By Sharlette Cullen, Kindergarten Teacher
This year will mark my twenty-second year as an elementary school teacher, and the magic of teaching a child to read is still alive within me. There is nothing more heartwarming than listening to a kindergarten student read a book aloud to you. It is one of the highlights of my day here at LCA. I consider it an honor to be able to unlock the joy of reading and love of books in my students. My students beg me to read “just one more chapter” of the Magic Treehouse books as a part of our daily routine. They simply can’t wait to hear what will happen to Jack and Annie next. It is in these moments, I know that I am helping to raise a reader.
Literacy instruction includes a myriad of techniques and tricks in my kindergarten classroom. Literacy does just not pertain to a child reading aloud to me. It encompasses so many things: listening, dramatization of stories, speaking, comprehension, vocabulary, and writing. Kindergarten literacy instruction at LCA strives to show students the thrill of recognizing words in a print rich environment, the delight of learning in depth about pandas, the excitement of being teacher assistant and pointing to words in a class song, and the exhilaration of writing a personal message to a friend. We focus on letter names and sounds, phonological awareness, comprehending information read aloud, learning new vocabulary and, ultimately, reading simple books that build reading fluency. The most honored of our classroom jobs is that of librarian: that lucky student gets to choose what picture books we will read and enjoy.
I listen to my students read to me each and every day on a one-to-one basis. Kind words and encouragement improve reading fluency as much as daily practice.
Kindergarten literacy instruction is fun and engaging at LCA. Daily, my students delight in a variety of activities that allow them to fall in love with reading and books. I believe the most important job I have is to teach my students to love books and let them see all the amazing places that the pages of a book can take them. At the end of the year, I hope to graduate students who fall in love with books, again and again, for the rest of their lives.