Today we began talking about animal habitats. We read the story Where Once There Was a Wood, by Denise Fleming which is about the plants and animals that make the woods their home. The end of the story shows a huge housing development that was built where the woods used to be. We talked mostly about interesting vocabulary in the story and used some of our Word Bird strategies to unlock the meaning of the words. We know that when we read, we need to pay attention to the words, and when they don't make sense to us, we need to stop, think and re-read using one or more of these strategies. The children do a good job of letting me know when they don't understand a word when we are reading aloud, but when they read on their own, they often are so focused on getting to the end of the story that they sometimes are not monitoring their understanding. This is a big focus for us right now as the children are reading more and more independently, and reading longer books. Reading picture books is so important at this level to help students with their understanding of the text. I know the children are in a hurry to read chapter books, but not all chapter books provide the same challenges the picture books have with their rich vocabulary and support of the pictures. With the picture books with great illustrations, the children are drawn to studying those illustrations and hopefully that is helping them to think about what they are reading. That is a habit we want them to have, so they are not rushing through pages without thinking more deeply about the text. Many of the beginning chapter book series do not have the same level of vocabulary, sentence structure, and complex story lines as the chapter books the kids are rushing to read. I encourage you to talk with your child about not rushing to check out the chapter books in the library. They are missing a great opportunity to interact with some really amazing picture books. Wow, how did my blog about habitats get me up onto my picture book soapbox?
We will continue to study animal habitats and look more closely at those plants and animals and why their habitats are important. We will also continue to talk about how humans change the environment and how these habitats need to be considered.
We walked in to school with snow all over the place, and came out and so much of it had gone already! I hope you enjoy this stretch of nice weather we have coming our way!
Have a nice evening!