Hi! I'm Sally from Elementary Matters, and I'm thrilled to be guest blogging on Conversations in Literacy!
Athletes warm up for an event by doing easy exercises to get their muscles ready. Musicians warm up their instruments. Singers warm up their voices. Don't you think readers should do some warming up as well?
I always start reading groups with a warm up. My students learn that they need to be working on their warm up before the teacher even sits down. I usually write on the board what the warm up will be, and make sure the materials are on the reading table, so they'll be warmed up by the time I get to the reading table.
I do this for a few reasons. First of all, they need to warm up! Second of all, it gives me some time to get the other children settled and put out any fires before I become preoccupied with my reading group.
The warm up should consist of something that is easy for the readers. That means well below their instructional reading level. When the children sit down to read, I insist they read "out soft". Yes, the term "out soft" is one I made up, but it makes sense to the children. "Out loud" isn't appropriate, of course, since there are others trying to focus on their own activities. "Out soft" means loud enough to hear themselves, and loud enough for the teacher to hear them when sitting at the table, but not loud enough to disturb others. I spend some time at the beginning of the school year establishing the routine so there's no question on what to do.
The other part of the warm up routine: don't stop until the teacher says stop. If the children finish what they're reading, they're expected to go back and re-read.
There are several materials I use for reading warm up. Sometimes I use books we've read earlier in the year. Sometimes I use mini-books we've used for word work in the past. Sometimes I use word cards, word lists, or phrase cards. Sometimes I let them choose an "old favorite" for warm up. Whichever is used, the rules are the same: It should be well below their instructional reading level, they should read "out soft", and they should keep reading until the teacher tells them to stop. By the time the teacher's ready for the next step of reading instruction, those little brains are warmed up and ready to learn!
It just so happens, I have a reading warm up freebie for you! This uses the Pre-primer Dolch list, which is a great place to start. They are arranged in phrases, which experts say is the best way to practice words.
These can be cut into individual phrase strips, or simply read as they are on the sheets. Run off enough for your whole group, and they'll be ready for reading when they're done!
Click HERE for your freebie! Have a great day Blog Hopping!
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