February Kinder Update


Reading in February:

As I have already told you, all of the class has "passed" the DRA level 2 formal assessment in reading.  (Refer to Web Page Beginning Reading 2)

The end of the year MINIMUM goal for kindergarten is level 3, so all of them are in a good place considering that we are half way through the school year and are currently working on Level 3 skills and strategies. But remember that 3 is a minimum... Level 6 is a more reasonable goal for us to strive for by May.

I am teaching them all about how books work,

both fiction and nonfiction.  

They can name, identify and locate all of the parts of a book. 

They can compare and contrast versions. 

They can predict text and do a quality picture walk. 

They can monitor 1:1 (touch the words) 

They can "locate" both known and unknown words within text.

They are just starting to

-“notice” when they make a mistake...

  1. -learn to go back and re-read

  2. -learn the strategies for how I want them to fix those mistakes!

  3. -learn how to use just the first sound of a word to predict the word based on what would make sense.

We started "Read to Self" today. 

During DEAR time we have done Partner "reading" (typically looking at pictures and enjoying books together) since day 1, but Read to Self is reading from Leveled reading texts...

The first 4 to 5 minutes of DEAR time starting Monday will be Read to Serlf time. They use a "whisper 

voice" to each read FAMILIAR books at their own individual reading level (somewhere between a 2 and an 8)  pointing 

to the words as they read. It is their time to practice what I do with them one on one, and also what I do with the class during guided reading lessons.

For a first day, it went really well. It will take me a couple of 

weeks to establish this as “a routine”....

Once it is a routine at 5 minutes, we start gradually increasing the time. By the end of most years the majority of the students spend 15 - 25 minutes doing Read to Self every day.

At home reading homework

I have started asking you to be sure to keep track of the titles that you read (not just the minutes) to your child at night. The reason for me wanting titles is because when your child does assessments with me I ask him/her questions about the at home reading.

I always ask them to name something they you have read in the last couple of days, or weeks, or a favorite bedtime story,... and then I ask them a question or two about it. 

IF you have not been keeping track of titles for your child's reading log, then, please make sure they THEY keep track because it makes that part of the assessment a LOT easier for them when I can give them a hint or some suggestions when they try to avoid the question by saying “no one ever reads to me at home...”

Elephant and Piggy book club

MOST students have brought home an elephant and Piggy book of mine TO BORROW.  I was a few envelopes short so I think that there may still be 3 people who haven’t taken one home yet.

These books are to be read (by the adult) and enjoyed together 3 times each. Students may chime in, or read words they know, or partner read, or read TO you if they know the book well enough...

but please never allow them to sound out words when they get stuck.

Note: Encouraging or allowing students to “sound out” words when they get stuck gets in the way of what we are needing them to learn right now as far as comprehension strategies. I want them to learn to read using comprehensin FIRST because that is what good readers do. We, as adults, only use “sounding through” a word when something didn’t make sense and we go back to self correct. That’s what I am teaching students to do... and if you are telling them to “sound it out” then you are teaching them the more difficult way to read. Students will advance more quickly when you and I are both telling them to do things the same way and having them practice the same skills and strategies.  THANKS!!!!

When your child has completed sharing all of the E & P books with you, then s/he will receive the Elephant and Piggy Book Club award.

See E and P Book Club Letter here

Writing Instruction

We are continuing to work on writing simple sentences.

We write every day; usually more than once.

The end of the year MINIMUM goal for kindergarten is to be able to:

Write multiple sentences using:

--- Complete sentences (complete thoughts) not merely phrases or lists of words, with:

----  a capital at the beginning

----- all sight (heart) words spelled correctly,

----- good spaces between words,

----- neat, readable handwriting, correctly formed letters, written in correct case,

----- ending punctuation

----- multiple sentences on an assigned topic (Personal Narrative, Informational Writing, and Persuasive  Writing)

So... we are "editing" for those things each day.

If you want to know what your child is working the hardest to control... Your child's specific (individualized) writing goals are noted inside the cover of his/her red journal.  Feel free to ask your child to show them to you when you are dropping off in the morning.

This end of year goal of writing a sentence may “sound”  pretty easy since they should all be able to write:

I love you mom and dad.  OR  I see a cat.

HOWEVER... they need to be able to write on a topic... and 1 or 2 sentences is the minimum goal...

Being able to write about “how to build a snowman” or “the ways that we use water” would be sample topics for end of year informational writing...

plus they need to be able to write a personal narrative, and write a story with characters and a beginning, middle and end.

These are the things we will be working on during the second half of our school year.

We are editing our sentences for:

Capital at the beginning


ending punctuation

all lowercase letters within the sentence

and a complete thought (not a list of words or a phrase)

Glance through the last 5 pages of their journal and you can see where they are...

OR... better yet.. ask them to write a sentence for you at home.

If they say they can’t, ask them to write “an I see sentence.”

Then, have them edit it for the things listed above. It isn’t second nature for them at this point, it still involves a lot of work... but not for long!!

In science we are studying Forms of Matter... and crystals and rocks.  See pages:

ill move on to Animals in Winter next.

In Literature we are doing an author study of Mo Willems, but we are also continuing our year long study of folktales:

We have finished with 

The 3 Bears

Teeny Tiny Woman

Little Red Hen

The Gingerbread Man

The Three Pigs.

Our current Folktale is: The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.

March is Dr Seuss' birthday...

Read Across America is March 1st.

We will be exploring all kinds of literature and various authors 

during March instead of concentrating on a specific folktale.

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