Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scavenger hunt in a book

One of the things we've been doing since focusing on building reading fluency for Big Sister (age 9 1/2), is repeated readings. Repeated readings as a method to build reading fluency has been documented in studies to boost a reader's self-esteem, as well as their overall reading fluency, especially with learning to read in phrases vs. individual words. You can see a review of The Fluent Reader, the book which has taught me so much about the process of becoming a fluent reader, and methods for building fluency at this link.

Repeated readings, if not done with care, can become tedious and dull. I used to think they were boring and pointless before I read this book. The K12 program we used for language arts back in kindergarten utilized repeated readings, and I rarely followed their schedule because I didn't see the value in reading the same story each day for 5 days.

Yesterday, to shake things up a bit and to incorporate grammar into our day, I created a scavenger hunt in the book Sister is working on this week. I went through the book and created questions for things she must find within certain page ranges. For example...

Page 3
Find a past tense verb that changed the "y" to "i" before adding "-ed". Write the present and past tense of the verb.

Page 6-7

Find a contraction.

Page 8-9
Name three nouns that were found under the table.

Page 10-11

List two proper nouns found on these pages, then write the prounoun(s) that could take their place.

This did a couple of things. It kept her working with the story and reading it. It also allowed her to look at spelling and grammar outside of the typical worksheet environment where she's usually exposed to them.

The truth of the matter is that I thought I was a genius for coming up with this idea. She thought it was pretty lame, as activities go. Much more fun (and an added bonus, since she's not a big writer) was when Big Sister announced that she was going to write a scavenger hunt for me, but around the house, not in a book. My activity might have been a little boring, but at least it sparked an idea in her that got her writing for fun. We'll have to pull this activity out another time, for sure!

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