PK4 students are learning to be good listeners while developing pre-reading skills through stories, movement, music, finger plays, and interactive games. Whole group activities help the children to learn the alphabet and phonemic skills as well as vocabulary and comprehension skills. The story is read three days in a row, with different prompts each day. Day one is a straight oral read. Day two, the children are asked who, what, where, and when comprehension questions while re-reading the story. Day three, we ask more in-depth why and how questions which include completion and recall, along with open-ended questions that allow the children to share personal feelings and experiences related to the story. On the final day, the children help to retell the story in their own words. This personal engagement in literacy helps students develop an understanding of characters, setting, events, sequence, and story ideas.
Along with hearing the story, daily lessons include the following skill work: alphabet skills (upper and lowercase letter identification), phonemic awareness skills (hearing letter sounds, syllables, rhyming words, onset-rime, phoneme segmenting, and blending, etc.) comprehension exercises, and vocabulary enrichment. These activities are fun and fast-paced, keeping the children actively involved in the lesson.
Recently we explored a PK4 favorite called ROOM ON THE BROOM, by Julia Donaldson. The children had fun making a witch’s brew using upper case letters. They took turns stirring and picking a letter from the cauldron and then sharing the letter’s name and sound with classmates. Some of the children were able to think of a word with their letter’s beginning sound. We also played “sylla-ball” using words like broomstick, magic, frightful, horrible, and wand. Other new vocabulary words we explored were: clambered, shriek, cauldron, and glee. It was also fun singing and making the motions to the “Old Mrs. Witch” song, and retelling this fun story using our characters, sensory bin, and flannel board. This story’s unexpected ending delights the children every time!