|3RD-5TH GRADE READING LESSONS
By Max Millard
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1. Read aloud simple words (e.g., nouns and adjectives) in stories or games.
a. Play Cops & Robbers word bingo. This is a game that uses words that appear in a Cops & Robbers board game. It provides practice in reading and searching for about 100 words. Here are the first of them: ambush, back, bash, bike, blown, bog, bomb, bounce, bridge, by.
b. When the children have had enough practice playing word bingo, let them play Cops & Robbers phrase bingo. This uses the phrases found in the Cops & Robbers board game. But you should wait until at least one week after they've started playing the word version of the game.
c. Play Cops & Robbers bingo. This will give further practice in reading the words and phrases learned in the bingo games, and will let the students follow the decisions.
d. Use a story book that has a glossary in the back. Underline the words where they appear in the text, then read the book aloud to the class. When you come to one of the vocabulary words from the glossary, stop and ask the class what it means. One good book of this type is "Anansi and the Talking Melon."
Project: Let the students make their own Cops & Robbers games to use in the classroom or share with other classes. They need to tape them together, color them properly, and cut out and attach some instructions. (Max can provide materials.)
2. Demonstrate comprehension of simple vocabulary with an appropriate action.
a. The teacher reads a short book aloud, then chooses some words from the book and acts them out for the class. See who can guess the word first.
b. If possible, get several copies of the same children's book and let the students divide into groups, then look through the books and write down vocabulary words on 3x5 cards. In each group, everyone should choose a different word. Then put all the cards together, shuffle them face down, and let each student choose a card. That student must then act out the meaning of the word for his group. If someone in his group guesses the word, that team gets a point. Take turns letting each team try to guess a word, and see which team gets the most points.
3. Retell simple stories by using drawings, words or phrases.
a. Show the class a cartoon strip of about four panels. Cut it into individual panels, then read each panel aloud and discuss how to put it back together again so that the panels are in a logical order.
b. Read or tell a simple story, then review it with the students afterward and emphasize the main points of the stories. Put each main point into word or phrase, and show how you need to include all those points when retelling the story.
c. Show the class a book that is all pictures and no words, such as "The Snowman." It's possible to tell a story with pictures alone. Let the students pretend they are telling the story to a blind person, and let them describe each picture as part of the story.
d. Read a picture book aloud without showing any of the pictures. Then ask the children to draw a picture about something that happened in the story. Afterward, compare their drawings to the ones in the book.
4. Produce simple vocabulary (single words or short phrases) to communicate basic needs in social and academic settings (e.g., locations, greetings, classroom objects).
a. Pretend that the students are traveling to another country where English is not spoken. What are the essential words and phrase they would need to learn in a foreign language? Here are some:
Do you speak English?
How are you?
I don't understand.
Nice to meet you.
thank you very much
What is your name?
Where is the bathroom?
Here are some words for items in the classroom:
Blackboard, chalk, crayon, eraser, eraser, folder, glue, marker, notebook, paper, paperclip, pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, rubber band, ruler, scissors, Scotch tape, stapler
5. Demonstrate internalization of English grammar, usage, and word choice by recognizing and correcting some errors when speaking or reading aloud.
a. Take a children's book that you can mark up, and cross out one word in some sentences, substituting an incorrect word. Then read the sentences to the class and let them say which choice is correct.
b. Explain a noun, verb and adjective. Then say some words aloud and let the class try to identify each one as being one of those types of words.
c. Give some common errors and ask the class how to say them correctly. The correct forms are shown in parentheses. Examples:
How are you doing? -- pretty good (pretty well)
How you say ... ? (How do you say..... ?)
I was like ... (Don't overuse the word "like.")
I don't want no dessert. (Any dessert)
6. Read aloud with some pacing, intonation, and expression one's own writing of narrative and expository texts.
a. Ask the students to bring in some writing they have done at school, and let them read it to the class.
b. Have each student fill out a bio questionnaire, then convert it into a narrative and read it aloud. If they are shy, ask their permission for someone else to read it to the class.
c. Let the students write their own short essays about something that they know about personally. Here are some suggested topics:
the best day of their life
their favorite hobby
their favorite entertainer
what they want to do for their career, and why
d. Ask the students to write a fiction story or poem, then read it to the class. It doesn't have to be long.
7. Create a simple dictionary of frequently used words.
a. A dictionary has two main purposes: to check a word's spelling, and to look up its definition. People who look up a particular word usually know either the spelling or the definition already. For example, most child have probably heard of American Idol, but they might not know what an idol is. They have probably heard of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but probably don't know how to spell his name.
b. Show a standard dictionary, such as Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Besides listing words in alphabetical order, it has sections at the end for biographical names and geographical names. Look up some regular words, then some names and places.
c. Show a children's picture dictionary. How does it compare to the one for grownups? Is it easier or harder to use? Get the children in the habit of how to look up words by first checking the beginning letter, then the second letter, and so on.
d. Have the students create their own dictionary. Every child's dictionary should be different, because they use list only the words that they commonly misspell. They should include a short definition. The dictionary doesn't have to be in alphabetical order because its main purpose is to list the words that the children need to review and practice. It can be written in the back pages of a journal (writing notebook). The children should get in the habit of adding a new word whenever they find that they are misspelling that word consistently.
e. If the children enjoy making their dictionary, they can also include the word's pronunciation, its grammatical form (such as noun), and a sentence that uses the word.
8. Read grade-appropriate narrative and expository texts aloud with appropriate pacing, intonation and expression.
a. Let the students choose a favorite story or poem and take turns reading one page each to the class. If the children don't read with much feeling, demonstrate for them how to say it speak more dramatically.
b. Bring in a cassette tape with a spoken-word children's story so that they can hear how a professional reads a story. Many are available with accompanying text in the Chinatown library.
c. Teach the children to hold the book in a way that the class can see the pictures as they read. Teach them not to hold the book in front of their face. Teach them to face the class and to speak loud enough. Stress the importance of reading the book ahead of time so that they will know it better.
d. Let them read poems aloud too. It might be easier for them to pace the poem and to stress the right words when there's a rhythm to it.
e. Let them practice memorizing short poems and reciting them to the class. Notice how much easier it is to concentrate on the expression when you don't have to concentrate on reading the words. Here are a couple of short poems:
I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one.
I wonder in what fields today
He chases dragonflies in play -
My little boy, who ran away.
f. Rap music is nothing more than poems set to a rhythm. Bring in a G-rated rap CD such as Lil' Bow Wow or Lil' Romeo and let them listen. It might give them more appreciation of the spoken word.
9. Recognize simple analogies (e.g., "Fly like a bird") and metaphors used in literature and texts in content areas.
a. Sports analogies are especially popular, such as:
Keep your eye on the ball.
The whole nine yards
Three strikes and you're out
A close call
A slam dunk (no doubt about it)
The speech was a home run. (Big success)
b. Think of some cliches that are used in everyday speech and discuss their meaning with the class, especially those expressions that include an animal. Examples:
As fat as a pig
You dirty dog
You filthy animal (from "Home Alone.")
As proud as a peacock
As sly as a fox
As slippery as a seal
Swims like a fish
c. Others that use the word "like":
Works like a slave
Sprang up like mushrooms
Selling like hotcakes
Shines like gold
Slept like the dead
Fits like a glove
d. See if the students can make up some of their own expressions. The teacher can say the first part, and let the class say the rest. They might want to use animals to complete the sentence. Examples:
As big as....
As pretty as....
As lazy as....
As mad as.... ..
Crazy like a.... ..
About as smart as....
10. Use a standard dictionary to determine the meaning of unknown words.
Afrikaans, balalaika, claptrap, doodad, flyover, gofer
b. Bring in a telephone book and show how it is organized the same way as a dictionary. Let the students practice looking up some names. Note that it has a section for businesses as well as residences.
c. Show some books that have a glossary at the end, which is a form of dictionary.
d. Show other books that have an index, such as a cookbook. The difference between an index and a glossary is that an index has only page numbers, not definitions.
e. Bring in a foreign language dictionary, such as a Chinese-English or Spanish-English one. Note that it has two sections, one listing the foreign language first and the other listing the English first. Discuss the purposes of the two sections. Ask the students to look up a word in English.
Materials for 3rd-5th grade reading lessons:
book: The Snowman
book: Anansi and the Talking Melon
blank form for children's bios
cassette tapes of spoken-word children's stories
4-panel cartoon strips
Biffo the Bear comic strip
Cops & Robbers word bingo
Cops & Robbers phrase bingo
Cops & Robbers board games
Cops & Robbers blank sheets for coloring