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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An update on joy

I am finding it!!  I want to sing from the rooftops!!  Believe me, teaching phonics and struggling readers is not easy, and there are days when I want to pull my hair out BUT each day has gotten a little bit better.  One of the things I wanted to share with you all is my reading schedule for each day.  For my lower level readers I need STRUCTURE and I am finding that their attention span is so short that if I just keep us moving along, things go much easier.  I have a 90 minute reading block each day.  I try to keep those 90 minutes packed full!
9:00-9:15 whole group phonics lesson
9:15-9:30 centers/daily 5-rotation 1
9:30-9:45 rotation 2
9:45-10:00 rotation 3 or second whole group lesson depending on the need/the day
10:00-10:15 rotation 4
10:15-10:30 read aloud

For my first whole group lesson I have been using phonic poems, rhymes and songs (thank you Kaitlyn) that I have found on the internet as a class warm-up.  We have used wikki-stix to identify words with short a and long a sounds.

During rotations or centers students have the choice or read to self from books that are just right for them, listen to a story, word work (continuing our phonics practice) or a computer program called Imagine Learning- it's awesome.  While the students are working on one of those things, I have a group with me and we are working on decodable books.

My optional 2nd lesson is usually a vocabulary or sight word lesson
For my read a loud I am trying to follow along with our basil but jazz it up a little bit.  This week second graders are reading The Mixed Up Chameleon so we have been looking at a variety of Eric Carle books. 

Now that I have a structure in place I feel like a much more effective teacher.  I still have days where my expectations are too high but I am getting somewhere.  In my short time with this group I have already seen some progress and that is so uplifting!

So my question to you is, what is the structure of your reading block?  Do you have a group of struggling readers, what do you do with them?


  1. Yay! I'm glad that you found your joy! (and that I was able to help :)

    Our reading block is in the afternoon for 90 minutes. I'm still working out the kinks, but my goal is to have about 30 minute whole group lesson followed by 3 twenty minute session of me taking groups.

    The kids have rotation bookmarks that they use to go through the centers, and they can move on when they finish a center.

    My struggling readers will get pulled for a group with the special teacher, and I hope to meet with them a few times a week as well to double-dip them.

    Have a great rest of the week!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  2. I'm happy to hear it's coming together. Structure sure does help when it comes to feeling effective.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First