07 Writers read to learn.

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Writers read to learn.

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The reading process and the writing process are closely related. Often, children begin writing long before they can read. In fact, their own writing may be the first thing they do read. Young children who have been read to from lots of books full of stories, poems, and information are best prepared for writing and reading. Books are important vocabulary builders as well as frameworks for the children’s writing.

About the Picture The picture shows children reading a book in anticipation of actually visiting the zoo. The zoo animals shown are a hippo, an antelope (kudu), a turtle, a snake, a monkey, a zebra, an elephant, a giraffe, a toucan, an alligator, and a lion.

  • Exposing children to many kinds of books and other kinds of print helps prepare them for learning the reading and writing processes.
  • Many strategies for reading and writing words can be taught while reading books aloud.
  • Illustrations in picture books and in children’s writing carry some of the author’s meaning.

Daily Lesson Planning

Day 1

  1. “Getting around the zoo” can be the first topic of discussion when introducing "Writers read to learn." Then play a game by asking teams of four to five to get together and name the animals shown. With input from the groups, make a class list spelling out the names of the animals. Elicit initial, median, and ending sounds when possible. Then adjust spelling as needed. (The animals include a bird, a dog [Spot], a hippopotamus, an antelope, a snake, a turtle, a monkey, a zebra, an elephant, a giraffe, a toucan, an alligator, and a lion.)
  2. Implement “Writers read to learn” (BB 8) as an individual response activity.

Days 2-6

Choose from the following activities:

  • Implement “Writers read words using letter sounds” (BB 9).
  • Invite children to become authors by creating pages for a class book about a zoo trip or any other experience all children have taken part in. Ask the children to draw and write about their experiences.
  • Remind children that they can find new words in stories and poems that the class has shared. To encourage word finding, place a favorite poem or nursery rhyme in the writing center and invite children to circle words they know or words that are the same.
  • Implement "Mary and Her Lamb" as a related activity. Have children draw favorite characters from books. Help them find the names of the characters or assist them in spelling the names. Implement "Book Friends" for this activity. Place the completed pages together in a class book entitled “Book Friends.”
  • Give children opportunities to build texts using sentence strips. Implement "Sentence Strips," using “1, 2, buckle my shoe.” (See below for more information about sentence strips.)

Concluding Days

  1. Invite children to share their work from the activities. In particular, share any class books that have been created.
  2. Do a shared reading of a big book or predictable (patterned) text. Invite individuals to be the readers with the rest of the class joining in.
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Background Information
on Reading and Writing

Reading-Writing Connection

Writing and reading are mutually reinforcing processes. When young children want to send written messages, they compose with words and names they know as well as by spelling phonetically. They often read their messages to themselves to make sure they make sense. Sometimes they read their messages to others to find out if they are clearly understood. Likewise, when they attempt to read printed matter, they depend on familiar words and letter sounds to find the meaning.

Shared Reading (Big Books and Patterned Books)

Children who know the joy of being read to ask for the same books over and over again. They become acquainted with the characters and text patterns and enjoy the predictable language and plots. In school, the children enjoy shared readings of big books (oversized copies of children’s books) and other patterned books.

Shared reading, introduced by Don Holdaway in Foundations of Literacy and implemented by many educational publishers, is the process of reading a text, usually a big book, and interacting with students in various ways. Some of the interactions during shared reading involve the leader reading some of the words, engaging children in predicting ideas and words, and inviting children to read along, especially for repetitious parts of the text. When children do this, they are using the three cueing systems of language—semantics (meaning), syntax (grammar), and grapho-phonemics (letter names and sounds).

Meaning Carried by Illustrations and Art

Authors of picture storybooks tell their stories with a combination of text and art. Children who are well acquainted with books learn this implicitly. They know that they, too, can draw a picture when they have a message or story to share and label it with one or more words.

Innovations on a Text

When children are involved in shared readings, they quickly connect with the rhythms and rhymes of the text. Often, they learn the words by heart. Creating new texts from old, familiar ones (innovation on a text) by keeping the same rhythm but changing the words is a natural bridge between reading and writing. (Example: “Jack and Jill went up the hill” becomes “Lu and Lee climbed up the tree.”) Writing the new text on sentence strips offers another opportunity to work with words. (See following page.)

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Sentence Strips

Sentence strips give children the opportunity to manipulate text. They also help them become aware of spacing between words and punctuation marks. Strips can be used to build text from complete sentences, phrases, or individual words.

Sentence Strips
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Level:
English Language Arts: