Michelle is a smart and friendly first grader. She is an all-rounder student at her school and excels in sports as well as studies. An astonishing fact about Michelle is that, given her age, she can read and speak really well. And it is not just Michelle, the rest of her class is really good too. Since it was difficult to contain our curiosity, we decided to meet Michelle's teacher Miss Stacy to get some suggestions. Here is what Miss Stacy suggested.
Creating Attractive Learning Atmosphere
Holding on the child's attention throughout the reading lessons, is a key to success of 1st grade reading lesson plans. Teachers may make ample use of colored stationery, cartoon characters, familiar articles appearing in child's routine life, etc. At all costs, the elements used in the reading lessons should be a visual delight for children. e.g. Ample usage of literature in bold colorful fonts with attractive pictures.
Blending Lessons with Fun
The lessons need to be spiced up with fun and creative activities, field visits, picture coloring, story sessions, etc. This encourages the students to connect their new vocabulary with events occurring in their daily routines. Once this connection is made, they are able to identify the right words to make a comprehensive sentence.
Word Study and Recognition
Parents and teachers may introduce new words to students by using some of the following wordplay activities:
- Listing the names of things a child may come across routinely such as things in classrooms, at home, in the garden, on the street, names of pets, etc. The list should ideally be prepared with the use of vowels and consonants. An accompanying picture for every word will help the child make a visual recognition of words.
- Use specific prefixes such as non-, re-, un-, etc., and suffixes such as -ness, -less, -ly, to help create new words.
- Help the child understand the phonetic play of a, e, i, o and u. e.g. The pronunciation of rat changes when we add an 'e' at its end to form a new word 'rate'.
- Differentiating between vowels and consonants and understanding their usage.
- Listing all rhyming words along with their meanings. e.g. cat, bat, rat, mat, fat.
- Reading written text with a simultaneous play of audio book for help. This helps boost the child's confidence when reading the text.
- Understanding the meanings of various punctuation marks and change of voice tone according to their appearance. e.g. change of voice tone whenever a '?' appears in the text.
- Creation of short stories by students with five key words selected by their group members. Teachers need to help their students to form meaningful sentences if required.
- Students may be asked to read short stories. Teachers will have to ask some questions on the story being read.
- Listing out simple verbs (e.g. eat, drink, sleep, walk) and adjective (e.g. tall, fat, big, tiny) and encouraging their usage.
- Parents may teach a child to read by introducing bedtime story sessions or event narration sessions at home. Reading of books should be a joint activity of parents and children. It is helpful if the text is read aloud with a finger placed below every individual word being read. This helps the child identify the pronunciation of each word correctly. Repeated reading of same texts in similar fashion have better results with the child's pronunciation and vocabulary.
Learning with Music
Teachers might adopt music as a teaching approach. Young minds tend to pick up music and songs faster than normal textual information. This plan works when students are being taught names of the months, days of the week, names of places, etc.
Games and Rewards
Teachers may introduce fun games to coincide with children's daily activities. e.g. One can help the children list out words with similar starting letter. e.g. words starting with 'dr'- dress, draw, dream. Some of the other popular games include memory game, I spy game, etc. At home, children may be asked to list out key words associated with their current activity. e.g. At dinner time a child may list out words such as eat, food, sandwich, juice, etc. The children may be rewarded at the end of the game for their contribution and active participation in the game.
The initial learning period lays a foundation to a child's academic success in the future. Remember, the more you speak with young children, the faster will be the process of grasping words. Learning can never be complete without the usage of all five human senses. The ideas listed above are just a few practical suggestions. Parents and teachers are always welcome to try new means of making learning fun for children.