Monday, February 18, 2013

Accelerated Readers in My Class

Once the 1st graders learn all the letter sounds and can begin blending the race is on...read, read, read.

In Idaho, Fluency is the only thing in 1st grade that is tested by the state and it's the only way they measure whether we, as teachers, are doing our job well enough.

I could go deeply into that subject...but I will skip that because it's like hitting your head against the wall.  The wall will still be there, but your head will hurt...a lot!

So, what we do is get them to read and read and read.  And being the good teachers that we are, we push comprehension while we push fluency.  What point is being able to decode quickly when what you really want to be able to do is READ.  Reading is not just decoding it's comprehending!

Ok...I had to say it.

So one of the fun things I do in my class is 'LET' them be independent readers.  No, you see, I WANT them to be independent readers, but it's a game.  You want them to WANT to be independent readers.  And it works too!  When you earn things it always means more than if someone hands it to you.

So I have leveled reading baskets that they are assigned to choose from once they are an independent reader. That alone usually sells it.  THEY get to choose the book, not me.

Then I made these bookmarks... {they love bookmarks as much as pencils}
This is a freebie sample you can download on my TpT store.  You can buy the whole set...I made 17 different variations so I can change them out every few weeks.  

I made these so the students could keep track of how many times they read their book.  They have to read their book 5 times before they can do an Accelerated Reader test on the computer.  In the beginning there are the kids who try to cheat the system, but this is easily solved when they don't pass a test.  Then they have to conference with me and either have to move down a basket level or I have to choose their book for them or they have to read the first and fifth time with me.

They don't like losing their independence...so it only takes once or twice and they are following the routine by the 'rules'.