Teaching reading has always been demanding, particularly in the primary grades. A typical classroom has several reading groups, divided according to the skill levels of the students. While the teacher works with one group, the remaining students are assigned seatwork. Teachers must strive to provide activities to keep all students productively occupied building key literacy skills as small-group or one-on-one instruction is conducted.
Individualization is an ideal solution, yet most teachers simply do not have the time, skills, or materials to manage classrooms in which each student does developmentally appropriate activities. Reading Manipulatives materials are ideal for this purpose. They provide differentiated skills instruction and can supplement any core reading program.
The sets of individualized, laminated manipulatives and skills cards can be used for seatwork or at stations. Products are available for all types and levels of literacy skills. Students are motivated by the game-like feel of manipulatives so they work at higher levels and accomplish more. Additionally, active involvement builds accountability. After students are introduced to the skills and shown how to do the activity, they work independently. Completion of all sets leads to mastery.
Once a classroom has a wide array of instructional manipulatives and skills cards in use, teachers no longer face the daily drudgery of preparing seatwork. They are freed to help all learners in a lab-like setting. The outcome will be students who have better attitudes, stay on task, try harder, and steadily advance their reading capabilities.
Select materials that target a wide range of applicable skills (phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, language) and instructional levels. An effective classroom literacy lab must meet the needs of all of your students. Also, organizing the printing, especially if you are going to have them commercially printed, will be far easier if done in blocks. It will be a big job, but keep in mind that once prepared, these durable materials should last for years.
PDF pages are designed to be printed on 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of cover-weight paper. Ideally, printing should be done on a commercial digital printer. Copy shops have equipment that prints on cardstock paper in perfect alignment, and the ink goes almost to the edge. They can provide a wide array of papers and you would not have to purchase more than you need. Reading Manipulatives used Wausau Astrobrights 65 lb. cover. Most materials are single-sided and can be printed on a desktop laser printer if it handles cover-weight paper. Double-sided materials would be more difficult to print on laser printers.
Products contain multiple unique activities. As students work through an entire series, they advance the skills. Product guides contain a reproducible checklist that allows students to track the sets as they are completed. Since multiple series of manipulatives and/or skills cards will be program components, a management system is necessary.
Consider a student language arts folder that would contain checklists for all series each student is working on. Not only do students like keeping track of their work as they complete it, it motivates them to make choices and strive for completion of all the sets. Their involvement in selection, checking, and recording their progress builds accountability.
Reading Manipulatives products build skills in an intuitive, structured manner. Once teachers familiarize students with the skills and materials format, students can work independently. Manipulatives promote cooperative learning so students naturally assist one another as the need arises.
Products are available for all types and levels of literacy skills. Whether on grade level, advanced or remedial, students can be plugged in to the correct products. If multiple levels are available, they all have a similar appearance.
Each day groups can be directed to complete sets in certain products. If students have extra time, they can choose a set from any series. Imagine how having these challenging, fun, ready-made options will simplify your daily preparation while providing worthwhile activities for your students.
Reading Manipulatives products may look like games but, don't be fooled. Students are motivated by their game-like feel so they work at higher levels and accomplish more. These challenging, multi-level products advance literacy skills while keeping students productively occupied.
Teachers are freed for small-group and individualized instruction. The organized lab-like environment allows teachers to meet curriculum objectives and assure that students are progressing on developmentally appropriate skills.