• Journal

    Day 23 Teaching of Reading – Recap

    Read aloud poem: A Boy and His Dad by Edgar Guest.

    Read aloud story: Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson

    We were reminded that the struggling reader reads word by word and not sentence by sentence.  We ourselves are to monitor our metacognition (own knowledge).

    Comprehension Strategies

    Cause and Effect

    Fact and Opinion



    Visual Posters

    Compare and Contrast

    Make Generalizations

    Problem and Solution


    Do not call on a child who has difficulty reading in Round Robin. Readers Theatre is a better strategy to employ as the lines are fewer and the student has the opportunity to familiarize himself or herself before their turn to read aloud.

    We also looked at the cycle of failure where the child lacks empowerment, expects failure, is labelled and then drops out as they self label.  Our role is to refocus them on the positive.

    We were asked to write a letter reviewing what we had done at class.

    Dear John,

    I’m happy you asked me to think of strategies to assist our adult learners.  The strategies for struggling readers can be applied to the adult learning class to empower them, build their self esteem and prevent them from shutting down and dropping out.

    Let’s try to do some Readers Theatre with them as that requires them to share the reading of few sentences at a time.  You know they love a little drama.  From the same material let’s do a cloze passage and leave out words for them to fill in.  That would stimulate their recall and writing skill.

    To end off we can split them into three groups with three (3) sentence cards and have them put them in sequential order.  And of course we shall clap and celebrate all of them for their efforts and progress.

    Your Friend & Colleague



  • Journal

    Day 21 Teaching of Reading – Assessments

    Observation is an assessment tool and oral reading is the measurement analysis.

    We discussed the Tracey Jamieson Rule of Thumb, that we don’t have to teach everything in emergent literacy stages as children do not come to us empty.

    We also looked at the benefits of a Balanced Reading Program and what it should be comprised of.  It covers exposure to different genres of literature to expose the learner to different literary styles.  It enriches the learner’s vocabulary and contextual experience.  Exposure to different reading strategies, such as peer reading, guided reading and shared reading allow the learner to participate and share their knowledge with others, that can also help others.

    My Balanced Reading Alphabet

    Aloud Balanced Creativity Demonstrate Emergent
    Fun Guided Heart Independent Joy
    Kinesthetic Literature Metacognition Narrator Olfactory
    Prioritize QAR Read Share Teach
    Understanding Vocabulary Write Xray Yes



  • Journal

    Day 20 Teaching of Reading – Reading & Literature

    Read aloud story: Tyler’s Trip to the Library

    We explored Fairy Tales vs Folk Tales,  Fairy Tales play on the imagination whereas Folk Tales have less of an imaginary element. Teaching the students literary terms helped to introduce them to the world of literature.  They should be able to tell mood, points of view, the plot, the narrator’s voice and character’s voices, to name a few.

    We were encouraged to read a text approximately four (4) times. Each time the story is read the student should be prompted on each turn as follows:

    1. Allow the student to listen for pleasure
    2. Encourage the student to pay attention and have knowledge of the outcome of the story
    3. Listen for a change in plot or story structure
    4. Listen with confidence and complete comprehension of the story

    A strategy to employ would be to have the children tell the story in their own words.

    Points shared for writing children’s stories:

    • Limit the use of flashback
    • Reveal action quickly
    • Point out the message


  • Journal

    Day 19 Teaching of Reading – Literature

    Read aloud poem: Matilda by Hilaire Belloc:

    Matilda (1907)

    Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
    It made one Gasp and Stretch one’s Eyes;
    Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
    Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
    Attempted to Believe Matilda:
    The effort very nearly killed her,
    And would have done so, had not She
    Discovered this Infirmity.
    For once, towards the Close of Day,
    Matilda, growing tired of play,
    And finding she was left alone,
    Went tiptoe to the Telephone
    And summoned the Immediate Aid
    Of London’s Noble Fire-Brigade.
    Within an hour the Gallant Band
    Were pouring in on every hand,
    From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow
    With Courage high and Hearts a-glow
    They galloped, roaring through the Town
    ‘Matilda’s House is Burning Down!’
    Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
    Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
    They ran their ladders through a score
    Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
    And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
    The Pictures up and down the House,
    Until Matilda’s Aunt succeeded
    In showing them they were not needed;
    And even then she had to pay
    To get the Men to go away!

    It happened that a few Weeks later
    Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
    To see that Interesting Play
    The Second Mrs Tanqueray.
    She had refused to take her Niece
    To hear this Entertaining Piece:
    A Deprivation Just and Wise
    To Punish her for Telling Lies.
    That Night a Fire did break out-
    You should have heard Matilda Shout!
    You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
    And throw the window up and call
    To People passing in the Street-
    (The rapidly increasing Heat
    Encouraging her to obtain
    Their confidence)-but all in vain!
    For every time She shouted ‘Fire!’
    They only answered ‘Little Liar’!
    And therefore when her Aunt returned,
    Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

    We were encouraged to write with children in mind and make the stories believable.  Where illustrations are used they must strengthen the story to help the reader absorb the language;

    Sister underscored the importance of exposing children to ‘classics’ as required reading.

    We looked at the different genres of writing:

    1. Historical Fiction – set in a period at least 30 years in the past.  Though the setting may e imaginary the facts must be accurate to connect the reader to their heritage
    2. Traditional Literature – fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables, Legends (monster stories), Realistic Tales, Beast Tales (where animals are characters), myths
    3.  Modern Fantasy – time travel; magical things with believable characters
    4. Picture Books – counting books; wordless
    5. Picture Story Books
    6. Contemporary Realistic Fiction
    7. Biographies – complete; simplified; autobiography
    8. Informational Books – texts (accurate about things in the universe; material that is verifiable)
    9. Poetry – Narrative, Limerick, Haiku, Free Verse

    The following Book Report format was shared:

    • Title
    • Publisher
    • Illustrator
    • Genre/ Format
    • Teaching Ideas



  • Journal

    Day 17 Teaching of Reading – Readability Graphs

    Read aloud poem: A Tragic Story by William Makepeace is an amusing account of a gentleman who is frustrated at not being able to change something about himself – move his ‘pig tails’ from the back of his head to somewhere else more pleasing to him.  He was naturally unsuccessful.  Th poem reminds me about the Serenity prayer that goes like this:

    ” God, grant me the serenity

    to accept the things I cannot change,

    courage to change the things I can,

    and wisdom to know the difference.”

    We did a readability graph exercise  where we found the average number of syllables and the average sentences to determine the age appropriateness of a passage.



  • Journal

    Day 15 Teaching of Reading – Study Skills

    Read Aloud poem: If by Rudyard Kipling

    This is a beautiful rendition of aspirations that we as humans have.

    Read aloud story: The Elephant and the Bees by Dr. Margaret Read Mac Donald.

    The story explained in a fun tale how the elephants noses grew long and why bees live in dark places that seem to resemble an elephants trunk

    We learnt about the 7 study skills which included the ability to use and interpret maps and charts and graphs


  • 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 14 Teaching of Reading – Vocabulary Development

    Read aloud poem: Rain by Ebenezer Joy.  This poem resonates with my love of rainy days as it characterizes the liquid wonder through metaphoric rhythms as celebrates its occurrence as a fun and exhilarating experience, beckoning moments of joy and laughter for the listener.

    Ebenezer Jones (1820–1860)

    MORE than the wind, more than the snow,
    More than the sunshine, I love rain:
    Whether it droppeth soft and low,
    Whether it rusheth amain.

    Dark as the night it spreadeth its wings, 5
    Slow and silently, up on the hills;
    Then sweeps o’er the vale, like a steed that springs
    From the grasp of a thousand wills.

    Swift sweeps under heaven the raven’s flight;
    And the land and the lakes and the main 10
    Lie belted beneath with steel-bright light,
    The light of the swift-rushing rain.

    On evenings of summer, when sunlight is low,
    Soft the rain falls from opal-hued skies:
    And the flowers the most delicate summer can show 15
    Are not stirred by its gentle surprise.

    It falls on the pools, and no wrinkling it makes,
    But touching melts in, like the smile
    That sinks in the face of a dreamer, but breaks
    Not the calm of his dream’s happy wile. 20

    The grass rises up as it falls on the meads,
    The bird softlier sings in his bower,
    And the circles of gnats circle on like winged seeds
    Through the soft sunny lines of the shower.

    Read aloud story: The Sticky Sticky Pine.  The Japanese story  presented an admonition to abusers of the symbiotic relationship mankind should enjoy with nature, allowing time to grow and heal; instead of applying destructive habits and techniques that result in human harm from nature’s demise.  The protagonist received a punishment of being tied up in a sap cocoon for breaking the tree’s branches in the hope of obtaining money.  The story reminds me of our quest for development and material advancement with oft times little respect for maintaining the harmony in nature.

    We were encouraged to make a poster to conceptualize our learnings which I share below:

    We were reminded that teaching reading required the implementation of creative strategies that were carefully planned and executed.  Common pitfalls to be avoided are asking the learner to:

    • look up the word to retrieve the meaning
    • memorize the word and its definition
    • apply context to its usage
    • organize their thoughts by using the word in a sentence

    Surely these may work well for an advanced learner or a Toastmaster’s meeting but the employ of creative and innovative pedagogy yields more fruitful results:

    1. Bold integration with previous knowledge and experiences
    2. Active engagement through discussion, reading and writing material
    3. Repetition
    4. Relationship to other words
    5. Exposure to the word through visual tools & guided independent reading

    Some useful teaching strategies were discussed and applied.

    Semantic maps provide visual and or pictorial representations to assist the learner to connect the word through meaningful engagement.  Either a web, Venn or fishbone diagram can help visually organize and orient the learner to embrace and understand the vocabulary being introduced.  The idea is to situate the new word for learning in a central or prominent position on the chart.  Of course involving the learner in the activity by way of providing ideas or drawing and writing create a positive immersive environment.  In my example below the word being introduced is PRECIPITATION.  The words around help connect the learner to the idea and the different representations of precipitation.

    Concept maps are similar. Here is my concept map for the word HAPPY where synonyms are arranged around the word under discussion to provide expanded meanings for the word HAPPY:


    The introduction of syllabication to explain the phonetic composition of words is best introduced with the learner’s name through beats.  Thereafter words can be introduced and categorized by syllable division  Here is my name written using the IPA phonetic alphabet:

    Other teaching strategies for vocabulary development include word trees, word connect and word walls.