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Design of an Ideal Early Literacy Program

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Design of an Ideal Early Literacy Program


I have such an overwhelming feeling come over me when I think about the fact that in a few short months I will be responsible for helping nearly thirty students either learn to read or improve in their reading abilities. It is such an exciting yet daunting task! I already had many ideas and goals in my head about how I wanted my literacy based classroom to look and run, and after taking this class, I feel as though I am bursting with great ideas and various approaches! The hard part is narrowing down my focus and keeping in mind that as a first year teacher, I will be largely in survival mode. In other words, I have to decide what I feel are the most important things that I need to do as a teacher to help and encourage my students to read, while fostering a love for doing so.

With that in mind, I have to say that my overarching goal and hope for my literacy program is that the end result is students who love to read. Certainly I plan to assess my studentÐ'ÐŽÐ'¦s reading through conferences, model effective reading strategies, introduce and offer a variety of genres, and encourage my students to respond to and reflect on what they have read...but my focus will be to provide my students with plenty of opportunities to read and to approach the practice and teaching of reading with the attitude that comes from being a true lover of reading myself. I believe that this will encourage and support a culture of reading in my classroom and beyond. I want my students to be so absorbed and invested in their reading that they groan when it is time to put our books away and transition into something else. I want them to spend just as much time reading at home as they do in my classroom (if not more). Along with that, I want my students to encourage their family members to read with them. I want them to remember Miss DetrickÐ'ÐŽÐ'¦s second grade class because it was the year that they started pleasure reading all the time. I want my students to understand that books are their gateway to the world.

Program Outline

I think the first important component of my classroom literacy program will be my library. I have just begun the process of gathering, collecting, and buying books that will be suitable for my second grade students. It is my top priority right now because I feel that easy accessibility to books throughout the school day is the foundation of a solid literacy program. I dream of the day when I will be as well-stocked as the author of our book who is able to fill shelves, baskets, and tubs with a variety of books at different levels and from different genres all over her room.

The next cornerstone of my literacy foundation is independent reading time. I will provide ample opportunities throughout the school day for my students to read on their own from a Ð'ÐŽÐ'§just-rightÐ'ÐŽÐ'Ё book of their choosing. I will spend a lot of time in the beginning of the school year teaching my students how to find books that are a good match for where they are with their reading. While my students are engaged in independent reading, I will either be modeling reading independently myself, or at times, conducting individual reading conferences. When students are reading to themselves, they are practicing all of the strategies they are learning, as well as developing the ability to self-correct when they make a mistake. I will make every effort to ensure that my students not only take full advantage of this time, but that they enjoy it as well.

I love the idea the author of our text shares about how beneficial it can be to surround your students with familiar, or commonly used words. I will definitely implement the use of a high-frequency word wall in my classroom. The words will be written in large, bold writing that is easy for all students to see, and each word will be posted under the letter of the alphabet that it starts with. I want my students to help me create this wall as we find common words in our reading because this will give them a feeling of ownership and increased familiarity with the words. I also plan to use those same high-frequency words as spelling words in order to make connections across the curriculum and to further expose my students to those words.

Another component to word-study in my classroom will be activities from the book Making Words. This will probably be more helpful for my emergent and early readers who are just acquiring basic reading skills but still beneficial for the transitional and fluent readers as far as spelling and word recognition is concerned. This is one of the books that I bought immediately after it was introduced in class because I knew right away how necessary it would be in a second grade classroom!

When my class meets in the reading corner each morning, I intend to not only read a book aloud to them, I also want to engage in shared reading. I will hold up a Ð'ÐŽÐ'§big bookÐ'ÐŽÐ'Ё for instance, and the class will read the book together, doing their best to use the same expression and inflection of their voices that I used in the read aloud. I like the point Sharon Taberski makes about all readers, regardless of their reading stage, being able to join in the shared reading without fear of making mistakes. This is very important for those emergent and early readers still exploring letter-sound relationships because they can hear the words modeled and practice reading them without any of their peers hearing them if they are having a hard time. These shared reading experiences can lead to such great learning.

I will form and regularly meet with guided reading groups of three to five students who have similar needs in their reading. I will



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