Tag: growing readers

Growing Readers: Sight Word Steps

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: Sight Word Steps
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Reading

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Another purchase from Lakeshore Learning. This would be super easy to replicate though just by laminating cardstock and putting puffy paint on the back to prevent slipping.

Reactions

The older kids appreciated practicing their sight words, but the preschoolers seemed a little bit lost. I wound up making modifications based on age. “Can you jump to a word that has the letter T in it?” Teen volunteers needed a bit more direction with this one than I anticipated. I had to demonstrate for a few minutes with the kids around. After that, everyone seemed to have a good time with this one.

Growing Readers: I Spy Bags

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: I Spy Bags
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Playing

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Again, I purchased these Search and Find Alphabet Bags from Lakeshore Learning.

There are tons of homemade tutorials available at these sites: The Homes I Have Made, The Sewer The Caker The Copycat Maker, Kreative Resources, and even a bottle version at Rockabye Butterfly.

Reactions

It should come as no surprise that every time these I Spy Bags make an appearance, there are at least a few kids who plant themselves at that table and refuse to move until they have spied every item in every bag.

Growing Readers: Thumbballs

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: Letter Thumbballs
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Talking

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These are thumbballs that I purchased from S&S Worldwide. I love that they are brightly colored, encourage cooperation, and are for my kinesthetic learners!

Reactions

Kids love this station. I have to make sure that I have an uber-involved teen volunteer to man it, otherwise my kids have been known to take the game a little bit too far. Instructions are to pair up with another kid or parent (or my teen volunteer if no one else is at the station) and roll/toss the ball back and forth. Wherever your thumb lands is the letter and sound you need to identify. With older kids, I also ask them for a word that starts with that letter. I would definitely say that this is one of the most popular stations I’ve ever done.

Growing Readers Revamp!

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It is more than time for an update on how “Growing Readers” is going!

(You can find my first outline of the program available here: Growing Readers Outline.)

Towards the end of December, kids were rushing through the activity stations to try and finish first! After that, I let them take books from the storytime collection to the rug independently. It worked for the first week. The next week, everyone went faster and fought over the pop-up edition of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” I knew that things had to change.

I took a break from “Growing Readers” in January to order more supplies (different literacy stations and activities), to deal with low registration (likely due to flu season), to avoid snowstorms and emergency closings, and to work on tweaking the program. I also spent some time re-training my teen volunteers to be more engaging with the children.

After the races towards the end of the program, I began to think that kids were getting more out of the storytime aspect than the activity stations. Which is totally fine! (And I’m going to take as a giant compliment, right?) The activity stations are supposed to supplement the storytime — not the other way around! I needed to add more to my storytime, and I really wanted to increase the interactivity.

Now, I read two to three books (depending on time), and include two apps on the iPad. I’ll be doing some write-ups on which apps were successful for us and which ones didn’t go over so well.

Which leads me to the activity stations — we only have about twenty minutes for activity stations now, and that seems to be working much, much better because the kids do not have enough time to race through and finish even if they tried. The teens are much better at asking follow-up questions and interacting with the kids. All in all, I made the right decision by working through a re-vamp.

I’ll start the activity stations again next week (Tuesdays, baring complications!), and app reviews as I find the time to write them up properly!

Growing Readers: Sound Trains

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: Sound Trains
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Talking

This was a great activity set; with trains that had the beginning letters on them and cards to match up. Kids would pick a train and try and find the cards that matched up with their train. Again, purchased from Lakeshore Learning.

Reactions

At this table, I saw a lot of one-on-one time with the teen volunteer staffing the station. She patiently helped the kids sound out their words and match up the letters. I cannot stress the importance of having teen volunteers that are trained and *like* children in a situation like this.

Growing Readers: Mystery Box

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: Mystery Box
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Playing

This is a fun game where kids stick their hand in the box, identify the object, and match it to an alphabet game board. This was purchased at Lakeshore Learning.

Reactions

This table was the best co-operative play that I’ve seen in the storytime these first two weeks. Littler kids pulled out the objects and their older siblings helped them match it to the letter it belonged to. I love these object games since it’s such a great tactile experience for the kids. There’s plush items, plastic items, etc. It’s great!

Growing Readers: Alphabet Puzzles

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: Alphabet Puzzles
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Playing

At this table, I put out all 26 puzzles and mixed up the letters. Kids and parents worked together to sort them out again. Puzzles were purchased at Lakeshore Learning.

Reactions

This table was especially nice because I had a lot of parent/child interaction here. Parents were really sounding out letters to help their kids match up the puzzle pieces correctly. Also, I thought this was a great low-key activity compared to some of our more high-energy tables!

Growing Readers: Alphabet Match

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: Alphabet Sort & Match
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Reading

At this table, we had sets of magnetic letters (both uppercase and lowercase) that the kids matched to laminated worksheets. The magnetic letters were purchased at Lakeshore Learning, and I found the worksheets online at a cross-stitch website.

Reactions

This was a super popular table. The kids really enjoyed identifying the letters and sorting them on the sheets. Also, it must be said, they loved building magnetic letter towers as well. The letters were a great purchase, one that I will definitely be using with cookie sheets for other activities.

Growing Readers: Tracing Letters

growingreaderspngAt “Growing Readers” storytime, I lead a group storytime filled with literacy activities for the first half hour of the program. Afterwards, the kids go to activity tables staffed by teen volunteers to play and do more activities. Each storytime has five different activity tables. I spend my time floating around and talking to parents/caregivers about early literacy. Through the table activities (and my guidance), I hope that parents learn tips on how to work with their young readers and how literacy is so much more than just reading. The kids just see the activities as fun!

Table Activity: Tracing Letters
Every Child Ready to Read Skill: Writing

At this table, kids were able to work on writing by tracing the guide letters. These letters were purchased at Lakeshore Learning and are for use with dry-erase markers.

Reactions

The kids enjoyed the letters and working on their writing skills. I had one boy who spent the whole time at this table, determined to do every single letter.

Growing Readers Outline

Apologies, I think this is the longest post I’ve ever written here!

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Overview

The idea from “Growing Readers” came originally from Hi Miss Julie and her Beginning Reader Storytime. I began writing a grant for the program shortly after reading her post, with the idea that I would rely heavily on Every Child Ready to Read’s five practices to plan the program if I received the grant. In the summary below, I’ve added in which ECRR practice I think the activity supports.

Growing Readers Outline

Name Tags (Write)
As kids come into the library and check in, I get them started on doing their nametags. All of our programs at my library are advertised at starting on the hour, but we hold patrons upstairs until five minutes after. This works marvelously well at cutting down on late-comers and being able to start as a group. (Not perfectly, mind you!) I decided to have nametags because it encourages them to practice writing their names — names are a great way to start writing!

Welcome (Talk/Sing)
Once we’re in the storytime room, I do my typical, “Good afternoon, everyone! My name is Miss Katie if you don’t know me. What’s your name?” and then let the kids either tell me their names or hold up their name tags. We sing “Clap and Sing Hello!,” like I do at every storytime. Afterwards, I’ve been asking get-to-know you questions. For letter L, when we read “The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza,” I asked everyone what their favorite pizza topping is. Last week, since it was Halloween, I asked them what they were dressing up as. Each kid gets a moment to shine and get comfortable.

Mail Envelope (Talk/Read)
This WONDERFUL idea came from Youth Services Shout-Out, Wisconsin’s wonderful YS collaborative blog, where Amanda Struckmeyer guest-posted about using mail to introduce her storytime themes. Instead of using a brand-new flannelboard every week, I’ve been re-using my Letter Puzzles. So far, after three weeks, the kids are still squealing when I pull out mail addressed to them. Like Amanda, I read them the addresses that I write and I’ve been using my collection of outdated stamps (I’m still finding $0.23 stamps in my house!!) to give the letters some authenticity. Inside of the the envelope, I write a message and include the Letter Puzzle pieces. We put the puzzle together on the flannelboard and the kids announce the letter of the day!

Letter Tubs (Talk)

These Teaching Tubs from Lakeshore Learning are my absolute favorite thing that I’ve purchased for Growing Readers. (I love all the literacy activities and supplies, but these tubs are mostly for me to use, so that’s why they’re my favorites!) I use these tubs as vocabulary builders, and to introduce the sound of the letter. I let the kids guess what I’m holding and re-enforce, “Yes, it’s a sun! S-s-sun.”

Word Cloud (Write/Talk)
Then, after all of that, we build a word cloud together. I let the kids tell me what words to write and I do a lot of talking, “Yes, lake starts with l. L-a-k-e. That’s how we spell lake! Do we have a big lake nearby?” This is my favorite part of storytime because the kids come up with GREAT words and I get right down on the rug next to them to do the writing. I love when they remember the names of their Growing Reader friends and tell me to write their names down. We had great conversations about capital and lowercase letters, rhyming words, and sounds at the word cloud. After the storytime, I hang it up in the room. I’ve also gotten a lot of parents who ask what the word cloud is and how they can go to *that* program with their kids.

Book (Read)
Then comes the book part! At this point, the kids are ready to listen since they’ve been all talked out from the opening. At this point in the program, I’m about at the fifteen/twenty minute mark. I make sure to introduce the book by saying the title and author. I remind the kids to keep an eye out for any Letter of the Day words to add to our word cloud. This past week, I read “Scaredy Squirrel” with the kids. I love this book! After the book, we added “Scaredy Squirrel,” “shark,” and “spider” to the word cloud. Since the kids brought up “shark,” I wound up transitioning straight to “Baby Shark.”

Rhyme/Song (Talk/Sing)
I do a quick rhyme/song, something to bring us back together as a group. I’ve done “Who Stole the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?” and “Baby Shark” so far. This is the one area that I can trim down if I need to for time. I try to end the first portion of the program right at the thirty minute mark.

After that, it’s time for the table activities to begin. And you’ll read more about those in the coming weeks!

Any questions? Feel free to send me an email if you want to know more or drop a comment!