Mastering concepts is such an important skill. And it is one that is sometimes learned a little differently by each person. Having learning resource centers in your room to help boost the literacy and understanding for your students is an excellent method to increase success.
One method is using various tasks and learning centers to promote better comprehension and learning.
Using jobs and tasks help reinforce literacy in the classroom is something that is fairly easy to set up. Write the students assignments or jobs on the blackboard. These are the things that students will be working on when they are not actually reading. These jobs can be things like this, and should be done in the same order each day:
Using books that you are involved in as a class write down a short section or paragraph on the blackboard. You can also use Classroom Charts instead of the board if you want. Have students write down the passage on paper in their very best writing.
This can be scaffolded for students that have special needs, some students will perhaps print, and others may be using cursive handwriting. Either way, students can also have the option to draw a picture or sketch to match the passage.
Have a short worksheet, perhaps a half page, dealing with the daily math lesson. Sometimes this will be an entire worksheet, depending, that accompanies the daily math lesson.
Students can work on unfinished work, or do something quietly at their desk after they complete their work. This can also be reading silently at their desk. This is meant as a quiet activity, other things they can participate in include drawing, or puzzles, or other free time materials you may have in your room for your students.
Here are some of the centers that can be used each day.
Listen And Follow Instructions
At this center directions are set up on a computer, or on a tape or CD. The assignment is to listen closely and then complete the task it speaks up verbally. Example: Draw a house and yard, and color in your family in it.
Record Yourself and Listen
This is a good way for students to hear how they sound when they read. Using a tape recorder and a blank tape for each student, have the students put the tape in, and begin with the date, speak aloud. Students can have an individual assignment, or there can be a common passage or poem that students read into and record on to their tape.
Provide an area at the center labeled and marked with each students name to store their tape. As student progress through the year, they can listen and hear how they have improved in their ability to read and to be understood when they read aloud.
This is also an excellent way to document a student's progress and a wonderful evaluation tool.
Hear a Story and Sketch
Have each student listen to a selection from audiotape or CD, and then as they listen to draw and sketch what they think the passage represents. This is a good way to help students visualize what they hear.
Hear a Story and Write
Just as in Hear and Sketch, students will listen to a selection. In this exercise, have students write down key single words that seem to be important. This can also be an excellent way to scaffold an individual spelling list.
During this exercise, spelling is NOT important, but have students use a dictionary to correct the spelling on their own. Again, this can be completed separate from any spelling use, or combined for additional comprehension and learning.
Hear a Story and Read
Students sit at a table and listen to a story on audiotape or CD. The selection is also provided for the student to read along and sound out the reading silently as they hear the text read.
This is a good way to have students fully participate, and is easily scaffolded for various skill levels.
Another variation is to send a blank tape home with students and have them select a story and have a family member or loved one record the story, reading slowly and carefully. Sometimes even the student can read a story with supervision and then use their own voice as they follow along with the text selection.
Hear a Story and Remember.
Students hear a selection and then are asked to remember and list a series of numbers, or words. This is highly adaptable, and can be different levels for different reading ability.
Predict the Ending
Students listen carefully to the beginning of a story, and then the story ends abruptly. Students are then asked to write down what they think the ending should be, or what the ending is.
This is an activity center that really can stimulate a student's imagination.
Things I have Read
This can be done as a group activity using the same text or selection. Students read and then write in journal form about what they have read. Length can vary, and is a good way to promote reading-thinking-writing.
This activity can also be incorporated in a center with each student having his or her own book. When used in the individual manner, it is easily scaffolded for different reading ability.
This can be done as both a group activity and individual. Each student has their own journal that they write in during the Journal Center. Journal entries can be either directed, with suggested topics, or they can be at the student's choice.
It is a good thing to note that some direction is needed, and that students should be encouraged not to just list events in their day, but to write about what they think, feel, and observe. Tying journal efforts into a specific lesson or something that the class is working on is another way to help encourage students to write-think-read.