It is astonishing how short a time it takes for very wonderful things to happen. ~ Frances Burnett
March is filled with mystery. And some of its mystery is written in the whirling winds, changing from Winter to Spring.
This Mysterious Month encourages your Imagination to create a tale or two, observes Windy Weather, celebrates the Green of another Spring, and/or engages that sense of Humor you may have lost inside Winter’s cave.
Opportunities for creative expressions in art, science, math, social studies, and writing are included in March’s activities.
Each and Every Unit of the Literacy Enrichment Collection
The Components of each Unit include:
colorful Front & Back covers
a Contents list
an Introduction Sequence
a Master Materials List
a Thematic Literature List of fiction& nonfiction trade books
an overall Lesson Plan
Projects/Activities with Construction Instructions written on an Independent Reading Level for Grades 3 ~ 6
Ready, Set and Go!
Preparation for each of these units can be done by following this sequence:
Read over the Materials & Tools needed for each project in the Master Materials List ~ a component included with each Unit.
Gather the Materials & Tools together specific for each Activity ~ card-stock, printing paper, scissors, glue, pencil, colors, etc.
Protect your work space with a plastic, washable tablecloth, newspaper, or butcher paper ~ the latter invites doodling & checklists.
Read all the steps included in the Sequence part of the Instructions provided for each Project/Activity BEFORE beginning.
Keep a copy of these Construction Instructions close by, so you can re-read as you create.
Clean up your work space when you have completed what you wanted to do.
What Is the CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program?
Click on this link for more information on CLAMDiggers’ Literacy Enrichment Program:
This is Part 5 of the Family Literacy Circle’s Five ~ Part Kindergarten Series
Developing & engaging the Writing Skills of your 5-year-old is this post’s focus. This complex set, yes set, of skills has several components, beginning with the growth & development of your child’s fine motor skills. This can take some time, routine, exercise & patience. As a preparation-overview for helping your child with his/her writing skills, check out the sections: “Writing Activities & The Brain” as well as “Pre-Writing Readiness” in my post, Building Your Family Literacy Circle’s Reading & Writing with Your “I AM FOUR!” Just click on the link below:
THE FINALE~ACT FIVE : Encouraging Your Kindergartner’s Writing Skills
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. ~ Kahlil Gibran
Written expression offers an exciting opportunity for your child to see how the worlds of creativity are imagined & invented.
If drawing has been, and continues to be, part of her/his communication, letter formation & words will be easier to approach.
There are many different sensory activities that can encourage this key part of his/her Literacy growth & development.
By the end of Kindergarten, your child’s writing skills should include:
writing upper & lower case letters
writing her/his first & last names in a legible, readable way
using letters & sounds to spell common, frequently-used words in a legible, readable way
using letters & sounds to attempt spelling less common words in a legible, readable way
writing several sentences without a lot of help from an adult
writing responses to topics studied in school, or elsewhere
writing about a book s/he has read
writing about some of his/her life experiences
Did I just hear a large chorus of OMGs?!?
The expectations in Kindergarten are now what YOU were expected to know at the end of First grade…. Read on for the Common Core’s current list of objectives & expectations for Kindergarten…..
The USA’s Common Core Writing Expectations
From 2011 to 2012 many states & territories of the USA reviewed, adopted & began using the K-12 Common Core Standards for Language & Math in their schools. By 2018, 41 of the 50 states were using these Standard Expectations. Some states revised & re-worded the Common Core; some states continued to use their own set of Standards. For more specific information, click on the Common Core link below, or visit your state’s website:
There are lots of FUN activities to share with your child as Fine Motor developmental tools and/or to use as warm-up exercises for pre-writing.
It is important to remember that drawing and writing, though similar, are not the same. Painting, scribbling & drawing are important steps in the growth & development of writing. Scribbles, in particular, are the early attempts of writing words & thoughts.
A child’s eye sees letters as a combination of curved & straight lines as well as shapes. Drawing letters can be a start, but the end result should be automatic when writing letters. Drawing to form an image uses a different part of the brain than writing letters to form words.
BLB’s Resource Library includes a page on locating sites with activities & exercises for developing Fine Motor Skills in children, ages 4~6. There are, also, some sites offering free, downloadable, practice skill sheets for tracing, cutting & letter-writing. Here’s the link:
Your child’s beginning, “purposeful” writing may look like scribbling….It is, but it ISN’T to your child. Just ask. You’ll receive several sentences describing what the “writing” is saying. There may even be some random letters and, or symbols included, but they won’t represent accurate sounds to words.
In the next stage of writing ~ Letter Strings~ your child will chose legible, random letters and write them in the correct progression-left to right. S/he will read the writing back to you from top to bottom. However, the letters s/he has chosen do not correspond with the sounds in the words written.
The final stage before your child is actually connecting letters & sounds into words is when s/he copies the words s/he sees, known as Environmental Print. S/he usually doesn’t know what the words are and they don’t form a sentence.
These important stages, when encouraged and praised, will lead to your child’s ability to construct meaningful words into sentences.
Keep reading for some tips to encourage these important early stages of writing.
Call Those Scribbles ” Writing”
If your child enjoys drawing and attempts to “write” about her/his pictures, take that as a positive sign! Those “scribblings” are meaningful. You can encourage your child to make those “words” say something with an interactive conversation. When given a specific answer, write it down on the picture (with permission, of course).
You can, also, have your child help you write lists and notes. Be sure to take and send them once “written”. Write notes to each other.
Make sure to include fill-able writing forms in your child’s Pretend Play scenarios.
Use colorful sticky-notes to label things around the house. Point and use these words in your interactive writings about events, routines & descriptions.
Your child can tell you sentences to write and, then, have him/her make a drawing to go with the sentences. Make a collection book of these writings to read together. SO FUN!!!
If s/he enjoys tracing letters, numbers & shapes ~ YAY!!! If you see random letters (some from her/his name) included in his/her descriptions ~ WooHoo!! Time to set up a Writing Nook.
Setting Up A Writing Nook for Your Budding Writer
First of all, make sure your child’s writing space includes a hard surface like a lap-desk, clipboard and/or table. Organize some of these materials in containers on a shelf or stacked crates:
Once your young writer knows most of the alphabet with their letter sounds, s/he will using that knowledge to spell words during written composition. Try not to correct too much. Instead, help him/her learn how to use a sight & vocabulary word chart/cards, word family lists, and a simple picture dictionary as well as word-sound stretching.
Using these skills will help your child meet the high expectations that are currently part of your Kindergartner’s Writing Goals for the year: writing fiction & nonfiction stories (the narrative), writing a book review ( the opinion), and writing directions (the informative, or how-to)……
I heard that collective GASP!!!! Believe me, many educators were/are part of that concern…..but that is a whole ‘nother convo-post.
Back to the ” informative” part of this section….
So, YES ~ 3 main types of writing (several varieties are part of the “main types”) with several (usually about five) complete, related sentences on a topic, using minimal adult/teacher intervention are the Common Core Writing expectations by the completion of Kindergarten……
YES…5 Different Pieces of Writing….
The Narrative can be a personal, nonfiction story about an event in your child’s life. Think celebrations, holidays, vacations, younger/older siblings & relatives, friendships, growing experiences, etc. The other piece of story-telling your Kindergartner is expected to compose is a simple fictional piece, complete with a setting, characters, events as well as a problem to be solved.
The Informative can be a How-To, or Instructional sequence describing the way to make or do something. Think how to ride a bike, how to brush one’s teeth, how to make a breakfast cereal bowl, how to build a sheet-tent, etc. The other part of this expectation has to do with sharing learned, nonfictional facts about a subject. Think bears, apple trees, community helpers, parts of a flower, holidays, seasons, etc.
An Opinion is usually written about books being read as a class, by the teacher and/or independently by your emergent reader.
Graphic organizers can help with this process. I created a few as a PDF for you to use. Just click on the link below to download & print:
And as rigorous as this sounds, many 5 (soon to be 6)-year-olds are able to accomplish this. The growth from beginning Kindergarten (think Pre-K) to the end of Kindergarten (think Pre-First) is HUGE and amazing!!!
However, some writers are reluctant, especially at this level….well at any level, really…. As a PUBLISHED author~it’s called a Block….
This Is TOO HARD!!!!!
You can make anything by writing. ~ C.S. Lewis
Several factors can contribute to your child’s reluctance to putting the pencil-to-the-paper:
S/he is not confident with his/her knowledge of what the letters are, how the letters look, and/or how to form the letters on the paper.
S/he is struggling with grasping a writing tool and, then, using it to form the letters on paper.
S/he becomes frustrated when trying to choose what to write about.
Continue practicing the alphabet with fun, hands-on activities. You can find some ideas from a number of websites. BLB’s Resource Library has a page to help with that. Just click on the link below:
If Fine Motor skills are part of your child’s struggle with writing, click on the several links provided in the “Strengthening Those Fine Motor Skills” section of this post.
Remember to show your child the importance of writing throughout the day as you write notes, lists, calendar appointments, etc. Your interactive writing with your child is, also, very instrumental in the actual writing process of literacy.
HEY!!!! I CAN Write Words & Sentences!
Letting your reluctant writer set the pace for her/his learning is one of the keys to putting that pencil (or any writing tool)-to-the-paper. Instead of specific lessons, blend writing into everyday activities & especially during play, like labeling things, making signs, filling out Pretend Play lists & forms.
One of the easiest ways to start the writing process is to begin with a drawing your child has created. Label parts of the picture with post-its, describe what the picture is telling, give the picture a title, and, then, write some simple sentences together.
Another fun way to get the writing “juices” flowing is to use the rhyming activity the Word Families encourage. Use those words as a basis for a song to be performed on the Family Stage in Concert or as a verse to be shared during a Poetry Reading with other family poets.
Need a few Writing Tool Kits to include in your child’s Home Writing Nook?
BLB Shop can help! Just click on the links below to check them out:
Probably one of the most powerful ways to engage your “budding” author is through the Interactive Journal. This personal – written dialogue between you & your child can be quite a surprising way to learn as well as discover thoughts, feelings & knowledge. It is a very successful Literacy tool for writing (and parenting…..).
Need some other ideas, tips and/or suggestions? The post from Creekside Learning lists as for First through Third, but there are some FUN ideas you can use with your Kindergartner. Click on the link to read:
And NOW….The Final Post in FLC’s 5~Part First Grader’s Series….
Enriching the FLC with your First Grader’s Writing Skills has its challenges and rewards…..
Wish you (or someone) could record all those wonderful new ideas & vocabulary words your incredibly bright First Grader is sharing?
Writing them down would take more than a considerable amount of time…
However, encouraging the source of all that growth to write down all those ideas & words shouldn’t be too difficult…Should it ?!?!?
Part FIVE: The Hard-Won Skill of Writing
Teach children what to think and you limit their ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited. ~ Sandra Parks
What favorite story, or stories do you tirelessly read again & again?
Which author do you trust to transform dull, dry facts into fascinating information?
What cookbook(s) and/or manual(s) do you refer to constantly with easy-to-follow directions that always bring great results?
Do you have a favorite editor and/or critic whose opinion you value, even when you don’t share the same view(s) about certain topics ?
You are one of the reasons why writers write !
Not only do writers love to write (on most days), they, also, write to share ideas, important events & teach. They want to share & communicate their experiences, feelings & information. They love to ask questions & solve mysteries or problems.
As a writer, you tell your story as only you can. Whether reflecting, explaining, judging, exploring, learning, interpreting, problem solving, and/or taking a stand, your words are your words are your words…
As a parent & writer, encourage your young scribe to see & use the power of Written Expression for his/her self and/or to share with others. How ~ by modeling with everyday examples.
Soooo…Are You A Writer ?
Does your child see you write ?
Not only do you show your child how writing helps with daily life, it, also, helps to have a variety of the printed words scattered throughout the home: magazines, cookbooks, manuals, newspapers, cartoons, advertisement slicks, comics, posters, dictionaries, and. of course, many different kinds of books.
Is your child writing everyday ? I’m sure s/he is trying to read EVERYTHING in sight….oh yeah….
Yes, Your Child Needs to Write Everyday
Some time during the day , engage your child is some type of writing activity. It can be a Free Write about anything s/he is interested in exploring, feeling good or bad about, and/or asking for more information.
Practice, practice, practice ~ and remember to encourage your writer to slow down, otherwise….
Try to make it a “routine” event. You may want to collect these writings into a box and/or scrapbook :
Give him/her a personal calendar to record special dates, like holidays, celebrations, birthdays, vacations, play-dates, field trips, memories, etc.
Have her/him write Thank-You cards , notes & letters.
BLB Shop has a Writing Literacy Tool~Lists, Labels & Love Notes– to help engage your young writer. Just click on the link below:
Make sure s/he has a “Storybook” spiral for writing those creative tales with different, colorful writing tools.
Add another “Info & Data Collection” notebook with Topic Tabs for research finds & new information.
Here are some other suggestions from a First Grade Teacher @ primaryjunction.net:
Create a Family newspaper to record weekly activities, articles & upcoming events. You may want to include a comic strip, an advice column with some want ads & an advertisement or two.
Enlist your child to help write shopping & to-do lists.
Play word games like Wheel of Fortune & Hangman while waiting in an office.
Make sure to Publish, Display & Share completed stories, posters, reports, etc.
One of the BEST ways I discovered to engage children in writing is with an Interactive Journal. Prepare yourself for some “eye-openers !”
Your Child’s Favorite Writing Activity
Whether you and/or some other family member participates in this very effective writing activity, the results will prove to be insightful, entertaining &, at times, hilarious.
A simple lined or unlined journal provides numerous opportunities for you & your budding author to share feelings, information, reflections, memories, problems and interactive solutions to life’s daily moments.
Usually written before “lights out”, your child will not only tell you about his/her thoughts, but also, ask you some interesting questions. You, then, answer the question(s) while s/he sleeps, respond with some comments & ask some questions of your own ~ which may, or may not, be answered.
This form of writing is a powerful communication tool and will, definitely engage your young writer. Include drawings with a variety of text lettering & messaging for emphasis & amusement.
So, What Are the Writing Expectations for My First Grader ?
At the beginning of First Grade, your Summer-of-Growth Kindergartner can decide (without your prompting) when to read & when to write (even though they occur simultaneously)…
S/he is able to sound out the “big” sounds & write them down when trying to spell words while writing thoughts.
S/he is even trying to use capital letters & punctuation ~ amazing, huh?!?
At the end of First Grade, s/he is probably printing very legibly when expressing thoughts in stories, journals & notes.
S/he will frequently spell familiar words correctly AND begin sentences with capital letters as well as end those sentences with a punctuation mark (most of the time….when s/he remembers to do so…).
How did this happen, you may ask….
Your First grader is writing in the classroom ALL DAY LONG ~ in all subject areas ~ math, science, social studies, health. S/he writes during trips to the Media Center, Art, Music & occasionally in P.E.
Here’s a wonderful example of a classroom Writing Workshop, posted by Chandra, a primary teacher & parent, on her website teachingwithcrayonsandcurls:
AND, if your school district follows the Common Core, here are the Writing & Language expectations for your First Grader. Keep in mind, some of these objectives began in Kindergarten & will continue in the years to come.
The Common Core’s Writing Expectations
Language & Writing, as well as Reading, are heavily linked together within the Common Core’s Expectations & Objectives for First Graders.
“With the guidance & support from adults” s/he will be writing & editing opinion pieces, informative, or explanatory text and sequenced narratives, or stories.
Each form of writing has a specific process for your young writer to follow. S/he is expected to include reasons to support opinions, facts to support informational topics, and sequential details to support stories.
During the writing & editing process, s/he needs to “demonstrate command” of “standard English grammar”. Some of these include:
printing all upper & lowercase letters with accuracy
using common, proper & possessive nouns
using singular & plural nouns with verb agreement
using past, present & future verbs with accuracy
S/he, also, is expected to “demonstrate command” of “standard English capitalization, punctuation & spelling” (at grade level).
Here’s a Parent-friendly version of the Common Core’s ELA guidelines for First Grade. Just click on the link below:
You can help your First Grader’s growth & development with some of these specific Writing Literacy Skills at home.
How Do I Build Some of These Skills at Home ?
These are some of the Writing Skills you can help your child master at home:
You child should be able to read his/her own writing ~ need some handwriting practice sheets? AtoZ is a great website to explore for teacher tools. You can custom-make sheets to match your child’s handwriting needs while writing spelling words & sentences. Just click on the link below:
Hope these ideas help, especially with the FOUR FORMS OF WRITING!!!! Not talking about Lists, Labels, Letters & Love Notes…..
Those 4 Forms of Writing
Regardless of which Form your child is writing, each one should start with a Main Idea, or Topic sentence & end with a Conclusion sentence.
Each Form of writing should have a beginning, middle & an ending.
Informative writing should include 3-5 facts about the Topic. Narrative writing should include at least 3 interesting events within the story. Opinion writing should have 3 or more reasons to support the opinion. How-To writing needs an order of specific steps for someone to follow.
BLB Shop has an easy-to-use, step-by-step Primary Writing Toolkit to help you help your child with these specific Forms of writing. Just click on the link below:
Is your youngster still struggling with her/his Writing Skills? Read on….
YIKES! My Bright Child Hates to Write!!!!!
There are several reasons why your young creative child may be reluctant to write. Hand strength, or the lack of it, could be the cause. Tuning up those Fine Motor Skills can help. Try weaving baskets, forming pottery, working wood, playing a musical instrument, building models, and creating jewelry . BLB Library has a Resource listing several websites with LOTS of other ideas:
And once you feel your young author has sharpened her/his pencils, but needs to SEE images before writing about them, BLB Shop has a great Story Starter Tool for doing just that. Just click on the link below:
Can you tell I like to write ?!?!? I hope you have found some useful information regarding this extremely important Literacy Skill. Yes, it is complex and, sometimes, frustrating ~ even for those of us who love to write. But it a VERY necessary component of life!
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Upgrading The Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader
You may have noticed a BIG difference in your soon-to-become-a-Second-Grader’s speaking, listening & reading skills over the summer.
Not only is s/he listening for the meaning of discussions & conversations, s/he is, also, participating with his/her ideas clearly expressed in complete sentences AND is following multi-step directions with accuracy.
These are some of the “perks” her/his progress with reading comprehension skills : Main Ideas, Details, Sequence.
S/he is very excited about his/her ability to read some text independently.
And, although, s/he wants to transition from an Emergent/Beginning Reader into an Independent Reader, s/he still LOVES your time together reading together, especially those wonderful Chapter Books.
This is Part Four :
Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Reading Skills
Your Second Grade Reader
The more that you read, the more you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~ Dr. Seuss
Here’s a brief checklist of other Reading Skills your child is preparing to use in Second Grade. S/he can:
Recognize & understand new words by using phonics & context clues
Use a basic sight & high frequency words vocabulary with accuracy
Speak the beginning, middle & end sounds within a word
Add, omit or change sounds in a word to make a different word
Read & make words in word families
Read some compound words & contractions
Understand & interpret stories or short passages
Answer the 5 Ws & How questions accurately
Retell the Main Idea, Characters, Setting & the Sequence of Events with accuracy
Use a story’s elements to make a plausible prediction
Follow simple, written directions correctly
Your child will continue to develop and extend these skills during Second Grade as well as adding just a “few” more….
How’s your Literacy ~ Rich Home Environment coming along?
From Playroom to Study Nook
Is there a place in your home, near the “library ” bookcase for bean bags & large floor pillows?
If your child has a bookcase in his/her nook, make sure to include other reading materials besides fiction & nonfiction books, like pamphlets, catalogs, comic books, magazines.
You may want to set up a special “display” area for current study materials as well as a calendar/schedule on a cork board.
Include infographics, labeled/captioned posters, and/or maybe an “anchor chart” regarding specific skills ~ your child’s teacher may help with that resource.
Here’s an I AM A READER Poster you can make with your soon-to-be-an-Independent-Reader : I Am A Reader poster
Oh, and a dry erase board with multi-colored dry erase markers is a great tool for planning, vocabulary word of the day, graphic organizers, and, of course, a brain-break doodling session.
Your Home is your child’s first classroom and can continue to provide an on-going Literacy Space. It will encourage and build her/his academic success with Reading accuracy as its foundation.
Second Grade’s Reading Expectations
Reading becomes more complex in its vocabulary within much longer content. The words have more syllables, common prefixes & suffixes, irregular spellings & complex phonetic rules. Synonyms, antonyms, compound words & adjectives are part of word definitions.
The variety of fiction & nonfiction genres as well as poetry types expands into:
Story Structure (beginning, middle & end) with its Elements (Main Idea, Character, Setting, Problem/Solution, Lesson) are explored in greater detail. Emphasis of comprehension can be done by comparing & contrasting similar stories, characters’ response, and cultural definitions. Why the author wrote the story is, also, part of the comprehension discussion.
Nonfictional reading is used for Research Projects with attention given to text features such as labels, caption, diagrams, glossaries, indexes, etc. Click on my previous post for A LOT more info:
So ~ reading at grade-level includes word recognition accuracy at a steady pace with expression. Using Comprehension strategies to locate evidence and self-correction skills are benchmarks for your Second Grade reader.
Here’s a List of the Reading Literacy Terms such as Decoding Skills & Fluency Rate, your child’s teacher will be using during The Conference : Literacy Terms
Let’s Begin At The Beginning
You and your child have been “working” on Word Attack Skills since, really, s/he was in-utero. Letters, sounds & their combos are the building blocks of beginning to read ~ think the hearing & speaking skills of Phonological Awareness to Phonemic Awareness and, now, Phonics ~ the written version.
Second Grade currently introduces more of those Phonetic structures to increase your child’s ability to Decode all those BIG, unknown vocabulary words s/he is experiencing while reading more complex content.
Along with blending 2 or more consonant sounds together at the beginning and/or ending of a word, here are some other graphemes (written letters) & phonemes (spoken sounds), your child will be learning this year:
Consonants Digraphs: ch, sh, th, wh, qu, ng
Hard & Soft c & g
Silent Consonants: wr, kn, lk, mb
Long Vowels: silent e & teams
Vowel Patterns: igh, y
Diphthongs: ou, ow, oo, aw, au, oi, oy
Inflectional Endings: s, es, ies, ves, ed, ing
BLB Shop has TONS of games for teaching some of these specific skills:
Malia Hollowell from Playdough to Plato created & shared several Reading Roadmap “Sheets” for meeting some of readers’ challenges. Among her suggestions are:
Does that sound in the word: Make sense, sound right, look right?
Skip the word & come back to it during the re-read
Stretch out the word slowly; then saying it again fast (kids love this one & it can be very effective)
Make a good guess
Decoding Skills go hand-in-hand with the speed & flow of your child’s reading.
The Ebb & Flow of Fluency
Fluency, or Fluent Reading is the ability to read without stopping to decode words. Decoding occurs in a quick, mental, self-check way.
Speed, Word Recognition Accuracy, Comma Pauses, End Punctuation Inflections, and Expression are all components of Reading Fluency.
Getting stuck can be disruptive to his/her thought process & comprehension, although, it doesn’t always affect understanding.
For example, a child may read the words accurately without stopping in an even pace, but NOT understand anything s/he read. Just as another child may read and decode more slowly, but understands exactly what s/he read.
Finally, I organized my Reading Strategies into a Mini-Poster & Flip Cards Sequence Guide ~ Ready To Read ~ for your Second Grade Reader when solving the “I’m STUCK on this word!” dilemma : Reading Success Sequence
The Vocabulary in the MANY different books s/he is reading this year is GINORMOUS!!!
So, What Books Are on My Second Grader’s Level?
A book is a dream you hold in your hand. ~ Neil Gaiman
Before I get into actual Reading Comprehension Strategies, I thought I’d go on a bit more about the “newer” book genres your child will be sharing with you from the classroom (according to the Second Grade Core Expectations).
Within the Fiction Genre, there is an emphasis on stories created that could happen in real-life, have a historical basis, contain mysteries to be solved as well as inventive futuristic stories and imaginary fantasies. Books & stories about the Creative Arts can be very engaging to your aspiring artists.
Comprehension Skills can be mastered by using a variety of Reading Strategies.
You have been teaching your child many of these during your read-alouds with him/her throughout the years. You did this by:
pointing out specific details & key ideas/facts in the illustrations on the Picture Walk and throughout the story (click on this link for the Parent Guide to the Picture Walk :Going on A Picture Walk)
asking & answering the 5 Ws
defining time & place regarding present, past ,future & fantasy vs reality
retelling the story by including important details, such as the characters, setting & plot (click on this link for the Parent Guide to Tell Me A Story : Tell Me A Story Abt the Story Read)
using descriptive language & lots of expression
explaining new vocabulary words
making personal connections to the story
discussing lessons & morals of the stories
sharing both fiction & nonfiction books
Your child’s teacher uses similar strategies during read-alouds to encourage comprehension.
Guided reading promotes an effective way to teach how-to-understand-the-read strategies during one-on-one time.
Guided Reading Comprehension Strategies
In Second Grade many of the following Story Elements Comprehension Questions are discussed orally with maybe a short prompt or two for written responses.
However, as the year progresses, written responses to these questions begin to occur more frequently. This Comprehension Q & A can help your child understand & answer those questions with accuracy: Primary Rdr’s Comp Q & A
Filling in Graphic Organizers (Click on this Reading Graphic Organizers link: K Rdg Comp GOrgs ) are easy ways to engage your child’s understanding of texts read. Here’s a Comprehension Freebie example using Aesop’s fable ~ “The Crow and the Pitcher” : I Understand the Story
Take a breath ~
Although your Second Grader may feel overwhelmed at certain times, s/he is totally capable of learning all these things AND MORE!!! You and yours have got this!!!
OMG!!!! How Can I Help!?!?!
Now that you’ve taken a deep breath…or several….
Remember, there are several ways you can help your child read and listen to stories with a purpose in mind, which you have probably been doing for years.
Dr. Michael Gurian, a brain scientist, family therapist & author of the book, Nurture the Nature, offers these suggestions:
Engage discovery in nature
Encourage imagination with physical & mental play
Include morals & values in family discussions
Foster positive relationships with peers
Show support of the school environment
There are many DIY Comprehension games you can make together & play with your child to keep learning fun. Here are a few links:
Keep reading anything everywhere with your child everyday and encourage her/him to read to other children. Listen to books on tape while driving. Record your child reading a story. Act out stories.
And… if your child struggles with reading…….
Teaching Your Child to Read WITHOUT Words
For some children Reading is a challenge…..for a number of reasons.
Does your child “freeze” at the sight of words on a page you are not reading?
Wordless Picture Books are not just created for “babies”. They are, also, “written” for older children ~ like me ~ and may be the way to actually engage your child into reading. Really….
They can inspire your child’s creativity & imagination while building reading comprehension skills, vocabulary AND critical thinking.
Nicole Clevenger@playfullearning.net and I have some suggestions for fun activities with Wordless Picture Books:
Use Post It notes to write down thoughts or dialogue of the characters & place them directly on the book pages beside them.
Use Post It notes to write down observations, questions, predictions, and/or inferences about what’s happening in the illustrations.
Ask your child to write a book review that includes the story elements: Main Idea, Characters, Setting, Problem/Solution.
Encourage your child to create a Wordless Picture Book and narrate it as it is being read. Write down those thoughts & attach them to the backs of the illustrations. Hopefully, your child will want to read those words.
I, also, compiled a Wordless Picture Books list for older children:
One more VERY effective Reading Strategy for engaging a Reluctant Reader is Partner, or Paired, Reading ~ usually with a peer, friend or slightly older “mentor”.
I used this reading strategy every year with my struggling readers and found this approach to be highly effective for building confidence, improving reading skills, and encouraging a love for reading ~ for pleasure. A definite Win ~ Win ~ Win !!!
Click on this Reading Rockets link below for more information:
Upgrading The Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader
If your soon-to-be Second Grader’s vocabulary & reading skills have progressed over the summer, pat yourself on the back because those daily reading sessions have worked. Even s/he is surprised (YAY for the Family Literacy Circle !).
Now……How are those Writing Skills coming along ?
Unless your child LOVES to write…..prepare for a Super-Sized learning curve with Super-Sized expectations in your Second Grader’s Writing Workshop.
Got your Family Literacy Circle Writing Center ready?
Here are some suggestions for your young author’s Writing Space:
Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Writing Skills
Your Second Grade Writer
Sometime this summer, inventory the following Writing & Spelling Skills with your soon-to-be Second Grader:
Writes last name with accuracy
Writes messages using phrases & sentences
Writes simple stories with a beginning, middle & ending
Recognizes & uses print conventions when writing: end punctuation, grammar, nouns/verbs
Spells common grade-level words with accuracy
Locates known & unknown words in a picture dictionary
Recognizes & uses phonetic rules to spell unknown words
Understands & identifies the differences between a noun & a verb
Can write a simple, complete sentence
Understands compound words
Identifies some prefixes & suffixes
Identifies regular & some irregular plurals
Understands the meanings of synonyms & antonyms
Yeah! And there will be MORE to learn in the Writing Arena throughout the year….
Oh ! A quick word or two about Handwriting…..
The Labors of Legible Handwriting
Picking up a paper using those fine motors skills is easy compared to the complex set of muscles (brain included) needed to write thoughts, grasping a #2 pencil onto that piece of paper in a clear, readable way.
Those skills ~ still growing and developing~ can be “nurtured” in several ways. Seemingly, “mindless” practice is one of them, but they are part of your Second Grader’s Writing Skills.
Click on this link to access a Resource on Fine Motor Skills from BLB’s Library :
Engaging your child to draw pictures of the words s/he is reading can be a stepping stone into the Writing Process. S/he may decide the story should be written differently and will “edit” the text (YAY!) in a creative way.
Using Dialogue clouds in those character pictures is definitely writing. Think comic books and cartoon strips.
Here are some book title ideas in this little freebie~ Read, Write and Draw Books :
Engaging your child in the fun and creative process of story telling is a very productive way to inspire writing. However, your Second Grader’s Writing Skills will include learning and mastering many other writing elements this year
Second Grade Writing Expectations & Objectives
If your campus follows the Common Core, there are two major components of the Writing Process: Language, or Standard English Conventions, and the actual Writing Purposes.
Here’s a General Overview, listing the Second Grader’s Writing Skills Expectations for Language Usage & Composition:
I’ll get into a little (haha) more detail on these 2 HUGE topics, beginning with Standard English, or Grammar.
Good Grief, Grammar !!!
No one is perfect ~ that’s why pencils have erasers. ~ Wolfgang Riebe
Informal speech, also known as slang, colloquialisms, street talk, jargon, lingo and, even, dialect, can make learning “proper”, or Standard English confusing. Heard in peer groups, media and read in “literature”, expecting your child to use good grammar while speaking can be frustrating.
And in writing….oh my…..
Here are a few of my Freebie Helpers with a BLB’s Shop Product:
I, also, created a 100+ page Grammar Handbook that includes lots of activities for learning & practicing Good Grammar with a Sentence Builder component, using Adjectives & Adverbs. You can preview it in my TpT Shop. Here’s the product link:
And, although Vocabulary is listed as more of a Reading Skill, I’d like to chat a little (again, haha) about it’s significant role in writing ~ choosing the exact words to express exactly what you want to say.
Here’s What I Want to Say…..
Although reading plays a large role in Vocabulary Acquisition, knowing which words you want to use in your writing, how to find them, and how to spell them correctly definitely takes some practice. It is a skill good writers learn through lots of repetition and review.
Using a Picture Dictionary is more appropriate for Second graders than teaching the actual Dictionary skills. Even my Third Graders found learning how to use a dictionary challenging. Again, practice, practice, practice.
Click on the link below for ideas and games to help teach your Second Grader how to use a dictionary:
Yes, ALL of this in a Written Expression or Ten….yes, at least 10 by the end of Second Grade…..
The Storyteller Becomes The Author
Write the kind of story you would like to read. ~ Meg Cabot
Your youngster has been inventing & writing stories since Kindergarten. This year those stories will be following certain guidelines to meet Expectations. Her/his editing skills, as well as, paragraph construction play heavily into meeting those expectations.
Believe it or not, within the first few weeks of school, your Second Grader’s Writing Skills will help him/her produce more complex and interesting stories, opinions and reports.
Does s/he keep a journal or diary at home ?
S/he will probably be excited about an upcoming Research Project (aren’t you?). YAY! It’s Our Family Tree Project !!!
And, yes, there’s more….
The Second Grade Writing Experience
There are more than a few writing assignments s/he will be given during Second Grade. Here’s a list of Written Expressions (with some helpful Resource links ) your child will be composing this year:
The 5~Sentence Paragraph Formula ~ topic sentence, 3+ topic-supporting sentences, and a conclusion sentence, which re-states the beginning topic sentence