The readilearn Bullfrog’s Billabong suite of cross-curricular resources can be used as the foundation for planning a week’s reading instruction including lessons with the whole class and small groups and independent work. The activities cater for different ability levels in your early childhood classroom and can culminate in a performance to be presented to other members of the class, other classes in the school, or parents.
Begin by introducing the story as a covered cloze activity (a lesson ready for you to teach) presented to the whole class on the interactive whiteboard. Although all children are engaged in reading the same story, the activity allows them to participate at their own level. The teacher-led discussion can be tailored to student needs, allowing each to contribute according to what they already know and extending their understanding by discussing cues for reading and irregular as well as regular spelling patterns. Children learn from each other as they actively participate in the cooperative reading activity. Refer to Covered cloze — teaching effective reading strategies and Bullfrog’s Billabong — Cloze — How to use this resource for suggestions.
As with introducing all new reading material, it is important to engage children’s interest by making connections with what they already know about the topic and explaining what may be unfamiliar; for example, a billabong, and encouraging them to make predictions about what might happen in the story. As the story unfolds, children may adjust their predictions and thoughts about the story.
After the class has been introduced to the story through the covered cloze activity, they may like to read it again, though not necessarily immediately, for enjoyment. Bullfrog’s Billabong is also available as an estory (electronic story) for sharing and reading on the interactive whiteboard. All children will be able to join in and read cooperatively with both fluency and expression now that the story is familiar. The repetitive and cumulative nature of the story also assists.
Class rotations or reading group activities can continue the theme using other activities from the Bullfrog’s Billabong suite of resources. The activities lend themselves well to a performance of the story as a play. The play can be performed by class groups to each other, or as a whole class to other classes or parents. There are sufficient activities for a class of five or six groups of same or mixed ability.
Instruction with the teacher:
Guided reading of Bullfrog’s Billabong — The play.
Instruction with the teacher or teacher aide:
Supporting beginning readers with Bullfrog’s Billabong – developing an I can do it strategy. NEW!
Independent work in groups:
Write the next chapter of the story.
Cut out and prepare characters to use as masks or puppets for the play.
Cooperative work in groups:
Sequence days of the week and use to retell the story.
After guided reading with the teacher – practise the play performance.
Paired reading: Bullfrog’s Billabong — a printable booklet. NEW!
Research facts about the animals in the story. Use the resource included in the Bullfrog’s Billabong suite and refer to non-fiction books borrowed from the school library.
It is not necessary for all reading activities to be related to Bullfrog’s Billabong. Other groups could be reading in the book corner or from their levelled book boxes, or working on literacy activities on computers or the interactive whiteboard.
Bullfrog’s Billabong – Groups
To extend the theme, allocate children to groups named for the characters in Bullfrog’s Billabong. NEW!
Children may be organised in groups of similar or mixed ability. Mixed ability may be preferred for performing the play, though similar ability may be preferred for instruction. Decide how the groups will work best in your class and organise children accordingly.
If allocating children to random groups, use the suggestion included in Bullfrog’s Billabong — Days of the week.
Reading across the curriculum
Extend learning across the curriculum by integrating the Bullfrog’s Billabong activities with maths (counting, days of the week) and science (biology – living things).
Consult information included with each resource for more detailed teaching suggestions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional requests, suggestions or questions.
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