Katherine is one of my first graders. She lived in New Orleans and went to kindergarten there. I´m not sure how long she lived there, but her English is good; she can read and write in English. I'm teaching phonics, but I'm really into the idea of whole reading and writing too.
Let me briefly explain, there are two different ways to teach kids how to read. The first is phonics, most likely the way most of you were taught how to read. You teach the sounds of the individual letters and pairs of letters and teach the kids how to put those sounds together to form words. Then there is the whole reading approach. I'm not all that informed on this approach, but basically, you have them reading and writing before they can really read and write. You slowly teach them the different rules, and they pick up spelling and phonics rules by reading.
Anyway, I teach phonics, but like to incorporate some of this other idea into it. So, I was having the kids write sentences, even though only two of them can actually write a sentence. Well, Katherine can write sentences, and she wanted to help some of the girls while I was helping some of the boys. The next thing I know, she was up front with my little dry erase board writing some sentences on it and helping the others to write them too. It was the cutest thing, especially since Katherine doesn't always let on how well she speaks and understands English. The one sentence on the board was, "I like to crayolaing."