First Grade: An Important Year

“I don’t think there is one best method of teaching reading or one best program. What I have done over my 27 years is pick what I think works and incorporate it. Every day, the children need to hear reading, and they need to be involved in the reading process. I do a lot of phonemic awareness with songs and games, as well as exposing them to a lot of print with labeling in the room. I do believe phonics is important. We also have a daily chit chat in which we talk to one another through writing. They write to me about their pets, their families, what they saw on television. Then the next day, I give them back a written response. It becomes an ongoing correspondence.”


—Susan Derber

First grade teacher

Sandburg School

Springfield, Illinois



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