Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Link: Teaching Reading: K-2

Cindy Wilson's Kindergarten Class

Looking Closer


Building Oral Language

Video Summary

The Teacher and the Class

Analyzing the Video
  Before Viewing
  First Impressions
  Looking Closer
  Summing Up

Making Connections

Selected Resources

Take a second look at Cindy Wilson's classroom to deepen your understanding of specific literacy strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.


Read-Aloud: Video Segment

Ms. Wilson listening to her students.

Find this segment 9 minutes and 54 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 2 minutes and 44 seconds.

Ms. Wilson believes that reading aloud is "the heart of the reading program in kindergarten." As she reads The Runaway Rice Cake she highlights the importance of accessing students' background knowledge to build new knowledge. She also demonstrates how to develop common understandings through shared, concrete experiences.

  • Ms. Wilson comments, "I think it enriches us to learn about and understand those experiences we might not all have had.... Those experiences enrich the whole classroom, the whole community." As you watch this segment, think about what she means by this statement. Notice her verbal and nonverbal actions.
  • What does she do to help students understand and relate to the story? On your checklist, note the ways she addresses the Essential Components of Literacy Development.

Centers: Video Segment

Find this segment 13 minutes and 29 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

Ms. Wilson ringing a gong.

In Ms. Wilson's classroom, centers are more than just a place. They offer opportunities for building oral language, for increasing independence, and for reaching individual learners at their own levels. "I make sure that the centers have a wide variety of learning activities and instruction that's differentiated. That includes a lot of hands-on activities presenting instruction in different modalities so that you are able to reach all learners."

  • As you watch, identify the multiple ways center activities promote oral language.
  • How does Ms. Wilson use a thematic and integrated approach to instruction? In what ways is literacy woven throughout center activities, and how do the different activities support language and literacy learning? On your checklist, note the Essential Components of Literacy that are addressed.

Student Storytelling: Video Segment

Students listening to storytelling.

Find this segment 17 minutes and 49 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 2 minutes and 24 seconds.

Storytelling is an essential element of Ms. Wilson's curriculum. In this segment with Justin, a shy English language learner, she demonstrates how to link oral language and illustration to writing. Note the sequence of steps Ms. Wilson uses to elicit and scaffold Justin's language.

  • How does Ms. Wilson validate Justin and help him realize he has a "story?" What does the teacher do? What does Justin do? How else might you approach this? Consider why Ms. Wilson chose Justin on this occasion. Which of your students might you choose and why?

In this class Ms. Wilson uses the easel to enhance Justin's ability to share with peers, and allow other children to study the illustration, and then the story. Ms. Wilson believes strongly that students who may be reticent because of shyness or language differences need to be seen and recognized for what they know. She comments that Justin understands much more than he can communicate. Pay particular attention to the students' response to Justin's picture story.

  • How does Ms. Wilson encourage the students' use of language to describe what they notice? Think about how this reinforces the value of his story.
  • On your Observational Checklist, note the Essential Components Ms. Wilson models and reinforces in this segment.

Next > Summing Up

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