Posts from the ‘reading’ Category

Desks are so Overrated

Reading is probably my very favorite thing to do. I feel like I have snuck books around all my life:  in class, the movies, the bathtub, the shower, at the park (where I was told to “go play and stop reading for crying-out-loud”).

This is most likely one of the reasons I detest forcing young children to sit down and “learn to read”. Many kids just fall into it quickly and at a young age but others need more time, time without pressure, time with finding the enjoyment that books are, hanging out with friends on the carpet, savoring books together, having one child read while the others follow along, at their pace, in their time reference of reading excitement.

This has to be the biggest struggle for parents.  We are not a typical school, we lie outside the prescribed ways of “teaching”.  But parents get scared.  It’s understandable.  Everything you hear or read is if your child isn’t reading in kindergarten then they are behind forever.  And possibly if they are in public school where nearly everything is in print, this may be the case. But here, in this classroom (or outside of the classroom), if your child stays with us from K-2nd grade, they will not just be readers that can sound out words to be on track, they will be lovers of language, obsessive book worms, falling into story and rolling around in it. The pressure is off.

There are the kids who have special circumstances going on for them and they often need another course of action, which includes tools that help them past the road blocks that are between them and the written word.  But most of the time, kids just need hands on experience with print, shared experiences with print, writing as much as reading, since many kids learn to read by learning to sound out and write words, they need a reason to need it such as wanting to put their Lego set together and needing to be able to read the directions. This need is something that always arises naturally.

The drive for knowledge and understanding is so instinctual, that by seven they are digging into the written word with all they’ve got.  I know our class incites the love of reading, books and the written word.  Almost all of the kids who have gone through my class and didn’t read until late 1st grade or early 2nd grade, were reading large novels by the summer of their second grade year and when we’d go to the park, they would tote their books with them, when we had a few minutes between projects, they were on the carpet with their beloved books, many days I have had my older kids walk in the door for school and I can’t see their face past the book they are reading, while walking and putting away their lunch boxes.

So let’s all try to think about reading in a different way; an exploration, a fascination, a wonderment, a need to know, seeing their friends grasp onto the love of it, seeing us adults read and read not only to them but to ourselves, letting them come to it with passion and want.  Nothing is more interesting to my kids than the books that I am reading laying on my desk.  They want to know what I know, see what I see, hear the stories that make me feel passionate about reading.

We went to the park on Thursday and I couldn’t stop thinking about the books I’ve been reading, so I grabbed some favorite books, some blankets in the backpack and just wanted to see what would happen.  I laid it all out and sat down in the sun.  The kids began to wander over and ask what was going on. And then a line formed to read with me.  We basked in the sun and read and read and read.  The kids read to me.  They read to each other.  They helped each other with words they didn’t know.  They begged to be next.  They were proud.  They were happy.  They were choosing to read over running around the playground acting out stories they already know and love.

Reading is the best. Especially while laying in the grass, in the sun, relaxed, enjoying the stories. You can see us in our natural element here…


Literature Circles

We all have the same book. We have pointers to follow along. Sometimes I read and they follow. Sometimes they take turns reading and we follow each other. Sometimes we all read out loud at once. We are readers. Making sounds. Blending sounds. Identifying site words. Taking cues from the pictures. Taking cues from each other. Making sense of punctuation. Following the story line. Talking about the story. Communing around literature. Being serious. Having fun. Being readers.











Thank you Terry for catching this with the camera.

Sox the Fox – A Reading by Chase

The kids love to read to each other, the other classes and pretty much anyone who will listen. All different levels of readers take part in this practice.  Adah loves to read to the preschool classes and this mostly consists of telling the stories she has created in her journals.  Alex, Chase and Izzy are enjoying reading easy reader books to our class.  Vega reads long books to the other kids in the class during independent reading time.  Charlie reads to one or two kids at other times during the day.  We love books.  And isn’t that the point.

Charlie Reads

It doesn’t always come easy but boy is it worth the work and the wait.

(This video actually ends at 2:40 minutes – not sure why it keeps going with the noise.  Beware.  I’ll try to fix it tomorrow.)

Iris Reads

Iris reads “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Trout” to the Vashon Island Classroom:

Kailee and Iris Read to the Seniors at Daystar

Reading, Writing, Processing Feelings

Charlie had just read Go, Dog, Go cover to cover but he read a bit to me so I could record him for prosperity.

Kailee sounds out her topic writing.  The topic this day was “what is your favorite thing.”  My hand must have been over the microphone in part of this one.  Also some processing going on in this one.

Kailee reads hers once she is done with her first draft.

Asher also processes here.  His first draft.

Iris reads her topic, also her first draft.

The Museum of Flight

To further pursue our research projects, we decided to try and “see” as many of the topics as possible and our first stop was The Concorde, Jacob’s research topic.  We LOVE The Museum of Flight.

As we were walking away from this large black plane in the above photo, Jocob, with a tremble in his voice, said, “That airplane is so beautiful, it makes me want to cry.”  Somebody send this kid to aeronautical school already!  Jana?  Jim?  Wanna take someone under your wing?

We also were able to see the Amelia Earhart exhibit, which everyone just loved, especially the piece of her airplane they have on exhibit. 


And… Thank you Amelia for paving the way for women in flight and in fight for more credibility and respect.  You are still making an impact today as was so very evident on the faces of my 5, 6 and 7 year-olds.  Dreaming and achieving more every day…

Research Projects

A few weeks ago we decided that we were going to do  research projects on topics of our choice.  First we talked about how we could go about doing this and made a list.

After we decided what we wanted to study and who we might like to work with, we made a list of questions we wanted to find out about our topics.

We kept a running record of what we did.

Everyone decided to make diaromas to go with their written reports.  Everyone was so engaged and focused.  Sometimes I’m so surprised by their intensity.

Sam – Civil War

Jacob – The Concorde

Vega – Ponies

Iris – Tigers

Alex – Snakes

Rohan – Volcanoes

Charlie/Beck – Ancient Egypt

Isaac/Asher – Medieval Castles

Amalie – Arctic Foxes

Kailee – Ballet

Run Away Readers

More reading.  Each week, each day, more words, more books, more reader’s born.

Lately Justin has been our out loud reader.  He’s been reading at Daystar and at circle time in class.  His intonation and inflection is priceless.  He reading is almost a performance except that he has no idea because he’s so into the book himself.



And then there is Vega.  Reading like a madwoman, every single word she can get her eyes on.  Now, that is where I find her, sharing a book with a friend or reading on her own.  The other day she read the list of local schools like a grocery list, names like Schmitz Park, Alki, Concord, Lafayette.  She gobbled them down like candy.



And yes, reading is yummy.  And we’re eating it up!

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