We sing any ABC song to review the alphabet. This sets the stage for the reading that follows. Students see, hear and sing the letters to bring an awareness of the alphabet and its 26 letters. Because I do this lesson within the first few days of school, it appeals to all of my students. Those who have experience with the alphabet and/or the alphabet song, can sing along. THose who have no experience gain the exposure they need to gain access to the read that follows.
I like to use a video to integrate the use of media, but I do have a CD with an alphabet poster that works just as well.
A My Name Is Alice- Preview the book
I begin by reading the title of the book and identifying it is the title. I say: "The title of the book is the name of the book just like we have our own names, so do books! Everyone say 'TITLE.' The title of this book is A My Name Is Alice."
I read the author's name and explain what the author does. I say: "The author's job is to write the words of the book. The words tell us about the pictures and what is happening in the story. Everyone say 'AUTHOR.' (students repeat 'author') And what is the job of the author? Turn and talk. Tell a friend what the job of the author is." I ask for someone to share.
I read the illustrator's name and explain what the illustrator does. I say: "The illustrator's job is to draw the pictures in the book. The pictures help us understand the words and what is happening in the story. Everyone say 'ILLUSTRATOR.' (students repeat 'illustrator') And what is the job of the illustrator?" I accept student responses and if they do not know I prompt: Remember what we just said. I will give you a hint. His job has to do with the pictures.
I continue: "Now that we know who draws the pictures, let's take a picture walk through the book." We then quietly look at the pictures as a group. I slowly flip through the pages and point to things that I notice on each page so that students see the picture walk as an active part of the reading process.
I read the story in its entirety. On each set of facing pages I stop, point to each letter and ask: What letter is this? Does anybody know its name? I follow the correct letter name by continuing: And what did (name of character with that letter) like?
While these are basic questions, they are necessary. My purpose if for students to understand that the words and pictures in a book communicate a message to us. I also want students to know that they are accountable for learning and remembering that message.
We then complete a circle map and brainstorm things that we like. I record them as the students say them on our circle map. This can be used as a resource for the next part of the lesson as students create their page and complete their writing project.
Add to the Map
We create a circle map and brainstorm things that we like. I record them as the students say them on our circle map.
I say: Boys and girls, watch me as I draw a small circle inside a big circle on our chart paper. I draw the circle map. This isn't just two circles, we call it a "Circle Map." Everybody say CIRCLE MAP. (students repeat)
I continue: In the small circle in the middle I am going to write the words of what I want you to think about. I say the words as I write them. I want you to think about how to finish this sentence: "I like the ___." Everybody think about what they like. It can what you like to eat, what you like to do or a person you like.
I use this particular linguistic frame because it gives my kids practice with expressing what they like and with the sight words I, like and the. My students are second language learners and this lesson is done in the beginning of the year. We are working on the basics of communication in English with 90% of my class.
Sometimes I have classes or students who cannot respond to this broad of a question. They need a very narrow focal point. If I notice kids struggling with the broad array of answer options, I might say: Let's think about what we like to eat. The topic doesn't really matter, as long as it is something that they can personally connect to. It might be what color they like or a person they like. I have yet to meet a student who isn't motivated by food, so I usually go with what they like to eat!
As students are volunteering their thoughts, I write and say: Great idea! Let me write that word here on our circle map. I write the word, stretching the sounds in the word as I write the letters. I build understanding by continuing: I am going to draw a picture of a (hamburger) next to our word (hamburger) so we remember that this word says "(hamburger)."
I state this directly so that students make the direct connection between the word and the picture. We often assume that kids intuitively make that connection, but I have found that many do not.
Read Off the Map
This is something we do throughout the year, so I jump right in by building this skill. I say: When we read a Circle Map, we read from the inside circle out. I will touch the words and we will read them together! Ready?
I begin in the center of the map and echo read with the students. For each word, I go back to the center and read out. I do this to establish understanding of how to read off this map.
NOTE: This map will be used as a resource for the next part of the lesson as students create their page and complete their writing project.