Last school year, my kinders were ready for some easy sentence comprehension pretty early in the year. I wanted them to be accountable for their reading. However, I didn’t have time to fit in space for comprehension practice that was totally dedicated to that. Our morning routine was pretty quick and easy, so I decided we’d use the first 20 minutes after we walked into our classroom to unpack and work on writing sentences correctly and comprehending what we read by drawing a picture to match.
Read. Write. Illustrate. was born. My kids absolutely EXCELLED the rest of the months when we were reading. The first week of introducing it, we did it together. I put my own copy under our document camera and they all sat on the rug with clipboards and their paper. We practiced writing our letters from top to bottom, making fingers spaces and focusing on what we actually read. The next week, most of them were ready to independently work on these. I had time to sit with the two that needed a little reinforcement from me.
Each of the sentences are short enough where they are not overwhelmed. They are able to easily practice their handwriting, correct sentence structure and they’re also able to practice comprehension. My students LOVE coming in each morning to see what their sentence will be.
This year, I moved to 1st grade. I only have one of my previous students from last year so this was new to most of my kiddos. We struggled with remembering what a sentence was and how it should look. This helped us to quickly get our minds in the right state as we got started for the day. They write their sentence, we discuss it, and we’re ready for the day in 20 minutes. I also love that most of their high frequency words are used over and over again. They’re able to read words that we are constantly practicing.
I never read them any of the words or give any hints. I do allow them to help each other if their is a difficult sight word. However, that is very rare. It’s a lot easier for a 1st grader than it is for a kindergartener. We also discuss details of illustrations. It starts with random pictures with most of them “floating”, but as we progress, discuss, and think about what real life looks like, they are able to adjust their illustrations.