Saturday, 27 April 2013

Early Reading Help and Activities

Our Home Readers have been sent out a little while ago and I wanted to give my Mums & Dads some ideas to help with Home Reading so if your child is simple reading their books with the eyes closed as they tedious turn the pages (in other words you know they've simply memorized it) then here are some ideas to help. 
But first, some background information.
Repetitive Text / Picture Cues / Sight Words
The books children begin reading with have very repetitive texts. This helps with identifying smaller sight words, helps develop prediction skills and encourages good reading self esteem. Simple repetitive texts means young readers can predict the test by using the pictures as clues. (Picture Cues - don't hide them - if they are using them, they are understanding that reading has to "make sense".) Only one or two words will change. This allows an opportunity for building a strong foundation with words, especially sight words - words they recognize by sight.
There are some reading behaviours I do want to see in my young readers and some we are better off not encouraging. Personally, I believe little readers benefit from using a pointer when reading. I appreciate and understand that some educators don't appreciate these items, but I feel they help focus children's eyes on individual words and they help with tracking (the ability for the eyes to follow along the lines and move with left to right progression). These pointers can take the form of special little character pointers like the ones on my Brisbane colleague, Casey's blog page.    
Or they can simply use their finger. I ask children to have their pointing finger ready before we begin reading each page.

It's important to allow the time it takes for your child to read their book and then some, for follow up activities. It isn't necessary to do activities every time, but it will help your child to gain a better understanding and gain greater confidence.
If I can stress only one thing in this ramble, it is the power of suggestion to your child that they ARE a reader!! The power of this statement cannot be underestimated. Seriously, if your child BELIEVES they are a reader, then they soon WILL be!! :)
Okay, so here's some ideas to do with those little first repetitive readers.
The text says : "My bus is little. My truck is little. My car is little."
Write the text and cut the words out. Your child can then use these to re-make the sentences in the story by matching each word with the words in the book.

 Mix up the words, read, and see if it makes any sense.

These words can be duplicated (printed twice) and children can play a matching game.

Choose one word at a time and see if your child can find it on another page.

Choose one word and count how many times that word is in the story. List the word and the number of times it appears in the story.

Delete a word and have them find that word and place it in the correct position.

Ask your child to find a particular word. Can they use that word in a 'new' sentence?

Look at the beginning letter of a particular word and find other words beginning with that same letter.
 eg  "My / me / mum"    OR   "This / Things / These"

- recognize familiar words.
- understand that reading has to 'make sense'.
- appreciate that pictures help predict a story.
- comprehend that words can be decoded using   
  beginning/middle/final sounds.
- realize reading is FUN!!

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