I am noticing that we have many Emergent readers spending a long time reading at Levels A and B. If we want to accelerate learning, we need to move students quickly out of the highly patterned text and into Level C. At Level C, there are many more opportunities to learn literacy processing strategies.
The Level A and B text is designed to support students learning these early reading behaviors:
- One-to-one matching
- Cross-checking the first letter with the meaning (the item in the picture)
- Directional behavior (left to right and return sweep)
- Learning and using a few simple sight words
- Using language patterns to gain some fluency
In the following video, I am working with first grader Kyliee as she reads the Level B book I Like to Read. As you watch the video, consider what Kyliee is able to do from the list above and what I am helping her learn to better control. You can watch the video HERE.
Kyliee’s teacher has been working with her in a Level B guided reading group, but as I observe what Kyliee is able to do with my help, I am convinced it is time to move her up to Level C. While she is still making cross-checking errors at Level B, with prompting she is able to correct her errors. I feel she can be moved up to Level C if I use a strong book introduction. At Level C, she can continue learning how to cross-check using visual information and meaning. I also hope that by having less patterned text, she will start to look more carefully at the print.
In the next video, I try The Little Red Hen. It is a very easy Level C book. You can watch the video of her reading it HERE.
Wow! I am pleased. I decide to push a bit further and use a more challenging Level C book. For this one, I give her a very rich book introduction. I think you can see how this text provides some great learning opportunities and how well she does with the challenges. Instead of just cross-checking with the initial letter, she is also learning how to check the end of the word. She surprises me by how well she does working out the new word looked! You can watch the video HERE . Now I am confident that Kyliee is ready for Level C books!
As we teach Emergent readers, we need to walk a fine line of making sure there are enough supports and also enough challenges to help students learn at a fast pace. Many of your students have had a very interrupted year of education. We must treat every lesson as precious minutes not to be wasted! Don’t be afraid to go up a level and try it. Your students may surprise you!