IMG_8345One of the things I took away from the JCCL Reading Conference earlier this week was how we need to be better about building background knowledge and vocabulary with my kiddos.  It’s not that I don’t do vocabulary things with my IMG_8346students, but they weren’t remembering the words we went over when it came time to read them.  We’d build them with magnetic letters and we’d locate the words in the book, but then there would be several students who still didn’t know the word.  Linda Dorn showed a picture of how she gave her kids sticky notes to label the different seasons.  I was anxious to try this myself when I got back to school.

Yesterday, I introduced the book All About Sharks and hung up different pictures of sharks.  I went over the important vocabulary words with the kids and then gave them each 2 post-it notes to put in the appropriate places on the shark picture.  The 2nd graders were super excited about this part (picture at top.)  I was planning on leaving the labels where they were and then having the kids double check for accuracy after reading, but they were all correct. (Photo to the right)  And I was really excited when it came time for the kids to independently read the book because they were accurately reading all of the vocabulary words we had gone over.  In fact, I saw some of the kids look up at the board to cross-check information and then go back to reading.  It was a wonderful use of using your strategies and using your resources.

IMG_8349Today we reviewed the vocabulary words and I had the students make their own shark fact booklets.  They had to have 5 shark facts they learned from yesterday’s reading.   The students got right to work and it was incredible because there was very little asking of help from them.  They were using the board as their “word wall” and IMG_8348writing sentences with the important vocabulary words we went over the previous day.

I got to go around and conference with each student on the sentences they wanted to write.  Some of the students I had to go back and help them with writing complete sentences instead of just writing down a vocabulary word.  I was really impressed because out of the corner of my eye I saw one of my students re-reading for accuracy and then changing part of the sentence to make sense.

When I see the kiddos again on Monday we’ll be able to finish the books and fix some of the spelling errors on the papers and also to make sure our sentences make sense.  IMG_8347I’m really excited with how the vocabulary labeling seemed to really help with the reading.  I’ll be interested to see how this works with other books that we read.