Rachel Washburn

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Welcome to the Reading Room!

I am so excited to have the opportunity to be your child’s reading teacher! I want to stress the importance of your involvement in the education of your child. I encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about your child or the school. Throughout the year, you will receive a variety of notes from me, the school and the district. If you ever have a question about anything, please let me know. I may not immediately know the answer, but I’ll certainly work to figure it out! My e-mail address is rwashburn@elmhurst205.org and the school phone number is 630-834-5313, please do not hesitate to call.

The Reading Basics!

Phonemic Awareness—The knowledge and manipulation of sounds in spoken words. Not to be confused with phonics, phonemic awareness is defined as recognizing spoken words as a sequence of individual sounds. Phonemic awareness activities can be done with your eyes closed and is learned through listening and speaking. Listed below are suggestions to help develop phonemic awareness.

Word pairs- read word pairs (sad-sod; fin-win; etc.) ask questions about the pairs. "Do they begin with the same sound or different sound?"

Same sound synthesis- read aloud a list of words beginning with the same sound. Have children tell other words with the same beginning sound

Phoneme segmentation- model by slowly saying a word emphasizing each of its sounds. Ask children to repeat you. (ran=/r/ /a/ /n/ )

Phoneme blending- model by slowly saying individual sounds of a word and then combining them to form the word. Ask children to repeat you.
(/r/ /a/ /n/ = ran)

Phoneme deletion- model a word and then ask the children to repeat the word but delete the beginning sound. Once the beginning deletion is mastered, you can try ending and medial sound deletions. (say meat without the /m/)

Phoneme substitution- model a word and then ask the students to replace the beginning sound with another sound to make a new word. (can - replace the /c/ with a /p/ what word did you make?)

Phonics—The relationship between written and spoken letters and sounds. Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds and the method by which it is taught to beginning readers. This is when students match letters to sounds and make words according to the sounds heard.

Vocabulary—The knowledge of words, their definitions, and context. Teaching vocabulary is essential for all learners, but especially for our English Language Learners. Every person has four vocabularies: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Our listening vocabulary is the largest, with speaking following. These are receptive—how a child receives and processes information. The reading and writing vocabularies are expressive—how a child shows the knowledge of the vocabularies obtained. The following ideas help build vocabulary through the building of background knowledge (often referred to as schema).

Fluency—The ability to read with accuracy, and with appropriate rate, expression, and phrasing.  Fluency is described in Balanced Reading Strategies and Practices as:
1) accuracy of decoding
2) appropriate use of pitch, juncture, and stress (prosody) in one's voice
3) appropriate text phrasing or "chunking"
4) appropriate reading speed or rate

It is a teaching myth that fluency is just "how fast a reader can read." There are ways to help readers achieve fluency in all areas listed above. Following are six instructional principles of effective teaching for fluency and examples of each below.

repetition - students must reread a text repeatedly until it is fluid

modeling - teachers must model oral fluency; students may model this for others as well

support or assistance - strategies include choral reading or buddy reading; teacher and student read the same text aloud simultaneously

phrasing practice - make phrase flashcards to practice

easy materials - independent reading material on an easy level builds fluency.

Comprehension—The understanding of meaning in text. As you and your child read together, consider asking some of the following questions. The questions are categorized under specific comprehension strategies.

Connections-Is there a part of this story or piece that reminds you of something in your own life or of something that’s happened to you? Is there a part of this story or piece that reminds you of another book you’ve read?

Questions- Can you find a part of the text where you have a question? What were you wondering about as you read this part? Can you find a part where you were confused? What was confusing about it?

Visualizing- Were there places in the text where you made a picture in your mind? What images or pictures did you see? What specific words helped you create that picture in your mind?

Inferring-What do you predict will happen in this piece? Can you find a place in the text where you found yourself making an inference? What do you think the big ideas were in the story?

Determining Importance- What is this story or piece mostly about? Can you describe some of the important ideas that struck you? Any important themes noticed? What do you think is most important about this story/topic?

Synthesizing- Can you describe what the piece is about in just a few sentences? Can you find a place in the piece where your thinking changed? Do you have some new ideas or information?

Helping Your Child Read!
How to help when your child gets stuck...
When your child says a words that does not makes sense… Have your child look at the picture, think about what is happening in the story, and try the word again. Say, “Does it make sense?"
When your child reads the wrong word…
Have your child reread the sentence and look at the letters from left to right while saying the problem word. Say, “Does it sound right?”
When your child reads the wrong word…
Have your child reread the sentence and look at the letters from left to right while saying the problem word. Say, “Does it look right?”
When your child stops and is unsure of a word…
Ask your child to think about what is going on in the story and start to say the words. Say, “Start to say the word.”
Give your child time to try. Praise your child’s efforts. If your child needs help, supply the tricky word.