Mrs. Lewis's 6-year-olds at Washington Primary School are working on building their reading and writing vocabularies. They are also working on their phonics and spelling skills by analyzing the structures of words that are in their listening, speaking, and reading vocabularies.
After a couple days of working from a sports equipment poster, they have created an illustrated dictionary (picture word chart) by shaking out words from the picture. Mrs. Lewis has supplied the words to each student on word cards. She gives each child a set with 22 of the more than 50 words shaken out of the picture; she will add the other cards later.
The lesson opens with students reading the words on the picture word chart (Figure 3.1). Then Mrs. Lewis takes out six word cards that she has selected for special attention. These words are written in large print on sentence strips (longer versions of the word cards). In yesterday's lesson, these six words and phrases were among the most frequently “read” words at the picture word chart, probably because they were on top of the stack in the envelope: baseball, baseball bat, football, yellow football, basketball, and ball. Today, the group practices locating each word visually on the chart, and then Mrs. Lewis calls on a student to match the word on the sentence strip to the word on the picture word chart. The other students raise their hands if they agree with the match, then the group reads and spells the word aloud. Mrs. Lewis goes through the process for each word and then places the six word cards in the pocket chart. Her pocket chart is a posterboard with clear plastic pockets that she can slide word and sentence strips into. The words are written large enough to be viewed by the whole class.
- two posters
- storage room
- baseball bat
- two windows
- two chairs
- plastic bats
- two posters
- storage room
- baseball bat
- two windows
- two chairs
- plastic bats
Mrs. Lewis says to the students, “Look carefully at the words in our pocket chart. Think silently. What do you notice about them?” Tommy says that he can read all of them and Jordan notices that all of the words have letters. Chaminade observes that the list contains two “baseballs.” Miranda says baseball, football, basketball, and ball all have ball in them. And Louis blurts out that the words all have two l's at the end. Mrs. Lewis asks Miranda to arrange those words in a column on the pocket chart and then says. “Watch carefully as Miranda points out ball in baseball, football, and basketball.” Miranda points out ball in each word and returns to her seat.
Then Mrs. Lewis says, “Louis, you were being a good word detective. These four words, let's read them together . . . all have two l's. We cannot write ball, b-a-l-l, or any word with ball in it without using two l's. Let me hear everyone spell ball.”
“B-a-l-l,” the class shouts.
“Study the letters in ball carefully, only those four letters, in that order, will spell the word ball in English,” says Mrs. Lewis. She specifically mentions spelling in English because the class has discussed different languages and they have learned four or five Arabic words from a classmate whose parents speak Arabic and English.
Mrs. Lewis pulls out two word cards, bat and yellow, that students do not have as separate word cards. She says, “Everyone look carefully at these words. When you think you know what they are, raise your hand.”
Jordan responds to the teacher's prompt by saying, “Bat, the short one is bat.”
“Good reading, Jordan. Can you come up and point to the word bat on a word card in our pocket chart?” Jordan comes up and points to the word bat on the word card that says baseball bat.
“Now, this one,” Mrs. Lewis says holding up the card with yellow written on it. She gives students a minute and calls on Jessica.
“Yellow football,” says Jessica.
Mrs. Lewis takes the word card for football out of the pocket chart and says, “Now, everyone watch and listen carefully. Think silently, do not blurt out. What is this word, Jessica?”
Mrs. Lewis hands Jessica the word card and says, “Jessica, would you place this word right under its match on the chart?” Jessica gets up, walks to the charts, pauses a moment, and places the word card under football in the phrase yellow football.
“Good reading,” says Mrs. Lewis. “What is that word?”
“Football,” says Jessica.
“And what color is this football?”
“Can you put your hand under yellow?” Jessica points out the word and returns to her seat.
Mrs. Lewis places the card with yellow football on the left side of the pocket chart and says to the students, “We have two separate words on this card, yellow,” placing one hand under yellow, “and football.” Then she places the word cards yellow and football one under the other in the pocket chart.
“Does anyone see another card in our list with two separate words?” The students identify baseball bat, and they spend a few minutes on those words.
Mrs. Lewis's experience has taught her to stop the lessons at appropriate conceptual loop or lesson loop times, to stop when the students have been engaged for a long time (more than 30 minutes), and to stop when they get too squirmy because it's time to go to the media center, lunch, or music. At this point, she finishes this segment of the lesson by saying, “I am going to leave our six word cards in the pocket today. Study them, practice reading them, and see if you notice anything else about them.”
They have been focusing on the six sight words and phrases that are to be mastered by everyone. Today's activities have provided additional practice in reading and spelling these six words and has focused students' attention on the similarities and differences among these words. Recognizing similarities and differences helps students learn to read these words and helps them to classify words according to their structural and phonetic properties.
The following morning, Mrs. Lewis reviews the picture word chart with the children, reading and spelling the words together. They review the six word cards and Mrs. Lewis decides to work with the students on discriminating singular and plural words because she noticed that some students were reading book as books and hook as hooks. She does this to move students toward recognizing the concept of singular and plural and how -s works in forming many plural nouns.
Mrs. Lewis uses the flip chart and begins the lesson by leading students in brief silent and oral reading practice on these words, similar to what they did with the six words in yesterday's lesson. Several students eagerly share that book, books, hook, and hooks all have two letters just alike, side by side. Part of the visual study and practice in this segment of the lesson emphasizes how to discriminate book from books and hook from hooks, with work on the sounds represented by b and h, some work on the long o sound, discussion of rhyming words (students generate several additional words that rhyme—look, looks, cook, and cooks), and some discussion of how -s by itself at the end of a word often indicates more than one object. Their homework is to see if they can find other words that rhyme with book or books.
The next day, the lesson begins with a silent reading of all the words on the chart and the teacher calling on students to read them aloud. Then she reviews the two sets of special study words followed by a check on homework discoveries. They add took and shook to the flip chart. Now the list includes book, books, hook, hooks, look, looks, cook, cooks, took, shook. They spend a few minutes developing meaning for took and shook. Although most students know what took means, Mrs. Lewis demonstrates its meaning by taking things from several students and describing her action in a sentence, I took Brian's book. She writes the sentence on the board, reads it, and has the students read it. Mrs. Lewis does one demonstration for shook, “I shook my head.” Mitch comes up with “The puppy shook mud all over me.”
Angela suggests adding tooks and shooks to the flip chart. The teacher responds that Angela's idea makes sense and fits a pattern, and she reads and points to book, books, hook, hooks, look, looks, cook, cooks. Mrs. Lewis explains, however, that “tooks and shooks did not become words in our language. We use takes and shakes instead.” Mrs. Lewis does not take this line of reasoning any further; she does not believe her beginning 1st graders are ready for conjugating irregular verbs with any level of conceptual understanding. She may explain this concept later, or with another group of students, or with a smaller group.
Mrs. Lewis begins to prepare her students for classifying their words. She briefly reviews what they have been working on in math: sorting their red cubes from their green triangles and making patterns. She holds a set of pattern blocks of various colors and shapes in a small tray and asks the students to look at them. Then she says, “Watch carefully, see if you can be a very good detective. I am going to select three of these that go together. Your job as a detective is to think of as many reasons as you can why they go together.” Mrs. Lewis selects three green triangular shapes and asks the students to think about how these three are alike. She gives students a minute to study. The students respond that
- They're all green;
- They all have three sides;
- They are pattern blocks;
- On Saturday we went to the store to look for some;
- Three points; and
- Green triangles!
Mrs. Lewis remarks that they are all good detectives and asks if a green square fits the group. Ricky explains that it is not a triangle. Jake takes Ricky's thoughts and expresses the idea that a square has four sides; Annalyn says that it can't belong because it's a square, triangles have three sides. Another student comments that it is shaped like the roof of a house.
“You're right. This pattern block does not belong in my set because it has more than three sides. It is not a triangle. Now look carefully.” Mrs. Lewis holds up a red triangle and asks the student if it would fit her group.
Angela explains that it doesn't fit because it's a red triangle. Mrs. Lewis responds, “What good detectives you are. You noticed that the pattern blocks in my set were all green, had three sides, had three points, and are called triangles. You have been using a very important thinking skill called classifying. Let's do one more practice classifying together before you do it by yourselves. Watch carefully.”
Mrs. Lewis picks up the large name cards the class uses as she takes attendance. She calls Jake to the front and hands his name card to him, and repeats the pattern with Jordan, Jeanette, and Jessica. Mrs. Lewis asks the class to study each name card carefully and figure out how they are alike. She gives them a minute to think silently and then she asks for responses:
- They're all kids;
- They're all in 1st grade;
- Two boys and two girls;
- They all have j's; and
- They're all alike at the start.
Mrs. Lewis asks Bruce to point to where the names are “all alike,” and he does. The class is asked to agree with Bruce or not, and then Mrs. Lewis writes a J on the chart nearby. She explains that Jake, Jordan, Jeanette, and Jessica all begin with the same letter. Jessica can't stand it any longer and blurts out, “It's a j!”
Mrs. Lewis calls on Louis who has been waving his hand energetically but patiently for several minutes. “Thanks for waiting quietly, Louis.”
Louis gets up and walks up to the cards. He points to the j and a in each word and says, “They all have J's and A's.”
Mrs. Lewis says, “Everyone watch carefully. Louis, would you point to those letters again?” Louis does so and returns to his seat. Mrs. Lewis collects the name cards from the students and places them in the pocket chart, “Thank you, Jeanette, Jordan, Jessica, and Jake.”
Mrs. Lewis, holding up Chaminade's name card, asks, “Would this name fit in our group?” She calls on several students who give varying but correct responses about why it could not belong. Then she holds up Jackie's name card, students easily identify it as a member of the group. Mrs. Lewis places it in the pocket chart and helps her students think about writing and spelling by saying, as she points to the j in each name, “Yes, if we want to write Jeanette's, Jordan's, Jessica's, Jake's, or Jackie's name, we have to begin it with an uppercase or capital J.”
She brings the group practice to a close and reinforces and extends the students comments and thinking by saying, “You were good detectives. I did put these names together because they all begin with j. I did not think about a being in every name, but Louis spotted it. Tomorrow, you'll begin to classify the words in your envelopes. So be sure to study all the words on the chart—how they are spelled and how they sound. That will help you become a super classification detective.”
Mrs. Lewis brings her students into formal classification of words by connecting the classification work they have done in forming groups and sets and working on shapes in mathematics. She begins with objects that are tangible and concrete (the pattern blocks); then moves them to relatively familiar words (their names), and then on to looking at the letters in their new words. She had planned for students to begin classifying their words today, but the lesson had gone on long enough.
When the students arrive at the picture word area the next day, the flip chart is turned to their book, books, took list. Mrs. Lewis directs them to see how many of the words they can read, working silently, then she reads the words aloud for the students to check their reading.
Then she says, “Now watch carefully. I am going to make another set of words, a set of words that go together.” She writes book, hook, look, cook, shook on the other side of the flip chart, reads them aloud slowly, and says, “I put these words together because they all have the long o sound in them and they all rhyme. Let's read them together and listen to the long o sound and to the rhyme.” The class reads the list of words aloud and then Mrs. Lewis leads them into classifying the words from the book, books, took list. The class adds took to the list.
She moves the students into their first independent classification of the words from the chart. Each student has a set of cards and is fully engaged in studying the words. Mrs. Lewis asks the students to find some words that go together because they are alike in some way. Students find their personal space and spread out their cards. There is a regular stream of traffic as students go to the picture chart to check their reading. Mrs. Lewis walks around the room observing and asking students about their word groups.
The students are given 15 minutes to work individually on reading and classifying their words. Some students read their words to her when they describe their group; others do not. Some students identify the likenesses by pointing and saying that their words have the same two letters in them. Mrs. Lewis extends their learning by pointing to these letters and saying, “You're right: ball, baseball, small wagon, baseball bat all have two l's in them. Can you find any more words with two l's in them?”
A few students are still practicing their reading, so Mrs. Lewis praises them for their good reading and asks them to see if they can find at least two words that go together for some reason. She ends the lesson by having the class read the words on the chart aloud.
Mrs. Lewis begins the next lesson on reading, studying, and classifying words by asking the students to pay close attention to which letters go together to make up a particular word. Mrs. Lewis reminds the students that the more carefully they study a word—and how the letters fit together—the more likely they are to recognize it the next time. She gives them examples, beginning with placing bat and ball in a column on the pocket chart. Mrs. Lewis asks them to study the two words and to raise their hands when they have something to share about them. She waits until most hands are up and calls on Tommy, who identifies the words as bat and ball. Mrs. Lewis asks him how he knows that, and Tommy responds by matching the word cards from the pocket chart to the picture word chart.
Marvina observes, “Bat starts with b and so does ball.”
Jessica interrupts with, “And they're short, they're little words.”
Mrs. Lewis adds basket to the pocket chart under bat and ball. She says, “Study these three words. Read them silently. When you have something to share about them, raise your hand.” She waits until most hands are up and calls on Miranda.
“They all have b first,” says Miranda. Mrs. Lewis asks Miranda to come up and show everyone the b at the beginning of each word. Then she calls on Brian.
“They all have b's and a's at the first,” says Brian.
Mrs. Lewis leads students in activities that help them notice and attend to the characteristics of words and the order of letters. For example, she shows them that specific letters form one word and that if only one letter is added, it is a different word; and the concept that a letter usually makes the same sound (as in b in bat, ball, and basket).
Mrs. Lewis has the students continue classifying their words just as they did in yesterday's lesson, but she requests that they “find some words that go together because they are alike in some way and be ready to tell us why. See if you can come up with some new groups, different from yesterday's groups.”
Students find their personal space and spread out their cards. As yesterday, there is a regular stream of traffic as students go over to the picture chart to check their reading. Mrs. Lewis walks around observing and asking students about their groups. Mrs. Lewis has students classify their words several times because she believes students can discover much about how our language works from classifying the same list of words, a valuable lesson in learning that there is more than one correct answer. The use of the same list of words encourages the students to learn to continue inquiring to see what else they might discover.
After 20 minutes, Mrs. Lewis asks the students to share some of their categories with the class. She calls for the students to pay attention as a group, but asks them to remain in their personal spaces to facilitate access to their word cards, “Here we go! More tough stuff! As we share our groups, I want you to practice listening to each other very carefully. That means you have to do a lot of silent thinking. See what you can learn about our words from listening to your friends. Select your favorite group and get ready to share it with everyone: First, put the words in that group together; and second, be ready to share why you put them together.”
Mrs. Lewis sets up the physical environment to facilitate student use of the learning community and the social setting. She does this by helping students who can't see the pocket chart to turn their bodies or chairs or to find new spaces. She wants them to learn how to learn from each other. She works to prepare and organize the students to help them participate in oral discourse as members of a large group.
While the students are organizing their groups, Mrs. Lewis places her set of word cards in one side of the pocket chart. Then she looks around to make sure everyone has at least one group ready, and calls on Marius to read the words in his set.
Marius reads aloud his set: two posters, three basketballs, two windows. Marius explains that they all have numbers. While Marius reads his set, Mrs. Lewis places her large version of the word cards that Marius is reading on the pocket chart for the class to view. After that, the teacher asks the class to review the set and come up with ways in which the words are alike. In this way, all students practice studying groups other than their own and deduce why those items have been placed together. She calls on Jackie who says that the word cards all begin with t.
Mrs. Lewis says, “That's right, Jackie, all three words, two, three, and two have t as the first letter. Does everyone see the t's?”
Louis blurts out, “I see more t's!”
“Come up, Juwan, and point out the t's at the beginning of two, three, and two for us,” prompts Mrs. Lewis. Juwan complies and Mrs. Lewis asks him, “Do you see any other t's?” Juwan studies the words for a moment, points to the t in poster and in basketball, and returns to his seat. Mrs. Lewis calls on Jeanette.
Jeanette answers, “All have tall letters.”
Mrs. Lewis, “Jeanette, would you come up and show us?” Jeanette walks up and points to the t in two, posters; the t and the h in three, and the b, k, t, and two l's in basketball; the t in two and the d in windows. Mrs. Lewis says, “Thank you, Jeanette.” Pointing to the words and letters, she says, “Two begins with tall letter t, poster has tall letter t in the middle, three begins with tall letters t and h. How many tall letters in the word basketball?” The students take a moment then respond and they move on to two windows. Mrs. Lewis closes this conceptual loop by saying, “When we are writing these letters, we make them taller than our w's, o's, s's and e's.”
Mrs. Lewis is teaching the students to attend to the formation of letters. As part of their work with the picture word inductive model, students will see and discuss the formation of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet many times and they will discuss the sounds represented by each letter.
Jordan is waving his arm and bouncing up and down and blurts out, “They all have two words.”
“Who agrees with Jordan?” asks Mrs. Lewis. Most of the students raise their hands and she calls on Selena to point out the two words on each card. Then she calls on Jake.
“There are three words in three basketballs,” says Jake.
Mrs. Lewis invites Jake to come up and point out the three words, then she says, “Basketball is a special kind of word. Sometimes in our language we put two words together to make one word that means something very different. Often the first word says something about how the second word is used.” She turns and points to the basketball on the picture chart, “Why do you think this is called a basketball? What does basket tell us about ball?” She gives them a minute to think about it. Several hands go up, and Mrs. Lewis calls on Chris.
Chris says, “Because you try to put it in the basket.” They discuss the game of basketball for a few minutes and Mrs. Lewis brings this lesson to a close by complimenting the class on their work and asking the students to study the chart and find more examples of two words written together to mean one thing.
Mrs. Lewis made an intentional decision to stay with the one group of words shared by Marius despite her goal of sharing words classified by four or five students. Each year she has to remind herself to slow down and to allow the students to think and analyze the words they generate. She understands that the students need to take time to study what they already know and where they are as readers, writers, and spellers—individually and as a group.
Mrs. Lewis opens the next lesson by saying, “Today, I want everyone to practice reading all the words on our chart silently. I'll put my hand under each word, give you a minute to read it, then trace the line to the picture so you can check your reading.” After that, the teacher provides another example of classification, leads students into analyzing the characteristics of the group, and takes the opportunity to work on plurals and on how -s works to form plural nouns.
“Who remembers what that long word clas/si/fy/ing means?” asks Mrs. Lewis as she slowly pronounces the word and writes it on the board.
Miranda blurts out, “It has two s's just like grass.”
Mrs. Lewis responds by saying, “It does have two s's just like grass. When we spell classify or grass we use two s's side-by-side. But think some more, you're thinking about how it's spelled, can anyone tell us what it means?” A few hands go up, but Mrs. Lewis decides to demonstrate instead of risking a series of guesses. She looks at the word cards and selects baskets, bottles, and posters, placing them one under the other in a small pocket chart. “I just classified these words—out of all our words, I chose these three words and put them together for a reason. Study them a minute, see if you can discover why I put them together.” She waits, then calls on Jake.
“You put them together 'cause they all have s's at the end,” said Jake proudly.
“You're right, Jake. That is one of the reasons I put them together,” responds Mrs. Lewis, before calling on Jan.
“They're all some,” explains Jan.
“Can you say more about that, Jan? What do you mean when you say `some'?”
“Some baskets, some bottles, and two posters, not just one.”
“Good thinking, Jan. That is also one of the reasons I put these words together.” Mrs. Lewis points to and reads baskets, bottles, and posters, “I put these words together—I classified them into one group—because they all have an s at the end that tells me they mean more than one basket, more than one bottle, and more than one poster. Just like Jake and Miranda discovered. Let's study these s's a bit more.” Mrs. Lewis finds her word cards for basket, bottle, and poster, and places basket and baskets one under the other in the pocket chart. Let's look at basket and baskets. How are they the same and how are they different?” Several children volunteer, and she calls on Theo.
“They're spelled the same except for the circles on the end,” says Theo.
“Which one has the circle, Theo, basket or baskets?” asks Mrs. Lewis.
“Baskets!” shouts Theo.
Louis can't stand it any longer: “S, baskets has an s. And basket is just one basket and baskets are lots of baskets.”
Mrs. Lewis confirms Louis's identification of -s and that at the end of these words it means more than one item. She decides to extend her comments to words not on the chart. “For many words, when we want to make them mean more than one, we can just add an -s.”
Mrs. Lewis writes girl and girls one under the other and some of the students shout out “girls”; she writes boy and boys one under the other and some shout “boys.”
“Think hard. Who can come up and point to the one that means more than one girl and tell us why?” They work quickly through the exercise and move to their personal spaces and begin reading and classifying their words. This time Mrs. Lewis has students work as partners. She walks around with her pad, taking notes about the classifications the students are forming, making sure that students are reading their words or visiting the picture chart if they need to, making comments, and leading students into adding to their classifications and articulating their reasons for putting words together. After 15 minutes, Mrs. Lewis has a list of useful categories. She calls a halt to the classification activity and asks everyone to turn so they can see the pocket chart and the flip chart.
Mrs. Lewis says, “Now watch closely. I am going to put together some groups of words like those I saw you put together. Sometime today—when we have quiet time or if you finish your center time early—see if you can read these words and figure out why partners put each set of words together.” Mrs. Lewis forms groups (see Figure 3.2) and leaves them in the large pocket chart.
Figure 3.2.—Teacher's Example of Categorizing Words
“How many of you studied our word lists yesterday or this morning?” asks Mrs. Lewis. Everyone raises a hand. “Look at our first list, Set 1 [Figure 3.2]. Who knows why these words are together?”
They begin to analyze Set 1 and to discuss its attributes. Students find additional words on the chart that can be added to the sets. Mrs. Lewis has them think, look around the room, and come up with other words to add. They add badge, band, and bug to the set of words with initial consonant b; softball, bookcase, bookshelf, bookshelves, and desktop to the set of compound words. Mrs. Lewis places a question mark beside desktop because she's not certain if it is written as two words or as one. They check the dictionary and find it is written as one word. Mrs. Lewis does not explain the difference between its uses as a noun or adjective.
Mrs. Lewis decides the lesson has lasted long enough, “You've been such good listeners and had so many good ideas about how letters and words work. We'll come back to our chart after center time. Let's stand up, get some wiggle room, and have some music and exercise.” She turns on one of their favorite songs.
Later in the day they begin again with the picture word inductive model by quickly reading the three sets of words. Then they begin working on Set 3, little and bottle. Mrs. Lewis writes little and bottle on the flip chart and asks, “Why did we put these two words from our chart into a set?” The students respond
- Two letters just alike in the middle;
- They have six letters;
- They have two parts;
- They have three tall letters in the middle;
- The e sounds invisible; and
- They all end in -le.
Mrs. Lewis selects some of their responses for extension. She says, “Hold on, that's enough. Everything you said about these two words is 100 percent correct. These two letters just alike in the middle [pointing to the t's and d's] are two of our consonants. Who can tell us something about consonants?”
Ricky, pointing to the D'Nealian alphabet cards posted along the bottom of the bulletin board near the writing center, explains, “They're the ones with no red lines. Vowels have red lines under them.”
“Yeah, like the letter strips at our table,” inserts Louis.
“When a word has two consonants just alike in the middle—it also has at least two parts,” explains Mrs. Lewis. She says the two words, emphasizing each syllable slightly. She asks the students to read them aloud together and to clap their hands for each part.
They add rattle and tattle to the set of two syllable words formed with double consonants, in the set of two t's, followed by -le.
Mrs. Lewis writes door on the whiteboard; several students pronounce it. The teacher asks if the word belongs in the group and calls on Selena.
“Uh-huh,” says Selena.
“Why?” asks Mrs. Lewis.
“Because it has two letters the same in the middle.”
“But they're short letters,” interjects Chaminade.
“They're vowels, not consonants, and there's no -le at the end,” Mitch says smugly.
Mrs. Lewis, pointing to the letters in door, says, “As Selena noticed, there are two letters the same in the middle, two o's. And as Chaminade pointed out, they are both short letters. But, this word does not belong in this group because, as Mitch said, these o's are vowels, not consonants, and there is no -le at the end of the word. Raise your hand if you can read this word.” About two-thirds of the students raise their hands. Mrs. Lewis calls on Theo, who has his hand up. Theo says, “Door, because d-o-o-r spells door.”
Mrs. Lewis calls on Omar, who says that he can read it because it's on the door. Omar demonstrates by walking to the front door, the back door, and the two cabinet doors—he points out that each has door posted on it.
The next day, Marius begins the lesson by leading the class in reading all the words on the chart. Then Mrs. Lewis asks about their homework, finding words that would belong in Set 3 with little and bottle.
Marvina suggests they add cattle. Mrs. Lewis writes and spells cattle on the flip chart, then says, “Everyone, look carefully at the word cattle. Would cattle belong to the group with little, bottle, rattle, and tattle?” Most students assure her it would, and she calls on Marvina to talk about why cattle would be a member of this group.
Tommy volunteers battle. Mrs. Lewis asks the class what battle begins with, then calls on Jake to spell it as she writes it on the board. They briefly discuss why it belongs in Set 3. Andrea remarks that it could also belong in the set with the b words, so Mrs. Lewis adds it to Set 1.
Annalyn suggests they add riddle, so the teacher writes and spells little and bottle one under the other on the white board, moves over some and writes and spells riddle and middle, one under the other, and asks students to study the four words. “What do you notice? What is alike about these four words?” The students quickly identify the similarities, and Mrs. Lewis emphasizes the two identical consonants in the middle followed by -le, forming words with two syllables. Then she asks students to focus on the differences:
- Little and bottle have two t's, riddle and middle have two d's in the middle.
- Bottle has an o.
- Riddle and middle are spelled just alike, but the first letter is different. They sound alike.
Mrs. Lewis asks them to look at Set 3 and reads the words to them, then says, “If we describe Set 3 as having words with two consonants just alike in the middle, followed by -le, and having two parts, two syllables, then riddle and middle would belong in the set. But . . . you said earlier, that all the items in this set had two t's side-by-side in the middle.” They decide to make a separate set. Mrs. Lewis works with them briefly on rhyming words and on the different sounds represented by t and d and on the pronunciation differences between little and riddle, and the lesson ends.
The next day, Mrs. Lewis announces, “Today we are going to focus on sentences.” She writes sentence and sentences on the board to formally introduce the concept of sentence.
“We're going to write sentences about our picture. Instead of telling us what an object is in our picture, like football or yellow football, you can tell us something more about the picture, like we have here.” Mrs. Lewis picks up a sentence card from the class's previous picture word inductive model. “Who can read this sentence? Jordan?”
Jordan reads, “The teddy bear's cheering.” (Mrs. Lewis's class used the same poster that Ms. Tayloe's group was working on in Chapter 1.)
“Watch while I write another sentence about our picture.” Mrs. Lewis turns, looks at the picture for a moment, and writes There are two posters in the room, a Mickey Mouse poster and a teddy bear poster. She pauses and asks, “Who sees some words in my sentence that they can read?” Hands go up and she calls on several students who identify teddy bear, Mickey Mouse, two, and posters. Then she reads the sentence and has the students read it with her. “Now, who has another sentence for us? Everyone listen carefully.”
Mrs. Lewis began by using the short sentence that was already a part of the data set; created a new sentence as a model for the meaning of sentence; provided an opportunity for students to practice reading their sight words within the sentences and to celebrate their growing skill in reading; and continued to help students notice that letters make up words and words make up sentences.
As a student shares a sentence, Mrs. Lewis listens, repeats it orally for clarification and volume, writes it pronouncing each word as she goes, jots down the initials of the author, and finally has all the students read it aloud with her. Here are some of the sentences:
- There are some old jackets and ropes on the hooks.
- There are lots of balls in the room.
- The red wagon. (Mrs. Lewis prompts, “What is in the wagon, Ricky?” “Plastic bats, it's full of plastic bats,” responds Ricky. Mrs. Lewis writes, “The red wagon is full of plastic bats.”)
- The water bottles have green lids.
Mrs. Lewis records about a dozen sentences, and they read them together before closing the session.
“This morning, let's just have fun reading our great sentences.” Mrs. Lewis turns to the flip chart and leads the students in choral reading. Then she smiles and says, “Now it's your turn to practice reading them by yourself and here they are.” She gives each student a yellow page with the sentences numbered and printed in large font front and back and with the author's name printed under each sentence. She provides time for them to look at the 14 sentences (she included the sentence from the picture chart and the model she created yesterday), share their comments, and ask questions about how it is set up. Their task is to find words they can read, find their sentence, and just have fun reading what has been created.
Mrs. Lewis tells the students to find some space and practice their reading. As they find their space, she reminds them that they can use the chart or ask the author if they cannot read a word. The teacher walks around the classroom, listening to them read, discuss words, and talk about authorship. Occasionally, she sends someone to the chart to verify a word. Sometimes she pronounces a word for a student or asks someone to reread a sentence. Mrs. Lewis wants students to learn to use the chart routinely as an illustrated dictionary; she wants students to develop an awareness of when they do not know a word; and she is teaching good reference skills and use of the dictionary for looking up information when necessary.
Mrs. Lewis also encourages students to politely ask the author if they have trouble reading a word. She watches these interactions carefully because she wants to support students as they seek assistance from the author, but does not want students to become dependent or lazy as readers and learners.
For the next several lessons, Mrs. Lewis plans to extend the use of the picture word inductive model over the next several weeks. Tomorrow she plans to ask for sentences from other students and then to publish another page of sentences. Mrs. Lewis projects that several lessons will involve reading sentences, beginning to analyze them, identifying high-frequency words in the sentences—the, is, in, there—and mastering the words as sight words. By the time they finish their sentences, most students will be able to read them all.
Mrs. Lewis and her class of 25 students will continue to add words to their chart and sentences to their list, and the students will eventually classify the sentences and write paragraphs about what they found in the picture of the equipment room. As they work on reading, writing, spelling, phonics, structural analysis, and penmanship, they'll probably spend at least another two weeks on this picture chart. Nearly everyone will master 50 sight words and the most useful phonics generalizations in their words before they finish with the chart.