Saturday, May 8, 2010


Many times we just throw out a question after we read a book to children.

Adult:"What happened to her hat?"
Child: "ummmm, it flew away..."

This is great for early literacy... a starting block. Did you know that children need to be taught to ask questions, just as much as they should be answering our comprehension questions.

One thing that is very important for comprehension are the skills of generating questions. Students should be creating questions in their mind, WHY? Because that is what GOOD readers do... while they are reading they create questions in their mind to keep interested and in order to retain the information.

We need to foster the skill of questioning in children by teaching them HOW to ask questions. For example: (while reading a book) I say: "That dog is scared! Can you think of a question you might have about this? Let me tell you my question... I wonder why the dog is scared? Can you think of a question?"

This process will be ongoing and will require a lot of modeling. But, with enough great modeling, they will become great question generators!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Turn off your voice and listen to theirs!

A great reminder for teachers and parents when helping your child with comprehension... turn off your voice and let the child do the thinking/talking. Too many times we answer questions we ask to children. They are smarter than we think and they need the opportunities to use their voice.

When your child says something, react to and answer questions... Try not to repeat what they say, it is counter productive.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hygiene lesson from a 6 year old

I am a pretty busy and tired person... I will be honest, I don't shower everyday. My hair is usually in a pony tail. My students always comment when I do take a shower and take the time to blow dry my hair. Apparently it is a big difference, because a Kindergartner said to me today, "Mrs. Valadez, you took a shower today!" Wow... that was an eye opener... do I really look THAT bad every other day??? I guess so!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Comprehension using Expository Texts

The fourth grade slump has been attributed to the lack of informational texts used in pre-school through 1st grade.
Research proves that informational texts are increasingly important in students comprehension abilities.
Informational texts are not as predictable in their story structure as a narrative text.
They give the reader 3 times the opportunities to use comprehension skills than narrative texts.
When reading a story as a read aloud, think about reading informational texts. Your students will no doubt benefit!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Free Header

A blog I follow is giving away FREE headers!! Yes, that's right! A free header!!
To get the free header you must

-Follow Army Wife Jesse Mac
-Be A Facebook Fan (and comment on the fan page)
-Follow Us On Twitter (and then tweet about the giveaway)
-Subscribe via email (look on the right side bar for this, just enter your email)
-Post About This On Your Blog
go here to find our more:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Manipulatives for reading?

I have determined that my little low achieving kindergartners will be lucky if they go to 1st grade knowing their letter names and sounds. I have tried EVERYTHING. Now there is only so much I can do in 15 minutes a day for my small group. But, here are some of my new things.

Play dough: make a letter with your play dough. (What letter says /s/? Show me with your play dough)
Stamps: Let the students explore with letter stamps.
Bingo: find the letter that says /b/ and put a marker there.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Giving enough think time.... using signals

In my small group, we read a decodable together after we review the phonics concept and blend the words. It is hard to give students enough think time during a read through together. I use a dog training clicker to time the think time. I tell the students to think... and when they hear the click they all read together. This way your strong reader in the group doesn't dominate and everyone gets a chance to blend it in their head before reading.
I feel weird using the dog clicker but it is the best thing I have found and it is really cheap at Petco.

Do you use something as a signal? I would love to hear other ideas.