March 6, 2010

Reading Teacher's Must-Haves

Here they are, my all-time favorite tools to teach and play with reading:

Games for Reading: Playful Ways to Help Your Child Read
This book is genius in its simplicity and creativity. Homemade games from easy-to-find materials, all pedagogically sound, and fun! One game I remember (I'm pretty sure I made it up based on her ideas) was to place paper plates all around the edge of the table. Each plate had a letter or a letter cluster written with a fat marker. And on each plate were a few M&Ms. As the kids skipped around the table, I'd say a letter sound, and the first one to the correct paper plate got the candy.

The Big Book of Books and Activities: An Illustrated Guide for Teacher, Parents, and Anyone Who Works With Kids!
If I had to get rid of all my homeschooling books and keep just one, this would be it. Chock-full of ideas to make your own books, but not just ordinary books--matchbook books, pop-up books, patch word quilts. Use it as a jumping off point to create whatever fits your kids and their interests.

The ideas work great in upper grades too. It's just a fun way to organize what you're learning. Melissa made a vocabulary book for her Spanish class, and in sixth or seventh grade, she made this booklet about deer. Each page flips up for more info:

She had come in from skateboarding one day and asked if she could write a report about an animal. Yes, a teacher's dream child. I gave her a list of things to find out about her animal and off she went to the computer. Then, when she had her facts, I showed her The Big Book of Books and helped her pick out a format to display her knowledge. Motivated learners. Gotta love it.

What reading teacher resources do you find indispensable?


renee @ FIMBY said...

She asked to write a report? Wow, maybe one of my children will do that one day but my oldest (10 years) avoids writing like the plague!

Jena said...

I never asked her to write a report because I know how kids can balk at that. And really, it's unnecessary. They are gathering info all the time and learning how to write by seeing how other people do it in books. And they are writing more than you think--how about texting and emailing?

As they get older, if they go to college, etc, there will be plenty of opportunity to write formally.

But when they WANT to write a report, well, sure!

Karen said...

You will laugh when I tell you, we have found Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield the Cat to be the two most motivating reading incentives out there!

That was with our nine-year-old, though, I think the resources you suggest will be a better starting point for the five-year-old. We already have Games for Reading, and LOVE it - I am going to get the other out of the library asap.


Jena said...

Yes, Calvin and Hobbes was read everyday in our house. The kids have them all memorized, it seems! And a worn and tattered collection sits on our kitchen table for breakfast reading. :) A great vocabulary builder, that Calvin.

Anonymous said...

"Games for Reading" was one of my bibles when the kids were in the early reading stages. SUCH an incredible book!! I'd almost forgotten about it though, because like most things, I'd loaned it out long ago. Thanks for the nostalgia!

Editor said...

It is wonderful that her curiosity was so pricked that she wanted to write a report!

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