KinderGals: Comprehension...Kindergarten Style

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Comprehension...Kindergarten Style

Let's talk comprehension....
There are many things going on in a kindergarten class while we are teaching kids to read. A beginning reader is learning how text works, how to quickly read sight words, and how to use  strategies to solve unknown words.  The first several levels of guided reading provide little opportunity for comprehension.  Let's face it...there isn't a lot to comprehend in, "See the dog. See the cat. See the bird.  See the pets."
However, at the same time, we are also sharing many selections of text with kids through read alouds and shared reading.  THIS is where we can work on comprehension! Here are a few things to keep in mind...
To be a fluent reader, two things are happening:
1. Children are developing accuracy and automaticity.
2. AND they are developing prosody. Prosody is the natural rhythm that comes with good reading.
To develop prosody we need to read wide and deep. Read the same pieces many times and read many different pieces. AND we need to say rhymes, sing songs, and engage in rhythmic activities.
Retelling is evidence of comprehension! Here are some fun ways to teach retelling!
After reading The Three Bears, the children are using the flow map to retell the story. When teaching retelling, we want to teach STRATEGY over STORY. The children might never read The Three Bears again. BUT, they will read many other selections of literature where a character travels through the story as the setting changes. SO, if we teach kids that if good readers sequence the settings as they appear in the story, they can use that to retell! Now, they can use that strategy in many selections of text, not just The Three Bears. We are teaching children to be Strategic Readers!
Love these little half-page books.  Simply round off the top corners of the booklet. Add eyes, ears, etc to make a character from the story.  Attach Goldilocks, the character that travels through the settings in the story, with a piece of ribbon, yarn, or string.  Invite the children to draw the settings on each page of the booklet. Now, they can retell the story as they turn the pages and place Goldilocks to the setting! Here's another important nugget....there is no need for children to try to remember or guess the sequence of settings. Instead, we want to teach children to go back to the text to find the evidence to support the sequence! This means, the text needs to be available!
Another way to retell, use a flow map and invite the children to draw the sequence of settings.
Or, depending on the child or time of year, the children can use their words to retell the story. The Three Bears Activity is part of our Reader's Workshop Series.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider provides another opportunity to practice this strategy. In the nursery rhyme we all know that the spider crawls on the water spout, but there are many things a spider can crawl on. I went through my clip art and collected all of the things I thought a spider might crawl up.  I made each one into a necklace. Then, I collected a dollar store spider, made a sun, and made a rain wand.
I invited children to "wear" the various settings. As we repeat the rhyme (repeated reading develops prosody), I manipulated the spider, sun, and rain wand. 
You can then invite the children to select three settings for the spider. Draw the settings in each frame of the response page. Tie a spider to the paper using a piece of string, yarn or ribbon. The children can repeat their rhyme as the spider travels through the various settings.
This activity, as many as others, are included in our Retelling Unit.
Here is a fun book that you can use to start the year! In this story, I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books, we teach the children to sequence the events of the story just like we taught them to sequence the settings. Once they have the events in order, retelling the story is super easy! I used a clip art image of an old lady's head. Then, I cut out the mouth and glued to the front of a bag. Cut out the mouth in the bag. Now, as you retell the story, "feed" the events into the mouth.
We made a smaller version in black and white for the children to use to retell.  Once you have finished the activity don't be so quick to send home the prop. Instead, place the retelling activity inside of their bag or box of books. Invite the children to use the prop to retell the story during read to self and read to others. You can grab the Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books as a free file below!
 

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