©2020 E. R. Smith
I am always surprised by parents who ask, “do you teach reading?” I teach UPK, my little friends are three and a half to four years when we meet each September. I explain, we will read everyday. We will rap out the alphabet sounds. I will scribe children’s impressions of all units and projects. I will encourage speaking in full sentences. I will model writing sentences. Every chart will be built with student input. I smile and continue. Please help me by subscribing to Scholastic’s My Big World; this is great non fictional age appropriate text. I watch disappointed faces walk away every fall. Never fails.
Then here comes winter. I hear, “oh my God he/she is reading!” He/She blew my family away at Thanksgiving by describing the different flags of his/her classmates. He/She read My Big World by him/her self! “My goodness I can’t believe how much English he/she as learned and with such confidence,” gush my parents from Sweden, France, Burma, Santo Domingo, China. My son made me buy a pomegranate, he said we have to do a taste test because he loves them.
Of course I have met children each year who can read. They are rare. Most start to crack the code of reading at four and are successful readers by seven. Each student ebbs and flows individually when it comes to reading. I will never give direct instruction on reading to a youngster. I will color, draw, surf the web for pictures I can’t draw, sing, and rap routinely. Learning should be fun for all ages; but most especially for pre k kids. Every week we celebrate two letters by building a chart. I sound out Rr for example and ask what begins with Rr? Students who master sound recognition quickly generate words. I write the words as part of a full sentence. Then I draw a picture if I can. Talking out loud like Bob Ross, “well here’s a triangle that’s the top of my rocket. Now I’ll draw a cylinder for the bottom part.” My guys love this. Most importantly they emulate this practice at the art station and in the block area. As a review I may have a child sit with me to find all of the Rr’s on the chart and highlight them. All in fun, I suggest, “find all of the Rr’s playing hide and seek in a sentence.” These are some of my reading lessons. Early learning should be engaging. Charts should be hung for student level review. Often my guys will circle a chart like a water cooler, reading. “Hussam said, robot.” and “this is my sentence see I said, ready.” Ms. Elizabeth made a sit ready kid. These gems I add to my observations so I can see who is seeking out literacy.
So parents, yes I do teach reading and more routinely everyday.