30 Amazing Teachers ~ Maribel

Hello!  My name is Maribel and I blog over at Learning in Wonderland. I am a second grade teacher and will be beginning my 10th year of teaching this fall!

I want to give a huge thank you to my sweet friend Cassandra, for asking me to guest blog. I am so honored to be a part of her 30 Amazing Teachers Series.

Today I wanted to share some ways that we can make something that isn't so fun for kids, into something fun.  Let's talk decodable readers.

There are different opinions out there about decodables.  Whether you like them or not, they can be useful and there are ways to make them fun for the children to read. Here are five ways you can incorporate them into your reading block.

1. Buddy Reading
I think we employ this one with actual books, but it's definitely fun to do this with decodables.  You either partner up your students, or let your students find a partner.  I like to select student partners at first and then slowly start letting them pick their own partners.  You give them clear expectations about what they should be doing while they are reading. If your class knows how to do "Read to Someone,"  this will be super easy for them to do.  Set the timer for five minutes and let them have some fun with their books. Once they have the hang of it, they can go for longer amounts of time.

2. Teddy Bear Reading
Let the kids bring in stuffed animals and let them read to their little "friend." You'll see lots of the children really get into it. The best thing is that once they get used to it, they can continue this habit at home. Bonus!

3. Fun Tools
You can infuse a whole level of engagement by introducing some fun tools into the mix.  These large glass beads are a must.  They cover pretty much any word they encounter in a decodable reader.  The bags have more than enough for your whole class and they only cost $1! You can find them at the Dollar Tree.

My kids also love to use these witch fingers!  You can find these in different stores. I picked up a few sets from Target during Halloween season. My kids took care of their fingers the whole year because they loved them so much.

4. Step Reading
This next idea I just came up this year.  It's not an every day thing, but it's fun! The way it works is that you line up your girls on one side of the room and the boys on the other side of the room.  You have them read and every time they decode a word, they get to take a step forward.  What you will see is the kids moving from one side of the room to the other.  Getting oxygen to the brain and infusing some fun into those readers :-) Perfect!

5. Recess Reading
This is a class favorite. They think of this as a prize! I'll try to make sure to do this once a week because they enjoy it so much. Be sure to set those parameters and make those expectations perfectly clear prior to going outside or you'll get kids playing instead of reading.

Once those expectations are clear we go outside.  The kids can read anywhere on the playground.  They must be visible to me and they have to stay in one spot once they pick it.  I've seen the kids use the swings like hammocks, kids laying down on the slide, sitting on steps, etc. They are all over the place but they are engaged in reading!  In the classroom they tend to lose interest in their decodable in about 5-10 minutes but during recess reading, they can go a solid 20 minutes!

Do you have any fun ways to incorporate these readers?  Please share them because I am always looking for more ways to make all reading fun! 

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