My EDUBLOGS Nomination 2009

Here are the categories, I would like to nominate the following individuals:

* Best individual blog- Ms Bush’s bright, brainy, brilliant bunch

* Best new blog- Ms Bush’s bright, brainy, brilliant bunch

* Best teacher blog- Ms Mourad’s Absolutely Sensational Learners!!!

* Best librarian / library blog – Hey Jude

* Lifetime achievement- Hey Jude

Congratulations to all those dedicated educators of the blogosphere for sharing your expertise, your learning stories and your passion for teaching and learning!

4 Roles of the Reader – one way of ensuring a balanced approach!

Number FourFollowing on from our Year 2 intro sessions on Shared Reading and discussions around What makes for a Balanced Literacy Block I would like to offer some possibilities for engaging and purposeful activites organised around the Four Roles of the Reader.

To develop as effective readers, students must learn to take on a set of roles, or ways of interacting with a text. These roles (described by Freebody and Luke, 1990) indicate the ways a reader can move beyond decoding print to understanding and using text on several levels for a variety of purposes.

There is however no implied sequence. We do not teach “code breaking” or “text user” first and leave “text analyst” till students have mastered early reading skills. Rather all need to be addressed systematically and explicitly. All four of these roles form part of successful reading as our culture currently demands it and that therefore any program of instruction in literacy, needs to address these roles at all developmental points. Also in any one literacy learning task there may be some overlapping of the various roles with the difference being mainly one of emphasis.

Below are some possible activities for the Anthony Browne text “Gorilla” which may be used to address the various resources/roles of the reader. Please feel to select the ones which best meet your students needs.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons Image “Clock Number Four”

Oral language, shared reading, writing.

Yesterday we considered the connections between oral language, shared reading and writing. I captured this brainstorm which nuts out our thinking around some of the considerations for planning and programming:brainstorming-1-sept3

Nicole also recorded some of our discussions around planning for language focussed learning sequences to support our learners questions-for-planning

In exploring ways of recording our program we looked at a sample planner template. Integrated-planning-support This format works especially well for planning for a language focus in the content areas such as HSIE and Science etc

Feel free to leave a comment about our session yesterday, the implications from the brainstorm or anything else that comes to mind….

Shared Book _ Year 2

Over the next two weeks in Year 2 we will be discussing the role of Shared Reading in the Literacy Block. In preparation I encourage you to read some of the previous blog discussions on Shared Reading which have discussed such important issues such as

* Why would you use Shared Reading as an instructional strategy to support young readers?

* How do you build a  sequence of instructional activities over repeated re-readings over a week.

* What texts are appropriate for Shared Reading?

Gorilla Big Book

Today we begin with an initial shared reading experience with “Gorilla” one of my favourite Anthony Browne texts. As we share the children’s response to the text, let’s reflect and discuss how this approach is different to simply reading a story book aloud.

In subsequent readings – (probably at least 3 or 4 more readings) -we will use the opportunities provided by the text to model and develop some of the following reading strategies. During Shared Reading students

  • Enjoy and participate in reading a text with a high level of support
  • Develop their concepts of print, eg (tracking print from left to right and word by word matching)
  • Build an understanding of how stories work
  • Develop comprehension skills including prediction, inference and evaluation
  • Sequence the events of a story
  • Focus on story elements (characters, setting, beginning, middle, end)
  • Expand their vocabulary
  • Explore letters, sounds and word families in context
  • Attend to concepts of print which support the grammatical structures of the text (spacing, capitalization, punctuation)
  • Explore grammatical structures in context eg (use of pronouns)

I invite you to read, reflect and share your personal observations about Shared Reading on the blog

Digital Postcards or “Secret Messages”

Give your students an audience for their work. Perhaps they could create a digital postcard of their learning to share with another class or teacher in the school. The site is called “One Sens”

They could send their postcards to the class email account to a year 5 or 6 class, Andrew or Amanda perhaps or Moya by email.

They are quite simple to make –

* write one sentence,
* search for a picture
* put in the email address and
* click send

When you click on the postcard link in an email,it takes you to the website. You can then view the scrambled (exploded) message in a full screen view. Students can then try to “solve ” the mystery message by clicking and dragging the individual words on the screen. They can check to see if they are correct using the “decode” button. They can then read the message to see if they are correct.

You also get the code which you can copy and place the postcard in a Class Blog page. If you’d like some help please ask me.

Here’s another sample! It’s a Postcard I created for the Year 1 Treasures Unit

Try it out for yourself at One Sens

Comment with regards to shared reading

Hi everyone,

We hope everyone had a great holiday. After working with year one this term these are our insights into what makes a good shared book. Children need to be motivated by the book during reading by encouraging their particpation in the shared reading experience. This means using different modes to help motivate children e.g. singing, visual supports, tone of voice etc. The books that we chose in our group worked well and related well to the children. It was important to build children’s prior knowledge before reading the book to allow them to succeed and have a chance to share their own experiences or hear other children’s experiences so they can begin to understand more about what they will see in the book. This was very beneficial for the children and children enjoyed sharing their experiences. During reading children enjoyed answering a range of questions, learning about new print concepts, reading parts of the book, looking at the pictures and words to help understand the story and relate to characters feelings. After reading it was also good to then relate what the children had learnt from the book back to their own experiences and how this may have changed. We also found most success when activities had an element of oral language in particular story retells, liquid pictures, think pair share and barrier games. This allowed children to talk amongst themselves and listen to others. It was important to model these to children prior to children completing the activity as a lot of our children did not know what to do or had forgotten how to do them. Another element that appeared to be beneficial in the shared reading experience was choosing texts that had repetition throughout. There were lots of other things but these were the main points that appeared to work in our groups.

Amanda and Angela

“Oh the places we’ll go!”

Year 1 Blue have been experimenting with Voice Thread. It is a digital presentation in which the students simply upload some pictures and use a microphone to record their conversations about the pictures with others

This was our first experiment …still very informal draft really just to learn how it works. We hope you like it!

What makes a supportive text for Shared Reading?

Big Book“The shared reading model often uses oversized books (referred to as big books) with enlarged print and illustrations. As the teacher reads the book aloud, all of the children who are being read to can see and appreciate the print and illustrations.”

Does this mean any Big Book will do?

Over the past term you have probably observed that some Big Book texts you have chosen are better suited for Shared Reading activity than others. I’d be really interested if we could now collaboratively discuss and develop a list of the features we have observed that “work” for our students when we use this teaching and learning strategy. This will allow us to make sure we optimise the learning opportunities we will be providing when planning for Shared Reading in Term 3.

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Literacy links for teachers + students

Here are a few links which might be of interest to you. The Lit2Go site offers free stories and poems which could come in handy for a listening post activity. The other two sites provide loads of practical strategies and ideas for literacy. Check them all out and leave a comment for your colleagues so that we can converse more about possible uses for these resources.

103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading
By: Jim Burke (1998)

English Online, a site for English teachers (years 1-13) which includes teaching resources, networks and research for teachers and student projects and publication opportunities

Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format:

teaching points for PM readers

Hi I’ve put an outline of teaching points relevant to PM text in the in the Resource Section of our blog. I recently sat in on my son’s reading recovery lesson and the teacher gave me this resource so that I can support my son further at home. I thought there may be useful pointers for everyone here.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.