post quickly tonight because I’m working on some fun new products. As I was working, I wandered into Common Core Territory.  I feel like I really know my grade one standards, but I still think for most of us, it’s hard to understand just exactly how much of what we used to do in literacy instruction is still relevant, and what new things we need to do.  I know we’ve all heard lots about “text complexity” and as a first grade teacher with beginning readers, I think that “complex” word seems a little scary.  Besides,I know that during Shared Reading my kiddos are all reading the same book and that book will be a bit complex for some, or maybe most of them. But during Guided Reading, the books are a bit difficult, but I provide lots of support. So I decided to see what Timothy Shanahan, one of the contributors to the common core had to say.  And this was his response to K-1 complexity only.  Sorry second grade teachers, your response is a bit different.  
At kindergarten and grade 1, my advice is that you should not ramp up text difficulty on the reading end. I am a big believer in reading complex texts to kids (books that they definitely cannot read themselves), but with regard to beginning reading you want a mix of texts that expose kids to a high concentration of very high frequency words and that have a large percentage of words that can be decoded with relatively simple phonics (such as one-to-one correspondences of letters to sounds, and preferably non-conditional matches of letters to sounds). By the time students can handle high first grade level texts, then you can start to move them up in difficulty. Initially, keep your emphasis on mastering the decoding system. If you ramp up the text difficulty too early, I fear that you will slow that process down. – Tim Shanahan
Hear my sigh of relief!
      The other big term in reading in the Common Core is “Close Reading.” They don’t actually use those words in our standards, but we know from the standards that students really need understand a lot more about the text.   Do you know all about “close reading”? If you don’t, I’ll summarize it.   Basically “close reading” is figuring out text or a purposeful rereading of the text.  Digging deeper than just the surface. Not just knowing the plot and story elements, but understanding much more.  Students should be rereading after being given text dependent questions that require your students to go back and look into the text. These questions won’t have easy to find answers. These questions are to get students to think about the authors purpose, the way the book is structured and vocabulary.
Here is a link to Shanahan’s blog if you would like to read more.
Okay….now on a lighter note, it’s Day 9!
Yes…we are on Day 9 of the Christmas in July sale.
Today I am putting my Back To School Basics center kit on sale.
These are a set of 10 math and literacy centers.
Tomorrow I will not be posting on this blog. I have to go snuggle a new baby and I really need to get stuff ready for the new school year. So please go LIKE me on Facebook, so you can see what Day 10’s sale items will be.
Also, please comment below and let me know what products you would like to see me put on sale.
Have a happy new week friends!
Michelle Oakes

Michelle Oakes

Wife, mom of 2 boys and a bulldog, reading specialist, Target frequenting lover of fashion, home decorating, Cincinnati girl.

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