• Journal

    Day 10 Teaching of Reading – Strategies Standards I to III

    Read aloud poem: The Lone Dog by Irene Rutherford McLeod (1891-1968)

    Read aloud story: The Lion and the Mouse by Eric Carle

    We explored different types of reading, namely antiphonal reading and guided reading.

    Reading aloud is appropriate not just for holding a groups attention, but it also encourages strong readers and weaker readers to take part in reading as a fun exercise.  It also makes for good practice and performance as a chorale group.  Learners may read together in unison, all at the same time.  Readers may also read in an echo where the teacher reads and the learners repeat exactly what was voiced.  These are exercises about reading aloud.

    Antiphonal reading which follows a call and answer pattern can be performed in groups.  One group reads a line aloud, followed by another group for the alternative lines, or as directed. The placement of the lines on the page cues the pattern of reading.

    In a shared reading activity the teacher reads aloud while the learner follows in their copy of the text.

    Buddy reading refers to two students reading a text together.

    In independent reading the student selects the text and reads on their own.

    Other types of reading discussed included forms of oral reading such as: paired, cloze, mumble, whisper, imitative & choral

    Reading Strategy: Direct Inquiry Activity

    This strategy invites the reader to answer the following questions as six (6) points of inquiry:

    1. Who?
    2. What?
    3. Where?
    4. When?
    5. Why?
    6. How?
    • Teacher gives students a passage to read from reading material
    • Students predict the responses
    • Teacher or students record the students’ responses
    • Students read the responses
    • Students reread the passage
    • Students critically compare their predictions with the actual material

    The DIA came out of the DRTA, Direct Reading Thinking Activity of Russell G. Stauffer.

    For guided reading it was stressed that the strategy be implemented with a small group of children, approximately five children.


    Teacher’s Duty:

    • Choose reading material appropriate for the learner’s level
    • Ensure the reading material is interesting
    • Introduce the material by encouraging the learner to make predictions based on the title and the picture elements of the text
    • Demonstrate the reading process by reading with the learner and pointing to the words
    • Allow the learner to voice the material as they join in during the teacher’s read aloud
    • Analyse the reading material and prepare questions for inquiry to challenge the reader’s understanding, and to encourage the learner to apply

    We also looked at homographs and consonant rules and teaching word structure.


  • Journal

    Day 9 Teaching of Reading – Teaching Strategies Vowels and Consonants Infants Year I & II and Standard I and up

    Read aloud poem: When Mother Reads Aloud by Author Unknown celebrates reading aloud by the child’s parents:

    When Mother reads aloud, far lands
    Seem very near and true;
    I cross the deserts’ gleaming sands,
    Or hunt the jungle’s prowling bands,
    Or sail the ocean blue.
    Far heights, whose peaks the cold mists shroud,
    I scale, when Mother reads aloud.

    When Mother reads aloud, I long
    For noble deeds to do…
    To help the right, redress the wrong;
    It seems so easy to be strong,
    So simple to be true.
    Oh, thick and fast the visions crowd
    My eyes, when Mother reads aloud.

    Read aloud story: The Wolf and the Dog a fable from Aesop. The message was clear.  Freedom is priceless and one should be content with oneself, as it is said the grass always looks greener on the other side.

    We looked at effective ways to introduce consonants and vowels to learners at the level Infants Year I and Infants Year II.  Vowels have short sounds and long sounds. We also looked at consonant blends, chunking, consonant and vowel digraphs and basic sight words.  Effective teaching strategies to introduce these concepts are the one -two punch activity where the learner is encouraged to punch with one arm when they hear the onset and leave the arm extended, then punch with the other when they hear the rime.

    The letters ‘c’ and ‘g’ are to be given special focus as they make different sounds depending on their placement to other letters.

    Before vowels /a/ /o/ and /u/ the letter ‘C‘ makes a ‘k‘ sound or hard sound when immediately proceeded by vowel:

    • /a/ as in car
    • /o/ as in corn

    The letter ‘C‘ makes a ‘s‘ sound or soft sound when immediately proceeded by either vowel:

    • /i/as in circle
    • /e/ as in cent
    • /I/as in cycle

    The letter ‘G‘ makes a soft sound when it is proceeded by vowels /i/ /e/ and /y/ as in:

    • gin
    • gesture
    • gym

    Before vowels /a/ /o/ and /u/the letter ‘G‘ makes a hard sound as in:

    • gap
    • garden
    • good
    • gulp

    The semi vowels should also be introduced at this level. ‘Y‘ and ‘W‘ are also phonetically known as glides and appear in words such as sky, fly, my, hurry and yes. In those words /y/ represents the sound “ee”.  In words such as water, /w/ represents the sound “oo”.  In cow and in mouse /w/ makes the sound .  Therefore like /c/ and /g/, the letter ‘y‘ /j/ sound. and /w/ possess the ability to make the sound of letters that proceed them.

    Here is a teaching strategy to introduce phonetic sounds:


    Here are rules for an activity to reinforce a lesson for Standard I and up as part of the KWL strategy to encourage children to discuss and share what they know about an item in which they are interested.  The KWL strategy tests the learner’s knowledge of the subject of the story and gets the learner thinking about what they want to find out from the story.  After the story is read the learner is given the opportunity to share what they have learnt.  Ideally in a classroom the board can be divided into three columns to record the students’ responses to the questions: | K | W| L |.  Then a show and tell activity can be conducted.


    We were introduced to the following consonant rules:


    To reinforce learning the learners can be given an activity, Sight Word Bingo, after specific words were introduced, where they must look for the identified words in magazines or newspaper and circle them.


  • Journal

    Day 8 Teaching of Reading – Language Acquisition

    Read aloud poem: Trees by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918).  It celebrates the beauty of God’s creation as it personifies the tree as a woman who leans on God for her quiet strength.

    Read aloud story: The Blackbird and the Peacocks by Eric Carle. The story reminded me of a local story of a tortoise who wanted to attend the party of Birds and fly, who ended up with a cracked back.  Simply put the writer’s message is to accept one’s physical attributes and enjoy all that makes one unique.  As the Desiderata cautions,

    “Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection….”

    We started with the important reminder that the mental health of the learner affects learning saturation.  Therefore the teacher must be mindful to recognise when a learner is not confident, anxious or distracted, especially where circumstances at home negatively affect the learner’s progress.

    Language Acquisition

    Language has many functions. It is instrumental, regulatory, informative, personal, imaginative, interactional and heuristic.  We were asked to identify the function of language in a given statement to measure our understanding of the functions of language.  Almost a history lesson, my takeaways were that language evolves over time and that all people have language as it is a tool of communication.  We were taken on a journey of the development of the English language through its origins in Old Norse, spoken by the Vikings and Anglo Saxons, the Norman’s conquest in 1066 where for 300 years French and Latin were important languages in England, and the influence of the East Midland dialect to produce Standard English in the 1500s.

    In Trinidad and Tobago our language evolved from immigrants pidgin and their creolised English.  We had a fun time demonstrating our understanding of our Trinidadian dialect by looking at the grammar rules:

    • Question form of a sentence – We making chow?
    • Multiple negatives – She en eating no food
    • Unmarked verb as an adjective – Condense milk
    • Pronouns – allyuh, dem, dey

    We were introduced to the concept of the Bio Poem and had to create a Bio Poem in the format:

    • Line 1: First name only
    • Line 2: 4 descriptive traits
    • Line 3: SIbling/ friend of
    • Line 4: Lover of
    • Line 5: Who feels
    • Line 6: Who needs
    • Line 7: Who gives
    • Line 8: Who fears
    • Line 9: Who wants to see (3 things)
    • Line 10: Resident of
    • Line 11: Last name only

    Here is my Bio Poem:


    the creative soul, who will make you laugh, encourage and inspire you;

    Friend of anyone who is up for a loyal, caring fun friendship;

    Who loves to spend time at the beach;

    Who feels life is worth living and sharing because God is awesome; and love makes the ultimate difference in how we treat others;

    Who needs to be loved, appreciated & respected;

    Who gives time to increasing her learning, time to heal and time to indulge in self care;

    Who fears no one but God, fears not what people may think and say negatively about her;

    Who wants to experience a safari, see more people just get along & to see the black Caribbean child advance;

    Resident of the Global village, the country of Trinidad and Tobago more precisely



  • Journal

    Day 7 Teaching of Reading – Literacy

    Read aloud poem: The Letters at School by author of Very Naughty LettersMary Mapes Dodge delights all readers with her skillful presentation of the alphabet. Enjoy!

    The Letters at School
    by Mary Mapes Dodge

    One day the letters went to school,
    And tried to learn each other;
    They got so mixed ‘t was really hard
    To pick out one from t’ other.

    A went in first, and Z went last;
    The rest all were between them,–
    K,L and M, and N, O, P,–
    I wish you could have seen them!

    B,C,D,E, and J, K, L,
    So jostled well their betters;
    Q,R,S,T–I grieve to say–
    Were very naughty letters.

    Of course, ere long, they came to words–
    What else could be expected?
    Till E made D,J,C, and T
    Decidedly dejected.

    Now, through it all the Consonants
    Were rudest and uncouthest,
    While all the pretty Vowel girls
    Were certainly the smoothest.

    And simple U kept far from Q,
    With face demure and moral,
    “Because,” she said, “we are, we two,
    So apt to start a quarrel!”

    But spiteful P said, “Pooh for U!”
    (Which made her feel quite bitter),
    And calling O,L,E to help,
    He really tried to hit her.

    Cried A, “Now E and C, come here!
    If both will aid a minute,
    Good P will join in making peace,
    Or else the mischief’s in it.”

    And smiling E, the ready sprite,
    Said, “Yes, and count me double.”
    This done, sweet peace shone o’er the scene,
    And gone was all the trouble!

    Meanwhile, when U and P made up,
    The Cons’nants look about them,
    And kissed the Vowels, for you see,
    They couldn’t do without them.

    Read aloud story: La Diablesse from Folklore and Legends of Trinidad & Tobago
    Book by Gérard Besson.  I always look forward  to the read aloud as they relax me and stimulate my imaginative juices which puts me in readiness to absorb the day’s lesson.

    We were reminded to keep Howard Gardner’s ‘8 ways of being smart’, multiple intelligence modalities at the forefront of our mind:

    1. Musical-rhythmic and harmonic
    2. Visual-spatial
    3. Academic-Linguistic-verbal
    4. Logical-mathematical
    5. Bodily-kinesthetic
    6. Interpersonal
    7. Intrapersonal
    8. Naturalistic
    9. Existentialist-spiritual (added after 1999)
    10. Teaching-pedagogical (proposed addition in 2016)

    We explored the benefits of literacy to the individual, family, community and the wider society. Literacy helps us negotiate and make informed choices, evaluate situations and circumstances, innovate and advance technologically.  It was stated that literacy gives people the power to heal their lives and achieve their goals.  Those are actualities I subscribe to.  In my estimation information literacy which is the ability to know where and how to access information is of great importance.  Critical literacy which helps a person discern and discriminate information, ask questions and formulate perceptions from interactions with people, media and their environment is essential and beneficial to navigating through life.  Added to those two, quantitative literacy which measures one’s ability to interact with numbers, fill forms and grasp mathematical information, would be my third essential literacy modality.

    We touched on the factors affecting the learner’s reading ability which include the learner’s physical ability, such as, sight, hearing and speech.  The learner’s mental health and their attitude affects the learner’s ability to absorb.  Based on my experience as a student in school, the teacher’s attitude equally affects the learner’s ability to learn.

    The introduction of poetry in a lesson has major benefits as it:

    • reinforces vocabulary and grammar skills
    • supports the building blocks of literacy
    • stimulates learning in a fun way
    • promotes memorization through rhyme and cadence

    We were introduced to the acrostic poem using each letter of our first name:

    Motion and movement keep her balanced

    Alluring but amusing, she makes you laugh what a talent!

    Likeable and loveable if you decide to get close

    Authentic, a true friend and confidante at your side through your best and worse

    Inspiring others by her quest to excel, so stay around her and you can only do well

    Kindhearted loyal friend to ensure you will never see hell

    Adaptable with a resilience to life’s circumstances & tres belle!


  • Journal

    Day 6 Teaching of Reading – Emergent Literacy

    Read aloud poem: Have You ever seen? by Author Unknown dishes up a clever play on words that highlights the complexity and nonsensical somewhat illogical nature of the English Language:

    Have you ever seen a sheet on a river bed?
    Or a single hair from a hammer’s head?
    Has the foot of a mountain any toes?
    And is there a pair of garden hose?

    Does the needle ever wink its eye?
    Why doesn’t the wing of a building fly?
    Can you tickle the ribs of a parasol?
    Or open the trunk of a tree at all?

    Are the teeth of a rake ever going to bite?
    Have the hands of a clock any left or right?
    Can the garden plot be deep and dark?
    And what is the sound of the birch’s bark?

    Read aloud story: The Jumbie of the Silk Cotton Tree from the Book: Folklore and Legends of Trinidad and Tobago  compiled by Gerard A. Besson. Stories folklore and legends were centered around the Silk Cotton tree in various cultures around the world.

    We looked at emergent literacy, a viewpoint attributed to world literacy advocate, New Zealander, Dr, Marie Clay (DBE) (1927 – 2007). Remarkably her research on Emergent Reading Behaviour (1966) and Reading Recovery culminated into her focus on early intervention to encourage learning development in children with disabilities and special needs.  The stages of emergent literacy overlap and develop in the observed sequence:

    1. Emergent/ cue/ selective stage – Look at print and re read from memorization of books read to them
    2. Early reading/ spelling sound stage – Look at words L to R, (beginning and ending letters) to decode patterns
    3. Fluent stage – Say unfamiliar words to decode messages; eye scan multiple words; express their thoughts
    4. Consolidation – Read and develop an interest in books as messages written by someone
    5. Flexibility – Use silent reading, skimming texts, make reading choices based on interesting material

    For me this all ties in with the ideas posited by the cognitive development theorists that place emphasis on using relevant tools and material at each developmental stage of the learner.  The home influence as a precursor and contributor to learning and reading development could not be overemphasized,  as the learner’s environment is a key input in the process of the learner developing reading readiness.  Early intervention is the best foundation!  The following tips were shared:

    • Write with children/ the learner in mind
    • Role play using Reader’s theatre
    • Give the learner 2 sentences to read
    • To build confidence let the learner read material from lower levels. For example a learner in Standard 5 can be given material from Standard 3
    • Encourage the use of fingers to point
    • Get creative.  For example use sandpaper to trace letters
    • Celebrate new knowledge and the learner’s progress
    • Stop focusing the learner on what they are not able to do yet
    • Use material the learner is interested in

    I point when I read and thoroughly enjoy shared reading.  My main takeaway today is that the learner learns best when they are having FUN with a teacher who CELEBRATES them,


  • Journal

    Day 5 Teaching of Reading – The Reading Process

    Read-aloud The Giving Tree by Shei Silverstein presented a stark reality of how mankind draws resources from nature, to depletion without giving back in order to sustain the balance and benefits from a symbiotic relationship.  In one sense it personified the tree as a mother who is ever giving, ever nurturing.  Poem of the day was entitled If – by Rudyard Kipling (1865 -1936). 

    If you can keep your head when all about you
        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
        But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
        Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
        And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
        If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
        And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
        And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
        And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
        To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
        Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
        Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
        If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
        With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
        And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    Kipling wrote Jungle Book and the nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep, which I never realised encapsulated the bullying he experienced as a child in a foster home:

    Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,
    Have you any wool?
    Yes, Sir; yes, Sir; three bags full.
    One for the Master, one for the Dame–
    None for the Little Boy that cries down the lane.

    I read because I can and I because I love to read.  Having been exposed to the reading process its complexity is evident.  As a cognitive, social, developmental, language, affective and physiological process it begins somewhere at birth and finds its end in a constant state of evolution.  The process provides an efferent experience through the provision of new knowledge and an aesthetic experience through its sensory appeal to our emotions.  Therefore it naturally involves decoding using the senses coupled with past and present environmental experiences.  When it came to the pedagogical approach to reading  three models were identified:

    1. In the top down approach the teacher shares about a topic that the learner is familiar with, without breaking down the material into its phonetic components, for example. The teacher reads the story (input) and the student processes the information and forms their own meaning (output).  It reminds me of  ‘comprehension’ activities at elementary school where a series of questions requiring written responses, followed a printed or dictated passage.
    2. The bottom up approach introduces the reading lesson/ story with a focus on deconstructing the written text from the basic unit.  For example the teacher may start by saying, “Let’s talk about dogs” and follow through to, “let’s look at the words (phonemes) we will come across and how they are used within the story,” to, “now let’s read!” In this approach the input is derived from both the teacher’s questioning to stimulate and cue the student, as well as the pupil’s recall of their interaction and experience with the subject.  The output is the meaning the student has derived from the step by step teacher student exchange and the reading lesson material.
    3. The interactive approach is described as a blend of the two approaches using selective elements of each as inputs to the reading process. For example the teacher may extract information from the written text to help the student decode and derive meaning about the material (bottom up) which the learner may have been introduced to before (top down).

    Naturally we explored the theorists behind the reading process. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was most captivating from the point of view that children learn through play and discovery.  As a result the material given to them for learning must be applicable to their developmental stage. The sensorimotor stage named object permanence as a milestone; the preoperational stage cited as a milestone, the emergence of language with perceptive expressions that rejected logic; With learners exhibiting characteristics applicable



  • Journal

    Day 4 Teaching of Reading – Ready or Not

    The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith was an amazing read-aloud!  It certainly wet my appetite to read aloud, twists on children stories that have been staple favourites.  The poem Words added a soothing contrast to the read-aloud story to prepare me for the evening’s lecture.

    One reflective takeaway was that learners learn best when they are READY.  Whether relevant meaningful instruction is given or active participation and practice is encouraged, or modalities such as Reader’s theatre is employed the student will not learn until they are interested and ready.  For different learners being ready has different meanings.  The tactile learner, for example, responds best to the sense of touch; being able to turn the pages or feel different textures or objects related to the lesson stimulates their need for a hands on experience.

    Another key point was that the reading process is complete only when comprehension is attained. Some persons may be able to call the words of a sentence but do not understand the idea or expressed thought that the group of words is meant to convey.

    I am now more aware of the importance of order in a lesson.  Order exists in our sequence of reading from left to right and from top to bottom.  Order helps to orient the learner and create patterns of expectation.  For example this class will not be the same for me if Sister Annetta does not start with a story and/ or a poem as I look forward to this initial engagement before we dive into the lecture.

    Equally important is the material shared with the learner.  It must be something of interest. Males may be more sensory and perceptual learners while females may be more affective learners. A learner’s experience influences their engagement with learning.

    We had to create an alphabet related to our learning. Enjoy!

    A attitude  B books  C call & answer  D draw, dictate  E excitement  F focus  G grasp content  H hear  I inspire, interpret  J join the fun  K knowledge  L listen, love reading  M message, motivate, moral  N new material  O orate  P pace oneself, poetry, prepare  Q quiet place, question  R repeat, relax  S syntax, social process  T talk & tell, translate  U utter, understand  V visualize  W write, wissdom, win  X xenial  Y youth, yes we can read  Z zeal


  • Journal

    Day 3 Teaching of Reading – Everyone is Intelligent

    We were treated to Read Aloud The Wolf and the Lamb as well as the poem Precious Stones by Christina Rosetti.  Our collective contributions were referred to as ‘reciprocal learning’ as our individual varied expressions of thought regarding the class content enriched our altogether learning experience.

    Guided and shared reading is a technique that encourages students to read and follow.  As a mode of transmitting learning teachers should include the use of visuals to encourage the participation of all the senses.  This helps as each student learns differently.

    We looked at the Multiple Intelligence Model by Howard Gardener. It certainly is a concept that empowers all as it helps us discover our multiple intelligences as we assess our strengths and in the words of Thomas Armstrong, “ways of being smart”.

    Assess yourself

    The cone of learning created an aha moment for me as it reinforced the value of learning by doing.  Our remarkable brain relies on cognitive stimulus and processes for recall:

    • 10% of what we read
    • 20% of what we hear
    • 30% of what we see
    • 50% of what we hear & see
    • 70% of what we say and do/ write
    • 90% of what we do

    Further reading on the Cone of Learning by researcher Edgar Dale proved helpful to visually understand what techniques are most helpful to produce active learners.


  • Journal

    Day 2 Teaching of Reading – Literacy

    I love to read aloud!

    Today I learnt that stories are great ways to begin lessons, to connect the teacher with the student, to connect the student with their creative and imaginative self, with the goal to stimulate learning.

    Class began with the story of The Knee High Man by Julius Lester where the theme of self actualization was evident.  Then we decoded reading:

    1. Word Identification
    2. Vocabulary Acquisition
    3. Comprehension

    Here are some more takeaways. Reading and literacy are inextricably bound to each other.  Just as we cannot separate the clouds from the sky, if a person cannot read, functional literacy will be a challenge.  Reading is important not just for ourselves to negotiate our existence in the world, but also to help us become useful contributors within our community and spheres of influence.

    There are many types of literacy such as academic literacy, media literacy, numerical literacy, political, digital and financial literacy, to name a few.  Is it ignorant to postulate that literacy only encompasses the ability to read and write as literacy transcends many facets of one’s human existence?  Assuredly, yes.  As an aside I certainly think that a focus on sexual literacy in schools can help teens make better informed choices as it relates to their sexual behaviours.

    Another valuable nugget from class discussion was that literacy uses language.  For us to express language we utilize phonology (speech sounds), orthography (spelling patterns), morphology (composition/formation of the written word), graphology (shape of the language characters) syntax (grammar rules), and semantics (word meaning).

    Upon reflection I feel fortunate that English is my arterial language as it is riddled with language complexities and exceptions.