• 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.


  • Journal

    Day 16 Teaching of Reading – Assessment & Classroom Instruction

    Read aloud Poem: Abu Ben Adhemby Leigh Hunt is a poem that encourages one to understand that to love God is to love your neighbour.  This french poem has been included here for your enjoyment

    Abou Ben Adhem

    Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
    Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
    And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
    Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
    An angel writing in a book of gold:—
    Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
    And to the presence in the room he said,
    “What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
    And with a look made of all sweet accord,
    Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
    “And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
    Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
    But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
    Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

    The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
    It came again with a great wakening light,
    And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
    And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

    Read aloud story: Brer Turtle Helps Out is an African American tale with the message do unto others what you would like them to do to you.

    As assessments are necessary to assess learning we learnt that they should not be ad hoc but rather systematic and purposeful evaluations that are formal and informal.  It provides a wholistic gauge to inform at what stage is the learner.

    They are helpful to inform action plans/ scheme of works that can be forwarded to a teacher at the next level to help the new teacher know areas of weakness that need attention.  Assessments lay the foundation to build upon for the teacher to find creative means and ways of overcoming any learning hurdles and difficulties which may hamper the introduction of a new lesson.

    According to my lecturer Sister Annetta, “if there is no learning there is no teaching”.



  • Journal

    Day 18 Teaching of Reading – QAR Strategy

    We reviewed QAR and its four (4) ways to find an answer:

    1. Knowledge Level
    2. Comprehension Level
    3. Author to Analyse
    4. Synthesis (there are no value judgements.; as long as the response is logical the learner should be giving credit for it)

    The benefit of graphic organizers were also shared with us to help the students organize their thoughts. For example we created a star and labelled each point of inquiry as follows:

    1. Who are the characters?
    2. What?
    3. When?
    4. Why?
    5. How?
    6. Where?

    Below are two examples of a Graphic Organizer derived from:

    Agee, A. (1999). Animals at Work. Easy Strategies and Mini-Lessons That Build Content Area Reading Skills.


    We also looked at word maps in the form of Venn Diagrams that can help students with their vocabulary development.

    For me the cinquain summary was the highlight of the evening where we were asked to summarize the Day’s lesson.

    • Line One – 1 word
    • Line Two – 2 words describing Line One
    • Line Three – 3 action verbs
    • Line Four – 2 words related to Line One & 2 words related to Line Two
    • Line Five – synonym for Line One

    My Cinquain Summary:

    • Strategy
    • Helpful. Content.
    • Understand; think; recall
    • Reading; techniques; Science; Math
    • Roadmap


  • Journal

    Day 11 Teaching of Reading – Reading Strategies DRTA, QAR, SQ3R, SQ5R

    Read aloud poem: Solomon Grundy

    The Read aloud story had a focus on preservation of our air.

    DRTA Reading Strategy (Russell Stauffer) – Directing the Reading Thinking Activity

    Teacher decides on three parts of the book where the student would be encouraged to think and formulates two fact related questions for each marked stop and a question that evokes the student’s thinking. In a nutshell the student is required to preview, predict, read then affirm/ disaffirm their predictions.

    Teacher invites the students to examine the cover and think about what the book is about and then share their ideas.  No idea is rejected or judged.  The teacher begins to read the passage up until the first planned stop.  At this point the student is asked whether the predictions they made before the passage was read, aligned with their current thoughts after the passage was read.  To guide their responses, the students are asked the three prepared questions to stimulate discussion.  This process is repeated at each of the three reading junctures.  The activity helps the student become active in the reading process, as it promotes independent reading, improves the student’s comprehension and develops their ability to gauge their perceptive skills. The selection of exciting reading material for this exercise motivates the student.

    We also looked at the SQR3 Reading Strategy and the QAR Strategy where students are required to think deeply and locate the answers in the passage or text and others from their own experience.



  • Journal

    Day 13 Teaching of Reading – Bloom’s Taxonomy and Strategies

    Read aloud poem: Solomon Grundy

    The Read aloud story had a focus on preservation of our air.

    As we delved deeper into using Bloom’s Taxonomy, the recognition of types of questioning became more readily identifiable as we formulated each type of question after reading different passages.  We also looked at pictures and formulated questions for each level.

    Wee were introduced to   m  e  t  a  c  o  g  n  i  t  i  o  n  which harnesses the idea that we must be able to self examine and become inner aware of ourselves as thinking and learning beings.  We were asked to brainstorm and write the words which readily came to mind in an exercise called word splash. I present my words below:


    We created a visual tool that can be utilized to get the learner thinking about what is fact and what is opinion.  we also revisited SQ3R. This reading comprehension methodology is designed to promote retention and recall.

    • Survey
    • Question by employing the five whys: who? what? when? where? why?
    • Read for a sense of the material and read for relevance by making notes
    • Recall/ Recite and summarize the material into key points
    • Review the material and ask deeper questions



  • Journal

    Day 12 Teaching of Reading – Comprehension

    Read aloud poem: Blossoms by Frank Dempster Sherman (May 6, 1930 – September 19, 1916) .  If you love the Pouis tree you would enjoy the poet’s description of the life of their blossoms as they fly and dance and disappear…

    Read aloud story: The Fisherman and His Wife by Shirley C. Raines and Rebecca Isbell. While the version read at class was short, and easy to follow there are many published versions of this German fairytale.

    The pitfalls of greed resulting in discontentment and the devaluation of close relationships was the central theme of the story.  

    We had an invaluable lesson in pedagogical practice for teaching comprehension skills as we went through many short stories and pictorial examples to help us experience the learner’s process through the teacher’s application of the different skill sets.  Comprehension skills are vital to prepare the learner to make informed choices to navigate life.  The skill components explored to construct meaning were the:

    • literal – recall, sequencing, main idea identification
    • interpretive/ inferential – making generalizations from interpretation
    • critical – identifying fact and opinion, real and unreal, bias and propaganda
    • creative – creating time, events, characters and dialogue through drawing, painting and drama

    I enjoyed predicting outcomes, summarizing information and drawing conclusions as an expression of the interpretive skill of comprehension.  We  touched on figurative language and the use of context clues to assist the learner to grasp the skill.

    Training children to focus on fact helps them make informed choices where the media competes for the mind’s attention.  This skill helps the learner to assess what they read, see and hear,  identify literary devices that may be used to persuade us, which can ultimately influence product and people choices in everyday life, even though the information presented may not be entirely true.

    The creative skill  resonated with me the most as it reminded me of Jean Piaget’s  constructivist theory of discovery through engagement. The teacher may ask the children to create a drama through dialogue or invite the learner to change the beginning, middle or the end of the story.  This stimulates their imagination as they combine their ideas and experience with the material to create new expressed thought.

    This lesson helped me understand the value of context clues in a piece of writing, whether it be through the use of synonyms, experience, direct explanations and familiar expressions and cultural sayings.

    We looked at Bloom’s taxonomy where the learner is introduced to a methodical way of breaking down the reading material through asking questions that start off on a basic level, then grow more complexed with each question.  The following five questions were looked at in a variety of passages.  We were also given sentences and asked to identify the relevant question that would provoke the response.  I found a site that gave meaningful examples of how the questions can be posed to the learner.

    The  levels of questioning and the type of responses solicited follow:

    1. Knowledge – lower level factual responses
    2. Comprehension – lower level factual responses
    3. Application – higher level interpretive responses
    4. Analysis – higher level demonstrative and experiential responses
    5. Synthesis – higher level  creative responses
    6. Evaluation – higher level judgmental responses



  • 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!