Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Keep Reading on Track with Fun Pointers

 I received a little package in the mail containing a collection of fun reading pointers. It was from my friend, Luella Connelly, who just happens to be the founder of Creative Teaching Press. Not one to really retire, she is currently volunteering at an elementary school. She is working on reading with six children. They have trouble tracking, so in addition to using their fingers, she made them some cute pointers. Some are tied to the themes of the books they are reading. Pointers are easy to make. Just start with craft sticks, any size, and glue on buttons, wiggly eyes ("Keep your little eye on the words!"), puffy stickers and other fun stuff.

Why is tracking important?
When beginning and remedial readers track words, it helps engrain necessary left-to-right processing, helps them keep their place, and notice all the sounds.
" Poor readers have frequent tracking errors where they improperly process letters out of order. They often exhibit erratic eye movement as they look around for 'whole words' or jump around searching for familiar chunks or word families. These incorrect tracking strategies contribute to reading difficulty."
---M. Gagen     
Also, by tracking as they read, beginning readers are connecting spoken words to written words. Many books they read on this level have repeated text that children easily memorize. Sometimes children finish "reading" the book but they still have some pages  leftover! By tracking with their fingers or fun pointers, their attention is focused on the text.  

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