Confession: I am a Reading Recovery teacher and I love routine and structure. I have been teaching Reading Recovery for 4 years…during this time I’ve spent 8 weeks teaching students in Roaming…and it stresses me out!
I trust Marie Clay, really I do…but seriously!?! No “teaching” for 10 lessons? We have a lot of work to do in here and I’m supposed to take the first two weeks to learn about what my little readers can do? Ugh! Just get through RATK so that we can get to the REAL work, right?
BUT I HAVE CHANGED MY WAYS!
I just finished RATK with two mid-year students and it was actually enjoyable…I might even use the word fun.
My kiddos this round are both in my classroom, so they already knew a lot of procedures like how to slow check and write using sound boxes. This certainly helped make Roaming productive, but I really focused on what I could do to make these 10 lessons fun and motivating for my students.
During my first session we did family portraits so that I knew all their family members’ names. (Click here to see Allen’s Family) Then I had the students list their favorite things (Allen Likes Jenna Likes). These lists were the starting point I used to select books to read and topics for writing. Allen loves Batman so we wrote books about Allen and Batman fighting villains together! I took a picture of Allen, use a clip art mask to turn him into Batman’s side-kick and put a book together for him. After he read my book, he couldn’t wait to write some of his own, so we wrote two more books about Allen and Batman fighting Harley Quinn and Two Face (plus I learned ALL ABOUT Lego Batman!!) You have never seen a child more excited to write! His smile was so big it took over his whole face! He felt so successful and loved that he could control the story and make himself the hero!
Jenna loves giraffes and non-fiction books so we wrote an expert book together. First we wrote everything she knew about giraffes.
Then we watched a short YouTube video (the San Diego Zoo has awesome short videos about tons of different animals!) and added facts to her writing.
Next we cut each fact apart so that we could put them in the most logical order.
Finally, I typed the sentences for easier reading and put our book together on the following day.
We even added captions so our book was just like non-fiction books we read in the classroom!
One of my other favorite things to do during Roaming is to have my student bring in a favorite toy. This time, we put Frankie all around the school and wrote “Where is Frankie?” using words my kiddo could read easily. Sometimes I type these books, sometimes I let the student write them. It just depends on the student’s needs (and hand writing).
Both my kiddos this round made three text levels of growth during Roaming! YAY! Part of this is definitely because they are mid-year kiddos and they are ready to take things on…but Marie was right (not a big surprise here) when she told us that taking these 10 lessons to get to know our students can make a huge impact in our teaching of them as readers.
Id love to hear your ideas for RATK, too, and I hope that you can learn to enjoy these 10 lessons with your students!