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I was able to observe a very well planned shared reading lesson and thought you would benefit from having it written up.

The teacher wanted to use a book in shared reading that would allow the following teaching points to be taught:

  • use illustrations on front and back cover to gain information about the story and to make predictions; and
  • use cloze strategy on specific words to demonstrate that words make sense and that the initial letter helps you to confirm the word.

These strategies are important for emergent readers to use independently as a part of their emerging repertoire of strategies.

The book Hands Hands Hands by Marcia Vaughn was used because:

  • the text is repetitive;
  • the text has a rhyming pattern;
  • bright colourful illustrations strongly support the text;
  • the topic is an engaging one that children can directly relate to and make some connections;
  • it not a simple pattern and so there is word work required; and
  • the majority of the children would not be able to read this book on their own without the support of the teacher and their peers.

To introduce the book the children were told the title of the book and their attention was drawn to the front and back cover illustrations to develop a sense of what the book would be about (note: the title Hands, Hands, Hands does not lend itself to making predictions about the content). Children identified things they saw children doing with their hands – some noticed straightforward, clear references but others noticed that they were tying something with their hands as they dressed up in costumes. They were able to make inferences of what the children were getting ready for, how children were feeling e.g, that little boy looked sad, they discussed or predicted vocabulary that would be in the book e.g. costumes, party, sad. The introduction was completed by setting a purpose for the story and challenging the children- “Let`s read to find out how the children use their hands in this story.”

The book was read by the teacher in a phrased and luent way, and the children joined in as they were ready to follow the pattern. The rhyming pattern lent itself to children wanting to read along and to predict what the text would be. Af few times she pulled back her voice to allow the children’s voices to come forward at the rhyming word. This builds children’s confidence in their reading ability and encourages them to try the word on their own.

Observations

As a part of differentiating the instructon, two words were chosen for the cloze activity. This allowed some reading work to happen but the continuity and flow of the story would not be interrupted. The first word that was covered by a sticky note (bug) was quite far into the story so the pattern was already established. This word was intentionally chosen because there was strong picture support for predicting a meaningful word and it was a rhyming word. When they got to the masked word the children were asked what word would make sense here. (Meaning Cue) Responses ranged from spider (clearly supported by the illustration), to worm because the previous word was wiggly and they thought those words went together (Semantic Cue). The teacher asked the children what they would expect the first letter to be if the word was worm, then removed the sticky from the first letter and asked them if it could be worm. The children immediately call out that the b would not start the word worm. Now that they know that is was a b one student called out beetle. The class confirmed that this could be the word. The children were then asked what the next letter would be if the word is beetle. They confirmed that it would be an e. The next letter was peeled back and the children called out that it would have to be bug. They were asked what the last letter would be and and then confirmed that the last letter was a g so it would be bug.

The second planned cloze was the last word on the last page (goodbye). It was chosen because of the predictability of the idea but it was not necessarily a word that children use intheir regular oral language. It required word work to read it accurately. Some children predicted goodbye (they were using their knowledge of story language), while some thought it was bye and again the teacher used the strategy of predicting the first letter. What sound would that letter make and so what letter would that be. (This is a point at which the teacher chooses whether to have them work with the g or the b.)

At the conclusion of the story they were asked what they do with their hands. They responded with tickle, catch a ball with one hand, and lift things. The book will be read again tomorrow and then they will be given the opportunity to read the book the next day independently during activity time if they choose.

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