Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chunky Monkey Reading Strategy

I was trying to decide what would be best for my first post, and finally I decided to share what we have been working on in our classroom this past week: 

                       The Chunky Monkey Reading Strategy!

This is the first year that I have used the "Beanie Baby Reading Strategy" posters in my classroom, and I have to say it has worked beautifully! The children really relate to the animals and remember the connections I want them to make. They love it and I love it!  I have this on our front wall.

I also made and laminated these bookmarks for each child to keep in his/her reading bag that goes home and lots of extras to use at school. I found them on Pinterest and LOVE them.  


I was able to find all animals (except for Eagle Eye) at the Dollar Store or Ollie's (for the frogs!) so that I could buy 5 of each for the children to use during independent reading for reading buddies. They aren't the real "beanie babies" but close enough for a dollar!   I usually have a group of 5 at a time in beanbag chairs reading independently for a center, so I rotate these buddies to have different ones out as we talk about them to reinforce the strategies. They are great for practicing fluency as the children read aloud to the buddies.   I am still looking for those Eagle Eyes. (How ironic!) 

We spent a lot of time early in the year  using our Eagle Eye to notice details in illustrations, in the classroom, details in patterns, details everywhere!  Look and Find books were great practice to help remember to use our Eagle Eye.  We learned about Lips the Fish as soon as I felt the children had a good grasp of the letter sounds and were able to get those lips ready for the beginning sound of a word they saw.  Stretchy Snake came along next to help with both reading and writing of those CVC words we came across. Stretchy Snake and Mr. Slinky were really good friends for s t r e t c h i n g  words!  Now we are focusing on Skippy Frog and Chunky Monkey as the children see bigger words in the C,D, and higher level books.  Tryin' Lion is always sort of in the mix as well.  (I didn't even put up Flip the Dolphin or Helpful Hippo- I just didn't want to overwhelm the kids- They are cute, too, and maybe another year I will decide to!)

I sent home a Parent Note in each reading bag explaining the Chunky Monkey Strategy. I told them that as the books their child reads become more difficult, finding "chunks" of letters to help their child figure out a word is a huge help.  For instance, "teacher" looks like a BIG word, but when a child realizes that he/she knows "t" then "ea" then "ch" then "er," it makes reading it easier.  "Sounding out" words letter by letter no longer works with longer words, like it did for shorter words like "cup." (CVC words.) I wrote that chunking  was also a great help for writing words, and that we practice clapping syllables of words and then trying to write it by the parts we hear.

For our whole group activity on the rug, I started off with two Cars movie scene pictures that  I printed out. One I cut into 8 strips. One I cut into 3 strips.  (The bottom one is just 3 bigger "chunk" strips. I put it together in this picture for the children to see what the picture was supposed to look like.) I put magnets on back so I could use the puzzle on my dry erase board.

I asked the children which puzzle would be easier to put together.  They guessed correctly! YAY!   But of course some thought the 8 pieces would be very easy to do...

So I called up one brave student to try as the rest of us counted to ten. 
After a great effort, he didn't make it.

I then mixed up the 3 piece puzzle and had another student try to complete this puzzle as we counted.  Ta da!  He finished before we counted to six.

Next I put up a puzzle of letters. You can see Chunky Monkey's little legs and arms in the upper corner looking on as we work! :)

After I let the children try to figure out what word I mixed up, I tell them it is "teacher."  I do the same activity as with the Cars puzzle to have the students see which puzzle is easier to complete, the one that is  letter by letter or the one with chunks.  The children love to try to complete it quickly, but the chunks always win. :)

This was a GREAT visual for the children to see how chunking helps them read and figure out words more quickly. In fact, a couple of my girls were so clever, they saw two words they could make with the chunks!

Next, I call some children up to hold letters.

Then... we "chunk"  them and read our word.  

They loved doing this!  They also loved the word, because earlier we had watched the Word World episode "Sh Sh Shark," where everyone is afraid of Shark, except Duck who doesn't know about the "Sh" chunk and calls him "S-hark."  I love that episode.  :) 

We played around with other chunks and made new words with the "op" chunk.  The kids had so much fun, we could have done this all morning. 

We made hops, tops, stop... you get the idea! :) 

Then we did a quick interactive writing activity circling chunks in words I wrote on the board and reading the words together.  Some of the words I used were:

napkin, market, blender, crash, dinner, and bonus words... helicopter and impossible!

My kids felt very accomplished after reading these grown-up sized words, or "25 cent" words as my friend calls them.   

I have lots of Word Wall Roll games that I had out for Independent Centers for the children.  I had a big bag of the blank wooden cubes, so I made lots of word family sets of Word Wall Roll to have on hand.  Some days, I have 5 or 6 of the different word family games out for the kids to play.  Each time a child plays, he/she gets a set of 6 small stickers (I have hundreds of these pre-cut.).  The word that is rolled and written the most  is the first winner! Then they keep playing to see what word comes in 2nd, 3rd...  This is my "an" word family game. 

(As you can see, this game has been used and "loved" a lot! )

I also have Number Roll games and the usual Sight Word games.  I do like the idea of just numbering the words and rolling dice to see what number comes up,  and what word to write.  That saves making the different worksheets.

I like using the wooden cubes because  I can make game sets of specific words (or numbers)  a child is having a hard time learning, and send the game home with the child.  When you add stickers to ANYTHING, it becomes fun!  ;)  

We love to play Smart board games as small groups or during rug time , and we watched some videos about word families and blends.  I put some of my favorite Chunky Monkey activities together in a Prezi that I use on my Smart board.  This way, I have it up all day and if we had a few extra minutes to watch a video during snack or play a game before outside recess, I have it all set.  Under the "Ideas for  the teacher" part is a link to some great word family/chunking worksheets.

Here is my Chunky Monkey Prezi.

This is a part of my Kindergarten Letters and Sounds Prezi  and my Beginning Reading Prezi from my TPT store.

If you haven't used Prezis yet, they are fun to check out.  The ones I made to use in my classroom are basically interactive posters that zoom into links.  I searched the internet to find the best sites, games, activities, videos that would normally be a "favorite" and compiled them into big organized favorite collections. 

You can find all of my Prezis at my TPT Store.

Thank you for sharing my Chunky Monkey adventure! Don't you feel like you need some Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream to go with this post? I do! 

Thank you for visiting and Happy Teaching!


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