Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Strategies Galore- Thank goodness for the CAFE

You would have thought that I gave the kids the best news in the world this morning.  Sounds of joy filled the room as I told the kids we would have time for one more rotation of The Daily 5.  If you didn't hear my words, you would have thought I gave them extra recess or a special snack.  But no, they were that excited at the possibility to do more work, to learn something new, to gain more knowledge.  It can't get better than that.  As the Daily 5 continues to be a success, it is time to start teaching these young sponges the strategies that they will need to become better readers and writers.  If we don't teach children how to help themselves during reading, then the goal is not to make sure they become independent readers.  These reading strategies are not innate.  They must be taught and practiced so as the children progress in reading, they are able to take care of their own learning by problem solving.  They will have this tool belt of strategies and they will use the strategies that work best for them.  In order to get to that place, they need to have an abundant of time to practice each one!  That is what the CAFE Menu is all about. To quote The Sisters, Jane Moser and Gail Boushey, from their website, "Assessing young readers involves more than determining a reading level and moving them onto the next. We developed the CAFE™ Menu to help students understand and master different strategies used by successful readers. "

So far I have introduced three strategies from the CAFE menu.  For those of you who don't know, CAFE stands for C= comprehension, A= accuracy, F= fluency, and E= expanding vocabulary.
This is what my CAFE wall looks like.

So far I have introduced two accuracy strategies and one comprehension strategy.  For accuracy we have talked about and practiced Abundance Easy Reading, which is self explanatory.  We have also practiced Flip The Vowel.  With this strategy the kids need to notice when something does not make sense.  For example, a child may sound out the word /find/ with the short vowel for the i.  They would realize that didn't make sense, so they should flip the vowel sound and try sounding it out with the long vowel sound.  This is a strategy the children use often.  While you are reading with the children and you prompt them with "flip the vowel", they will know just what to do!  As for the comprehension strategy we have learned and practiced, it is called Check For Understanding.  This is where they stop in the middle of reading and ask themselves if they understand what is going on.  They ask the 5 W's questions and if they are able to answer them they may keep reading, but if they don't know what is happening, they must back up and re-read.  We review each strategy daily and as soon as I am done with my Developmental Reading Assessments, I will conduct 1:1 reading conferences so that each child may choose a reading goal. I can't wait to get started with that!

To say I am happy with The Daily 5 and The C.A.F.E is an understatement.  What is better than the children's outward excitement to learn!

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