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Vermilion Parish Schools

Unit 4:   ELA Reading Essentials

Prekindergarten Unit 4

 

Oral Language Development Activities

Goal:  Participates in conversational turn-taking with other children

Extending the focus of previous work in conversational turn-taking with adults, this unit develops turn-taking with other children.  In all cases, a conversation must focus on a common topic and must involve at least two turns each by the two conversational partners.

 

Sample Activities

 

1.  The teacher sets up a center with two puppets and a set of cards to represent common daily activities.  Children go to the center in partners, choose a card, and use the puppets to engage in a pretend conversation about the picture.  The teacher watches each pair and scaffolds responses.
 

2.  During snack time, the teacher assigns children to conversation partners.  The teacher provides a topic, either from daily life, from the shared experience of the classroom, or from a book that has been read aloud.  The children take turns commenting on the topic in a conversation, with the teacher indicating whose turn it is to speak.  The teacher watches at least one pair each day, providing scaffolding for their responses.

 

3.  After a read-aloud, the teacher assigns children to conversation partners.  She asks the children to engage in a conversation in response to the story.  She might start with, “Talk about your favorite part of the story.  Start by saying, ‘My favorite part was _____.’” Or “What do you think would happen next if this story were longer? Start by saying, ‘If this story were longer, I think ______.’” Or “What does this story remind you of?  Start by saying, ‘This story reminds me of ______.’” The teacher watches at least one pair each day, providing scaffolding for their responses.

 

Storybook Reading Activities

Goal: Draw and label in response to reading

 

Deep comprehension of storybooks is enriched by draw-and-label activities.  When preschoolers draw and label, they begin to represent their ideas through drawings and mock writing.  For example, a preschooler might draw a picture of a person and “write” wave-like symbols.  If an adult asks the child to “read” the symbols, the child might say, “It says the man is happy.”  Coupled with storybook reading, draw-and-label activities allow preschoolers to consider and respond to text meaning.  Just after storybook reading, teachers can prompt preschoolers to draw a specific scene or character and then ask them to “write” about it.  In addition, draw-and-label activities  provide children a chance to develop their fine motor skills.

 

Sample Activities

 

1.  After reading a storybook aloud, the teacher engages the children in a shared response to model the procedure of draw-and-label.  The teacher first thinks aloud about what he/she will draw, then thinks aloud about how to draw it.  In both cases, the teacher elicits suggestions from the children.  When the drawing is complete, the teacher thinks aloud about what she will write under her drawing.  When the teacher writes, she can model pretend writing or write conventionally.

2.  After reading a storybook aloud, the teacher invites the children to respond in writing through a draw-and-label activity.  She tells them first to think about a specific aspect of the story (e.g., a favorite part, one character).  She then tells them to draw a picture of what they are thinking of, providing encouragement as the children draw.  Next, she asks the children to tell another child about their drawing.  Finally, she asks the children to write what they have said, encouraging them to use pretend writing.

 

3.  The teacher arranges a center with a basket of books that she has read aloud previously, a variety of markers and crayons, and different types and shapes of paper.  When children play in the center, they choose a favorite book from the basket, look at the pictures in the book to remember the story, and then choose writing utensils and paper to complete a draw and label about their favorite part of the story.

 

Phonological Awareness Instruction

Goal: Clap syllables in words

 

Phonological awareness progresses from awareness of words to awareness of the most salient word parts – the syllables within words.  These activities rely on prompts or manipulatives, but they are all oral; the children do not need to see any letters in order to complete these tasks.

 

Sample Activities

 

1.  The teacher assembles a set of picture cards of common objects that are either one-syllable or two-syllable words (e.g., dog, cat, girl, backpack, crayon, lunchbox).  First, she ensures that the children know what words the pictures represent.  Then she tells the children that some of these words have one part and some have two.  She shows them dog has one part, saying the word dog while clapping her hands once.  She invites the children to repeat.  Then she says that backpack has two parts, saying each syllable (back-pack) while clapping her hands twice.  She invites the children to repeat.  Then she asks the children whether each additional item has one part like dog (clap) or two parts like back-pack (clap, clap).  As children respond, the teacher puts the picture card into the correct category.

 

2.  The teacher assembles a stack of photographs of each child.  For each child’s name, the teacher models saying the name slowly, highlighting the syllable breaks and clapping for each syllable.  After the children are comfortable clapping for each name, the children can sort the pictures by the number of syllables.

 

3. The teacher helps the children learn the colors by displaying cards or items in a variety of colors, asking the children to say the color name, and then to clap and say the color name. 

 

 

Work With Letters

Goal: Identify uppercase letters in first name

 

Learning letter names is a complex task for young children.  The most salient letters in a child’s life, though, are those in his or her name.  These activities require that the teacher prepare individual letter collections for each child in the class.

 

Sample Activities

 

1.  The teacher prints each child’s name on tag board twice.  One copy remains complete, and the other is cut up.  Each child’s set is kept together in a plastic bag or envelope.  The teacher demonstrates with her own name, by taking out the complete version, and then matching each of the individual letters to its counterpart, reassembling them.

 

2.  The teacher works individually with each child for 3-5 minutes. They work with a printed version of the child’s name. The teacher points to and identifies each letter, inviting the child to repeat.  After many repetitions, the teacher points to one letter to see whether the child can name it. 

 

3.  The teacher gathers a set of plastic letters and provides children with a printed version of their own name.  The teacher chooses one letter, says its name, and asks the children to look at that letter and say its name.  Children then examine their name to see if it has that letter in it.  They stand up when the letter is in their name.

 

4.  The teacher makes individual bingo cards for the children that are composed only of letters from their names; pictures glued to the back of each card can make this easier to manage.  Then the teacher plays bingo with the children, drawing from a set of all of the letters.  Children cover the spaces on their own cards when they see and name the letters in their own name.

 

Unit 4 Assessment

Oral Language Development:  Engages in conversational turn-taking with other children

Given a conversational model for discussion with a peer,

  • The child cannot engage in a focused set of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in one round of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in two rounds of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in three or more rounds of turn-taking with a peer.

Given an invitation to speak about daily life,

  • The child cannot engage in a focused set of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in one round of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in two rounds of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in three or more rounds of turn-taking with a peer.

Given an invitation to speak about the content of a book,

  • The child cannot engage in a focused set of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in one round of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in two rounds of turn-taking with a peer.

  • The child can engage in three or more rounds of turn-taking with a peer.

Storybook Reading Activities: Draws and labels in response to read-alouds

Given a story presented orally,

  • The child cannot complete any draw-and-label tasks.

  • The child can participate in a think aloud as the teacher draws and labels.

Given a story presented orally and a prompt,

  • The child cannot complete any draw-and-label tasks.

  • The child can draw on his or her own, but cannot engage in pretend writing.

  • The child can draw on his or her own, and can engage in pretend writing.

Given a book that has been read previously,

  • The child cannot complete any draw-and-label tasks.

  • The child can draw on his or her own, but cannot engage in pretend writing.

  • The child can draw on his or her own, and can engage in pretend writing.

Phonological Awareness Instruction: Clap syllables in words

Given a series of words represented by pictures,

  • The child cannot signal the number of syllables in word.

  • The child can signal the number of syllables in a word.

Work With Letters: Identify uppercase letters in first name

Given a printed version of his or her name,

  • The child cannot identify the individual letters.

  • The child can identify some of the letters.

  • The child can identify all of the letters.

When shown a card with an individual letter on it,

  • The child does not know whether the letter is in his or her name.

  • The child knows that the letter is in his or her name.

  • The child knows that the letter is in his or her name and can identify it.

 

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