Kids as Teachers


I am always amazed at how proficient children are when they are given half a chance. Recently I was working with a group of first graders of varying achievement levels in reading. While I was working with one small group, another small group was working independently with the reading games. I like to monthly themed wall cards (gingerbread wall cards) to hang on my classroom wall which I call wall cards. I keep the active cards on the wall and the old cards in a basket on the floor. I looked up to see some of the month’s cards in a pile on the floor and hanging on the wall were all the cards for the year that had little words with e, i, and y at the end of them (me, my, he, hi, she, shy, be, by, why, etc.). D and N were working with great focus and I watched for a bit to see what they were doing. I had noticed that fearful little D had a lot of trouble with these words, confusing the sounds for the three letters, pretty much randomly guessing whenever they turned up, even in context, but I hadn’t done anything about it yet. N said, “Okay, D. You know the name of this letter, right?”

“Yes, it’s e.”

“Right. Now all these little words that end in e say that name, like me, she, we. Get it? Do you hear it say e?”

“Oh, yeah! Let me try it. I’ll get all the words that end in e. You tell me if I’m right.”

And she was. She then wanted to try the y words, but N said, “No, not yet. Try the -i words first.”

After they had sorted out all the words that had long es and is in them, then they tackled the -y words. Ultimately, it was those words they worked on for the rest of the game and the next day, starting with just a couple and adding one at a time until D could say them all consistently. She didn’t have any trouble with those little words after that and she was so PLEASED with how quickly she had learned that her attitude and focus were significantly better for several days.  I don’t think she would have learned that quickly if she had been working with me!

Way to go, N! …and you too, D.

Here are some printable Flashcard Games just for you!  Merry Christmas!

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