Teaching Kindergarteners to Read
This is the beginning of a series of reading lessons and reading strategies for Kindergarten teachers to use when teaching their students to read.
I remember my first days of teaching Kindergarten, vividly. Coming from a strong experience teaching PreKindergarten, I knew that I had an understanding about teaching phonics and letter sounds, but questioned in my mind, how I would teach Kindergarteners to actually pick up a book and read independently. I was fortunate to be in a strong reading and writing school that utilized the Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Project, which I have expressed in a teacher's reflection about the curriculum.
I have learned through my experience, it is possible to teach all of the components of reading instruction in small blocks of time throughout the day and the week. It is best to create small increments of reading instruction with time for independent reading and writing. Teach phonics, concepts of print, words, vocabulary, and give students much time for independent practice for a successful reading and writing program. Shared reading, interactive writing, guided reading, making books, teaching words, and using rhyming are some of the components to include when teaching reading. I have included several of these strategies through the lessons in this series.
I have also learned that modeling is the key. Having an author's chair where students can go to read a book, written by themselves or another author, is most important in a Kindergarten classroom. It allows students to practice what you have taught them to do and to speak. Students should be able to speak throughout the day, which is against the way most teachers went through school. Students learn through interactions and their thoughts become validated when they have the opportunity to express themselves. The most important thing to learn about teaching literacy, is that reading, writing and speaking are inseparable.
Read Across the Curriculum
Another important aspect of teaching reading and writing, is to teach it across the curriculum, which I will outline below.
Blocks- have students read books about building and write a sentence to share about what they did today in the block center.
Art- students can write and share (speak) about their picture to a partner. Allow students to look at books by famous artists.
Math- there are many math books to read, even at the Kindergarten level. Include math read alouds. Students can record information through pictures, labeling or sentences. Students should learn mathematical sentences and equations. Students can write about a math experience. Teach math vocabulary and include it in teacher created games and on the word wall.
Science- students can journal about their science experiments through pictures or labeling. Students can learn to read and write recipes. Again, include non-fiction reading and read alouds.
Social Studies- students can write letters, learn about families, create books about themselves and their heritage.
Music- students can write poems and turn them into a song. Allow students to read words to a song that you sing in class every day. This is a great way to include shared reading into each day.
Dramatic Play- students can read and act out the story. Use puppets and allow students to recreate a story to share with the class.
Computer- reinforces any curriculum area in reading and writing.