Building a concept of word in young readers is one of the most important components of becoming a reader. Kids love poetry, and with short COW poems, you can work on many emergent reader skills including phonemic awareness (orally) which helps when you are ready to move to print (phonics). In this post, I want to share a few ways you can use COW poems.
Using Touchpoints for concept of word
For kinders, a concept of word is developed through modeling and practice. The picture left shows how I place a touch point for the words. I often do this with the students as we read. Reading A-Z has wonderful stamps that you can put below the words to use as touch points. You can also use them as a way of locating sightwords, words beginning with a certain sound, or ending with a certain sound.
Using touch points helps support readers. Any stamp or symbol can be pasted within Word, Powerpoint, or Smart Notebook files. The buttons help the students match voice to print as COW develops. Accurate pointing (voice to print matching) is the sign that students are ready to learn to read. One very important point with COW poems is that they MUST be memorized orally first.
Mark Up the Poem to work on concept of word
When teaching poems to my kinder groups, we work on sightword recognition and decoding skills as well. In the picture below, you can see how CVC words can be boxed with Elkonin boxes for students to tap as they blend the sounds. Students can also touch the “buttons” below each letter too. Projecting nursery rhymes up on a Smartboard works well for practicing Concept of Word.
In your small group lessons, I suggest having a hard copy of the poem with touch points. You can supply crayons and highlighters to practice marking up the poem. You can also deconstruct sentences and reconstruct them to show space.
Phrasing and Highlighter Hunts FOR cONCEPT OF WORD
Once students hit the beginning reader stage, I love to use these poems to address fluency through repeated readings, choral and echo reading, and phrasing to build prosody. Poems are great for working on sightword recognition too. Beginning readers love to read partner poems, and gradually more are being published.
In the picture to the right, you can see how this student marked the words in a highlighter hunt after we practiced phrasing. Teachers can also use slash marks to show where each phrase ends or alternate with different colored highlighters. If you enjoy partner work, you can have students read alternating phrases when the phrases are color coded.
When doing word hunts, another important point to consider is that not all words have to be sightwords. Poems with graphically similar words such as through, though, and thought provide opportunities to discuss visual differences and the importance of using meaning clues.
grab a free concept of word sample:
To practice these skills, here is a free sample of my poem of the week sets that K/1 teachers can use to work on fluency, word recognition and COW. If you like the set, the larger bundles are linked below. Teachers love using them for shared reading and modeling.
concept of word poetry resources
Here’s what teachers have said about these resources:
“This is a great concept of word resource. It is very engaging and my students really look forward to this activity every day.“
One final point I’d like to share is that all poetry is intended to be read out loud and enjoyed for the beauty of the words or sounds. Poetry is meant to be shared, so repeated reading provides a chance to discuss reader impressions, build fluency, deepen understanding, and to learn from each other.
For more information on Concept of Word, you can check out the posts below: