Kindergarten Read Aloud
In the beginning of the year, we begin our read aloud with community building books, where students learn what it means to come to school and belong to a learning community. We read books like people, which talks about all of the different kinds of people in the world, and the students connect this to the wonderful fact that our school also houses many different people, with various cultures, traditions, and family structures. We read time to say please by mo willems, and talk about how it feels when we use kind words. We read llama llama bully goat and todd parr’s it’s okay to be different. This launches a year long journey of community building and social emotional learning which we will continue to explore through read alouds and well as classroom discussions and role plays across the year.
In late september and october in kindergarten, our read aloud focuses on emergent storybooks. In this unit, children hear wonderful stories over and over, and they have the opportunity to talk, think, and act out these stories again and again until they can tell the stories themselves. Our purposes for this unit are to foster a love of stories, to help students understand that they can “read” stories quite well by looking carefully at the pictures and using storyteller language, and to build that sense of story and story language through repeated readings and re-enactments. At home, you can support this work in two ways:
The children will be taking home one emergent storybook each night. Please make a big deal of this book – ooh and ahh over it – and read it over and over. You can read it word for word, and you can also read through the pictures, as we’ve taught your child, by touching the main character on each page, saying what they’re doing, and using story language such as “next…and then….Finally…” if you are really adventurous – and we encourage you to be – you can take on roles and act out your child’s favorite story, or favorite characters.
Try this “reading through pictures and memory” with other favorite books in your house…..Follow the character page to page and say what they are doing. If you remember some of their dialogue, you can add it in!
This helps our readers see that they can truly read anything……through pictures, memory, and soon, through words.
***if your child is already reading leveled books, they will also be sent home with a few of these. At this time of year, both kinds of reading are important. See more in reader’s workshop.
Across the unit, students have the opportunity to act out their favorite stories as a whole class, and in small groups. At the end of the unit, we celebrate our emergent reading books and our new storytelling skills with a kindergarten-wide performance of our favorite emergent books.
Then in november, we read books around the theme people are unique. In this study, students have the opportunity to meet many characters who are unique, and as we discuss these stories we discuss what it means to be unique, what it sometimes feels like, and why it’s okay to be different. The students work on projects across this unique that celebrate their own uniqueness, as well as the uniqueness of their class as whole. They mix paint colors to create their own special skin tone in a self-portrait, and they will work at home with you on a poster that represents everything that is unique about them.
Following this study, we learn about the many winter holidays that are celebrated in our school and surrounding community, including christmas, hanukah, kwanza, and the new year. While we do not study the religious components of the holidays, we do study the traditions – how families and communities celebrate these holidays, often with food, light, singing, gifts, and most importantly time together as a family and community. The study is a wonderful way for students to learn and appreciate similarities and differences in cultures, and it’s a great way to share personal stories from home. On that note, we try to educate our children about many holidays across the year, because we see this as an important part of their learning about the community where they live. Our studies are always richer when we have guest speakers or guest speakers who come with projects or stories! If you would like to volunteer your time to come visit your child’s class or all of the kindergarten classes to share more specifically about your family holiday, please let us know!
In january, we start off the new year by reading mo willems. We love him!!! He is a writer who lives here in brooklyn, and he writes a few different series that our students love. Knufflebunny, piggie and gerald, and the pigeon. In this study, we introduce the idea of an author study – collecting many works by one author and reading across their books, enjoying them of course but also noticing what is similar about many of their stories or characters. The students will notice patterns across the stories, such as characters who are funny, dialogue in bubbles, and dialogue that is unusually sized….(very little, very very big, etc). They’ll learn how authors write words in different font to convey big feelings, and they’ll think about what’s happening in the story to help them name these feelings.
In february, we begin a nonfiction study, where the classes will read about different animals, their habitats, and their families. This is our first big nonfiction “research” where we’ll be studying about a topic across different texts. The students will learn how we can notice the way a book is organized to help us get ready to read (is there a table of contents? Are there chapters, or sections? Are there drawings or photographs? What is this book probably going to teach me?) they also learn that we read nonfiction more slowly than fiction, and that we often reread and go back and forth between the pictures and the words to help us really understand. You can support this study at home by sharing your own nonfiction reading with your child, and by taking a trip to the library or the bookstore and reading some nonfiction books together that your child is interested in.
In march, the kindergarten students read and write poetry in their read aloud period. They learn that poets write about all kinds of topics – people, places, and objects, special memories, and strong feelings. They learn that poets use beautiful language – descriptive language that gives the reader a picture in their mind – and that the poem can take many different shapes.
At home, we encourage you to read poetry all year round with your child. Shel silverstein is a wonderful go-to poet, as his poems are funny and build on our students’ developing sense of rhyme and rhythm. We also love judith viorst, jack prelutsky, and eloise greenfield.
In april, in preparation of earth day and in preparation of our kindergarten students becoming more mature and responsible citizens of their community, we study taking care of the earth, and specifically where our garbage goes. The students will be reading books such as “the berenstein bears go green” and “where does all our garbage go,” as well as watching short nonfiction videos and learning songs together. The students will develop their own questions about garbage, and pursue these across the unit so they can learn how they, you, and we as a school community can be more responsible about the earth!
In may, we begin reading traditional and fractured (untraditional) fairytales. Later in the spring, the students will have the opportunity to write their own fairytales during writer’s workshop. The students learn that fairytales are stories told long ago, passed down through oral storytelling traditions, and that these stories helped parents teach children life lessons. So, in fairytales, you will meet exaggerated characters – characters who are very very good, or very very bad, and this made the lessons even more clear to young children. So when we read cinderella, we see the lessons that if you are kind and hard-working, you will be rewarded with good things in life, but if you are cruel and jealous, you will not. In the 3 little pigs, we learn that shortcuts don’t pay off, and that sometimes you have work hard and long at something, but then it will last.
We end the year with an open cycle of read aloud, where teachers introduce students to some very favorite series that they might like to continue reading at home, over the summer with you. These are often:
The jamaica series by juanita havill
Ladybug girl by jackie davis and david soman
Readerly Life and Emergent Storybooks
In September and October of Kindergarten, we begin with a short unit on Readerly Life, where we set up the routines of Reader’s Workshop. These routines include coming to the meeting area to read a big book together and to participate in a brief lesson – led by teachers as well as students – followed by a period of independent and partner reading. During this time, students can choose from a basket of emergent storybooks or leveled books if they’re reading them, and teachers confer individually and in small groups with children. During reading workshop, there are always two teachers giving lessons and meeting with students, to allow for maximum individualization.
After this brief introductory unit, we dedicate the rest of September and October to Emergent Storybook reading. This is a time where students get to really practice many of the skills outlined in our Read Aloud. In addition to “reading” their storybooks, our teachers meet individually with each child to learn what else they know about reading…how to hold a book, how to turn the pages, how we read books left to right, how many books offer text and pictures to help tell the story, etc. We also assess each child’s knowledge of letter-sounds and early site words. As they are ready, students are introduced to conventional reading. For some, this happens in early fall. For others, this begins in the wintertime. Both are just fine! Every child is on their own journey as a reader, and all of our students are reading by the end of Kindergarten!
In the late fall, some of our students are continuing to master letters and the sounds they make, and they are continuing to read in their emergent story books. Others are beginning to read conventionally. Meaning, they have enough word wall words and enough security in the alphabet sounds to begin reading simple pattern books. These books often have one line of text, with a repeating pattern that supports the young reader. The pictures are also very supportive, such that a student can look at the first letter of a new word, check the picture, then pretty much figure out that new word! These beginning leveled books don’t have much of a story, though, so we encourage students to continue reading their emergent story books alongside their pattern books until they are reading level C, D, and E books that have more of a story.
At home, you can help your child by taking time each night to have them read through their word wall words (very important!!!) and if they can’t read them right away, they can practice spelling them out loud then saying the word. For example, T- H -E spells THE! Then, set them up to read for 15 minutes from their book baggie. It is wonderful if you can sit alongside and listen, or if you can read your own book while they read theirs!
In the winter of Reading Workshop, our kindergarteners begin learning the skills they will need to read in their independently leveled books. Please see our parent guide below to learn about what skills your child will be working on as they read their leveled books:
A Guide to Leveled Reading for Parents
Level A Books
- Short, predictable sentences.
- Repeating patterns.
- Sentences supported by pictures.
- One line of text on a page.
What A Readers Can Do
- Look at the cover and pictures to get ready to read.
- Notice how many words are on the page – that’s how many words you should say.
- Look for word wall words to get yourself ready.
- Use the pictures to help you read.
- Point to each word as you read (1-to-1 correspondence).
- Say what the book is about.
Level B Books
- Short, predictable sentences (3-7 words on a page)
- Repeating language patterns.
- Clear pictures that support meaning of new words.
- Two lines of text.
What B Readers Can Do
- Look at the cover and pictures to get ready to read.
- Look for word wall words to get yourself ready.
- Name the pattern and how it changes.
- Tricky word? Use the picture and the first letter to help you.
- Make a return sweep (move your finger and your eyes to the second line of text).
- Say what the book is about.
Level C Books
- More word wall words
- 1-4 lines on a page
- Wider variety of punctuation
(“ “ , ! ? )
- Most books have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
What C Readers Can Do
- Take a picture walk to help you learn about the main character, the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.
- Notice new punctuation – dialogue tags, commas, exclamation points and question marks.
- Put your finger underneath a word if it’s tricky, and reread a sentence after solving a tricky word.
- After reading, say the big idea or name the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
Level D Books
- Many word wall words (high frequency words) and some new tricky words
- 2-6 lines of text on a page
- Some longer sentences
- These books are almost always a story, which students should be able to retell
What D Readers Can Do
- Notice who’s talking – there may be 2 characters talking on a page!
- Figure out tricky words with less support – think about what is happening in the story, tap out the sounds of the letters you see, or replace a word.
- Stop to reread if a word or a sentence doesn’t sound right.
- Retell the story – who was the main character, and what happened in the story?
Level E Books
- Pictures tell you some of the story, but not everything. You have to think about what’s happening in the words to learn the whole story.
- The stories often include a pattern or a repeating part (A boy looked for his lost sock…..under his bed….in the bathroom…and in his dog’s bed! Then, he finally found it!)
What E Readers Can Do
- Stop to solve tricky words by thinking about what is happening, tapping out the letters of the word, and rereading the sentence to think about what would make sense.
- Think and talk about what happens in the beginning, middle, and end.
- Track print with your eyes – just take your finger out if you are trying hard to solve the parts of a word.
- Read smoothly with expression, after reading a book a few times.
Level F Books
- More words on a page, more events in a story.
- Surprise or funny endings.
- Characters’ feelings change across the story.
- More complex sentences.
What F Readers Can Do
- Retell by naming the main character and saying what happened in the beginning, middle, and end.
- Include your characters’ feelings when you retell the story, and explain why they felt that way.
- Read smoothly, with feeling (after reading a book a few times)
- Stop to reread if you are confused about a word or a sentence.
- Infer (figure out) if the character learned a lesson at the end of the story.
Finally, at the end of the year, we take time in Reading Workshop to study the characters in our books, and especially their feelings. Students learn that there are many ways to learn about a character’s feelings….
- Look at the facial expressions and body language in the picture
- Pay attention to their dialogue and the dialogue tags – that often shows the feeling
- Think about what’s happening and ask, “How would I feel?”
The students begin using a very helpful tool that you will see in their baggie….It’s a chart of different feeling words, with emoji attached to each feeling, and a little empty box at the end of the sheet that says “Beginning……Middle…..End.” The students’ job as they read is to look for clues about how their character feels, and then choose the appropriate feeling words to match their character from the beginning to the middle to the end of the book.
There are two ways you can support your child at home in this work.
- Sit side by side as they do their reading homework, and ask them to explain to you how their character is feeling, how they know, and how they can use their feelings chart to help them talk about it.
- Continue reading higher level picture books and chapter books to your child, and then you and your child can talk about the feelings that these character are having, too. This is very important!!! Please remember that just because your child has started reading, the stories they can read are still simple, and they are now 5 and 6 year olds….who are very complex! They still love and benefit from time reading together with you!
Sequence of Modules
Module 1: Numbers to 10
Module 2: Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Shapes
Module 3: Comparison of Length, Weight, Capacity, and Numbers to 10
Module 4: Number Pairs, Addition and Subtraction to 10
Module 5: Numbers 10–20 and Counting to 100
In the month of September, Kindergarten is very excited to dive into expanding our knowledge about math and how math can help us in so many different situations in our life!
Module 1, Kindergarten starts out with solidifying the meaning of numbers to 10 with a focus on embedded numbers and relationships to 5 using fingers, cubes, drawings, 5 groups and the Rekenrek. Students then investigate patterns of “1 more” and “1 less” using models such as the number stairs (see picture). Because fluency with addition and subtraction within 5 is a Kindergarten goal, addition within 5 is begun in Module 1 as another representation of the decomposition of numbers.
In this module, students seek out flat and solid shapes in their world. Empowered by this lens, they begin to make connections between the wheel of a bicycle, the moon, and the top of an ice cream cone. Just as the number 4 allowed them to quantify 4 mountains and 4 mice as equal numbers, learning to identify flats and solids allows them to see the relationship of the simple to the complex, a mountain’s top to a plastic triangle and cone sitting on their desk. This Module will end with a culminating project, “Build A City”. For this project students will go on a shape hunt around their neighborhood to notice the different shapes they can find in buildings, vehicles, and their environment. Back at school they will construct their neighborhood with their peers using 2D and 3D shapes based on their observations.
Module 4 marks the next exciting step in math for kindergartners, addition and subtraction! They begin to harness their practiced counting abilities, knowledge of the value of numbers, and work with embedded numbers to reason about and solve addition and subtraction expressions and equations. We will start this module with our exciting Sleepover project where the students will use a bunk bed and self made puppets to explore all the number pairs in number through 10. Then we will jump into Topics A and B, decomposition and composition are taught simultaneously using the number bond model so that students begin to understand the relationship between parts and wholes before moving into formal work with addition and subtraction in the rest of the module.
Up to this point in Grade K, students have worked intensively within 10 and have often counted to 30 using the Rekenrek during fluency practice. This work sets the stage for this module where students clarify the meaning of the 10 ones and some ones within a teen number and extend that understanding to count to 100. We will introduce these topics through the context of a birthday party. Students will plan a birthday party with all the necessary items and count and group teen numbers.
- Have your student practice counting groups of objects in his/her environment
- Have your child help with household chores that require matching or sorting, such as matching socks in the laundry, organizing shoes, or collecting utensils for meals. As your child matches objects, ask questions like, “How do they match?”
- Touch and count up to five objects together. At snack time, say, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5. You have 5 crackers.” Move the crackers into a line or a circle and count again. Increase this number when your child is ready.
- Buy or make a set of numerals 1-5 (paper, foam, or magnets). When getting dressed ask, “Which number shows how many shoes you are wearing?”
- Point out and name numerals in everyday experiences. While riding an elevator, ask, “Which button has the number 4?”
- Sing songs that involve counting forward or back, such as “The Ants Go Marching”. This Old Man,” “Five Little Ducks Went Out to Play,” or “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”
- In addition to counting, students can practice writing the numerals 0- 10
- Practice decomposing numbers, e.g. talk about how 5 is made up of a group of 2 and a group of 3