Thumbs Up For Expert Readers!
By Tara Greene
Beginning Reading

Rationale:  The main objective in this lesson is to learn that accuracy and cross checking is an important factor in a reader becoming fluent.  Before a child can read at a fast pace, they must first learn the importance of cross checking and making sure that what they read makes sense.  This lesson will make the students more aware of cross checking, and emphasize the fact that accuracy is just as important as rapid reading.  By being more aware of cross checking, they will be closer to being more effective readers.

Materials:  "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak (or any other familiar book for the teacher to read), and a familiar book for each group in the classroom (make sure that their books are equal in length).

1. First the teacher should say, "I know all of you are becoming great readers, but today we are going to learn how to become "expert readers".  While reading aloud, we all want to be able to read very quickly, don't we?  Well, listen to me red this book as quickly as I can and after I am finished, you tell me, by giving me two thumbs up, if you think I am an expert reader."  The teacher should read a familiar book to the class, so that the students will know when the teacher reads a nonsense sentence.  "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak is a great familiar book for the class.  Begin to read quickly, but intentionally say a few words incorrectly so that the sentence makes no sense.  "His mather (mother) called him "wild think (thing)!"  Max said, "I'll et (eat) you up!"  Read the entire book very rapidly, but with many obvious mistakes.  The children will probably begin to laugh because the teacher is incorrectly reading such a well known book.  By the teacher reading quickly, they will focus on the importance of making sure that what they read makes sense.

2. The teacher should say, "I read the book very quickly, how did I do?"  The students will probably tell you that you did not read the book correctly.  If they do not catch on to your mistakes, go back and do the same thing with one individual sentence.  Then say, "I didn't read very well because I did not cross check to make sure my sentences made sense.  If I do not cross check, I may never really know about the book I just read.  Listen to me read the book a little more slowly, and you give me two thumbs up if you think I sound like an expert reader."  The teacher will then read slowly, and more accurately.  Read with expression and get the children engaged in what you are reading.  This will show them how much better at reading cross checking can make them.

3. For a review, the teacher can model how to use the cover up method on the board.  The teacher can write words on the board and demonstrate how to cover up.  "Okay, since everyone is familiar with how to cross check, I will write some sentences on the board.  Raise your hand and I will call on you to use your cross checking skills and read the sentence.  Remember, make sure it makes sense.  If it does not, you can always go back and correct yourself."  Only call on the children that feel comfortable reading aloud.  Those that are not confident will have a chance to exercise these skills in the next activity.  The teacher will then write a few sentences on the board, allowing one student at a time to stand up and read the sentence, being sure to cross check.

4. The teacher will then divide the class into small groups of maybe four or five students per group.  Each group should be given a familiar book to read.  "Now that you are in your groups, you will notice there is one book per group.  Each student is to take turns reading a page in the book.  Once the first person finishes reading a page, only if it is correctly read, you can pass it to the next person.  If you make a mistake, you cannot turn the page and pass the book until you have corrected your mistake.  Once the entire book is read, the group should quietly give me two thumbs up, so that I will know that everyone in your group is an expert reader."  The teacher will then walk around, observe the students accurately reading, and encouraging their determination.  Wait until all groups are holding their thumbs up.

5. Another activity to help students be more aware of cross checking, the teacher can say, "What are some ways of cross checking that you may already be using when you read?"  Some replies may be:  look at the pictures, read the rest of the sentence if a word is too difficult, or just take a guess at a word and keep reading.  The students may come up with many unusual, incorrect ways to cross check.  By this, you can correct the ways they may be already cross checking.

6. Assessment:  The teacher can assess each student by sitting down, one on one, listening to them read a book aloud, while recording their mistakes and self corrections.  Writing down a running record would be a good suggestion.  If time is a problem, a teacher could also assess by having the entire class read a book, allowing each student to read one page on their own.  The teacher can also record a running record for this assessment.  This assessment will be quick, but will not give as clear a picture of how well the student cross checks.

 "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak.

 "Let's Be Tacky" by Denise Shealy.  Reading Genie Website

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