Reading Stamina in Prep
What a treat it has been to visit Coomera Springs State School over the last fortnight. I had the pleasure of working for two days across the five prep classrooms to introduce reading stamina lessons to each class and then take teacher requests for writing, guided reading and whole class reading lessons. It was an exciting and dynamic two days, working with committed, passionate teachers and delightful students!
In every classroom, the children rose to each challenge and were able to move capably between explicit teaching and independent application with little fuss. Whilst instructional goals varied across classes, some of the priorities included:
- applying procedures to promote independence
- capturing data around Concepts About Print (CAP)
- whole class independent (unassisted) writing
- guided reading
It’s still early days in establishing independent reading routines, however, with continued practice and explicit teaching around implementation and procedure, this strategy should sit alongside a rich guided reading program to yield a high return.
Tips for a tight procedure:
- invite a student to demonstrate how quickly they collect their texts, move to a table, sit and begin reading without prompting
- provide explicit feedback about elements of the procedure to groups and individuals after reading
- show how important the procedure is by recording names of students able to execute elements of the procedure independently (I record students’ name directly on the chart/s and next to the step they demonstrate mastery around)
- reinforce what you wish to see replicated:
- “I love the way you read the book again, Dylan.”
- “Well done, Amy, for remembering to look at the pictures first. That’s a clever way of remembering the story, before you begin.”
- “You locked your eyes in the whole time, Jesse. You were really focused! That’s what great readers look like!”
- provide clear feedback to guide improvement:
- “I like that you all started reading right away, but I think we could be even quicker at walking to our tables. Let’s try that again … Go!”
- “Tom found it hard to balance his books on top of his pencils. Could anyone help to solve this problem?”
Tips for teaching reading strategies:
- explicitly teach problem solving activity by modelling how readers figure things out and using the “thinking aloud” strategy
- record (specific) observations of strategic problem solving (listen in as students whisper read, retell the story, infer storylines and demonstrate their understandings of story schemata)
- highlight and actively observe students as they apply strategies demonstrated by the teacher
- highlight reading actions observed on charts or other scaffolds used in the classroom (I record names on reading strategy charts which are reviewed weekly and used for whole class and later for individual goal setting). Some simple word solving charts are available here.
- always allow time for a “power chat” after reading, e.g. “Tell a friend what your book was about.” Chats can be linked to your teaching/learning intentions, e.g. If teaching “Making Connections”, the power chat might be “Find something in your book that reminds you of something else you know. Tell your friend about it.”
The reading stamina prompt cards I used with the children at Coomera Springs have been uploaded to our website. To view these cards go to: Reading Stamina Prompt Charts.
Special thanks to Taylor Hayley for coordinating and timetabling the days at Coomera Springs State School and to the dedicated and professional team of prep teachers. What a joy it was to be invited into your classrooms and to work with you and your beautiful students! Thank you!