Friday, October 7, 2011
Teaching Sight Reading: This Works For Me
I decided on Sight Reading And Rhythm Every Day by Helen Marlais and Kevin Olson and got all 10 levels. I'm not using them as they are intended - sending students home with their own copies to do a short daily exercise. The truth is, I think that my higher-achieving students would practice, not sight-read, and my other students would just not do it. Instead, we're taking about 3 minutes of the lesson to sight-read one or two short exercises from one page. At the beginning of the year, I decided on a starting point for each individual student in one of the levels, and we marked that page with a sticky note with the student's name. At each subsequent lesson, we move the sticky note to a new page and choose another short exercise or two. We're only doing about 1/4 of the book, but they are actually sight-reading something at every lesson, and moving forward in some sort of planned way rather than haphazardly.
I think you could do this with any series of sight reading books. I do like these books because of the extensive levels that make them appropriate for all of my students and the variety of things to do. Some of the exercises involve pencil work, such as filling in bar lines or circling guide notes. To keep from marking up the pages, I've covered those exercises with clear packing tape. The students can mark on it with a dry erase marker, and the marks wipe right off. If you look closely at the photo, you can just see the edges of the packing tape on the next to the last exercise.
I'm curious to know how other teachers deal with sight-reading! I hope you'll share your ideas in the comments!