As students progress, we begin working on being able to read books that have strong patterns in them. The books may sound something like, “I run in the forest. I run in the park. I run in the sand.” Students should then be able to follow that pattern and begin to recognize some of those sight words (I, the, and, in, etc...).
From there, we start to push basic word solving skills. In my room, we call them "Beanie baby reading strategies.” The first strategy we use is called “Lips the Fish.” We get our lips ready to read the first sound in words. So if the word is ball, the students will read /b/ and think about what would make sense. When they consistently read the first sound, we then use our "Peekin' Poodle Strategy.” This strategy is when the students initially read the first sound in the word, then they check the picture to see what would make sense that starts with that sound. So for the "ball" example, the student would say /b/ and then there would be a ball in the picture to help them solve the word.
As students improve, we start reading books that have less of a pattern. We focus on learning lots of sight words. All sight words are great. You can looks for a dolch word list and start there! We also work on "Chunky Monkey,” where we look for chunks in the word we know (such as sight words or word families). The other strategies are “Stretchy Snake” (stretch out the sounds in the word), “Flippy Dolphin” (flip the short vowel sound to try out the long instead), and “Skippy Frog” (skip the word, get clues from the sentence, then go back to solve the word).
Then we break comprehension into 3 separate types:
The first is factual. Those are the questions that you can find the answer straight from the book and don't need to use any clues. Some examples would be: Who is ____? When does ____ happen? What does the character do when ______?
The next is inferential. Those are questions where you need to piece together some clues that you got in the book. Those may sound like: What makes ____ fun? How does the character feel about _____ and how do you know? What does ____ think about (insert an event from the story)? etc...
The final one is the most difficult. These are critical thinking questions. With critical thinking questions, you need to think about the clues from the book, plus what you already know in life to get an answer. Some example of these questions are: Why does ___ say this in the story? Why does ____ do this in the story? The character says ____. Why does he/she do this anyways? Why does a certain event happen? Etc....
With all of the comprehension, students should also get in the habit of using their book to provide evidence. This pushes their understanding because it helps them explain their thinking! As students show strong understanding, I increase the difficulty level of books they are reading!
By Heather Murphy; Langley Kindergarten Teacher