Books! We need lots and lots of books!
Teachers know books are the key.
They are quick to incorporate Read Alouds, both fiction and non-fiction, into lessons for reading skills, math, science and social studies. The provide students with books in small group sessions…and then they take it back. WHAT? …STOP…WHAT?
Yep, they take it back. “What if they lose a book?” “What if they get mixed up with someone else’s books?” It is unbelievable to me, but ONE exposure to a book cannot be considered valuable or “best practice”…ever!
We even make books with them.
Here are 5 reasons they NEED the books at their disposal EVERY DAY.
practice with books
If you want a child to be better at piano, you make them practice.
If you want a child to be better at soccer, you make them practice.
If you want to child to be better at dance, you make them practice.
If you want a child to be better at reading, you make them practice.
You would not give them a piece to play on the piano ONCE. You would not have them kick a soccer ball ONCE.
WHY would you expect a student to become a successful reader with one glance at a book? Students need to have the books from small group at their disposal to develop comprehension, fluency and expression.
They need practice every day…with new books every day! They need LOTS and LOTS of exposure to text on their level! Practice makes permanent.
sight words and books
Sight words CANNOT be learned in isolation.
Well, they can be…but, why would you?
When students are just beginning to connect letters to sounds and sounds to words every connection made clear makes an impact on their learning.
Early readers, levels A – C, are sight word heavy.*
Typically a word or two is repeated in predictable text can not only provide further practice with fluency, students are practicing sight words on every page.
As they become more and more familiar with these books the sight words become easily recognized and ingrained.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was obviously written in 2015…before we know what we know about leveled readers. BUT I still believe in sight word practice through text. Just make it decodable!
Responsibility is another key skill for early learners.
Giving them the responsibility of their book baggie allows them to have a part in their learning.
They need to bring the book baggie to the small group table.
They need to make sure their book baggie is put in the proper place.
They need to make sure their books are kept in the baggie. If you allow them to have the books, you are saying they are worthy of the books. Let that be the message they understand.
Independence is one of the most important skills students can acquire through books.
After a small group lesson students keep the book in their book baggie (a Ziploc® bag with their name).
These bags are kept in a specific place in the room.
When students are finished with their work, they can get their book baggie and sit in the classroom library to read.
They know how, when, and where to read their books and it’s up to them to do it.
Finally, putting books in their hands EVERYDAY creates a routine of reading.
When the routine is created, a love of reading can grow.
Students who know they will read every day and they will be successful every day will LOVE to read.
Success feels good…so reading will feel good, too. AND THEN…love will grow!
Give them the books. Don’t be afraid! It will make all the difference!
And maybe after all that, they’ll want to keep in going in the summer.