Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Read-Alouds: Comprehension and Cognates

Read-alouds are more than just fun for our young learners. By clearly and explicitly asking children to engage in meaningful comprehension activities like making predictions, describing characters, and explaining plot, we are teaching this important component of reading (see http://www.maggiesbighome.com/search?q=reading+umbrella). We can have children turn and talk about their "guesses" (predictions) based on the cover of the book and/or a picture walk. Turn the class into actors to show understanding of character traits and behavior. Give children a paper, folded into four parts, to highlight the key parts of a book's plot. These are developmentally-appropriate ways to teach comprehension skills as we read. 

Read-alouds can even provide us an important opportunity to showcase the knowledge we have in our classrooms. We can use the vocabulary in a book to help ALL children understand the power of cognates (words from different languages that are related to each other). This helps speakers of languages that descend from Latin. 

About 40% of English vocabulary can be related to Spanish words. This helps our Spanish speakers but also demonstrates to English speakers that they may be able to make connections with words in other languages. 

As you read books orally to your class, ask Spanish speakers to raise their hands when they hear familiar Spanish words. They may raise their hands when you read family or center as the Spanish words are closely related (familia, centro). 

Talking with your young children about "words that are relatives" is a perfect opportunity to invite Spanish-speaking family members of students into your classroom. They can read books in Spanish and English speakers can then raise THEIR hands when they hear a familiar cognate like familia! Showing learning from all sides is important! 

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.E.03, 2.E.04, 2.E.06, 2.E.09, 2.E.10.
Head Start - VII. B & C.

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