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At the heart of reading is time for students to read and interact with text in meaningful ways. Students learn decoding and comprehension skills with individual or small group mini-lessons and practice them in books and magazines which focus on their interests and reading abilities.
Students learn to self-select reading materials for different purposes: pleasure, improving fluency, finding information, and practicing comprehension strategies.
Students are exposed to phonemic awareness, phonics, and vocabulary practice through a variety of games and activities.
Recently, a group of students was huddled together in the library reading a version of The Three Little Pigs. The stronger reader of the bunch read the words while other readers pointed at the pictures and commented. They were collaborating. Once the story was completed, the observing teacher walked over to the group and began to ask questions. Keeping in mind the creative strategy of elaboration and the critical thinking strategy of perspective, the teacher asked students to think about what might happen after ‘happily ever after,’ and whether they could imagine the story continuing from the point of view of one of the characters.