Saturday, July 25, 2015

Guiding Beginning Readers

Hi there, 
It's Jackie & Kylene from JK Curriculum Connection!
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Learning to read might seem easy but there are a LOT of skills and concepts that must be experienced for young children to be "on their way" as readers.

First, there are several concepts that beginning readers either pick up from experiences with books when they are very young or the skills must be explicitly taught if children did not have those book experiences.


Dr. Marie Clay was a pioneer in studying the behaviors of beginning and struggling readers. Through her studies in New Zealand, she developed the "Reading Recovery" intervention program.  She called the Concepts of Print "the rules of the road" and writes, "Teachers must teach so all children become knowledgeable about these essential concepts so they open doors to literacy."


The Concepts of Print include:

*Book orientation (front, back, where the story begins, page turning, etc.)
*Left to right directionality
*Return sweep (at the end of each line of print the reader returns to the left again)
*Text Knowledge: knowing that the text contains the story while the pictures 
support that text
*Understanding certain reading terms:  letter, word, sentence, top/bottom of a page, 
*Simple punctuation marks.
*One-to-one word matching

Here is a Literacy Center idea where children sort letter cards, word cards, and picture cards.  This "concept of print" activity can easily be made using index cards and media cut from magazines.  Different fonts and letter sizes may be used.  The letters, words and pictures aren't related across the board.  The students are merely looking at each item and deciding what category they fit under.  

Here is another Literacy Center activity which helps children focus on the concept of a word and word length. Use large pieces (9" x 12") of construction paper as the mats.  Write 2-letter, 3-letter, 4-letter and 5-letter words on 3x5 cards. (8 cards will fit on each mat.)  Students shuffle the cards and sort them  onto the correct mats. These are most likely not words they can read since they are really just attending to the length of the words. You can differentiate for ability levels by limiting the number of mats and cards a child uses at one time or challenge higher level students by making mats with words that are 7 or 8 letters! (It's also a sneaky way to get some counting practice in!!)

Supportive Reading Materials
With the right reading materials students can begin to read Early Emergent readers.  
Early Emergent Readers should have the following features:
*Strong picture support
*Controlled text
*Repetitive patterns
*Natural language
*Large print
*Familiar concepts
*Limited text on a page

*Wider spacing between the words


Here is a video of a 5-year old who has not been to school yet (but has been read to a LOT!) She is reading a supportive emergent reader.  Notice how she finger matches on each word. The text has small dots below each word to help with this skill. 

Beginning reading materials may consist of simple word phrases such as seen in the book above.  Other books have simple patterned sentences.  There should be strong picture support and repetitive patterns where only 1 or 2 words change from page to page. 


Here is an example of a beginning reader using a repetitive sentence pattern with a small change on the last page to provide just a little challenge!  Click {HERE} to download this FREEBIE. 


Reading Strategies

As children are developing their reading skills, they can be "coached" regarding the reading strategies they are using and should be using.  
Some of these strategies include:
1) Look at the picture
2) Get your mouth ready to make the first sound
3) Look for small "chunks" (letter pairs or word parts they recognize in a word)
4) Try a word that makes sense
5) Go back and read it again.
6) Ask "Does it sound right?"  "Does it all match?"  "Does it make sense?"

Here's a chart and cards with key visuals that we have found useful to use in the classroom.  There is also a black & white version to send home. Click {HERE} to download this file. 


Learning High Frequency Words
It is important for students to memorize/learn by sight a bank of high frequency words. These are words that occur most frequently in written material.  Words like the, are, as, and of are some examples. These often are words that may have no specific visual image connected to them but are needed to create the flow of natural language.

There are 2 types of high frequency/sight words.  Some can be sounded out phonetically like can or it.  Since these words are highly used, they should become recognizable on sight rather than be decoded  The more words students know on sight, they more fluent they will become. Fluency aids in reading comprehension. Other words are NOT phonetic and can only be learned by sight,  Sometimes these words are called Tricky or Challenge Words (ex.the, said, have, and here). These words are not sounded out and must be learned through repeated exposure and practice. 


Sight words should be practiced until they are recognized immediately when seen. Here is a song we wrote to engage students in learning sight words. Also included is a Sight Word Bingo game with EDITABLE cards!  Click the link {HERE} to get this FREEBIE!


We hope you find these activities helpful when you start teaching your new class of beginning readers!


Graphics provided by Classroom Doodle Diva, Whimsey Workshop Teaching, and Educlips.




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