Week 4- First Grade

Chook Chook (Fiction, Level D) Traditional Rhyme

I Can Jump (Fiction, Level D) by Joy Cowley

Magnets (Non-fiction, Level D) by Brenda Parkes

Animals and Their Babies (Non-fiction, Level D) by Margie Burton

When I pulled out this week’s first book with a Mama hen and her baby chicks on the front cover, my little Malachi couldn’t wait to get his hands on it to see what it was all about. However, this week’s first book Chook Chook was meant to be a Shared Reading book, so after I calmed his excitement just a bit (not too much, don’t worry), I followed the instructions for shared reading together, and we talked about the elements of the book and the story. Then the long awaited moment came, and he read it to me with a big smile on his face. Thankfully, the rest of the books in this week’s kit were met with similar excitement, and although we did have a few bumps in the road, as often happens when learning something new, these books and their lesson plans were perfect for my first grader this week.

The activity I want to highlight this week is part of Step 3 in the Read with Sarah Model: Vocabulary Development. This step features both sight words and meaning words for the new story for nearly every book, and it always includes orange cards for sight words and blue cards for the meaning words. Most of the time Malachi knows the sight words on the orange card and is happy to learn the new words on the blue card, but this week with the words from Magnets, he quickly became frustrated because he didn’t already know several of the meaning words on the blue card. I quickly reminded him that this is what learning feels like, and I told him, “Everyone has to learn something almost every day, and at first it might feel like you’re getting something wrong because you don’t know the right answer when actually you are just learning something brand new. It might take a few times, but when you learn new words you are getting closer and closer to being able to read on your own and having your very own chapter book reading time just like your big brother!” Thankfully this dried up the tears that were threatening to spill down his cheeks, and we read the book aloud together. Afterwards, we talked about the book, and my heart soared when he asked, “Can I read it to you again?” What a change from frustration to anticipation! I love to see the learning happen right before my eyes, and I’m so thankful to have these resources that make it happen.

I can’t tell you how important it is for me that my first grader genuinely likes the books he is reading. I believe this makes a tremendous difference in the way he will feel about books for a very long time, and I’m so thankful that AlphaSkills sees the importance of this as well. I can tell because they send books he loves week after week. For more information about the AlphaSkills Read with Sarah curriculum and our family, see the AlphaSkills Blog Introduction.