This is a guest blog post from first-grade teacher Lyssa Sahadevan. If you like what you read here, you can see more of Lyssa's posts here, or check out her own blog here!
A few years ago, I was working with another teacher in my classroom when she pulled over one of my beginning readers. He was reading from his “just right book.” She leaned over and said, “Be sure to look at the words when you read.” He smiled his biggest smile and said, “Oh, I never look at the words when I read.” It was early in first grade and we knew we had our work cut out for us!
We quickly began showing him how to track print and explaining the importance in doing so. We told him by keeping our eyes on the words and moving from left to right, we can focus on the words and their sounds. It also happens to be a kinetic process that sets the foundation for all reading. As adults, we do not remember being taught to read from left to right, we just do. For some students, they need a little extra practice. For students who speak another language, this concept might be entirely new for them.
Here are three fun ways to track print!1. Reading Finger
It sounds silly, but this free, ready to use resource is our first and favorite tool! The physical motion of pointing benefits the reader by helping him/her focus on the letters and sounds, left to right directionality, and keeping their place as they read. Another bonus is that it is always handy!2. The Eyes Have It!
Have you seen these eyes? They were just what one of our readers needed! They slip the plastic eyes on their pointer finger and point as they read. It is fun and the kids love them!3. Pointers
By far one of the best investments I have made as an early childhood educator are pointers. Pointers can be made of anything! My collection includes drink stirrers, pencils with ornamental erasers, and popsicle sticks with stickers on the tips. These pointers are all pretty easy to come by and the kids love them!
No matter what tools you use to help readers track print, I think the key is keeping it fun! How do you keep it fun in your early childhood classroom?
Lyssa Sahadevan is a first-grade teacher in Marietta, GA. She loves reader's and writer's workshop, is a former Teacher of the Year, and shares ideas at www.mymommyreads.com.
To download an information sheet with key features about Zoozoo Animal World, which contains the books shown in this post, click the image below.