Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Next Steps Towards Learning to Read

So, your child knows the ABCs and the sounds that they all make.  Now what?  Start putting together three letters words with a short vowel in the middle.  The curriculum I used with my son focuses on one ending sound per lesson.  I've listed them below so you can see the progression and use it if you want to.  Overall, the strategy is a simple one and it works because it's phonics based.

Lesson 1: -at (bat, cat, mat, sat, etc...)
Lesson 2: -an
Lesson 3: -ap
Lesson 4: -ad
Lesson 5: -am
Lesson 6: -ag
Lesson 7: -ab
Lesson 8: -ig
Lesson 9: -id
Lesson 10: -it
Lesson 11: -ip
Lesson 12: -im
Lesson 13: -in
Lesson 14: -ix
Lesson 15: -ill
Lesson 16: Add -s to the end of words

In my post Reading Readiness Part 2: Phonics, I shared a bunch of activities that you can do to practice the various endings I've listed above.  Also, if you want a good book that will guide you in teaching your child how to read, check out The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading at your local library.  I am not using that book, but have read through it.  It doesn't have fancy graphics, but will give practical guidance.  I chose not to use it because I wanted a workbook driven program that would have glossy pages, nice illustrations, and little to no prep work for me.  (I am definitely a visual learner!)

In our reading program, Hooked on Phonics, there are also sight words that are introduced along the way. They are simple words that show up often in daily reading, so it's a good idea to have your child memorize them.  Some of the sight words can be sounded out with the phonics rules, but others don't play by the rules and it's just easier to memorize them.  (For example, the word "THE" is impossible to sound out.)  You can introduce the sight words two at a time, or three at most.  The goal is to not overwhelm the child with things to memorize since we want them to focus on sounding out words.  I made flashcards for each word and we reviewed them during meal times.

Here are the beginning level sight words:

Now I'm Reading! Series
Finally, kids love to be able to use their new reading skills to read a real book.  It's hard to find something they can read immediately after they learn "at" words, but I have a few suggestions for you.  Check out from your local library the Bob Books.  These books are very basic, the illustrations are underwhelming, but the text is perfect for the beginning reader.  My son was not inspired by them, but maybe your child will be.  We had more success with Pig WigWet PetStop Pop, and Quack Shack by Yukiko Kido.  (Warning: Crab Cab has some gross words and pictures ie: snot pot-- so you might want to avoid that book in the series.) The books have eye-catching illustrations, some cut-outs, and one or two words per page.  We really like them and have checked them out several times from the library; I'm thinking of purchasing a few.  The other series that I would highly recommend is called Now I'm Reading! for Beginning Readers by Nora Gaydos, illustrated by BB Sams.  We own the 20 book set called Animal Pals, but I can not find it on Amazon.  They seem to have split it up into two 10 book sets.  Anyway, the books all contain simple short vowel words, with vivid and silly illustrations.  The books start out easy and slowly become more complex as you progress through the series.  The only drawback is that they are more wordy than the other books I've mentioned.  One tactic that works for books like these is to share the reading and you read page one, your child reads page two.  That way you can get through the whole book without your child feeling overwhelmed.
Pig Wig by Yukiko Kido: Perfect for readers who are just beginning to learn how to read.

If you have found some good beginning reader books, please share the titles in the comments.  I am always looking for books for K to read.  Also, you can have your child help you make up stories using the words he or she knows how to read.  We haven't tried that yet, but it sounds like fun.  Sometime in the future I'll share more about our reading program with the next level of word endings and sight words. Until then, let me know how your little readers are doing.  :)

My little reader.  He's pretending to read this book:
Diamond in the Snow by Jonathan Emmett

My pre-reader.  She loves to look at books
and listen while we read to her.

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