A Sylvia Ashton-Warner Approach for First Grade

In my combined first and second grade classes, I used a program similar to Sylvia Ashton Warner’s approach for those not able to read in a book. (Ashton-Warner, Sylvia. 1986. Teacher. NY: Simon & Schuster) I usually had about 3 in the group. Every day each child would tell me their favorite word which I would write on a card and give it to them to keep. In the following days, before asking for another favorite word with each child, we would go over her stack of words. Often the other children would start to learn the words of the others. After a time, we would use those words to make up a story which I printed a line or two on a page for the child to illustrate. This became her first reading book. Sometimes there were 3 or 4 of these books before a child was able to read in a pre-primer.

See more about early reading programs  in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success.  Included is a web site where programs can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

A Sylvia Ashton-Warner Approach for Nursery School

While teaching nursery school, I read Teacher by Sylvia Ashton-Warner, and was so impressed with her method of giving a child a word each day – a very personal word chosen by the child. One day the children were told that we two teachers were going to pass out words – any word that they thought was very special. They had long-sleeved knit shirts on, and we wrote the word on a slip of paper about 2 ½”x 1” and pinned it on their sleeve turned toward their face. So they could read it. They loved it. Quite a few children got back in line for another word. And then another. Some had a lower arm of 6 words. Well, we wondered if they could really read those words, so about an hour later, we went from child to child and pointed to each word. Each one knew every word. It seemed amazing that they could read those words. And, not only an hour later, but the next day also. A mother told me, and others concurred, that she could not take those words off at night, and then the child wanted that shirt on the next day. Each word had the most meaning for him and once given, he owned it.  It was his word and belonged to no other.

See more about early reading programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success.  The book describes programs for a combined first and second grade but the early reading programs could be for younger children. Included is a web site where programs can be downloaded for use in a classroom.  See 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

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