Monday, 12 January 2015

Learning to Read Through Play!

In order for children to become fluent readers they must "develop the ability to recognize automatically the words most commonly used in print (A Guide to Effective Instruction in Reading, Kindergarten to Grade 3, 2003, pg. 9.17)." High-frequency words are words that are abstract and have no concrete meaning. They are typically harder for young children to remember, but they are essential to forming proper sentences. It is important that students be exposed to high-frequency words through various activities including poems, songs, and word games. With the proper exposure and practice with these words, students eventually recognize them instantly when reading independently (A Guide to Effective Instruction in Reading, Kindergarten to Grade 3, 2003).

In our classroom, we teach high-frequency words in a variety of ways, to those students who are ready, based on their learning behaviours, strengths, and needs. We use play as a vehicle for learning and we embed opportunities for students to practice their high-frequency words at various areas of the classroom through play. In addition to our shared reading lessons, mini guided reading lessons, and whole group read-alouds, the following are some examples of ways we teach high-frequency words through play.

Our Interactive Word Wall to help build automatic word recognition and support written language.

What words can you make?
Provocation to inspire students to make words using wooden and transparent letters on the light table.

Say the word as you build a structure with transparent cups on the light table.

Writing sight words in kinetic sand using sticks.

An effective literacy environment is one that is planned, purposeful and engaging for students. Making use of the whole classroom to foster literacy skills, ensures that our youngest learners are being supported and are able to develop the skills needed to become fluent readers. 

"The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read."