Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Starting Reading Workshop in a fun way!

Do you  know Chunky Monkey? How about his pals Eagle Eye, Stretchy Snake, Lips the Fish and Skippy Frog? Oh, can’t forget Flippy Dolphin! If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, you are missing out on a really fun way to teach decoding strategies to your little readers!
Decoding is one of the first things we teach our students for a strong foundation in reading. It’s important to build a repertoire of strategies and become flexible readers, since often one strategy doesn’t work. Step in all the characters mentioned above- each character represents one decoding strategy: sounding out, looking at the picture, skipping the word, etc.

I’ve always taught these strategies to my students, but they’ve never learned them as well (nor enjoyed them as much) as when I started using these cute characters. So I made reading strategy packs to go with each of the characters and they are my best-selling items! (If you already own these, I have just updated the fonts and frames, and added printables to Chunky Monkey and plan to work on the others throughout the year :)!).
To give you an idea of how each pack is structured, I’ll show you my Chunky Monkey as an example: First, I introduce the chunking strategy with the interactive PowerPoint presentation to engage the kids from the start. There are small printable word cards to use with this presentation to find the small words in the bigger words on the PPT slides.
 Then, students continue to practice the skill throughout the PPT. At the end, it encourages students to use this strategy every time they read, followed by a certificate they can fill out when reading to show which word the strategy helped them figure out.
After the presentation, I use the Chunky Monkeys to model the strategy in a big book or poem.
Then, it’s the kids’ turn: I hand out the chunky monkeys and have them read independently and record when they used the strategy to help them figure out a tricky word.
Finally, we share. I also include follow-up activities that can be used as centers or small-group reinforcement.
My good friend Jennifer Drake from Crayons & Cuties in Kindergarten came up with a little song to help kids remember this strategy:
So cute! I can’t wait to use it this year :). Read more about the Chunky Monkey in her blog here.
OK, so I teach each strategy in a similar way and we, of course, review throughout the year. As I teach the strategies, we build this anchor chart that we reference frequently. You can get the pieces  for FREE  in the preview here:
After teaching all strategies, use the review bundle throughout the year to remind students of their strategy bank! It includes a PPT with all of the strategies, reference bookmarks, and anchor chart pieces. 

There’s no better time than the beginning of the year to start implementing a program like this, so that you  are consistent with the strategy names throughout the year.  PLUS, with TpT’s big back-to-school sale today, it’s at 28% off so I don’t want you to miss this sweet deal! Here's a cute sale pic by Jillian Starr =).

Hope your reading workshop gets off to a great start! Happy Back-to-School!