How to Quickly Warm Your Students up for Guided Reading

If you've been following my blog a bit, you may have already seen my post about My Favourite Ways to Warm up my Students for Guided Reading.

But let's be honest for a second, here...

Some days are less than ideal in maternelle, and you won't always have time for an elaborate warm-up activity!

Take Tuesday, February 19th for example.

How do I remember the exact date?

Well, that was the day of the February full moon!

Enough said, I'm guessing, haha - if you teach kids (of any age!), I'm sure you know EXACTLY what kind of day it was!

My students were literally and figuratively Bouncing. Off. The. WALLS. 

There was NO WAY they could do their literacy centres for 20 minutes straight, affording me all the time I would need to work with my groups. 

But, I had to see my groups, so I tried anyway, and WOW. 

By the end of Round 1, I had one student covered head to toe in marker, and another who apparently ate an entire crayon.

Yup!!!
That day, I decided I needed to add a quick-but-effective guided reading warm-up alternative to my repertoire; something that would help me get through my groups as quickly as humanly possible.

Just for full moon days and classroom party days ;) 

Read on for my new favourite 2 minute guided reading warm-up activity!

How to Use Nonsense Words to Practice Decoding

Teaching five-year-olds to read is super fun, and one of my favourite parts of the job.

But, it isn't always easy!

Most students catch on to the idea of looking at the picture to help them figure out an unknown word, and many grasp looking at the first letter pretty quickly, too.

BUT, struggles can ensue when you ask your students to look at the rest of the letters, and blend the sounds together.

My maternelle students can feel really overwhelmed and stressed out when I ask them to "read" a new word.

And, finding engaging ways to get my students to practice decoding/blending in French without discouraging them used to be challenging.

SO MANY FRENCH WORDS in their books have sons composés or letters that don't even talk!

My kiddos would be so excited to come across a short word that they felt they could blend... like auto, for example.

They would take a deep breath, look at the word, and say "aaa...uuu...ttttt...ooo... ah-u-to!"

And, of course, I had to tell them that no, actually, ah-u-to isn't actually a word, and even though they did correctly blend all of the letters, two of the letters work together to make a magic sound, etc. etc.

Frustrating for them, and frustrating for me!

I wanted to find a collection of short words where every letter says its sound, that would be easy for them to blend - there are piles of lists like that in English.

You know, like cat, hat, pig, pen, etc. etc.

But, there aren't actually that many in French.

So, my solution?