Answering questions and exploring Explode the Code:
Explode the Code books come in sets:
Get Ready, Get Set, Go for The Code
|Explode The Code
The K group (The Earthworms) are working with Paul on a combination of group and teacher led board work with the A-C books with a few already exploring book 1. Many of the kids in Julie and Paul’s class last year had a chance to work with books A-C already, however they were done independently and not as larger lessons with the entire group. While Explode the Code can be done independently, I believe that so much more is gleaned from their content when we work together to come up with lists of words that go with the sounds as a whole language approach, read books that go with the current sound we’re working with, and spending time on phonetic awareness, which will lead to the better ability to blend sounds into words. Also, feeling confident in letter formation and fine motor skill development helps the flow when the sounds turn into words, which turn into sentences, that become stories.
The first graders (The Tigers – which also includes the 2nd Graders) started this year with book number 1 and it feels right on target for their literacy development. We also do this as group lessons, which includes focusing on word families such as (at), (an), (in) etc. They are really getting this way of looking at the English language down, which helps spelling because they can see the patterns and can guess ahead of time what the spelling is due to the word family they are working with. The second graders had not previously been exposed to book 1, so they flew through the first book and they have already moved on to book 11/2, which includes writing sentences, decoding sentences and rearranging mixed up sentences.
We also have specific Explode the Code testing materials that are in my experience quite accurate. The pages are just like the pages in their Explode the Code books so it doesn’t seem any different then just working out a page but it gives us a gage for who is ready to move to the next set of books.
Developmentally, kids typically start really unraveling the reading code mid-1st grade year. Of course there are exceptions either way and some read when they are four and others when they are eight but in the history of all my classes, that is when it really begins to unfold – even though the push and current trend is for kids to read by the end of kindergarten.
This is also not the only language arts portion of the class, which includes journaling (drawing and writing captions for those drawings or writing complete stories for the kids who are already reading) as well as students reading early reader books to the teachers (we use the BOB books) to help evaluate where everyone stands using the whole language perspective. We read aloud to the group, read the instructions in our Explode the Codes as well as in our Everyday math books. Language is all around us and we are driven to learn to decode it.
I would like the Explode the Code books to stay at school as reference materials for the kids and as a gage for Paul and I to see where everyone is and how they progress through the year(s.)
Feeling successful is a major part of learning to read. It is one of the most amazing things to watch happen. I feel like I have a good pulse of the class and of where the kids stand in regards to their reading/writing development and just when they need some extra time to explore and when they are ready to be pushed onto the next level. It’s a fine line but we aim to not only grow kids who can read but to grow kids who love to read.