Kindergarten Lesson: Directionality in Reading and Writing

This is one of those lessons that make me want to keep a camera in my classroom so I can take a picture of the board at the end of the lesson. Let’s just say it was covered in words, pictures, index cards, and little dot stickers (red and green).  It was a very happy white board. I’m posting about this particular day because it seemed to be a very effective way to help my kindergarteners understand and apply directionality of print.

First I introduced the directionality of reading by writing a word on the board.  I sounded out the word from left to right and spelled it from left to right (with hand motions).  Then I had students repeat with the hand motions.  I put a green sticker on the board at the beginning the word and a red sticker at the end of the word. (*important note: these stickers were transparent dots and very easy to get off the board.) We then repeated our chant “We read from left to right” with the stickers and hand motions.  (From now on, just assume everything I do and say at school includes hand motions).

We then looked at our big book and I explained reading a whole sentence and multiple lines of text.  I had the students (there are eight in this class) come up and put green dots and red dots on the book.  Then we read the book together.

To transition to writing, I gave each student an index card with a word from an eight-word sentence I’d created based on our story vocabulary.  I put a green dot on the board and had called each student up in order to put the sentence on the board (with scotch tape).  Then, I put a red dot at the end and read the sentence.

I explained this is how I write a sentence.  I wrote an example sentence.  Then, I had students brainstorm food that they liked (more words and pictures on the board!).  They picked one food that they would like to bring to a feast and wrote a sentence about it.  I wrote the model sentence “I will bring _______.” for them to copy and then choose a word from the web to finish the sentence.  They started with a green dot, copied the sentence, chose their last word, ended with a period and got a red dot at the end.  They seemed to really enjoy the activity.

The students wrote their sentences on a paper they had started before.  You can see some of the students began writing the day before all over the page, but by the end of this lesson, they understood what to do. (One even added from my sentence that I put up on the board.)

I use this Writing/Drawing paper a lot for student work in grades K-2 (Picture and writing pages).

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