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Welcome to the Home Activity page!  We hope you can find some activites that will benefit your child! 
 
Weekly Agenda
Phonic Activites

The Alphabetic Principle and Phonics 

What is it?

The alphabetic principle is the understanding that words are made up of letters and letters represent sounds. If a child understands these letter-sound associations, he is on the way to reading and writing words. Phonics is the instructional method that focuses on these letter-sound associations.

Why is it important?

The English language is based on an alphabet, so being able to associate printed letters with sounds in order to sound out (decode) is necessary.

What can we do at home?

Building words - Using magnetic letters, make a three letter word on the refrigerator (cat). Have your child read the word and use it in a sentence. Every day, change one letter to make a new word. Start by changing only the beginning letter (cat, bat, hat, sat, mat, rat, pat). Then change only the ending letter (pat, pal, pad, pan). Finally, change only the middle letter (pan, pen, pin, pun). 

Making words - For this game, you will need magnetic letters and three bags. Put half of the consonants into the first bag. Put the vowels into the middle bag, and put the remaining consonants into the last bag. Have your child pull one letter from the first bag. That will be the first letter of their word. Then have him pull from the vowel bag for the second letter of the word and from the other consonant bag for the third letter of the word. Next, the child will read the word and decide if it is a real word or a nonsense word. Take turns, replacing the vowels as needed until there are no more consonants left. 

Writing words - Many children love to send and receive notes, and writing is a great way to reinforce phonics skills. Send your child notes in his backpack or place notes on the pillow. Have a relative or friend send a letter or email to your child. Whenever your child receives a note, have him write back. Don't be concerned about spelling. Instead, have your child sound out the words to the best of his ability. 

Labeling words - When reading with your child, keep Post-it notes handy. Every so often, have your child choose one object in the picture and write the word on a Post-it. Put the note in the book to read each time you come to that page.

Practicing words with pictures - Choose pictures from a magazine or catalog. Say the name of the picture, have your child say the sound that the picture begins with and the name of that letter.

Hunting for words - Choose a letter and have your child hunt for five items beginning with that letter sound. As each object is found, help your child write the word on a list. For example, if the target sound is "m", the child might find and write mop, mat, Mom, money, and microwave. 

Hints for helping your child sound out words 

1. High Frequency Words - If the word is a high frequency word (such as, is, of, or could), say the word and explain that it doesn't follow the rules. It just needs to be memorized. 

2. First Sound - Have your child say the first sound in the word and make a guess based on the picture or surrounding words. Double-check the printed word to see if it matches the child's guess. 

3. Sound and Blend - Have your child say each sound separately (sss  aaa  t). This is called "sounding it out", and then say the sounds together (sat). This is "blending".

4. Familiar Parts - When your child starts reading longer words, have him notice the parts of the word that he already knows. For example, in a word such as presenting, your child may already know the prefix pre, the word sent, and the word ending ing.

Fluency Activites

Fluency

What is it?

Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and effortlessly, using appropriate expression and phrasing.

Why is it important?

If a child is not fluent, it means that he is spending most of his attention on figuring out (decoding) the words, and that makes comprehension difficult. 

What can we do at home?

Repeated reading - Choose a passage that will note be very difficult for your child. Read the passage aloud to your child, and then read it together, helping your child figure out any tricky words. Next, have your child read the passage to you with a focus on accuracy. Finally, have your child read the passage to you again, paying attention to fluency and expression. The goal is to sound smooth and natural. 

Use different voices - When reading a familiar story or passage, try having your child use different voices. Read the story in a mouse voice or a cowboy voice or a monster voice or a princess voice. This is another way to do repeated reading, but it adds some fun to reading practice. 

Read to different audiences - Reading aloud is a way to communicate to an audience. When a reader keeps the audience in mind, he knows that his reading must be fluent and expressive. Provide a variety of opportunities for your child to read to an audience. Your child can read to stuffed animals, pets, siblings, neighbors, grandparents - anyone who is willing to listen. This is a good way to show off what was practiced with repeated reading.

Record the reading - After your child has practiced a passage, have him record it with a tape player or MP3 device. Once recorded, your child can listen to his reading and follow along in the book. Often, he will want to record it again and make it even better!

Vocabulary Activites

Vocabulary

What is it?

With a solid vocabulary, a child understands and uses spoken and written words to communicate effectively.

Why is it important?

A broad vocabulary helps a child in all subject areas. The more words a child has been exposed to, the easier it is for him to figure them out when he sees them for the first time in print, and the easier it is for him to understand new concepts in class. 

What can we do at home?

Read aloud - Continue to read aloud to your child even after he is able to read independently. Choose books above your child's level because they are likely to contain broader vocabulary. This way, you are actually teaching him new words and how they are used in context.

Preview words - Before reading to or with your child, scan through the book, choose two words that you think might be interesting or unfamiliar to your child. Tell your child what the words are and what they mean. As you read the book, have your child listen for those words.

Hot potato (version 1) - Play hot potato with synonyms. Choose a word, and then your child has to think of another word that means the same thing. Take turns until someone is stumped. For example, you may say, "Cold," and your child might say, "Freezing." Then you could say, "Chilly," and so on. Try the game again with antonyms.

Hot potato (version 2) - Play hot potato with prefixes or suffixes. The prefixes dis-, ex-, mis-, non-, pre-, re-, and un- are common ones. Common suffixes include -able/-ible, -ed, -er, -est, -ful, -ish, -less, -ly, -ment, and -ness.

Hot potato (version 3) - Play hot potato with categories. For younger children, the categories can be simple: pets, clothes, family members. For older children, the categories can be quite complex: The Revolutionary War, astronomy, math terms. 

Word Collecting - Have each family member be on the look out for interesting words that they heard that day. At dinner or bedtime, have everyone share the word they collected and tell what they think it means. If the child shares an incorrect meaning, guide him to the correct meaning. Try to use some of the words in conversation. 

 
 
 
Comprehension Activities Grades K-2

Comprehension in the Early Grades 

What is it?

Simply put, comprehension is the reader's ability to understand what he is reading.

Why is it important?

Comprehension is the main goal of reading. The written word is an author's way of communicating with a reader. A reader needs to be able to understand what the author is saying and think about how the author's words affect him. Good comprehension leads to reading enjoyment. Reading enjoyment leads to more time spent reading. More time spent reading leads to better comprehension, and so on...

What can we do at home?

Sequencing errands - Talk about errands that you will run today. Use sequencing words (sequence, first, next, last, finally, beginning, middle, end) when describing your trip. For example, you might say, "We are going to make three stops. First, we will go to the gas station. Next, we will go to the bank. Finally, we will go to the grocery store."

Sequencing comics - Choose a comic strip from the Sunday paper. Cut out each square and mix the squares up. Have your child put them in order and describe what is happening. Encourage your child to use words like first, second, next, finally, etc.

Every day comprehension - Ask your child the five Ws and an H questions (who, what, when, where, why, how) about an event in his day. For example, if your child attended a party, you could ask, "Who was there? What did you do? When did you have cake? Where did you go? Why did the invitation have dogs on it? How did the birthday child like the presents?" Once your child is comfortable answering these questions about his experiences, try asking these questions about a book you've read together. 

Think aloud - When you read aloud to your child, talk about what you are thinking. It is your opportunity to show your child that reading is a lot more than just figuring out the words. Describe how you feel about what's going on in the book, what you think will happen next, or what you thought about a character's choice.

Reading fiction

1. Before reading - Point out the title and author. Look at the picture on the cover and ask, "What do you think is going to happen in this story? Why?" This will help your child set purpose for reading. 

2. During reading - Stop every now and then to ask your child to tell you what has happened so far or what he predicts will happen. You might also ask for your child's opinion. "Do you think the character did the right thing? How do you feel about his choice?" Explain any unfamiliar words.

3. After reading - Ask your child to retell the story from the beginning, and ask for opinions, too. "What was your favorite part? Would you recommend this to a friend?"

Reading Nonfiction

1. Before reading - Point out the title and author. Look at the picture on the cover and ask, "What do you think you'll learn about in this book? Why?" This helps your child consider what he already knows about the topic. Look at the table of contents. You and your child may choose to read the book cover to cover or go directly to a certain chapter.

2. During reading - Don't forget the captions, headings, sidebars, or any other information on the page. Young readers tend to overlook these, so it's a good idea to show that the author includes lots of information in these "extras".

3. After reading - Ask your child, "What was it mostly about? What do you still want to know? Where could you find out?"

PS - Don't let a cozy reading time turn into an interrogation! Keep the conversation low-key.

Comprehension Grades 3-5

Comprehension in the Upper Grades 

What is it?

Simply put, comprehension is the reader's ability to understand what he is reading.

Why is it important?

Comprehension is the main goal of reading. The written word is an author's way of communicating with a reader. A reader needs to be able to understand what the author is saying and think about how the author's words affect him. Good comprehension leads to reading enjoyment. Reading enjoyment leads to more time spent reading. More time spent reading leads to better comprehension, and so on...

What can we do at home?

Think aloud - Even though your child is now an independent reader, don't stop reading aloud! When you read aloud to your child, talk about your reactions to what you are reading. This gives your child a deeper understanding of comprehension. For example, describe how you feel about what's going on in the book, what you think will happen next, or what you thought about a character's choice.

Know the Strategies that Your Child is Learning

1. Predicting - Predicting means using clues from the text and from your own knowledge to figure out what might happen next.

2. Inferring - Inferring means using clues from the text and from your own knowledge to figure out something that the author does not say directly, such as how a character is feeling or why the character chose to act a certain way. 

3. Questioning - Question means that, as a thoughtful reader, you are always asking questions about what you read as you are reading. For example, "Why did the author spend so much time describing the red umbrella? I wonder if that will be important later in the story."

4. Monitoring and Clarifying - Monitoring means making sure that you are understanding what you are reading. For example, we've all had the experience of reading to the end of the page and not remembering what we've read. When we realize that, we are monitoring our reading. Clarifying means clearing up any misunderstanding or lack of understanding. For example, if you didn't remember what you had read, you might choose to reread that page.

5. Retelling and Summarizing - Retelling means telling what happened in your own words. With fiction, a good retell usually includes characters, setting, problem, events in order, and solution. Summarizing is like giving a very short retell. In a summary, the reader includes only the most important details.

6. Visualizing - Visualizing means imagining the text in your head, like a picture or movie in your mind. Some readers do this automatically, but others need coaching. For example, if the story is about children having a lemonade stand, you might picture the weather, how busy the street was, what type of neighborhood it is in, what the children are wearing, or how many people are gathered around. These are details that the author may not include, but they help the reader better understand the story and get that feeling of "being there." 

Reading fiction

1. Here are two strategies to use before beginning a fiction book. 

Predicting - Have your child look at the cover and the first page and make a prediction about what will happen in the story. Emphasize using clues from the story and from personal knowledge.

Questioning - Encourage your child to create a couple of questions that he would like the author to answer in the book. This gives your child a purpose or a goal for reading.

2. While reading, try these strategies.

Predicting - Stop at various points, particularly at the end or chapters or at very exciting points, and ask your child, "What do you think will happen next? Why?"

Questioning - Encourage questioning. "Do you have new questions about what's going on in the story? What do you wonder?"

Inferring - Help your child think about the character's actions, words, and feelings. "Does the author give any clues about why the character is acting certain way or how the character is feeling or why the character would say what he did? Have you ever had an experience like the character's?"

Monitoring and Clarifying with a Retell/Summary - Stop every few pages or at the end of the chapter and ask your child to tell you what has happened so far in the story. If he can do this, continue on with the story. If he cannot, try rereading the section together to figure out where the misunderstanding took place.

Visualizing - Every now and then, stop and ask your child to describe the picture in his mind at this part in the story. If necessary, ask questions to help your child make this picture more vivid and detailed.

3. After reading, emphasize the strategy of retelling/summarizing. You may have had your child retell pieces of the story as he read; now it's time to retell the story as a whole.

PS - There's no need to work on every strategy every time. In fact, that would really interfere with the flow and enjoyment of the story. Choose one or two strategies at a time.

Reading Nonfiction

1. Here are two strategies to use before beginning a nonfiction book.

Predicting – Preview the cover and the table of contents. Ask your child to think about what he would like to find out by reading this book. Ask him if he thinks this book will give him the information that he is looking for.

Questioning – After looking at the cover and the table of contents, ask your child what questions he would like this book to answer. This helps set a purpose for reading. 

2. While reading, try these strategies.

Questioning - Have your child continue asking questions as he reads and to notice when the text answers his questions. 

Monitoring and Clarifying - Help your child make sure he monitors his reading by stopping at the end of a section or chapter to ask, "Did I understand what I just read? If not, what can I do about it?"

Retelling/Summarizing – Reinforce the idea of main idea and supporting details. Ask your child, “What was this section mostly about?” This is the main idea. Then ask, “What details tell more about the main idea?” 

3. After reading, wrap up the discussion.

Questioning - Ask your child, "Did the book answer your questions? What do you still want to know?"

Inferring - Help your child use his background knowledge and clues from the text to figure out how the author feels about the topic and what the author's message is. For example, "I think that the author admires Wilma Rudolph's perseverance, and the author's message is to believe in yourself and never give up just like Wilma Rudolph."

Retelling/Summarizing – As before, reinforce main idea and supporting details. Ask your child, “What was this book mostly about?” This is the main idea. Then ask, “What details tell me more about the main idea?” Another apprach is to ask, "What do you think the author would like you to remember after reading this book?"

PS - As with fiction, focusing on one or two strategies at a time is much more effective than trying to do everything at once. 


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Marti Lushin
Teacher Room Number
Room 308
Teacher Phone Number
765-883-5554

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Created: Dec 6, 2012
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Updated: Dec 7, 2012
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Collapse Information Clip Contact Me!
Teacher Icon
Marti Lushin
Teacher Room Number
Room 308
Teacher Phone Number
765-883-5554

Collapse Links pageLinks

Collapse Statistics pageStats
Page Statistics
Created: Dec 6, 2012
Page Statistics
Updated: Dec 7, 2012
Page Hits
Viewed 1935 times

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