Reading and Writing

Reading and Writing

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Pencil Trio MiniReading

Like any skill, the only way to become a better reader is to practice.  While time is provided during school for reading, it is not enough for students to reach their highest potential.  It is very important that they read EVERY NIGHT at home as well.  Please encourage your child to read for at least fifteen minutes every night.  With your help, you child will steadily improve his/her reading skills.

How can you help your child learn to read?

Set aside time to read every day and take turns.Ask your child to read to you. A simple book is best for independent reading. (This means your child can read 95% of the words in the book without your help. Use the five finger test to help your child find a book that is just right.)
The Five Finger Test:
Open the book in the middle.
  1. Start reading at the top of the page.
  2. Put up one finger for each word you don't know or can't read without help.
  3. Read to the end of the page.
  4. If you have five fingers up at the end of the page, the book is too hard to read by yourself. (Wave bye-bye and put it back on the shelf.)
Then it's your turn. Read a harder book to your child. Have your child sit next to you so he can see the words as you read. (This will help your child learn new words.)Learning to read takes place on a continuum, so experts recommend that you read to your child 20 minutes a day.Reading every day is part of The Daily 5:
  1. Read to self
  2. Read to someone
  3. Listen to reading
  4. Work on writing
  5. Word work
What does this look like in the classroom and at home?
  • The child reads a simple book by himself. (Silent reading is #1 Read to self. Reading aloud is #2 Read to someone.)
  • The adult reads a harder book to the child. (#3 Listen to reading.)
  • There are writing materials available for the child to use. (#4 Work on writing).
  • After the adult points out new words and talks about the letters and sounds, the child plays phonics/word games and adds new words to his "word book." (#5 Word Work).
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How can I help my child choose books that are just right for his/her reading level?

Here is a fantastic website with books that have been levelled by Fountas and Pinnell, the authors of many books about guided reading.  Third graders often fall somewhere between levels L and P on the Fountas and Pinnell scale.  You might notice that some of the books your child is reading in class have a level letter on the spine.  This level can help you choose "just right" books for your child.

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Pencil Trio MiniWriting

The 6 Traits of Writing are:

  • Ideas
  • Organization
  • Voice
  • Word Choice
  • Sentence Fluency
  • Conventions
I like to teach with the six traits because this is how I write! I start with ideas, and then I organize them. Once I have a plan, I begin to write. I say things the way I want to say them, with my voice. I choose words and make the sentences flow. Then I clean it up by focusing on the conventions (grammar, punctuation and spelling). I work in this order, so that ideas come first and conventions are last. ·         I use this order when I revise and when I teach writing to children. Why focus on the punctuation and spelling if the ideas don't work or the organization is flawed? First things first!
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