Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Engaging Readers with Literary Mirrors

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 20, 2017 3:02:00 PM

“How can we engage children with books?” Teachers, literacy specialists, and publishers face this big question every day. Even if we teach young children about phonics and sight words, they will not successfully become independent readers unless they think that books are interesting.

One obstacle to reader engagement is that very few children’s books feature meaningful characters with minority identities. Classic children’s books feature white children living with two parents in a financially stable home. However, many children today do not fit this lifestyle, and they have trouble becoming invested in characters that seem so different to them. The library becomes an unwelcoming place that doesn’t accept minority identities—as a result, the children lose their interest in reading.

Rudine Sims Bishop describes this situation as a lack of literary “mirrors,” where readers can see their own lives and experiences reflected in the text. A mirror encourages self-affirmation and helps readers make connections between the book and their own lives. Thus, it’s essential that every child have access to mirrors in the books that they read.
 
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Hameray is committed to featuring diverse characters and stories in our products. The Kaleidoscope Collection features authors of "diverse geographic and teaching backgrounds, [allowing] every student an opportunity to find the right books that best suit them":

  • Narratives such as Tortilla Sundays and The Hospital Can Be Fun feature stories about children with different cultures and abilities.
  • My Big Sister, The Tarp Monster, and The Friendship Shell feature protagonists of color.
  • Children of ethnic minorities will even find mirrors in nonfiction informational texts such as Here I Am! and Hot and Cold.
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This blog only mentions a few of the many Hameray titles that will engage any child. All readers should have the right to be engaged with literary mirrors!

 

 

Bishop, Rudine Sims. “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Originally published in Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, v. 6, no. 3. 1990.

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For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection, click the image below.

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Topics: Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Diversity, Reading, Mirrors

Teachers Read, Too!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 23, 2017 2:49:00 PM

 As a teacher, you are responsible for developing students' literacy skills and ensuring that they accomplish Common Core ELA standards. But does your job as a literacy teacher end there? Of course not!

As a teacher, you should also convince your students about the joy and value of reading. Motivated readers become successful readers, and a teacher's personal relationship to books can profoundly influence students' attitudes towards reading.

It is essential that students perceive you as a reader, too. Do you often use classroom silent reading time to take care of other teacher tasks? As much as it's tempting to grade papers or tidy your desk during quiet reading time, busying yourself with other errands implicitly tells your students that "reading is just for kids." If you also sit down and read with the students, you demonstrate that reading time is important for you, too.  

Treat your books with respect. Are you guilty of using books for a doorstop or a writing surface? Do you flip its pages with chalky hands? Children are incredibly observant, and small actions like these can shape a child's perception of how valuable (or invaluable) books are. Make sure to treat all your books with the respect they deserve!

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Actively recommend books to your students. Allowing children the freedom to choose books boosts their enthusiasm, but that doesn't mean that youc an't make recommendations.

Try not to talk from a literacy teacher's perspective, like "You should try reading the Underwater Encounter series because it's just right for your reading level." Instead, make a recommendation as a fellow reader: "I just finished reading Scuba School and it reminded me of when you told me you wanted to visit Hawaii. Do you want to borrow my copy of the book?"

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Personal recommendations convey that you value the student's identity as a reader. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to share their reactions with you—when chidlren know that they'll be able to share their thoughts about reading with someone else, they're much more likely to finish the book. Thus, recommendations tells students that a mutual love of reading can strengthen relationships with other people.

A teacher should model enthusiasm and dedication for reading. If stuents believe that you genuinely like to read (and you're not just teaching them because it's your job), they'll be much more likely to read with you!

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Click the left image below to visit the website for Underwater Encounters, which was mentioned in this blogpost. Click the right image to download a fact sheet about the series. 

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Topics: Underwater Encounters, teachers, Teaching Reading, Reading

Reading About Reading

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jan 12, 2017 3:23:00 PM

Your students are exposed to a multitude of texts every day—fairy tales, animal books, classroom signs, and more. Do your students ever read about reading? This “meta-reading” initially might not appear particularly helpful, but it can actually boost a reluctant reader’s confidence. When they read aloud, “I can read,” the textual content reinforces their accomplishment of reading that sentence. Sharing the following two books with a reluctant reader can also help you, as an educator, to identify ways to boost your student’s motivation.

The My World series focuses on providing emerging readers with real-world knowledge. Part of the Having Fun Theme, Reading is Fun explores the exciting world of reading.

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Leveled at Guided Reading Level E, the book repeats two sentence structures: “Reading is fun” and “You can read ___.” The word “books” is also repeated seven times throughout the text. With this structured style, your student will gain confidence to read on his or her own.

After reading:

  • What is your favorite book? Use Reading is Fun as a guide to identify if the book is a story, a fact book, a cookbook, a scary book, an exciting book, a funny book, or a songbook. Can it be more than one of these things?

Where Can I Read? from the Kaleidoscope Collection also offers an opportunity for students to read about reading. Leveled at Guided Reading Level D, the text also utilizes a repetitive sentence structure.

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After reading:

  • Why can’t we read in the shower? You can use this opportunity to conduct a science experiment examining which objects are resistant to water. Are plastics, crayons, and cotton balls resistant to water? Have them record their observations in a journal.
  • Ask the student where they enjoy reading the most. What do you like about that place? Is it cozy or quiet? Listen closely to the student’s answer so you can replicate this ideal reading environment in the classroom. For example, if your student likes reading at home because she can lie down on the couch, add some pillows to a corner of the classroom where she can read comfortably. A change in environment can greatly boost the motivation to read!

Reading about reading is beneficial for both the student and the teacher. Add a “meta-reading” title to your classroom library today!

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Click the images below to learn more about My World and the Kaleidoscope Collection, which include the books featured in this post.

My World Series Info Sheet  Kaleidoscope Collection Info Sheet

 

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Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, My World, Struggling Readers, Reluctant Readers, Reading

3 Wishy-Washy Lessons with Joy Cowley Early Birds—with FREE Download

Posted by Cindy Price on Jun 28, 2016 2:34:34 PM

Today's guest blogger is Cindy Price, who is currently teaching first grade after 20 years in kindergarten. If you like what you see here, be sure to check back frequently for more posts, and take a look at her blog, Mrs. Price's Kindergators!

I am excited to share with you some of the ways I used these awesome Mrs. Wishy-Washy books in my classroom. My kiddos and I love Mrs. Wishy-Washy and they were so happy to be able to read more books about her.

The books we read were Wishy-Washy Sleep, Wishy-Washy Card and Wishy-Washy Road.

As usual, we began by learning the vocabulary. Each book had some awesome words to teach my kids! I love having them try to come up with synonyms for the different vocabulary words. The one they had fun with was "roared." This word was found in Wishy-Washy Road! The words they came up with surprised me.

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We made inferences about the stories. They looked at the cover and told me what they thought would happen. The text was perfect for my small group and my low readers. All of my kids gravitate towards these books. They love the characters and their adventures.

The one thing I love about these books is the fact that they increase my kids' self esteem and they become more confident in their reading. This is because these books have text that is easy for them to read as well as characters they love.

We can use these books for many Common Core Standards. We can use them for point of view, opinion writing, compare and contrast stories, text to self connections, listening and speaking standards, as well as reading fluency and writing activities.

Wishy-Washy Sleep was a book that my students related to. They discussed how they are similar to the animals in the book. They made a personal connection with the characters. Once they did this, we described and wrote about sleep.

Here are some of the things my kids did:

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We used this graphic organizer to write down our thoughts about sleep and then to create the book pictured here as well! They then shared their books with the class. This worked on their listening and speaking standards as well.

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The next book, Wishy-Washy Road, was one of their favorites! They discussed the safety rules and how we should never go in the road. I asked them what they thought should happen to the animals for not being obedient and for going into the road. They made many personal connections and shared with us what their parents would do if they were playing in the road.

And of course we read an emergent reader that I wrote about Wishy-Washy Road.

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The last book I got to discuss was Wishy-Washy CardThis book is great to use during the month of February because the animals are making their valentines. So I made Mrs. Wishy-Washy Valentines for the kids to color and share with their friends. I also created a letter for the kids to send to someone who they would like to be their Valentine!

These books were awesome! There are so many things that we can teach our students using Mrs. Wishy-Washy books.  Group discussion, increasing self confidence in reading, causing kids to smile as well as foster a love for reading are just a few things these books accomplish. If I could, I would read Mrs. Wishy-Washy everyday!

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I am now a first-grade teacher, so that makes me a first-grade teacher for one year and a kindergarten teacher for twenty years. Every day is a new and exciting learning experience for both myself and my students. I believe that kindergarten should be a fun yet educational experience where the students are immersed in poetry, children's literature, music, kinesthetic and hands-on activities, as well as hugs and love!

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To download the activity packet, or an information sheet with key features about the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, which contains the book mentioned in this post, click the images below.

New Call-to-Action Early Birds Wishy-Washy Mini Unit

 

 

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Teaching Writing, Writing Activity, Teaching Reading, Reading

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