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Value Added School Days

by Christine Jenkins

Some big box stores have a sales gimmick they call value pricing. It means the product is priced for exactly what it is worth and it will never go on sale.  As a grade one teacher, I feel that way about reading, writing and conversation.  They are the most value added activities that I can include in the school day if I want my students to become literate adults.

I never miss a day of reading because I know the power of daily literacy lessons. The only homework I ever assign is reading and talking about the book with an adult for about 15 minutes every day.  My students read by themselves, read with a buddy, read with me, listen to me read and talk about books, every single school day.  If something interferes with my literacy block like assemblies, concerts, or field trips, I always rearrange my schedule to squeeze in reading. By the end of every day each student has read about four little books.  By the end of every school week, each student has read about twenty little books.  I guess it really is no miracle that young children learn to read.  It really is just sometimes a matter of massive amounts of practice. The great thing about grade one students is that they frequently enjoy reading the same book a few times and the repetition helps with their fluency and phrasing.

I’ve heard teachers lament that they don’t always have time for the literacy block.  If you’re pressed for time, I say get rid of the no-value added worksheets, toss out the photocopies and ditch the colouring.  Be sure that your students are getting the greatest amount of quality instruction by keeping them reading, writing and talking everyday.


Have you got a strategy for keeping the value added activities in your program?


Christine Jenkins is a grade one teacher in Simcoe County. Over the past 24 years, she has worked as a Reading Recovery™ Teacher Leader, a literacy resource teacher, a literacy coach, and has taught grades one through 8. Chris  is passionate about teaching children to read, especially children at risk, and believes that success in the early grades is of the utmost importance. Since 2001, she has concentrated her own professional development in literacy instruction. She holds a Master of Education.



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