Tag-Archive for ◊ reading ◊

Reading Rocketeers
Sunday, February 11th, 2018 | Author:

Recently I attended the BETT show and part of the reason to visit is to see the latest technology available in the classroom but this post is about something else entirely. While there, I attended a presentation by Lee Parkinson and John Murray sharing their ReadWritePerform English resources. During the presentation, John shared a few of his resources and one was the Reading Rocketeers book. 

The purpose of the book is to support children in their reading. It is aimed at children that are able to read but find inference and comprehension difficult. John suggested around Year 2/3 and as a Year 3 teacher, this sounded ideal. I flicked through, took the plunge and ordered a copy. There are 25 texts within the book and they range from about 50 words to 150 words for each piece of text. Each text has some questions to orientate the children and get them thinking about it, followed by the text and then some questions about the gist of the text. Following this there are literal questions which require the children to retrieve information from the text and then the main questions, the inference. The children are also required to draw a picture to show their understanding of the text and example pictures are included too. 

My original thought was that a small group of children will use the texts in the book as an intervention and we would go from there. While discussing this with a colleague, we decided to try 1 or 2 as a whole class read and then pick our children for the interventions.

So far, we have had 1 whole class reading session, based on the easiest text in the book. 

The text is called “The Window” and talks about Lucy standing on her toy box looking out of the window at her mum hanging washing on the line. I read the text, then the children drew a picture of what they thought was happening. I then shared the picture from the book and we discussed differences. 

The children then had a set of seven questions to answer and my only guidance was that all answers should contain “because”. There were questions that asked “What was the weather like?” or “How old do you think Lucy is?” After 10-15minutes, we shared answers and discussed reasons. When asked about the weather, some said sunny or windy because Mum was hanging the washing out and only one mentioned that the word “fluttered” showed that it was windy. 

When asked about the age of the girl, one child said “She is standing on a toy box, so I think she is about 5. 5 year olds have toys and she would be quite short too so couldn’t see out of the window”.

When I do it next time, I will draw pictures after. Some children said that the girl looked short in the picture or that her brother was taller so I think that the picture swayed their thinking. 

Although it is very early days, I am extremely impressed with the resources. I think that they will have a huge impact on the reading in my classroom. I intend to try another whole class text (one a bit further into the book) and take it from there. I will also use the results from the first session to teach how to answer the questions to explain their thinking too. I’ve shared the book in school with the English leader and the Head of School and both were very impressed so I’m hoping it has a huge impact in class. 

To find out more about Reading Rocketeers, visit: https://www.johnmurraycpd.co.uk/product-page/reading-rocketeers

There is also a sample text on there too. So have a go and let me know what you think. 

John is @readingexplorer on Twitter if you have any questions. 


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Hooking them in
Saturday, January 13th, 2018 | Author:

This week in Year 3, we started reading a new book based on our topic of Egypt. It wasn’t a long book, about 15 pages in fact but I still wanted the children to be hooked in and to get enthused about what they were going to read (and be writing about).  They didn’t know that we were going to be learning about Egypt until a few days later.

So I started by visiting Tagxedo and typing the whole story into their create box. This took a little while, but like I said, it wasn’t a long book so it was fine. I then removed all appearances of the main characters’ names. I didn’t want them to know these just yet and thought we could introduce them later.

I then shared the word cloud on my board and gave them time to have a little chat about what they noticed. Obvious words such as “king” and “bear” jump out but with a few minutes of looking, they spotted “pyramid”, “iceberg” and “playmate”. I asked them for their first thoughts and then we jotted down 5 words that we noticed. Not necessarily the biggest ones, but 5 that might give us clues about the content of the book. (feel free to play along, the actual book title is further down the post)

Next, I gave them the chance to explore any unusual or unknown words and to make a list of them. They jotted them down and then we recapped how to use a dictionary (or find them on Google) and they went about writing definitions of the words that they didn’t know. We then had a bit of fun by spending 5 minutes telling each other the story, just based on those words. They found this HARD, but of course they did. They are 7 and were given a bunch of words and nothing else.

The final step was the toughest one. I told them that every single one of them would probably get it wrong and that this was totally ok. We predicted the name of the book. We had “The Royal Bear King” and other similar mixtures of the big words such as “King Bear and the Royal Pyramid”. But others used the clues a bit more. One girl said that as it said Arctic and Egypt, there was obviously some travelling involved so she chose “The King who went on his travels”. It was a good insight into their thinking and they were nearly all wrong. Yep, one got the title spot on.

The book was the Egyptian Polar Bear. We have now started writing about the places that the polar bear visits on his travels from the Arctic to Egypt and using our descriptive techniques to describe his amazing journey.

If I was doing this reading lesson again, I would make hieroglyphics a bit larger by typing it a couple more times as it was so small, most children didn’t see it or even try and look it up.

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