Teachers want their students to love reading and the teachers at L.C. Kerr School are no different.
Kindergarten and first grade teachers are pushing their students to develop a love for reading by encouraging students to select books that are an excellent fit for the reader and a compliment to the Daily 5 Framework — I-PICK. Students from Jessica Balltzglier’s and Faith Howell’s first grade classes presented the idea to the board during last week’s meeting.
According to Balltzglier, the I-PICK method puts the choice of which book to select in the students’ hands and creates ownership, engagement and excitement when it comes to reading.
“There will be more buy in from the children if they are selecting their own books,” Balltzglier said. “This motivates them to learn. They also realize that their interests and opinions matter.”
Additionally, the first-grade teacher said, this process makes learning more real world to the students.
“Students are excited to read when they can relate to the topics and characters,” Balltzglier added. “They have purpose and meaning behind their learning. Plus when students choose their own books based on their own interest, it helps deepen and strengthen their level of comprehension. Comprehension is the reason for reading.”
The teachers are making an extra effort to create a more unique approach to the I-PICK method. The teachers begin the process by bringing different kinds and sizes of shoes to school. After showing the shoes to the students, the teachers ask questions like “Would you wear a shoe that is too big?” “Or too small?” “Would you wear flip flops or boots? “Why?
Then, Balltzglier said, the students are taught that the same process for selecting appropriate shoes applies to choosing a good book.
“They do not want to choose books that are too hard or too easy for them,” Balltzglier shared. “They do not want to choose a book about dinosaurs if they do not like dinosaurs.”
According to Balltzglier, the program involves:
• I- I choose my book.
• P- Purpose “Why am I reading this?”
• I- Interest “Do I like it?”
• C- Comprehension “Do I understand what I am reading?”
• K- Know “Do I know most the words?”
“Then we put the lesson to music with song, dance, and motions,” the teacher added. “This helps make the lesson stick.”
Balltzglier and fellow first grade teacher Faith Howell both say they understand the importance developing literacy skills at an early age.
“It is critical to help young children be ready for school by working with them to develop early literacy and learning skills,” Howell said. “Strong reading skills are the basis for learning in all subjects. It is very important to identify those who struggle with reading as early as possible. Children who have been read to at home come to schools with important early literacy skills.”
Balltzglier agrees. Literacy is essential at an early age, in fact she says it is the foundation in which all other success builds upon.
“Literacy learning should really begin at birth, but we cannot control their home environment,” Balltzglier said. “We have to start them as soon as Pre-K. They need to be playing with sounds, letters, rhymes. Children need to be read to and spoken with. They need to create their own stories by reading the pictures of books and then moving into reading the words to match the picture.”
Balltzglier added that there has always been great things going on at L.C. Kerr and at any great school, teachers want to continue to better themselves and be current with their research and best practices.
“I believe our school is trying to continue to reflect on their practice and always make it better,” she continued. “I believe our school moved towards the Daily 5 to help create a common structure and language within each classroom. We are such a large school, with 13 classrooms in each grade, that it can be difficult to always have a common thread. Daily 5 allows for the common direction, language, and structure that compliments the Common Core Learning Standards.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.