“You are an integral part of your child’s education”
Part 1 of this blog post covered two topics that relate to help early readers – Book Knowledge and “Reading the Pictures” and Vocabulary. Below are two more topics important to early reading instruction.
In this article, you’ll discover things you can help your child with to reinforce what they are learning at school.
Pointing to Words to Make Connections
Another skill children work on during early reading instruction is pointing to each word as they read. Pointing, or one-to-one correspondence, helps beginning readers make text-to-word connections. This also helps children with directionality, visual tracking, and keeping their place while reading.
Have your child point to the words as they read. If they struggle with this skill, have them slow down as they read. You can also point along and gradually let them point independently.
**Fun Tip to Encourage Reading**
Children like to use “pointers” when practicing this skill. You can buy pointers or make your own.
Here are four ideas to have fun using the pointing skill:
- You can use Popsicle sticks with a sticker at the top
- Fake fingers with the long nails that you wear with costumes
- Pencils with fancy erasers
- Anything else that helps them isolate and point to individual words.
Frame Words for Reading Success
At school your child is also asked to “frame” or point to the different letters and words in the sentence. Ask your child to do this at home. Your child will use their two index fingers to “frame” the letter or word, placing one finger at the front of the letter/word and one finger at the back of the letter/word.
Example of Framing:
“Frame the word like. Frame the word to. Frame the letter s in strawberries.”
This helps children understand the concept of letters making up words and words making up the sentences they are reading.
Popcorn Words are Not Just for Eating
Sight Words, Word Wall Words, High Frequency Words, Popcorn Words… These terms mean the same thing in the world of education. They are words that are frequently found in early reading texts. If you search online for “first 100 sight words” or “sight words by grade level” you will find a number of different lists your child can work on.
The lists are not exactly the same, but they typically have similar types of words. It really doesn’t matter which list your child works on. However, if your child’s teacher assigns a specific list of words, definitely practice those words first to help reinforce what they are learning at school. If your child has mastered the words from class, you can ask the teacher for additional words or refer to a list you have found online for extra practice.
I can’t stress enough how important learning these sight words is in helping your child progress to more difficult texts. Practice, Practice, Practice.
Here are some ways you can make practicing sight words more engaging. You can also search “ways to practice sight words” to get more ideas.
- Make Flashcards – write each word on a card and have your child read the words; make two piles (ones they know and ones they don’t); spend more time on the words they don’t know
- Make a second set of cards – Use both sets and play Go Fish or Memory with the words
- Write the Words on a Bingo Type Board or Grid. (I limit the grid to about 10-15 spaces in kindergarten.) Pull out one flashcard at a time. Have your child read the word. The player with the word on their board gets to cover it with a counter or penny. Play until a row, column, or entire board is covered. (Play with your child and encourage other family members to play to make it more fun.)
- Place the Flashcards on the Floor to Make a Path – Call out a word and have your child hop to the correct word. Or roll dice and have your child take that many hops along the path. If they read the word they land on correctly, they get to pick up that card. Play until all the cards are gone.
- Bean Bag Toss – Make a beanbag out of 2 zipper bags. Place beans in one bag and seal. Place the bag in another bag and seal and tape for security. Place the flashcards randomly on the floor and have your child toss the beanbag to different words. Then have to read the word the beanbag lands on. If they read it correctly, they get to pick it up. Play until all of the words are gone.
Reading Tip 2
Spend more time on the words your child does not know. If your child has a long list of words he/she needs to work on, choose 5-8 per week to practice. Practice those words until they are mastered.
Young children are eager to learn. Take advantage of their enthusiasm and have fun when working with your child in reading. Continue to read to them and engage them in conversations. Spending time with you learning about reading will help them become happy and confident readers.
Written by Trina Brazille
Do you have questions about teaching your child to read? Leave your questions in the comment section below.