Read Across America at Matthew Paterson Elementary

The second grade teachers at Matthew Paterson Elementary School decided that one way to teach reading would be to work with the words all around us. What could be more fun than to have the second graders read the words and phrases that decorate each other's t-shirts?  

On t-shirt day In Catherine DeGloria’s class the lesson was on phonemes – the sounds of speech. While there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, there are 44 phonemes, which include the sounds made by “ph,” “oo,” “qu” and many other pairings.  

“We are learning phonemes and we’re going to be reading words by pieces – or phonemes,” DeGloria said. “We are going to take a look at the words on our shirts.” 

Every child in the class was wearing a shirt decorated with a phrase, brand or slogan.  

Choose Happy. Space Rocks. Waffle House. Paris. Star Wars. Never Stop Dreaming. Daddy’s Princess. And, of course, plenty wore shirts reading Matthew Paterson Elementary School. 

The teacher wore a shirt perfect for the lesson: “Changing the World One Phoneme at a Time” it read.  

The class focused on the many ways that the pair “ea” can sound. 

At one point, the class read the words on a pink t-shirt: “Create and Learn” the shirt said.  

“The A in “create” belongs to the consonant, it does not belong to the e,” Aubrey said. “They are two separate syllables.”  

“That’s right,” DeGloria said. “Now look at the word “Learn.” The bossy R can control two vowels. It is telling the “E” and “A,” you are not long vowels here.”  The lesson was a creative way to deliver the school’s new reading curriculum, Core Knowledge Language Arts, a science-of-reading based program that clearly spells out the rules of language.