Teaching Reading K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices
This video library features the teaching practices of a diverse cross-section of kindergarten through second grade teachers from across the country. The teachers introduce their students to reading through a variety of methodologies. The library includes nine half-hour classroom videos showing teachers and students engaged in effective reading practices; three half-hour longitudinal videos that show individual students developing reading skills over time; and one half-hour library overview.
1. Becoming Readers and Writers — In Sheila Owen’s Beaumont, California kindergarten class, all five- and six-year-olds are “readers and writers from day one.” We see her students listen and respond to a story about pumpkins, create sentences using the word wall and chant a poem on the letter D. Guided by Ms. Owen, they write a group account of the pumpkin life cycle and then work independently on their writing. View the web resources for this program here.
2. Writer’s Journal — In John Sinnett’s afternoon kindergarten class in Houston, Texas, literacy routines are front and center. The students, many of whom are from China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, focus on print and “what good readers do.” They learn “what good writers do” as Mr. Sinnett guides them through independent writing in their personal journals. Students practice reading and writing at their own levels at the classroom’s work stations. These routines and classroom management techniques provide a consistent structure for student learning. View the web resources for this program here.
3. Building Oral Language — In a full-day kindergarten class in Boston, Massachusetts, Cindy Wilson and her bilingual aide promote oral language development and individual responsibility. The Chinese- and English-speaking students take leadership roles as “Room Readers and Writers,” guiding classmates through daily routines and gathering useful information for the class. They participate in hands-on activities to explore celebrations of Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year as they make connections with their own and each other’s linguistic and cultural knowledge. View the web resources for this program here.
4. Thalia Learns the Details (student case study) — In the beginning of the school year, Thalia Valdez is just beginning to get excited about letters. She attends kindergarten at the bilingual AMIGOS school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With the support and guidance of her teacher, Jim St. Clair, Thalia steadily learns the details of the basics of reading and writing such as one-to-one word correspondence, letter sounds, and left-to-right text. She uses her fine motor skills in adding text to her inventive drawings. View the web resources for this program here.
5. Assessment-Driven Instruction — Hildi Perez is a first-grade teacher and reading specialist at an urban public school in Boston, Massachusetts with a diverse student population. She uses formal and informal assessments to help her make instructional decisions both for the class and for individuals. She assesses her students individually as readers throughout the year using a developmental reading assessment. She tracks the progress of the entire class as they work their way through a sequence of leveled books. View the web resources for this program here.
6. Cassandra Becomes a Fluent Reader (student case study) — Seven-year-old Cassandra Nelson attends Young Achievers School in Boston, Massachusetts. At the beginning of first grade, Cassandra uses many visual clues to decode stories, but needs work on comprehension to achieve greater fluency. With a variety of literacy activities and reading practice both at home and at school, Cassandra and her teacher see her progress toward becoming an independent reader. View the web resources for this program here.
7. Connecting Skills to Text — Learning to read in Charmon Evans’s first-grade classroom in Port Hueneme, California is skills-oriented and fun. Students interact with a talking puppet or are contestants in the Word Wall Game Show. Ms. Evans balances skill development—phonemic awareness, phonics, and sight word identification—with authentic reading and writing tasks to encourage a love of learning. Students revisit poetry charts, read decodable texts in guided reading groups and write in their journals about a challenging, read-aloud chapter book. View the web resources for this program here.
8. Promoting Readers As Leaders — Valerie Kostandos believes all her first-grade students in Melrose, Massachusetts should take on the role of leader. This contributes to a learning climate where students see themselves as readers, writers and leaders who manage their classroom routines. They take attendance, help each other discover the motivation of a character in a text and make decisions about when they need support in reading. Ms. Kostandos makes sure students understand the purpose behind each lesson. View the web resources for this program here.
9. Students Making Choices — Becky Pursley teaches first grade in Austin, Texas. Her students have a broad range of reading levels. Ms. Pursley uses a workshop approach to meet individual needs and provide many choices for learning. Students can read books, poems, draw and write about a book, work at a classroom center, or participate in a performance reading called readers’ theatre. She stresses purposeful instruction and assessing students’ progress closely. View the web resources for this program here.
10. William Finds His Base (student case study) — William Daley is a typical second-grade boy who attends the Hemenway Elementary School in Framingham, Massachusetts. William’s teacher Stacey Soto discovered early in the year that he was pretending to read better than he tested. Over the course of six months, she works with him on decoding and comprehension, giving him books for both guided and independent reading that present a strong challenge. By year’s end, William learns the basics and advances in reading skill and comprehension. View the web resources for this program here.
11. Staying on Topic — Martha Duran-Contreras is a bilingual second-grade teacher from Santa Monica, California with many racially mixed and bilingual students. She provides each child with individualized instruction, reviewing their progress and helping them to set goals and identify steps toward achieving those goals. We see her work with individual students during an independent writing activity where each student is challenged to “stay on topic.” View the web resources for this program here.
12. 100 Days of Reading — In a Chicago neighborhood, Shari Frost runs a mixed first- and second-grade classroom that includes students with physical and learning disabilities. We meet her class on the 100th day of school as they engage in a math/reading lesson on what they could buy with $100, read a poem featuring the number 100 and celebrate the milestone day. Mrs. Frost capitalizes on her students’ age differences by encouraging peer support. She also builds literacy learning strategies into every classroom activity. View the web resources for this program here.
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