We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. -B.F. Skinner
“Seriously! Do I have to do ALL the work around here?” This is a quote from a child in my housekeeping center recently that made me laugh. She was definitely channeling another adult in her life…but it is a sentiment I’m sure we have all thought, expressed, or hollered at some point in both our personal and professional lives. Wouldn’t it be great if the great Work Fairy came down and waved her magic wand? Wait…wouldn’t it be great if there WAS a great Work Fairy???
As educators, our “In-Basket” tends to overflow with things we want to do, have to do, and need to do. It is hard to find time to do it all. With reading and literacy as a huge focus in early childhood classrooms, it can be difficult to meet the needs of each child. We use the Fountas and Pinnell guided reading approach but I supplement with extension activities on our iPads. This helps me reach all of the needs of my students.
My students are homogeneously grouped for reading. These groups are small (4-6 students) and are flexible. They change with the particular skill we are working on. With my struggling children, we use games, manipulatives, flash cards and apps to immerse them in phonics skills. Some of the apps I’ve been using that have been helpful are Starfall ABC’s, Starfall Learn to Read, Word Wizard and Montessori Crosswords. These apps provide strong emphasis on phonics skills.
My middle group and top groups are working on sight words, blending sounds to read words, and integrating strategies to read unfamiliar words. They are reading on Level A at this time. I have several level A readers in my room, but I’ve created some to go on their iPads in Book Creator so they have them at their fingertips when they have a few minutes to read or when they go to the Reading Center. Here is one using sight words
This is a PDF version since not all of my readers have Book Creator. Some of the books I’ve made include me reading the text. Students can touch the speaker icon on the page and hear me read the story to them. The I Can See Book does not have that feature.
By using the iPads to supplement skills in reading, I’m able to work with students on various levels and let them move on when they are ready. This actually reduces my work load considerably and frees me up to have conferences with individual students and work with individual students in a more meaningful way. Work Fairy or not, less teacher work and more time with students is a beautiful thing!
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!
photo credit: Creative Commons