The importance of reading cannot be overstated. It is an essential skill, integral to almost everything we do. Teaching children to read is one of the most important, and most rewarding, aspects of our role as early childhood educators.
Some children come to school already reading. Others come not yet reading, but with a love of books and an expectation that they will learn to read. They understand that reading involves making sense of the squiggles on the page. These children usually learn to read effortlessly regardless of what we do.
Other children come to school with little experience of books and reading. For them, learning to read is a mystery and a greater challenge. For these children especially, it is important that we provide an environment rich in language and book experiences. We need to excite them about books and reading, interest them in words and language, and show them that books can be both a source of enjoyment and information.
I often hear teachers lament that there’s just not enough time in the crowded curriculum to read to children any more. But reading aloud to children, especially early childhood children, should be non-negotiable and a priority every day. How can we excite them about books, and interest them in reading, if we don’t read to them?
It is impossible to turn children onto books in one isolated reading lesson each day. In fact, reading lessons as such probably don’t turn children onto reading at all. That is not their purpose. Their purpose is to teach skills. But those skills should always be taught in context, and never in isolation. Nor should they be confined to lessons timetabled for English. Reading must occur across the curriculum and for a multitude of purposes throughout the day, from noting who is at school, interpreting the job roster and group allocations, to understanding connected text in various subject areas.
Many readilearn resources are designed to provide children with opportunities for reading across the curriculum. Even those designed specifically to develop reading skills have application in other subject areas.
Bullfrog’s Billabong is one such resource. It is available as an interactive covered cloze activity for teaching effective reading strategies in context. It is also available as a digital estory, to be simply read and enjoyed.
Follow up activities make suggestions for maths lessons, including learning about the days of the week. The story can be used to springboard into discussions about counting, addition, and growing patterns.
A fact sheet providing information about the Australian animals in the story may be used in science lessons.
This week, additional resources to support use of the story, including a play and vocabulary cards, have been uploaded.
I have previously written about Bullfrog’s Billabong here.
The related interactive problem solving activity Two scoops of ice cream please and the readilesson Three scoops of ice cream – Possible and impossible both help to develop problems solving and thinking skills and have application in mathematics.
Little Koala’s Party engages children with mathematical problem solving strategies as they help Little Koala plan a party. They work out the number of guests and items required, then apply the same strategies in planning a party of their own. While the story has a mathematical problem solving focus, follow up activities include planning the menu, writing invitations, and making party hats. Of course, the story itself and each of the follow up activities, involves children in reading.
Procedures are also useful for developing reading skills, especially reading for meaning. They are great for reading groups, especially if you have the support of an adult helper. The ability to follow the instructions, provided both visually and in text, is important. readilearn procedures include:
How to make a paper plate cat face (2 different levels)
I have previously written about procedures here.
This week I have added five new resources to the collection – an interactive digital activity for learning about 2-digit numbers; and four new resources to extend the Bullfrog’s Billabong suite.
Let’s write 2-digit numbers This interactive resource can be used on the interactive whiteboard to demonstrate, or provide children with practice in, writing 2-digit numbers. It can also be used to assess children’s understanding of writing 2-digit numbers.
These four resources extend the Bullfrog’s Billabong suite of resources:
Bullfrog’s Billabong – The play The story is retold as a play. Display on the Interactive whiteboard or print out for group or individual reading. Children may perform the play for members of the class, other classes, or parents.
Bullfrog’s Billabong – Character cut-outs Display the characters in the classroom, use for retelling the story, or as puppets for performing the play.
Bullfrog’s Billabong – Character cards Display the cards as a reference for children when writing. Singular and plural forms of the words are presented.
Bullfrog’s Billabong – The play – How to use this resource This free resource makes suggestions for printing and reading the play.
I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I’ll see you next week with some suggestions for writing “I love” poems. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend, and have a great week.
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Thank you for reading.
Happy teaching and learning,
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