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Finding meaning


Reading without thinking is worthless. Children must be provided ample and varied opportunities to look for meaning in what they read. Good reading skills include: intelligent guessing, associating meaning with text, and judging the correctness of one's guess.


Looking for meaning and patterns.


This activity needs careful preparation and well in advance. Once you have prepared the material, you can use it many times, and you will see how exciting the results are!

Select several 4-line poems, preferably rhymed all through. You must have as many poems as the number of children. Now supposing you are going to organize this activity with 20 children, write the first line of all twenty poems on separate pieces of paper. On each paper, write the second line of a different poem. Follow this for the third and the fourth lines. You will end up with twenty papers, each one with four lines from four different poems.

Children will sit in a circle. To start, tell the children that the poems they have are all muddled and they have to find the last 3 lines that actually belong to the first line they have on their paper.

Ask a child to read the second line on his paper. All the other children listen carefully and consider whether this line might be theirs. The child who thinks it belongs to him raises his hand and asks for the line. If his choice is correct (according to the teacher), he notes down the line. The child who has given this line scratches it out on his paper. Now the next child reads out his second line, and you carry on this way till every child searches for the appropriate third line, and then the fourth!

Related Questions

Even a scrap of old newspaper can serve as a puzzle. Tear it up into smaller pieces and ask children to recombine them with the help of the sentences printed on them. You can use the scrap of paper as a means of encouraging the skills required to become a good reader.

Adapted from: "The Child's language and the teacher - A handbook", Krishna Kumar, UNICEF.

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