Teaching reading, especially to large classes of students who all come to school at different levels with a diverse range of exposure to literacy, is one of the most challenging parts of an early childhood educator’s job. Finding materials that can be adapted to work in your unique classroom can be difficult. Not all programs are created equal; it’s hard to judge the worth of many instructional resources because most don’t come with extensive research reviews explaining the benefits, or lack thereof. Luckily, The Florida Center for Reading Research has been working for decades to build up an impressive library of resources for teachers of students from pre-school through fifth grade. All of their materials were developed with the intent of bringing the findings from research on reading instruction into the classroom. Their website includes materials for teachers as well as innumerable downloadable printables to be used with students.
When your blogger was tasked with providing a reading intervention for a first grader who hadn’t yet mastered his phonics skills, I relied heavily on the activities on the FCRR website. There’s even a set of professional development videos to help new users get started with the instructional materials. There are so many different types of tasks from which to choose, it was hard for my student to get bored before I switched to the next activity. One of his favorite activities was sorting pictures of familiar objects and animals into different jars based on the sounds at the beginning of the word. Building up my binder of activities did take a lot of time initially, but you only need one set of materials to use with many children. If the materials are laminated, they can last for years.
The FCRR website includes all their resources for free as well as additional information about ongoing research and projects with which you can get involved. It’s a truly invaluable set of research-backed instructional materials for teachers at the elementary level.