Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

A Pumpkin Library carved by children and decorated by Truro Public Library (Massachusetts) librarians has gone viral on social media this week. Looks like a cozy place to read, if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stick and Stone

When we first meet Stick and Stone, each is alone and lonely. When both are playing by themselves at the park, Pinecone makes fun of Stone. Stick comes to his rescue, banishing Pinecone. The two become fast friends and have fun together until a hurricane separates them. After the storm, Stone sets out to find Stick, searching day and night until he finds him stuck upside down in a mud puddle. Now it is Stone's turn to save his friend.

This simple story is written by first time author, Beth Ferry, and illustrated byTom Lichtenheld. It is a perfect book for  beginning readers. The text is minimal and the illustrations advance the story without unnecessary visual clutter. The font is large and bold and the words are well-spaced. Most of the words can be sounded out by a first grader, It is a funny story about kindness and friendship and in the case of Pinecone, redemption.

Stick and Stone is available at the Yulupa Library and Sonoma County Library. The AR is 1.2.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Book With No Pictures

Reading aloud to your child is an important part of raising a reader. The writer, Emilie Buchwald,  says that "children are made readers in the laps of their parents".

 The Book With No Pictures will delight children of all ages.I dare you to find a kid who would not sit through a reading of this book. It makes grown ups say silly things. What kid wouldn't like that?

A book without pictures may seem boring and serious (according to author B.J. Novak), BUT "Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. No matter what." Even  if the words aren't even words like blork or bluurf or if you have to read like a robot monkey or even sing a song about eating ants for breakfast. The book provides all the  words for you to say, even the asides.

The Yulupa Library has one copy, The Sonoma County Library has twenty-one copies. Scholastic is now selling the book as well. Strawberry's Book Fair will be from Friday, November 13 to Friday, November 20, 2015.

Monday, October 12, 2015

More Schools of Hope Resources

The Five Finger Rule to help a child find the “just right” book.
Instructions for making a word game based on dominoes. We are encouraged to play a game with our students at the end of a tutoring session. This is an easy one to make yourself.

Schools of Hope Tutor Resources

Welcome to the new and returning Schools of Hope tutors. For those of us who like instant gratification, this is a great way to spend an afternoon. Yulupa uses the PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) from Vanderbilt University. You can read about the program here. We use a slightly different version of PALS but the principles  are the same.
When many of us went to school, the most used reading method was Whole Word (the Dick and Jane days). If you would like to review the letter sounds, you can go to Alphabet SoundsSpring Creek Elementary made a video of a tutoring session. They do no use the same materials as Yulupa, but it gives you some idea of the flow.
If you need some additional insight check out this  Advanced Tutor Training by MaryAnn Nichol. She is a professor at Sonoma State and is part of the team doing research on Schools of Hope.
Finally, for more ideas to help you with your students, just click on the Schools of Hope tag at the bottom of this post or in the left hand column on this blog.

Sight Words

Yulupa uses a phonics based reading program, but there are plenty of commonly used words in the English language that do not follow the the “Rules”. These words are called Sight Words: the, and, see, come, go, know; you get the drift. By the end of first grade a child should know over a hundred of these words.

 This Reading Mama has a great article about the development of word learning as it pertains to sight words. Most of the students we see in Schools of Hope are in the second phase. These learners typically know basic letter sounds but not more complex ones like sh or th; they do not have strong decoding skills and rely on pictures and cues like the first and last letter to read words they don’t know.

Sight words are  introduced in the classroom gradually. Schools of Hope tutors review current sight words with their students every week. There are fun ways to do this. I have a couple of Sight Word Bingo games and a Picture Word Bingo game.

I found these games locally back when we had a teacher store in town but they are available like almost everything else, at Amazon. Another game that kids like to play is Pop for Sight Words. There is a second version appropriate for late first grade and second grade.  I found the original game here in town but it both are also available at Amazon.

The Reading Mama, Becky Spence, has more than a dozen free printable sight word games here. Scroll down to the list under sight words and click on any of the games that interest you. All of these games are far more fun than drilling with flash cards while accomplishing the same goal.