While the summer is flying by, we have finally begun to establish daily routines and learning opportunities that we create for our Wade Readers each day in our classrooms. To understand a bit more about what goes on each day in our Hartman Center classrooms, I have included a description of a typical day and schedule during the “Live the Dream” program.
In the mornings, the students arrive at 9:00, usually beginning their day with morning work, which consists of re-reading previous texts, new texts, or writing. While the other students complete their morning work, one student in the classroom each day will read a story or passage while I take a Running Record, which records their accuracy and comprehension given a specific text. This helps evaluate students’ progress, and allows us as Wade Coaches to see where each student may need more individual support or challenge.
Following the morning work, we take a class bathroom break, then officially beginning our morning of learning. Each classroom’s schedule varies depending on the Wade Readers’ age and needs as well as on the day. With my students, we are focusing on specifically building sight-word recognition to aid fluency and comprehension of texts. Therefore, we work with Core and Key words, which are both instructional tools to help build these areas.
We clap, tap, snap, dance, shake and write the spellings of these Core words, which is always fun for my incoming third graders. Their favorite “move” is to disco the Core word as they spell it. For Key words, we work with letter tiles, using a spelling pattern to help decode new words by blending and segmenting. Key words, as my students have learned, “unlock” new words, just like a key unlocks a door.
After word work, we read a guided reading text based on my students’ reading levels. Usually, our reading has a comprehension strategy to work with as well, such as sequencing, which we have worked with recently. The readers need a lot of practice reading and re-reading texts, so we will read our story together, they will read with a partner, by themselves, or we will go to another classroom and they will read to a new partner there. I have found that for rising third graders, keeping a variety of instructional tools and strategies is always helpful, as it is necessary for their engagement in the lessons.
Towards the end of our two hours together, we will build fluency by writing a story as a class. The topic of our story depends on the guided reading text of the day, but the Wade Readers have the freedom to decide what happens in our story, although it usually ends in a silly way. We will once again read and re-read this story we have written, in different voices or taking turns reading different lines or parts.
If time allows, my students also enjoy “making words” using magnet letters and cookie sheets. During this time, I will give the Wade Readers a word or sound, and they need to use their given magnet letters to create the word I am reading to them. Although often a challenge, this benefits my students especially, since they need work with decoding words, and this specifically requires them to blend and segment the sounds they hear.
At the end of our morning together, we take one more class bathroom break, choose books from the Hartman Center library selection to take home to read, and walk as a class to the bus at dismissal at 11:00. Our days go quickly, and the Wade Readers are making great progress and growing in confidence as readers!
More updates on the next three weeks of the “Live the Dream” program to follow!