Kindergarten Reading Lessons
7 Tips to Build Listening and Speaking Skills
Kindergarten reading lessons that include daily listening and speaking activities benefit children. It is important for kindergarten (and preschool) children to develop listening and speaking skills in order for them to make friends, to understand those around them and to express themselves to others.
Kindergarten reading lessons need to include opportunities for children to:
- practice speaking clearly enough to be understood by friends and adults
- speak and listen when playing - to ask for help, to share ideas, to solve problems and to express themselves
- ask questions to make sense of their world
- include a subject and verb, and simple connecting words when speaking
- to be introduced to communication skills such as making eye contact, not interrupting, and how to join a conversation politely
Try these ideas to encourage listening & speaking during kindergarten reading lessons:
1. Read question and answer books
Books such as, Are You My Mother?, are great for modeling correct sentence structures.
2. Model show and tell to encourage clear speaking
Bring some interesting things to show the children during kindergarten reading lessons.
Explain that you are going to show them the incorrect way and ask them to guess what you are doing wrong.
Cover the item with your hands when you show it, mumble when you speak, put your head down as you talk, look away as you talk. The children find this very funny! Then make a big deal of showing the item the correct way, modeling one correction at a time. Ask what you did correctly. After a few lessons, ask the children if they can catch you either speaking or showing items correctly.
3. Plan opportunities for children to speak
Children find a "sharing chair" fun. They all have a turn (once again if a child is shy give them time until they feel more comfortable) sitting in the chair and showing something they made that day, sharing a journal story or a bit of news. Use a timer if children ramble on too long. Most children can only listen to four or five children per session before their attention begins to ramble.
4. Play "Pass the Block"
After reading a story a few times (over a period of a few days) during kindergarten reading lessons, have the children sit in a circle and pass a block around. Teach the children that the child with the block gets to speak, the rest practise listening. Talk about - what does listening to each other look like, don't assume children know. To begin with ask questions that requires very short answers, especially if your class is large. E.g. "What food do you think the caterpillar liked the best?"
Start by making a game of this process as it takes some time for children to remember that only the block holder gets to talk. Explain the teacher's role. The teacher will interrupt if the speaker takes too long and will tap the arm of any children who speaks out of turn to remind them it is not their turn to talk. Model correct passing of the block (kids will throw it). Some children will not feel comfortable speaking in groups at first. Let them pass the block to the next person until they are ready.
If your class is large have a deck of cards with the children's names on them. Rotate the cards so all get a turn over a period of a few days.
When asking children to give longer responses, let one quarter of the class speak at a time, some before lunch, some after and some the next day. It is unrealistic to have young children sit quietly and listen to 20 children voice their thoughts!
5. Model speaking in sentences
When children speak in incomplete sentences teach them how to express themeselves in complete sentence. If the child says, "Gimme book", have them say "Please may I have a book".
6. Have class meetings
Structure class meetings into your kindergarten reading lessons. Class problems are a great opportunity to have a meeting. Give children language to express themselves using "I" statements. "I felt upset when..." "I didn't like it when..." "I want you to stop...". After establishing what the problem is, encourage all the children to think of a solution by completing frame sentences such as, "I might solve the problem by....".
7. Teach with puppets
Puppets keep the children's attention and are great for teaching kids how to correctly express themselves and help them feel empowered to change circumstances.
Help children learn about community helpers. This set includes Farmer, Postal Worker, Soldier, Police Officer, Fire Fighter, Chef, Safety Worker, Surgeon, Doctor and Nurse puppet. Friendly puppets help teach about safety, health and community.
Beginner book sets
Christmas story map
Hands on literacy activities
Listening and speaking
Make your own worksheets software
Math and literature section
Mini-books - tips for using
Outside activities that encourage reading and writing
Picture books - criteria for choosing and suggestions
Picture books 2
Picture book illustrators
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Responding to literature
"Theme" - check out this section for more literacy ideas