Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

[New Post] Using Mrs. Wishy-Washy Books to do a Character Analysis—with FREE Download!

Posted by Paula Dugger on Feb 19, 2016 10:42:33 AM

describe the imageThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator.

 Mrs. Wishy-Washy has been a favorite of my mine as well as my students' for over twenty years. Joy Cowley has delighted young readers with simple text and fun stories through her endearing characters.

I created an activity that allows beginning readers to journal Mrs. Wishy-Washy through 21 books found in the Joy Cowley Early Birds Collection and Joy Cowley Collection. Not only do readers document their reading but they also analyze the main character beginning with level 3 titles and progressing to level 16.

Because this activity may take months to complete, I usually have students put their 2 sheets in a folder so that they can decorate the front with Mrs. Wishy-Washy and some of her friends. It also makes it easy for me to store them and pull for small group direct instruction. As the readers become more proficient and move to higher levels, the activity can be completed independently.

I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as mine do.

 

Mrs_Wishy-Washy_Journal.jpg

 

~~~

To download Paula's activity, or information sheets with key features about Joy Cowley's two series Joy Cowley Early Birds and the Joy Cowley Collection, which contain the books mentioned in this post, click the images below.

 

 Mrs. Wishy-Washy Journal Activity    New Call-to-Action   New Call-to-Action

 

 

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Reading Activities, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog, Independent Reading

[New Post] The Importance of Reading 20 Minutes Per Day

Posted by Paula Dugger on Dec 22, 2015 3:30:00 PM

describe the imageThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. 

Why Reading Everyday Is Critical to Long Term Success

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” — Walt Disney

Reading daily at home, as well as for long stretches at school, is critical to a child’s long-term success in school and in life. It is important to remember that books should be selected by the child and should not be too difficult to read. (For more information on the components of independent reading, see my recent blog, “5 Tips for Independent Reading in Your Classroom,” posted November 19, 2015.)

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.” — Marilyn Jager Adams

Parents are a child’s first teacher, and by the time the child turns one year of age they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak the language spoken in the home. But they have to hear that language! The more stories they hear read aloud, the more words they will be exposed to, and the better they will be able to talk.

Hearing words help to build a rich network of words in a baby’s brain. Kids whose parents frequently talk/read to them know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. And kids who are read to during their early years are likely to learn to read at the right time.” (Kidshealth.org, May 2013)

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” — Margaret Fuller

“There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.” — Mary Ellen Chase

Investing as little as 20 minutes a day can be the difference in a lifetime of success or failure for a child. The table below representing Nagy and Herman’s (1987) research clearly emphasized the importance of reading at least 20 minutes per day.        

Screen_Shot_2015-12-22_at_4.39.56_PM.png

 

“A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.” — Lyndon Baines Johnson

“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” — Mortimer Adler

Did you know?

  • Many states project how many prison beds it will need by determining the number of students reading below level in 4th grade.
  • 60% of America’s prison inmates are illiterate.
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have reading problems
  • Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3–4 times more likely to drop out of school. (US Department of Education)

“Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility.” — Bill Clinton

“Too many of our children cannot read. Reading is the building block, and it must be the foundation for education reform.” — George W. Bush

 

Twenty minutes a day reading aloud to young children or listening to the child read is the key to academic success. Reading twenty minutes a day is a small investment of time that will create a life-long learner.

Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” — Mary Schmich

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC.

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents Carter and Blake. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

~~~

For more information on the Kaleidoscope Collection, in which Paula's book can be found, click here to visit our website or click the image to the left below to download an information sheet highlighting key features. To download the free log, click the image to the right.

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Topics: Paula Dugger, Guest Blog, Daily Reading

[New Post] 5 Tips for Independent Reading in Your Classroom—with FREE Download!

Posted by Paula Dugger on Nov 19, 2015 4:58:14 PM

describe the imageThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. 

While independent reading may seem like an easy skill, it is often very challenging for a beginning or struggling reader. Because of its strong correlation to academic success, most elementary schools have some type of independent reading time within the instructional day.

The many benefits of independent reading include fluency practice, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and oral language development. In addition, reading opens up an endless bank of knowledge for students who read more. However, teachers need to utilize this time to monitor and record important information regarding the students’ reading behaviors that can lead to better instruction. 

“Independent reading” can be defined as any reading a reader does on his/her own by self-selecting a text which is of interest to the reader that can be read with little or no help at a high degree of accuracy. Some teachers mistakenly believe that this is a time when a reader reads alone silently without help in order to “read” or “practice” a teacher-selected text and not necessarily a text that can be read at an “independent” level of accuracy nor of interest to the reader.


So how do we teach and insure our students are reading independently every day?
I have personally used the following strategy, as well as trained teachers to use it daily in their classrooms. While this might seem only appropriate at the elementary level, it is also vitally important all the way through high school.

Independent_Reading_Data_Form_PDF-300-1.jpg1. Begin by scheduling a time for independent reading. You might want to start out with 5 minutes and progress in increments of 3- 5 minutes until you have reached a desired time of 20 minutes or more.

2. In order to monitor each reader, I have created a form (shown to the right) with the names of all my students so that I can record information on as many of them as possible each day. You can download this form at the bottom of this page.

3. I almost always have time to listen to each student read several pages since these texts are supposed to be at the easy or independent level.

4. I can ask comprehension questions if I feel a need to and/or can record information that might help me with each individual reader.

5. Have all students read aloud at the same time during the allotted time, while the teacher moves around the room listening in on readers. This gives the teacher not only the opportunity to hear every student read, but to also do any explicit teaching and modeling needed on components such as how fluent and phrased reading should sound.

It is often the teacher who is at first most resistant to having everyone read out loud, thinking that the students will not be able to focus on their own reading. However, if everyone is reading out loud, the teacher will know if the students are actually reading. Silent reading can easily be “faked.” If I want my students to read more, I need to hear them. In this day and age, very few students have the luxury of reading in a quiet place, especially when at home or in a public place. So, it is ok for classrooms to be filled with readers engaged in oral reading!

Once the students begin reading, I can visually see and hear everyone reading. This allows me to move around monitoring with confidence that everyone is engaged in learning. A bonus comes in knowing that I have listened to most, if not all, of my students read orally each day.

Try these tips and be amazed at how confident your students will become in reading!

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC.

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents Carter and Blake. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

~~~

For more information on the Kaleidoscope Collection, in which Paula's book can be found, click here to visit our website or click the image to the left below to download an information sheet highlighting key features. To download the free log, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action Class Independent Reading Log CTA

 

 

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Topics: Paula Dugger, Guest Blog, Independent Reading

The Power of the Cut-Up Sentence

Posted by Paula Dugger on Feb 10, 2015 8:00:00 AM

describe the imageThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. Hameray is thrilled to be able to share with you Paula's classroom-tested ideas and experience in helping young learners achieve their early literacy goals.

As a Reading Recovery teacher, I was always amazed at the interest by regular classroom teachers concerning the cut-up sentence activity seen in a Reading Recovery lesson.  Whenever an opportunity permitted, classroom teachers would be invited to observe their Reading Recovery student(s) during a lesson.  After each lesson, I would ask the teachers if they noticed any behaviors the student was exhibiting in the lesson but not in their classroom.  I would also ask if there was anything in the lesson they would like more information on or like to incorporate within their class or small groups. 

Almost without exception, the cut-up sentence was always brought up. The sequencing of words to create a meaningful thought along with searching for visual information is powerful for such a simple activity.  I also used the cut-up to work on phrasing and fluency.  Many teachers found this to be a great way to explicitly teach phrasing and fluent reading.

 

So how does this activity work?

PaulaDugger1

During the writing portion of the Reading Recovery lesson, the child is asked to compose a story (one or two sentences).  The teacher will assist the child as needed.

PaulaDugger22

 The teacher then writes the sentence on a piece of tag board while child watches.

PaulaDugger3

Next, the teacher would cut the sentence up(usually word by word) while the child watches.

PaulaDugger4

After the teacher scrambles the words, the child reassembles the sentence.  

PaulaDugger5

The sentence is then placed in an envelope with the sentence written (by the teacher) on the outside.

PaulaDugger6

The student can then take the sentence home to reassemble the sentence for practice and to rewrite in order to accumulate more words into their writing vocabulary.  The envelope with the sentence written on the outside serves as a way for the child or parent to check after the sentence has been reassembled.

 The cut-up sentence allows the teacher an opportunity to teach and the child to practice:

  • one-to-one correspondence between the printed and spoken word
  • thinking about the sounds in words
  • sequencing words using structure so that they make a meaningful sentence
  • searching and checking for information by rereading
  • using capitalization, punctuation, and spacing
  • phrasing and fluent reading
  • physically manipulating words
  • self--correcting

 

As the child moves up into more complex reading levels, the sentences will also become more complex.   The teacher can also prompt the student to reassemble the sentence into phrases to explicitly teach how to read phrased and fluently.

In a small group setting the teacher and students can compose a sentence together.  Instead of sending the sentence home, the sentences be saved in a place for the group to use over and over by the students.

It is important that the teacher carefully model the assignment and guide the student.  Once the child has demonstrated an understanding of the task, putting the sentence back together can easily be an independent activity in the classroom as well as a shared activity with parents at home.

 

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC and can be contacted at np.dugger@att.net

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents Carter and Blake. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

 

For more blogs by Paula click HERE.

 

 

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Topics: Early Childhood, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog

Using Formulas To Give Powerful Book Introductions

Posted by Paula Dugger on Jan 22, 2015 8:00:00 AM

describe the imageThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. Hameray is thrilled to be able to share with you Paula's classroom-tested ideas and experience in helping young learners achieve their early literacy goals.

A well-planned book introduction that considers the strengths and weaknesses of the reader(s) will help ensure a good first reading of a new text by the reader(s). However, no one-book introduction “fits all” and the teacher should plan each introduction carefully to meet the needs of the reader(s).

 
I use the simple formula of M(eaning) S(tructure) V(isual) to help design a book introduction for each group of students or individual student I am working with.

Using meaning, structure and visual information in the introduction of an appropriately leveled and selected text will help ensure a good first reading by the child.

 

  • M-meaning (give an overview of the story). The reader needs to know what the story is about before reading. Adults only choose books after recommendations or reading a review of the book.
  • S-structure (review any difficult or predicted trouble spot with the student).  The beginning and emergent reader does not have command of all the various sentence structures in their oral language and will need help in developing various language structures. This element of the book introduction is also vital in helping second language learners.
  • V-visual (have the student locate 1 or 2 known or unknown words prior to reading) Helping a reader locate an unknown word throughout a new text as an anchor often helps in confidence building in tackling a new text.  The same is true when asking the reader to locate a new word based on visual information.

Below is a sample book introduction using Joy Cowley’s

Wishy-Washy Garden 

M

 

Dugger-11-300

 

 

“Today we are going to read Wishy-Washy Garden by Joy Cowley.  In this story, the animals want to help Mrs. Wishy-Washy, so they clean her garden.”

 

 S

 

Screen_Shot_2015-01-21_at_3.58.23_PM

 

 

Texts with patterned phrases can be addressed through structure.  To highlight or plant a specific phrase structure into the child’s mind, the teacher might say while pointing to the pictures, “Let’s look at the pictures to see who will help. The (cow) will help. The (pig) will help, etc.

 

 

S

 Screen_Shot_2015-01-21_at_3.58.39_PM

 

 


The predicable text pattern changes on the last page. The teacher might say, “Mrs. Wishy-Washy cried, ‘Where is my garden?’  Can you say ‘Where is my garden?’  Say it again like you think she would say that.”

V

Screen_Shot_2015-01-21_at_3.58.51_PM


 

 


To help students use visual information on a potential unknown word, the teacher could say, “On page 2 it says the cow ‘will help clean the garden’. What do you think clean would start with?  Can you find a word that starts with that letter (or letters) on this page and frame it so that I can see that you found it?”

“Now can you find the word clean on page 6?  On page 7? When you read the story you will now be able to read the word clean because it begins with the and makes sense in the story.”

 

 

 

After the book introduction using MSV have the reader(s) attempt a first reading on their own with the teacher silent. If needed the teacher can read with the students in a choral reading for a second reading.

 

Hameray books often have a brief introduction on the back of the book.

Screen_Shot_2015-01-21_at_4.10.38_PM

The inside back cover also contains ideas for before, during and after reading.

Screen_Shot_2015-01-21_at_4.11.21_PM

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC and can be contacted at np.dugger@att.net

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents to Carter. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

 

For more information on Joy Cowley Early Birds books cick the image below

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Early Childhood, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog

Using Magnetic Letters to Make Words, Part 2

Posted by Paula Dugger on Jul 25, 2013 8:00:00 AM

describe the imageThis is the tenth and last of a progressive series of posts that we will be featuring on the Hameray Blog every Thursday for 10 weeks (for the other posts, click here). It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. Hameray is thrilled to be able to share with you Paula's classroom-tested ideas and experience in helping young learners achieve their early literacy goals.

Magnetic Letters and Cognitive Development

Activities using magnetic letters can help in cognitive development both consciously and unconsciously in young children. The letters are colorful, three-dimensional, and they lend themselves to movement and touch. Letters are a part of the print we see around us in the world. Using soft foam letters (Hameray offers a great set of uppercase and lowercase foam letters), children can learn many skills:

                  -To categorize by sorting, matching, and classifying

                  -To differentiate colors, shapes, and letters

                  -The concept of letters by name, sight, shape, and sound

                  -The concept of words by sight or by putting together sounds to form words

As previously mentioned, my series of guest blogs is on specific activities that use magnetic letters to help with the cognitive development of preschoolers. No activity should exceed five to ten minutes depending upon the age, ability, and interest of the child. These activities should be seen as fun games, and each will be a little more rigorous than the one before. The blogs will be divided into four groups:

                  -Teaching colors

                  -Teaching similarities and differences (or comparing and contrasting)

                  -Teaching the alphabet (letter names)

                  -Word analysis (making words)

 

Using Magnetic Letters to Make Words

Once a child has become familiar with recognizing letters by name and even forming letters, it is time to introduce the concept of words. Putting together letters in a certain order will produce a word. Words are everywhere. The objective of this blog post and the previous one is to help the child learn familiar words such as their name by using magnetic letters. This activity will help the child to form words that s/he can easily read and write. Having a set of core words that s/he can read and write will help set the stage for success once formal schooling begins. Whenever introducing a task, make sure the child understands what s/he is to do. A great framework is listed below that demonstrates how to scaffold an activity by modeling and gradually releasing the activity to the child.   

I do, you watch     →

I do, you help   ↓

 

↑  You do, I watch

←You do, I help

 

Materials used in this Activity: Foam Magnetic Letters and Magnetic Whiteboard MagneticLetters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity #10: Unscrambling Letters to Make Words, Part 2

If the activities listed in last blog (Activity #9) were completed successfully, the activities that follow will help determine what the child can do independently. Please see the last blog for more information.

10 1

Start this activity by providing the child with letters or word s/he may know such as his/her name. Scramble the letters and ask the child to make specific word(s).

10 2

If the letters are to form Carter’s name, then say, “Can you unscramble the letters and make your name?”

describe the image 10 4

Continue with additional words, being careful in the beginning to provide only the letters needed to correctly spell the word.

10 5

The next step to make the activity a little more rigorous would be to provide letters that can be for two or three words. Then ask the child to find the letters to make a specific word. For example, place c, m, a, o, m, and t out.

10 6

Then ask, “Can you make the word mom?”

10 7 10 8

Next say, “Can you make the word at or cat?” and so on.

The most rigorous activity would be to use (for example) the same letters in the activity above, but say, “Can you find some letters to make a word you know?” Asking the child to generate a word from a group of letters is a very high-level cognitive activity.

Children love to learn, and learning can be made fun in many ways. I hope the ideas presented in these blog posts using magnetic letters—along with immersing your child in literacy by reading daily and presenting opportunities to write—will help set him or her child on a successful journey to learning.

This was the tenth and last activity in the series. If you'd like to see the earlier lessons, click here!

- Paula Dugger

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC and can be contacted at np.dugger@att.net

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents to Carter. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

If you'd like to order some magnetic foam letters to try out this activity for yourself, you can find them on the Hameray website. If you're teaching at this stage of literacy, you might also be interested in the Letter Buddies books. Click on the images below to see some key features of the series!

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Early Childhood, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog

Using Magnetic Letters to Make Words, Part 1

Posted by Paula Dugger on Jul 18, 2013 8:00:00 AM

describe the imageThis is the ninth of a progressive series of posts that we will be featuring on the Hameray Blog every Thursday for 10 weeks (for the other posts, click here). It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. Hameray is thrilled to be able to share with you Paula's classroom-tested ideas and experience in helping young learners achieve their early literacy goals.

Magnetic Letters and Cognitive Development

Activities using magnetic letters can help in cognitive development both consciously and unconsciously in young children. The letters are colorful, three-dimensional, and they lend themselves to movement and touch. Letters are a part of the print we see around us in the world. Using soft foam letters (Hameray offers a great set of uppercase and lowercase foam letters), children can learn many skills:

                  -To categorize by sorting, matching, and classifying

                  -To differentiate colors, shapes, and letters

                  -The concept of letters by name, sight, shape, and sound

                  -The concept of words by sight or by putting together sounds to form words

As previously mentioned, my series of guest blogs is on specific activities that use magnetic letters to help with the cognitive development of preschoolers. No activity should exceed five to ten minutes depending upon the age, ability, and interest of the child. These activities should be seen as fun games, and each will be a little more rigorous than the one before. The blogs will be divided into four groups:

                  -Teaching colors

                  -Teaching similarities and differences (or comparing and contrasting)

                  -Teaching the alphabet (letter names)

                  -Word analysis (making words)

 

Using Magnetic Letters to Make Words

Once a child has become familiar with recognizing letters by name and even forming letters, it is time to introduce the concept of words. Putting together letters in a certain order will produce a word. Words are everywhere. The objective of this blog post and the next one is to help the child learn familiar words such as their name by using magnetic letters. This activity will help the child to form words that s/he can easily read and write. Having a set of core words that s/he can read and write will help set the stage for success once formal schooling begins. Whenever introducing a task, make sure the child understands what s/he is to do. A great framework is listed below that demonstrates how to scaffold an activity by modeling and gradually releasing the activity to the child.   

I do, you watch     →

I do, you help   ↓

 

↑  You do, I watch

←You do, I help

 

 

Materials used in this Activity: Foam Magnetic Letters and Magnetic Whiteboard MagneticLetters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity #9: Unscrambling Letters to Make Words, Part 1

9 1 9 2

Begin this activity by either writing the child’s name (or targeted word) as a model or using magnetic letters as a model.

9 3 9 4

Then place in random order the letters of the child’s name and ask him/her to make his/her name just like shown in your model. Make sure to use the lowercase letters with only the uppercase to begin a name or proper noun. Using all upper case letters will create problems down the line, especially in school when the correct form will be required. It is better to learn correctly in the beginning, as it is not always easy to undo learning.

9 5

For Carter’s name, I would place each letter in random order and say while pointing to the model, “Here is your name, Carter.” Can you make your name with these letters just like I did?

9 6 9 7 9 8

If the child’s name has another word embedded in his name, I would use it as the next word, such as car and cart which appear in Carter’s name. I might say, “Carter, your name has the word car in it. See it here. Can you make the word car? Your name also has the word cart in it. Can you make the word like I have underlined?” Having a link from his/her name to other words will provide a fun opportunity to learn other words.

9 9 9 10

Of course, not all names have words embedded in them, so you might select new but familiar words like mom, dad, cat or any short word that will have some meaning to the child.

9 11 9 12

I would not attempt to teach more than one or two words at a time. When coming back to the activity after some time away, always start with the “known” words to see if the child truly has learned the words. Try having the child unscramble the letters without the model if you think the child can successfully complete the task without it. If assistance is needed, then provide the model.

Ultimately, the child should be able to unscramble the letters to form previously introduced words without assistance or a model. Letting the child have many opportunities to practice writing the words and locating words in print will also help in learning. The child should be able to form, read, and write the word to have it mastered. It often takes many opportunities and encounters with specific words for most children to learn words and to recognize, read, or write them automatically. Be patient and do not attempt to introduce too many words at once.

Listed below are some suggestions of high-frequency words that you might want to introduce once you exhaust familiar words such as the child’s first and last names, family names, and color and number words.

mom

dad

cat

dog

I

a

can

see

me

no

go

like

look

is

it

my

and

to

the

am

 

9 13 9 14 9 15

A fun independent activity is to provide letters for specific words and, using a model, form the words with the magnetic letters. A great source of words found in print with an accompanying picture can be found in the Hameray Letter Buddies series.

This was the ninth activity in the series. If you'd like to see the other lessons, click here!

- Paula Dugger

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC and can be contacted at np.dugger@att.net

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents to Carter. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

If you'd like to order some magnetic foam letters to try out this activity for yourself, you can find them on the Hameray website. If you're teaching at this stage of literacy, you might also be interested in the Letter Buddies books. Click on the images below to see some key features of the series!

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Early Childhood, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog

Teaching the Alphabet by Name, Part 2

Posted by Paula Dugger on Jul 11, 2013 8:00:00 AM

describe the imageThis is the eighth of a progressive series of posts that we will be featuring on the Hameray Blog every Thursday for 10 weeks (for the other posts, click here). It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. Hameray is thrilled to be able to share with you Paula's classroom-tested ideas and experience in helping young learners achieve their early literacy goals.

Magnetic Letters and Cognitive Development

Activities using magnetic letters can help in cognitive development both consciously and unconsciously in young children. The letters are colorful, three-dimensional, and they lend themselves to movement and touch. Letters are a part of the print we see around us in the world. Using soft foam letters (Hameray offers a great set of uppercase and lowercase foam letters), children can learn many skills:

                  -To categorize by sorting, matching, and classifying

                  -To differentiate colors, shapes, and letters

                  -The concept of letters by name, sight, shape, and sound

                  -The concept of words by sight or by putting together sounds to form words

As previously mentioned, my series of guest blogs is on specific activities that use magnetic letters to help with the cognitive development of preschoolers. No activity should exceed five to ten minutes depending upon the age, ability, and interest of the child. These activities should be seen as fun games, and each will be a little more rigorous than the one before. The blogs will be divided into four groups:

                  -Teaching colors

                  -Teaching similarities and differences (or comparing and contrasting)

                  -Teaching the alphabet (letter names)

                  -Word analysis (making words)

 

Teaching the Alphabet by Name

There are many ways in which a child will need to know and recognize the letters of the alphabet. Knowing the letters by name and being able to match the lower case with the upper case forms is the subject of this post and last week's. Whenever introducing a task, make sure the child understands what s/he is to do. A great framework is listed below that demonstrates how to scaffold an activity by modeling and gradually releasing the activity to the child. 

I do, you watch     →

I do, you help   ↓

 

↑  You do, I watch

←You do, I help

 

 

Materials used in this Activity: Foam Magnetic Letters and Magnetic Whiteboard MagneticLetters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity #8: Identifying and Naming Letters

Once the child can easily recognize most letters, there are several activities that will help reinforce that knowledge as well as let the parent/teacher in on any confusions or unknowns the child might have. Quick identification of each letter by name is the ultimate goal of this activity.

8 1

Place five to ten different letters out for the child to see. 

describe the image 8 3 8 4

Then say, “Find a t/T.  Find a b/B.  Find a y/Y” and so on until all have been identified.  If any are identified incorrectly, you can say “Good try, but that is a ____, etc.”  If any are unclaimed, you can ask, “Do you know that one’s name?” (to see if the child has confusions and might be calling it something else).

8 6

To encourage competition, you might tell the child that all the correct ones will be in his/her pile and all the incorrect will be in your pile. The one with the most letters wins. It can be fun to keep score, as long as you stack the letters in favor of the child. Children like to win, thus a game will be a fun activity as well as learning experience.

8 7 8 8

To increase the rigor on this activity, once the child is able to identify most of the letters, place several and ask the child to quickly touch and name the letters. Again, all that are correct can be given in points to the child and any incorrect answers given to you will signal which letters the child still needs assistance with.

8 11 8 13a

Once the letters can be identified by name, using caption-type alphabet books such as the Hameray Letter Buddies series will most likely help the child begin the journey into reading. Identifying each book by its letter name will reinforce the importance for learning letters that make up words that provide meaning in text.

This was the eighth activity in the series. If you'd like to see the other lessons, click here!

- Paula Dugger

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC and can be contacted at np.dugger@att.net

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents to Carter. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

If you'd like to order some magnetic foam letters to try out this activity for yourself, you can find them on the Hameray website. If you're teaching at this stage of literacy, you might also be interested in the Letter Buddies books. Click on the images below to see some key features of the series!

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Early Childhood, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog

Teaching the Alphabet by Name, Part 1

Posted by Paula Dugger on Jul 3, 2013 8:00:00 AM

describe the imageThis is the seventh of a progressive series of posts that we will be featuring on the Hameray Blog every Thursday for 10 weeks (for the other posts, click here). Today's post is on Wednesday due to tomorrow's holiday. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. Hameray is thrilled to be able to share with you Paula's classroom-tested ideas and experience in helping young learners achieve their early literacy goals.

Magnetic Letters and Cognitive Development

Activities using magnetic letters can help in cognitive development both consciously and unconsciously in young children. The letters are colorful, three-dimensional, and they lend themselves to movement and touch. Letters are a part of the print we see around us in the world. Using soft foam letters (Hameray offers a great set of uppercase and lowercase foam letters), children can learn many skills:

                  -To categorize by sorting, matching, and classifying

                  -To differentiate colors, shapes, and letters

                  -The concept of letters by name, sight, shape, and sound

                  -The concept of words by sight or by putting together sounds to form words

As previously mentioned, my series of guest blogs is on specific activities that use magnetic letters to help with the cognitive development of preschoolers. No activity should exceed five to ten minutes depending upon the age, ability, and interest of the child. These activities should be seen as fun games, and each will be a little more rigorous than the one before. The blogs will be divided into four groups:

                  -Teaching colors

                  -Teaching similarities and differences (or comparing and contrasting)

                  -Teaching the alphabet (letter names)

                  -Word analysis (making words)

 

Teaching the Alphabet by Name

There are many ways in which a child will need to know and recognize the letters of the alphabet. Knowing the letters by name and being able to match the lower case with the upper case forms is the subject of this post and next week's. Whenever introducing a task, make sure the child understands what s/he is to do. A great framework is listed below that demonstrates how to scaffold an activity by modeling and gradually releasing the activity to the child. 

I do, you watch     →

I do, you help   ↓

 

↑  You do, I watch

←You do, I help

 

 Materials used in this Activity: Foam Magnetic Letters and Magnetic WhiteboardMagneticLetters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity #7: Matching Upper- & Lowercase letters

I would recommend introducing only a few pairs of letters at one time so that the child won’t be overwhelmed. Which letters should you start with? I would suggest starting with the letters of the child’s name. Anytime an activity has meaning and a link to something of importance, the the chance of learning is greater. Every child should be able to recognize and write his or her name upon entering preschool. It is also best if taught properly with the capitalization of only the first letter. Learning to spell and identify the letters of his or her own name will give the child a feeling of great satisfaction and a desire to learn more. 

7 1

Depending on your child’s knowledge you may want to introduce only two letters the first day before adding an additional pair or pairs the next day. If choosing letters from a name or word, it might be helpful to write the word/name as a model for the child as shown in the first picture to use as a guide and reference.

7 2 7 3

Using the child’s name (Mary, in this example), place one pair of letters out at a time and say, “This is the letter a like in your name (Mary).  This (A) is also the letter A that we sometimes use. Can you say the name of these letters (a)?  Can you also find one of the as in your name?”

7 4 7 5

Next, place a second pair of letters on the board and say, “This is the letter M that starts your name. This is also the letter m.  Can you say the name of this letter (m)?  Can you show me one of the ms in your name?

7 6 7 7

Finally, you can scramble the two pairs and ask the child to match the pairs and to say the names of the letters. Do not proceed to a new pair until the child is able to match and name the ones already introduced.

7 87 97 10

Continue with this activity as often as possible until all pairs and letters are recognized and matched.

There are additional activities that can reinforce the learning of the letters, such as giving the child the opportunity to do these things:

- Form or write the letters as often as possible, with markers, crayons, chalk, paint, etc.  he    teacher/parent will need to make sure that all letters are formed correctly by modeling how     each letter is formed. The framework illustrated above may be helpful.

7 13

- See and identify new letters in text as often as possible. There are many alphabet books such as Hameray’s Letter Buddies series that introduce letters in individual books and provide          pictures and words beginning with a specific letter. Specific books such as Aa, Mm, Rr, and Yy    can help reinforce teaching the names of the letters in Mary’s name. They will also allow the child to see and recognize letters in words in print, while learning words that can be associated with a particular letter and beginning letter sound.

This was the seventh activity in the series. If you'd like to see the other lessons, click here!

- Paula Dugger

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC and can be contacted at np.dugger@att.net

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents to Carter. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

If you'd like to order some magnetic foam letters to try out this activity for yourself, you can find them on the Hameray website. If you're teaching at this stage of literacy, you might also be interested in the Letter Buddies books. Click on the images below to see some key features of the series!

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Early Childhood, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog

Teaching Similarities & Differences in Letter Shapes/Forms, Part 3

Posted by Paula Dugger on Jun 27, 2013 8:00:00 AM

describe the imageThis is the sixth of a progressive series of posts that we will be featuring on the Hameray Blog every Thursday for 10 weeks (for the other posts, click here). It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. Hameray is thrilled to be able to share with you Paula's classroom-tested ideas and experience in helping young learners achieve their early literacy goals.

Magnetic Letters and Cognitive Development

Activities using magnetic letters can help in cognitive development both consciously and unconsciously in young children. The letters are colorful, three-dimensional, and they lend themselves to movement and touch. Letters are a part of the print we see around us in the world. Using soft foam letters (Hameray offers a great set of uppercase and lowercase foam letters), children can learn many skills:

                  -To categorize by sorting, matching, and classifying

                  -To differentiate colors, shapes, and letters

                  -The concept of letters by name, sight, shape, and sound

                  -The concept of words by sight or by putting together sounds to form words

As previously mentioned, my series of guest blogs is on specific activities that use magnetic letters to help with the cognitive development of preschoolers. No activity should exceed five to ten minutes depending upon the age, ability, and interest of the child. These activities should be seen as fun games, and each will be a little more rigorous than the one before. The blogs will be divided into four groups:

                  -Teaching colors

                  -Teaching similarities and differences (or comparing and contrasting)

                  -Teaching the alphabet (letter names)

                  -Word analysis (making words)

Teaching Similarities & Differences in Letter Shapes/Forms

Colors are one of the first ways young children make distinctions between things in the world.  A natural progression from colors is shapes. Each letter is different, but many are similar.  Magnetic letters are a great tool for matching letters that are first alike, then similar, then different. This post and the following two will address these activities. Whenever introducing a task, make sure the child understands what s/he is to do.  A great framework is listed below that demonstrates how to scaffold an activity by modeling and gradually releasing the activity to the child.

 

I do, you watch     →

I do, you help   ↓

 

↑  You do, I watch

←You do, I help

 

 Materials used in this Activity: Lowercase Foam Magnetic Letters and Magnetic WhiteboardMagneticLetters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity #6: Locating Letters with Similar Features

This activity will begin helping the child to discriminate between the different features or shapes of letters.  While the child may not be ready to name or form the letters through writing, s/he will begin to discriminate and see that the shapes or forms of letters are different.  This activity is divided into several parts depending on the age and ability of the child.  The parent/teacher will need to make the decision on when to introduce each of these concepts based on the child's readiness.  Distinguishing between short/tall will be at a much lower level and easier than some of the other suggested activities.  These are being introduced all together to show a possible progression once the child is ready to move on.

Tall and Short Letters

6 1

Choose several letters that are short (such as a, c, o, s, w) and some letters that are tall (such as l, h, b, k). If possible draw a short rectangle and a tall rectangle as visual aid to sort and distinguish short and tall letters on a dry erase board.

6 2

Say to the child, “this is a short letter and I am going to place it in the short box. Can you help me find another short letter and put it into the short box?”

6 3 6 4

Continue asking until all are chosen or the child does not see any others.

6 5 6 6

Next explain that the other letters are tall and repeat the procedure just completed using tall   letters. If any remain ask which box the letter(s) would best fit-short or tall box.

6 7 6 10

If the task was easy, you can take the letters out of the boxes and scramble them up and ask the child to find a short, then a tall, then another tall or another short letter until all have been sorted.  If the original task needs more practice, wait and do this a later time.

In subsequent lessons, you can vary the activity and ask the child to:

6 11

- put the letters that are short all together and then the ones that are tall together.

- touch each letter and tell you if it is short or tall.

 

Round or Circle and Slanted Line Letters

Once the child can distinguish and recognize short and tall letters you can introduce round and slanted letters. Many of these appeared in the last activity as either short or tall, so you will first need to begin by showing examples of each and explaining or tracing with your finger on the letter to help with the new concept you want the child to attend to.

6 12

Place several letters that have a circle as part of its shape (such as a, b, e, c, o, d, g) and trace around the round or circle part of the letters with your finger.  Depending on the child’s understanding and knowledge, you can ask him/her to trace over these letters as well with their finger to help with the concept if needed.

6 13

Next introduce slanted letters and trace around parts of the letters that have slanted lines (such as z, v, w, y, x, k).  Again allow the child to do this as a way to help understand the difference between rounded letters and slanted letters.

6 14

Finally choose several examples of each of these two types of letters and ask the child to pick out all or one “circle” or “round” letter(s) depending on which term you wish to use.  Then follow with one or all “slanted” letter(s).

In subsequent lessons, you can vary the activity and ask the child to:

6 16

-put the letters that are round or have circles all together and then the ones that are slanted.

-touch each letter and tell you if it is round/circle or has slanted lines.

Other ideas are letters with tails (g, j, p, q, y) and letters with circles and lines (b, d, g, p, q), etc. These activities require the child to pay close attention to the visual features of letters which if not developed early may cause confusion later when having to discriminate words in text or trying to form letters in writing.

This was the sixth activity in the series. If you'd like to see the other lessons, click here!

- Paula Dugger

~~~

Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC and can be contacted at np.dugger@att.net

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents to Carter. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled Longhorns.

If you'd like to order some magnetic foam letters to try out this activity for yourself, you can find them on the Hameray website. If you're teaching at this stage of literacy, you might also be interested in the Letter Buddies books. Click on the images below to see some key features of the series!

New Call-to-Action New Call-to-Action

Read More

Topics: Letter Buddies, Early Childhood, Paula Dugger, Guest Blog

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