Friday, June 5, 2009

Already Ready


Nurturing Writers in Preschool and Kindergarten by Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover. I wanted to read this book next in my professional journey to kindergarten, it's essentially a sequel to About the Authors. This book is the outcome of Matt Glover trying ideas from About the Authors and sharing his thinking with Katie Wood Ray. I wanted to read this book because it included thoughts about kindergarten but I also believe it's important to understand where the children are coming from in their learning, this made it important to read about preschool writers, too. As we all know, children enter our room at different stages and knowing a little bit about before kindergarten and a little bit about first grade will help facilitate my instruction and understandings.

This book is based on the students writing picture books. They have the most experience with picture books and can refer to mentor text to help guide their work. These are the reasons Katie and Matt use picture books to guide the writing of their students.

-Picture books are familiar and lead themselves to meaning making
-Making picture books, having multiple sheets of paper ecourages more writing
-Making picture books, help children read like writers
-Making picture books, builds stamina for writers
-Children like it.

We can't forget, children like it. This book also talks about the importance of share time, conferencing and teaching with the children - side by side, nudging vs. pushing, and it's also important to use read aloud as a vehicle for instruction.

The biggest thinking I had while reading this book was the notion of NOT "under" writing on the students work. I kept thinking, How can I remember everything they are writing with two classes? The authors encourage the reader to honor students words by listening, saying them back to the students, remembering them and sharing them. I'm thinking I will need to record oral language on a conference sheet for a record of their thinking. Sometimes teachers record a students language to accompany their sketches to help reduce fatigue. Fatigue shouldn't happen if the teacher lets the students initiate writing and accepts them as the writer they are. Dictation isn't necessary if teachers send the message for students to know they are writing like a 4 or 5 year old. Some feel dictation helps others read the writing but Wood and Glover suggest if the student is present to share the book, using their oral language, then the text is read as it was intended to be read. These are just a few thoughts about NOT "under" writing with students that has given me new thinking and understandings. This text is filled with many more ideas teachers of younger students will want to explore.

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