Take a step back and then move forward. As with so much at the beginning of the school year, we need to heed this advice with literacy too. I was reminded of that yesterday, the first day back to school with my students. Sure, they were excited to start back at school and start their fourth grade year, but they were rusty. It’s at this point that I need to remind myself that these students aren’t the fourth graders I left in June, but the third graders that just finished their summer vacation.
To some, writing their name multiple times to label their new books was a challenge and still others had read multiple books through the summer. There is always a diverse group of learners. At the beginning of the school year, though, it’s important to meet students where they are in their literacy and maybe even cut them a little slack as the year gets underway, knowing that they will be challenged as they progress. When we are getting things started back up, however, there is a definite need for review and renewal of reading skills and strategies.
Later this week, I hope to introduce my students to Big Universe by letting them browse their accounts and complete their first assignment. For that purpose, I chose a short, easy picture book for the students to read. Being a new online format, I think it’s appropriate for students to learn with a less difficult text. Along those lines, it will also give us a chance to discuss various reading skills and strategies such as making predictions, drawing conclusion and finding the main idea as well as reviewing story structure. With all the variety on Big Universe and the easy to navigate leveling tools, it was easy to find a book that fit my purpose for this week.
I’m looking forward to using all my resources, including my new one, Big Universe to motivate my students to get back into the swing of things and become stronger readers.