Lights on for Reading!
Emergent Literacy
Sandy Kraeger

Rationale:

As children begin to read they need to focus on the proper way to hold a book and directionality as it relates to beginning text, following it left to right, and making the return sweep at the end of a line.  This lesson design teaches children the concept of reading text left to right by relating the beginning letters to common words from their environment.

Materials:

-a book, The Lightbulb by Joseph E. Wallace
-light switch
-letters L and R cut out of large card board
-the words LEFT and RIGHT written rather large on paper that would be easy for children to see from their desk.

Procedures:

1. Introduce the concept of holding a book.  The teacher pulls the shades of the window and turns the lights off.  Ask the students, "ARE YOU READY FOR A STORY?"  If students say yes, ask them if they can see the pictures okay.  (Of course the answer will be no since they have become accustomed to gathering on the floor in well let areas to listen to a story.)

2. Next, ask the children, "WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE READING THIS BOOK EASIER?"  Children should insist that the lights be turned back on, and perhaps recommending that they move closer to the storyteller.  If they don’t mention turning on the lights the teacher should prompt them to come to this conclusion.

3. Explain to the students that it is necessary to have the "LIGHTS ON BEFORE YOU CAN READ."  Ask them to repeat that statement.

4. Show the picture of the L and the R.  Say, "NOTICE THAT THE L IS THE BEGINNING LETTER FOR LIGHT AND R IS THE BEGINNING LETTER FOR READ."

5. Make the connection that L represents LEFT and R stands for RIGHT.  Tell students that this is the correct way to follow text in a story.

6. Next, ask the students more questions about directionality.  "WHERE IS THE TOP OF THE PAGE?"  Students should be able to tell the teacher directions and concepts like top, bottom, first last, up, down.

7. Hold up a book and point to different pages and ask students individually which one should be read first, last, etc.   This checks for understanding. Teachers can also ask questions about words, letters, sentences, and upper and lower case letters.

8. Read a book like The Lightbulb to the children.

References:

“Emerging Reading and Word-Identification Skills” (1997).  http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/res/teach/emerg.html
Adams, Marilyn Jager.  “Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print.”  (1990).  59-71
“First Grade Curriculum” http://www.tumwater.k12.wa.us/schools/the/first.htm
Wallace, Joseph E.  The Lightbulb.  New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 1999.  Toby Welles.

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