An experienced teacher taught me how to empower and motivate beginning readers early in my career – by filling my bulletin board with, well TRASH!
Is that garbage on my bulletin board?
When I still a fairly new teacher, I returned from my first maternity leave six weeks into the school year. A seasoned teacher had covered my leave, so I was quite surprised at the state of one of my bulletin boards. At first glance, it looked like it was filled with garbage! Cups, napkins, wrappers and containers from fast food restaurants; flyers, newspaper and magazine ads took up most of the space. And then my eyes caught the title in the middle of the board. Look what we can read. Thank you Mrs. Coo. Those kids, and every child I have taught since that time, knew they were readers before they had ever had a worry in their heads about sight words, reading levels or report cards.
The magic of believing
Two words. Santa Claus.
Kids believe the adults they trust. When the grown-ups in their lives believe that they can already read, live the truth that reading is fun and mistakes are opportunities for learning, they will feel empowered to make attempts at unknown words and motivated to try new strategies as they encounter more difficult reading materials.
…some model magic and play:
It’s a well known fact that Children do what we do, and anyone who has witnessed the ‘playing teacher’ phenomenon can argue that they also say what they think we say (perhaps a post for another time).
There are not many professions that can boast the rock star role-model status our young students impress upon us. My favorite thing to do when I’m teaching is to read to my students. When I am teaching kindergarten and have a captive audience, I sometimes read a pre-emergent reader to them and let them know it’s available for anyone who wants to play teacher.
Make an ‘I can read’ book!
I used to have my Reading Recovery students create their own I can read books out of materials gathered from home and photos we took at school.