Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Integrating Reading and Writing Instruction: Why Is It Important?

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Feb 19, 2015 8:00:00 AM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Dr. Geraldine Haggard who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

INTEGRATING READING AND WRITING INSTRUCTION

The idea of integrating the processes of reading and writing is not a new one. Marie Clay’s research preceding the Reading Recovery guidelines proved that the best teachers with the most successful students used the processes concurrently. Smith of Canada called the idea Readers and Writers Club. Barbara Watson of New Zealand stated that the linking of reading and writing improved both processes.

I spent two weeks in New Zealand visiting schools in Auckland in 1987. I saw children of all ages writing books and original compositions. They read books that they had written and used their word knowledge as they read and wrote. I would like to share my research findings, personal observations of teachers who are successful, what I found to be true in my work as a Reading Recovery teacher, and what I discovered as I tutored children in the primary grades after my retirement.

These are the reasons that I feel the integration of the two processes is of extreme importance:

  • child_writing_ED4A1110_Aga_JonesAs I trained to become a Reading Recovery teacher and studied Clay's guidelines for the Reading Recovery program, I saw for the first time that each of the two processes grew more quickly when both were a part of the child's instruction. As the children's writing skills improved, their reading skills improved.
  • Children’s writing samples reveal their strengths and weaknesses. These samples reveal the child's ability to combine ideas and letter knowledge. As I gather information to guide me in my tutoring, I use a writing sample and also ask the child to write words that he can. These samples help me determine his phonemic awareness, his phonetic skills, and his writing vocabulary, and a knowledge of which letters the child can write correctly. I now have a snapshot of the child's ability to put his thoughts on paper.
  • I can also use these samples to determine if he is transferring the skills demonstrated in his writing into his reading. Is the child reading words that he can write? Is he using his phonemic and phonetic skills as he meets unknown words?
  • child_reading_library_83204233_Dmitriy_ShironosovAs you study sentence length in the child's writing, you will find that it is very similar to the sentence length that the child can read. As the ability to write sentences grows, you will see the content of the leveled books that the child can read will become more sophisticated.
  • The time that is spent in the content areas can provide vocabulary development and the use of these new words in the child's writing. This transfers to the child's reading. Doing this also provides the teacher with the opportunity to spend time in content areas without neglecting the instruction time for reading and writing.
  • Using both processes within a common content area provides opportunities for the children to grow in their talking and listening skills. This is especially important for children who are learning the English language. Growth in the talking and listening areas of language arts facilitates growth in reading and writing. Comprehension improves. Reading aloud to the children can provide vocabulary that moves into the reading and writing areas.
  • Research shows us that 90% of young children who are entering the school believe that they can write. Only 15% believe that they can read. The act of writing allows these children in the 90% population a chance to demonstrate what they can do.
  • The child who reads what he writes will have practice in both skills. Multiple uses of a new vocabulary word help the child master the word in reading, writing, and oral language.
  • Writing is based on the scientific principles of hypothesis, experimenting, multi-trials, and drawing conclusions. The child who is using his syntax, phonetic, and meaning skills to compose his thoughts into writing is developing his independent language arts skills. Correctness in the early stages is not as important as the child's interaction with his reading and writing.
  • Research shows us that the better readers and writers better comprehend content areas as they enter intermediate and secondary grades. In these grades, the emphasis moves from learning to read to reading to learn.

One first grade teacher kept dated writing samples for each student. The two would revisit the last sample and compare it to the new sample. They talked about what the child had learned since the previous sample. All of the samples were shared at open house. The children took the parents through the samples and talked about what they had learned. The parents saw the growth in writing and reading, and so did the students!

Check back soon for my next guest blog post, which will contain ideas for integrating the two processes.

~~~

Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection Series. For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection Series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below.  

New Call-to-Action

 

  

   

 

Read More

Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Geraldine Haggard

Strategies vs. Skills: Helping Struggling Readers

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Jan 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Dr. Geraldine Haggard who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

This blog post is an observation and analysis from Geraldine, conducted on a second grade student who is a struggling reader. 

Helping a Young Reader Move From Use of a Skill to Use of a Strategy 

(Based on a child with strong language skills)

In An Observation Survey for Reading Recovery teachers, Marie Clay cites her belief that readers develop strategies to cope with problems they meet as they read. She also felt that the text used with a child should be close to the natural language of the child.

Observation From Observing a Child With Strong Oral Language  Skills, But Who Is Not Using This Strength As A Strategy For Unlocking Unknown Words

Recently I began working with a second grader who is not successful in his classroom. I wondered “Why?”, so I did some screening and here are the results I found:

  • His running record indicates that overall he was reading at a second grade semester one level. This running record gave him a percentage of accuracy in word attack of 94%.  Four of the miscues were not meaningful. These key mistakes prevented his retelling of the story and answering some questions from the informal inventory selection I used. His errors included "little" instead of "lettuce", "men" instead of "mind", "there" instead of "early", and "garden" instead of "ground". "Lettuce" ended up being a key word to understanding the selection. He had no self-corrections.
  • The Gentry Spelling Tests indicated that he had a spelling level of 75% of second grade words. He wrote correct spellings of some words that he did not read or write in holistic reading and writing samples. Some of the words that he wrote in spelling activities were unknown as he read.
  • As I shared a large picture of people arriving at school, he quickly used complete sentences, including compound sentences and was able to tell me what he saw happening. Adjectives and adverbs were included. Several inferences were made without my prompting. His responses were shared quickly. Verbs were correctly used. Prefixes and suffixes were also correctly used in his oral responses.
  • His writing sample had one run-on sentence that should have been four sentences. There was a lack of correctly used capital letters. His words included confusions in the use of letters that he had previously named and used in spelling words on the spelling test.

I observed the following needs of this reader:

  • He was not using his strong language skills to predict and unlock unknown words. He approached the unknown words as words in isolation.
  • Visual skills did not reveal the use of word patterns or word parts. His oral language was so fluent that there was no integration of cues.  There were no self-corrections.
  • Comprehension rate was poor because key words needed to understanding the passage were not self -corrected. He did not seem to understand that meaning was not present.
  • Fluency disappeared when he did not use meaning and labored with unknown words.

Possible Ways to Accelerate the Growth of This Student:

His ability to cross-check for meaning and syntax as he attempts to read unknown words is a priority. This can be modeled by the teacher. It is not the time to teach isolated skills, but the time to use skills he has and help him make those language skills strategies. He needs to use his language skills to help determine meaning and understand that that the goal of reading is information. Helping this child read for a precise message is my goal. My reader has a bias for print detail. I can ask him to read with his finger or to confirm a prediction by attending to the initial and final sounds in words. The use of an analogy with a word that he can write and read can be prompted. He can then decide if his choice brings meaning to the text. Accelerated growth can be the result of teacher modeling and use of skills already observed in his performance in writing and reading.

Skill or Strategy?

P. David Pearson in Chapter 10, page 210 of What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction suggests the following four steps in helping a child move from the use of a skill to the use of a strategy:

  • Teacher Modeling
  • Guided Practice by Child
  • Shared Responsibility (teacher and child)
  • Primarily Student Use of Skill 

My goal with the child that I have described for you is to guide his strong oral language as he predicts unknown words and is checking for correct meaning and syntax. This is not a strategy until he is using the skill.  Pearson's steps can help me as I observe his use of strong language skills as he reads and writes.

All readers and writers can grow in vocabulary as the teacher uses an integrated approach to multiple exposure in reading and writing in content areas. Children may first meet these new words as the teacher reads to the class. As students hear a new word, read the word in a holistic setting, and write the word several times, until they grow in the use of new vocabulary. My books are examples of science and social studies texts that can be used in guided reading and independent reading. The teacher can then expect to see growth in the student's growth in the content area and writing. The books are: Seeds, Four Seasons, Helpers, and What Is A Friend.

~~~

Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection Series. For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection Series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below.  

New Call-to-Action

 

  

   

 

Read More

Topics: Kaleidoscope Collection, Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Geraldine Haggard

Tutoring Older Students: 12 Tips for Success

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Feb 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM

haggardThis is part two of a three-part series on tutoring by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of our Kaleidoscope Series books Helpers, Four Seasons, Seeds, and What Is a Friend? To see her other posts, click here!

12 Tips for Tutoring Older Students

1) Use independent level reading material to help student focus on the comprehension strategy.

2) Always include vocabulary modeling and released responsibility activity (context clues, base/root word, affixes, multi-meaning word, figurative language, etc.). Use a dictionary and/or thesaurus when needed. Teach the student how to use these tools.

3) Before reading nonfiction, ask the child to share what he knows about the topic. Remind him that he may have to use some of that knowledge to understand the text and make inferences.

4) Begin the session's reading by asking the child to read the first and last paragraphs, scan the sub-headings, and study any graphics. The child can then predict what he or she will probably learn from the story or nonfiction selection. This will help the student monitor his or her reading.

5) Include some oral and some silent reading. This will help you define any special needs of the student—fluency, rate, structural analysis, syntax, etc.

6) Emphasize only one or two comprehension strategies per session. Modeling by you and then released responsibility to the student are keys to success. You talk through the strategy, telling the child how to use the strategy. The child then uses what you modeled as he or she reads further.

7) Include fiction and nonfiction. Poetry and plays can also be included. The last two genres are now part of many states' testing programs.

8) Use subtopics to model and help student search for answers and work with sequence, details, and main idea.

9) Rereading parts of the text to check comprehension and/or look for special information is important. Help the student see when this is important and how to scan.

10) As you conclude the session, select one strategy that you modeled and then use it to guide the student later in the session. Ask the student to put into his or her own words how the strategy was used.

11) Gradually increase the reading level of the passages as the student demonstrates an ability to successfully use the strategies of comprehension.

12) Massive amounts of private reading by the child at the independent level are still needed. This time spent with reading can increase the rate and fluency of the student's reading. Both are essential to success as a successful reader.

~~~

Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

~~~

To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard, click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website, or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.

New Call-to-Action

Read More

Topics: Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, Tutoring, Geraldine Haggard

Tutoring Young Readers

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Jan 20, 2014 8:00:00 AM

haggardThis is part two of a three-part series on tutoring by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of our Kaleidoscope Series books Helpers, Four Seasons, Seeds, and What Is a Friend? To see her other posts, click here!

Tutoring Young Readers

SELECTING WHAT TO READ

The first selection should be something the child has already read with some success. There should be no more than five errors out of a hundred words for this reading. This can help motivate the child and let you see how the child approaches the task. The new reading comes last. Study the book being considered, and ask yourself the following questions:

* What is the readability level of the book?

* Is there a core of sight words in the book that the child has read in other books and recognizes?

* Are there words with phonetic patterns that the child knows from other book?

* Does the book provide opportunities for the child to practice a needed phonetic pattern?

* Are there opportunities to practice, on his level, phonetic patterns used in previous books?

* What verb forms are used in the book? Be sure you introduce the book using the verb tense from the book.

* Determine the readability level of the book.

* Study the language of the book. Are there words you feel the child is not able to use in his expressive language? (Nonsense words, etc.)

child adult school Monkey Business Images 200INTRODUCING A NEW BOOK

Suggest that the child look through the book and ask questions. Invite him to predict what may happen. Plant new vocabulary word in his mind and ask him to find and frame the word. Use correct tense of verbs in book.

HINTS FOR LISTENING TO THE READING

Always wait before giving the child an unknown word. The child needs to accept the responsibility for a new word. The following questions may help:

* What do you know about that word?

* What is the beginning sound? Move your finger across the word and give it a try.

* Use the beginning sound and try something. Did what you tried make sense?

* Can you cover part of the word that you recognize? (Saying that word part may help the child read the word.)

Make a note of words that you give the child or that are read unsuccessfully; these are possible teaching points.

WHAT IF READING IS UNSUCCESSFUL?

Ask the child to read with you, or to follow as you read. The book is probably at the wrong level. Use the book again later, but do not use as a familiar book for rereading. If reading is word by word, read a page showing the child how to read with expression. Ask the child to read the page in that way.

If there are characters who speak, you can read the story as a play and work on fluency and expression. If the child has trouble reading a word that he has read in another book, use the other book to point to that word and then ask him to read the phrase or sentence containing the word.

WAYS TO USE THE CHILD'S ORAL READING TO HELP CHILD AS HE OR SHE READS

You can read a page or paragraph and he or she reads the rest. Whoever reads answers a question asked by the one being tutored. Use the pictures to give clues about what the story will be about. Encourage the child to start a sentence again and try an unknown word using meaning, what sounds right, and what looks right. Work with fluency by modeling fluency and read a story as a play.

HINTS FOR WRITING SESSION

Ask the child to write a sentence/sentences about something the child would like to write about. Ask the child to orally rehearse one sentence at a time. If a child writes about a story he or she read, show him or her how to use the book to check spellings. Ask the child to read what he or she wrote. Invite child to share what he or she feels is not correct.

Use a practice page to practice letter formations, sound boxes, and sight words. Date each writing sample and study the samples to look for growth and special needs. Use special writing techniques such as language experience and shared writing. Using two colors of pens can show the child the difference between what the child wrote and what the tutor wrote.

Asking the child what he or she learned during a session can help you and the child evaluate a session.

~~~

Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

~~~

To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard, click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website, or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.

New Call-to-Action


Read More

Topics: Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, Tutoring, Geraldine Haggard

Keys To Successful Tutoring

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Dec 9, 2013 8:00:00 AM

haggardThis is Part One of a three-part series on tutoring by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of our Kaleidoscope Series books Helpers, Four Seasons, Seeds, and What Is a Friend? Check back soon for the later posts in the series!

Keys To Successful Tutoring

A good tutor has the following characteristics:

* a positive attitude
* a desire to help others
* empathy
* patience and gentleness
* an open mind
* enthusiasm
* the ability to recognize and solve problems
* willingness to talk less than the tutee
* the ability to communicate with the student
* reliability (time, study, preparing)

tutorEach tutoring session should build on the previous one. The purpose of tutoring is to help the student help him- or herself. A student being tutored reaps many benefits:

* improved performance and personal growth
* improved attitude toward the subject matter
* improved questioning and thinking strategies
* improved self-respect, esteem and self-directed learning
* opportunities for intensive practice of skills


Tutoring is a two-way learning experience. To prepare for the first tutoring session with a student, you should do these things:

* learn about the student (home, school contacts)
* prepare a basket or tote tray of materials
* collect record keeping materials, writing materials, plastic letters, etc.
* study the list of essential elements for the child's previous grade level
* collect a group of books on at least three levels

It is important to practice careful record-keeping of your tutoring sessions. Here are some examples of the kinds of data you may need to record:

* dates and lists of books read previously and teaching follow-ups
* dated writing samples from sessions and reactions of you and student
* running records
* examples of child's successes and demonstrated needs
* notes of what to revisit in next session

Writing is an important part of the tutoring process. Including writing allows the student to practice reading and spelling high-frequency words. It also helps the student learn syntax and the flow of language, and aids in understanding that words the child writes can be read. You can use writing exercises to show how the text can be used to check spelling of a word, and to give your students practice using complete sentences and mechanics of writing. Writing can be used to demonstrate the understanding of a comprehension strategy (replacing black-line sheets). You can use graphic organizers to support comprehension strategies.

~~~

Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

~~~

To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard, click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website, or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.

New Call-to-Action

Read More

Topics: Struggling Students, Struggling Readers, Striving Readers, Tutoring, Geraldine Haggard

Improving Letter and Sound Skills in Struggling Students

Posted by Greg Smedley on Sep 20, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Greg SmedleyToday, we bring you another guest blog post from Greg Smedley. For more from Greg, be sure to check out his blog!

Hi! It’s Mr. Greg from Smedley’s Smorgasbord of Kindergarten!

Today I want to share a little about how I’m using the Letter Buddies books to help my struggling students improve their letter and beginning sound skills!

These books feature one letter per book with pictures of objects that begin with that letter sound. On the front cover is a tactile letter that students can trace. This is something that I appreciate about these books! I have two students who are struggling to learn their letters, so this tactile experience is key to their success!

I call my student back to my table, and we use the Letter Buddies book for the sound that we are working on for that week. For example, this week is “T-riffic T Week,” so we pull out the T book.

The first thing we do is trace the letter and name the letter. We do this two or three times before we move on to reading.

letter buddies over

After we trace the letters, we review the letter sound. We say the sound and make the motion for the sound.

Then we open our book and begin reading. Each page features a picture of an object and the word. I love that these objects are easily recognizable by my students, and not only are we learning to read, but we’re building vocabulary.

letter buddies vocabulary

The student points to the word and uses the picture to help. We read the word (name the object) and then say the sound of the word. We do this for each page.

At the end of the book is a page with pictures of each object from the book and a picture that doesn’t belong. I do two things with this page: I ask them to point to specific objects and tell me the sound, and I ask them to find the picture that doesn’t make the sound we’re learning.

IMG 9170 250IMG 9178 250

This routine takes about five minutes per child. I am working with two students, so I can do this in about ten minutes. I have been so impressed with how much this has helped them. Prior to starting this routine, they were struggling to learn any sounds. Now these students have a firm grasp on the sounds that we have used the Letter Buddies books to practice with!

~~~

My name is Greg Smedley-Warren and yes, I am a bit of a rockstar! I am a male kindergarten teacher! It’s true! We are a rare species, but we do exist! I have been teaching for eight years and I have taught 5th grade, 2nd grade and kindergarten. My heart is Kindergarten! I believe that every student can succeed and that it’s my job to give them the tools they need. My classroom is full of energy and fun. We are always singing, dancing, moving, and learning. If you were to appear at my classroom door you would see chaos. But it’s really organized chaos. I am famous for my love of all things glitter, all things mustaches, and silly hats! I also write a teaching blog, Smedley’s Smorgasbord of Kindergarten, which is a peek into my silly and chaotic life as a teacher!

I live in Nashville, TN (Music City USA) with my husband and our Golden Doodle, Butters!

~~~

For more information on the Letter Buddies Letter Books, click the image below to download an information sheet.

New Call-to-Action

Read More

Topics: K-2 Literacy, Letter Buddies, Greg Smedley, Struggling Students

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all

Follow Me