During January we learned a new word – Schema is everything that we already know. It’s our life experiences, including all the books we have ever read and everything we have learned through our five senses. We have learned that our parents and our teachers schemas hold much more than our Grade 1 schemas do. Whenever we learn anything new it is important to use our schemas to think about what we already know and use these experiences to better our understanding of what we are learning. Because experiences are so important for helping children make connections between what they know and what they are learning we encourage your family to regularly enjoy rich experiences together.
In Literacy, we have been exploring how expert readers read and think at the same time in order to learn new information. In Grade 1 we call this making connections. We make connections to a text to help us better understand what we are reading. We have learned that in order to be successful in making connections, we need to:
– look at the cover of the story, read the title, and think about what you already know
– use our experiences to help us understand the character and the story
Children at this age easily make connections between things they hear in the story and themselves, but we are focusing on making more meaningful connections by making sure that the connections helps us understand the story and is not just a statement about themselves.
At night, when reading to child:
- ask them to share their connections (be sure to ask how they felt, why they did what they did, etc. which helps them try to understand how the character might be feeling or why they are acting the way they are, etc.)
Your child has learned to read and write many words during the short time he or she has been in school. There are many high frequency word lists or sight word lists available on line that give you an idea of what words your child should be able to read at what grade level. These are the words that research suggests appear most often in texts at a particular grade level. Two of the most common lists are here:
Grade One Power Words differ from high frequency or sight words because these are the words that the children need to learn to use correctly in their writing by the end of Grade One in order to be best prepared for the material that will be introduced in Grade Two. Children move through several developmental phases as they learn to write words. From the early stage of using only the first letter to represent a word, your child is experimenting with the spelling of words. Throughout the early years of primary inventive spelling is encouraged so that children become confident writers and are able to get their ideas on paper. By the end of Grade 3 and into Grade 4 more standardized spelling emerges. By this age and grade level your child should have a strong foundation in phonemic awareness(hearing the individual sounds in words), a good knowledge of phonics (what sounds letters make) as well as an understanding of the patterns that make up words. All of this put together takes time to develop and creates an ability to use more formal spelling.
Below you will find The Grade One Power Words List. This list consists of the words often used in the children’s writing and many of these words have to be learned as they can’t all be sounded out. The children will be told that if these words are used correctly it will give their schemas enough power to be in Grade 2 next year. All completed work will be need to be edited for these words using one of the editing techniques we have learned this year at school. The goal is for the children to spell these words correctly in their writing by then end of Grade One without using the word list as a model.
Children gain knowledge about spelling by reading and writing. The more a child reads, the more words he or she is exposed to and this exposure helps spelling develop. You can help your child learn the Grade One Power Words by pointing them out while reading to your child or while reading with your child. When you are done reading go back and look at a few of the power words. Talk about the letters that make up the words while your child traces the letters with a finger. What does your child notice about the word? Can the word be sounded out? Are there any patterns in the word that your child recognizes? Can your child use the word in a new sentence? Can your child write the word yet?
Keep in mind that many children can easily memorize words and spell them correctly when given in isolation but have difficulties using the words in the context of their own writing. As teachers and parents we need to look at each child and figure out what strategies work best for him or her to learn to use the Grade One Power Words independently.
We have been talking about breaking words into syllables in order to turtle talk longer words more accurately during writing activities. Here is a video we watched to help the children understand the concept of syllables.
Here are some games you can play to help your child understand more about syllables. Be careful he/she doesn’t confuse breaking words into syllables with breaking words into individual sounds(Turtle Talking). If you happen to come across any other syllable games online or any apps for the Ipad let me know so I can add them here!
The video below has a short ad for a reading site but the video follows.
Songs to help your child remember diphthongs. Some of the videos include some of the digraphs we have been learning too!
When your child comes to an unknown word while reading it can be a challenge to help him or her, especially if “sound it out” won’t work! This blog below gives you some great tips to to help your child decode unknown words.