Companion Reading

The Core of Companion Reading

• The program is based on whole-group instruction with no ability groups.
• No time is devoted to traditional readiness activities. The children start to read on the first day.
• Every child is given the opportunity to be a "teacher" for another child each day.
• The students will read for meaning and comprehension immediately.
• The children are exposed to thousands of words instead of a few hundred.
• The program is not tied to a specific set of readers. Teachers are encouraged to expose their students to a wide variety of literature.
• The children learn to spell.
• The children learn to write. Reading and writing are taught together from day one.
• The children will express themselves through writing and write about what they read.
• The program teaches children to read fluently, without pauses or breaks in between words.
• Parents are expected to get involved in the reading instruction of their children.
• The overall objective of the program is that children will learn to love to read enough that they will choose to read during their free time.

Unique Characteristics of Companion Reading

First grade students learn 2300 words - 1600 more than the 700 taught by traditional programs. By the end of first grade, they will have read at least 100 books.
• The integrated daily lessons provide enough practice and review to put phonetic and sight words into long-term memory.
• The daily reading period includes practice in decoding, fluency, writing, spelling, punctuation, and reading comprehension.
• Literature is more exciting for Companion Reading students because they can read more advanced materials.
• Kindergarten through third grade Companion Reading programs employ the same integrated learning system, differing appropriately for each level.

"The Magical Hour"

One of the secrets behind the success of Companion Reading lies in what we like to call "The Magical Hour." The following four steps provide the variety and frequency needed to put words into long-term memory.
1. INTRODUCE NEW MATERIAL. The teacher introduces the new material - new words, punctuation, vocabulary, and language arts. Using the direct instructional method which employs trials with feedback, the teacher is able to keep the students focused and get immediate responses.
2. STUDENTS PEER TUTOR. Students then pair off and tutor each other. The wisdom behind this peer tutoring is beginning to be recognized by other programs. Companion Reading has been using this method for more than 30 years! The kids are taught correct tutoring principals - they point, listen, correct if needed, and then praise.
3. WRITE. In the third step, the students write using the new material. They write answers to questions and create their own writing. This ensures comprehension as well as reinforcing what they have already learned.
4. READING EXERCISES. Students read to each other and alone. By the end of the first grade, students will have read 100 books.

The Ultimate Supplemental Reading Program

Companion Reading is very flexible. It can be implemented as:

• Your total reading program
• The vocabulary part of your balanced literacy program
• Special classrooms for your lowest readers
• Resource and Title One
• After school programs

In addition, Kindergarten Companion Reading is being used more and more as teachers see the need to give a real boost to primary reading. To put it simply, Companion Reading is excellent instruction in any setting!