This week we are celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday at my school. In today’s homework packet the children received a reading oath. They are being asked to turn off the TV/ or turn off the video games one day this week and read!! Then child and parent sign the oath to say that it was accomplished. I am the child of a children’s librarian so being asked to read when I was growing up was never an issue at our house. We were surrounded by books and loved reading every free minute we had. It makes me sad that as teachers we have to assign reading as part of homework. Most of my first graders would not read for pleasure if it was not part of their homework. When I read the oath today and told them that they were being asked to turn off the TV/or video games for one day this week, there was a loud collective groan from my class. If I had my way there would be no TV or video games or computers at all during the school week. Really!! Parents, fill your home with books (books on ipads or computers count as long as there is reading going on and nothing else) so your child is able to grab a book to read whenever he/she wants to read. Only you can see that your child gets the love of reading at a very young age and when that happens, he/she will love reading for life.
Category Archives: First Grade
Books Available At All Times
Learning to read is just like learning any other new skill, it takes practice…lots of practice. This is especially true for first graders. We do lots of reading at school. There is guided reading in small reading groups, reading to yourself, reading with a buddy, reading a worksheet, reading a big book, reading the room (reading all wall charts in the room) and the list goes on and on. Then the children go home and for some, the reading stops. Many children want to read at home, they are so excited about their skills and the love of reading that they just can’t stop. Then there are the children who read the bare minimum because they are only reading because their homework said that reading at home was required. Then there are the children that don’t read at all at home. Their excuses are many, “I don’t have any books at home”(hard to believe since we send the children home with books every Monday and they check out library books on Tuesdays), “I couldn’t find my book”, “I was busy”, but the one I can never believe is “my parents didn’t have time to read with me!” What? Your parents didn’t have time for you?? Parents, your child needs your guidance not only while learning to read, but also after they have become a reader. Your child should have access to books anytime they want to read one. Many parents have ipads and iphones – find the sites that free offer books for your child to read (http://www.storylineonline.net/) and then teach your child how to use your device. Make sure your child has books in the car, books by his/her bed, books in the living room for when you turn off the TV. Children will read if given the opportunity and it is up to you the parent to see that your child is reading at every available moment, and not just because he/she has to. If you want your child to become a lifetime lover of books, you have to do your part in instilling this love NOW!
When I was a young mother, I really looked forward to the time of the day when all of the hustle and bustle had ended, homework was done and baths and teeth were finished. Story time. Our children looked forward to this special time each evening as much as we did. It was a time to think about our day, plan for tomorrow and ALWAYS listen to a story or two. My niece, who is now a young mother herself, came across this website that listed 20 questions that you should ask your child at bedtime. It is a wonderful way to connect with your child and see what he/she has been thinking about. Take a look and go ahead start asking your child these questions and look forward to the delightful conversations that will follow.
Fifteen-Minute Reading Activities
by the National PTA
Make 15 minutes go a long way. Try these quick reading activities with your younger kids.
1. License to read. On car trips, make it a game to point out and read license plates, billboards, and interesting road signs.
2. Better than TV. Swap evening TV for a good action story or tale of adventure.
3. Look and listen. Too tired to read aloud? Listen to a book on CD and turn the book’s pages with your children. You also can find books on your ipad. You’ll still be reading with them!
4. Labels, labels, labels. Label things in your children’s room as they learn to name them. Have fun while they learn that written words are connected to everyday things.
5. Pack a snack, pack a book. Going someplace where there might be a long wait? Bring along a snack and a bag of favorite books.
6. Recipe for reading. The next time you cook with your children, read the recipe with them. Step-by-step instructions, ingredients, and measurements are all part of words in print!
7. Shop and read. Notice and read signs and labels in the supermarket. Back home, putting away groceries is another great time for reading labels.
8. Your long-distance lap. Away on a business trip? Take a few books with you, call home, and have your child curl up by the computer/ipad/phone for a good night story.
9. A reading pocket. Slip fun things to read into your pocket to bring home: a comic strip from the paper, a greeting card, or even a fortune cookie from lunch. Create a special, shared moment your child can look forward to every day.
10. A little longer? When your child asks to stay up a little longer, say yes and make it a 15-minute family readingopportunity.
Your child 5 year old child will experience enormous physical and emotional growth this year. We focus on the physical because we can measure it and see it but we cannot measure the emotional growth of a 5 year old as easily. You’ll have to make observations about the emotional growth as it matures during this school year. The American School Counselor Association published the following about Kindergartners:
Where They Are:
The average five-year-old is enthusiastic, helpful, and conforming. He:
- Attempts only things he/she knows he/she can do.
- Needs attention, affection, and praise.
- Is energetic and fidgety.
- Has a short attention span.
- May show opposite extremes of behavior.
- May become less well-behaved as the school year progresses.
Where they’re Going:
At five years old, your child is learning to understand himself/herself. You can help by encouraging him/her as he/she:
- Develops a positive, realistic self-image.
- Learns to respect himself/herself.
- Begins to understand his/her own uniqueness.
- Gains awareness of his/her feelings.
- Learns to express feelings.
- Learns how to participate in groups.
- Begins to learn from his/her mistakes.
To learn about the emotional growth of a first grader read here:
When we clean up in our classroom, the children are expected, and required, to clean up after themselves. This seems pretty simple, you make the mess, you clean it up. However, this is a new concept for many Kindergartners and First Graders who come to me from homes where Mom/Dad or someone else cleans up after them. What a shock it is for these children when they find out they have to clean up themselves without adult assistance. One of the questions that I ask parents at our parent/teacher conferences is what type of responsibilities/jobs does your child have at home? What job will only get done if your child performs it? Many parents have the answer right away since their child does have responsibilities at home. Other parents, after giving it some thought realize that their child has no home jobs. Now some of these parents realize that it IS time to help their child mature and do small tasks at home, but others will listen to my advice and then go home and continue to do everything for their child. Kindergartners and First Graders are old enough to do many things at home: Make their own bed, put their dirty laundry in the hamper, help sort/fold clean laundry, empty the silverware from the dishwasher, feed the fish/dog/hamster/guinea pig/, set the silverware/napkins on the table, the list is endless. The point is, NOW is the time to have your child start helping out at home, as these self help skills will carry with them wherever they go throughout the day.
re-posted from 2009