Energize Favorable Outcomes
Because parents are their children’s first teachers, there are important efforts they can make to improve the likelihood of their children having grade one reading success.
- Show him or her how reading is important to you in your daily life. Don’t wait until your child goes to sleep to read for yourself. Set aside family reading time.
- Sometimes, teachers need to illustrate this to children as well, for some parents are so busy providing the basic necessities of life that they are not good role models about reading.
- Simply reading stories to a child is often not enough for a child to learn to read.
- Pay attention to the papers a teacher sends home from school.
- Reinforce the concepts, skills, letters, and words that the teacher taught that day. There are often 25 or more children in the class. Chances are good that some children don’t get to read and practice aloud every skill covered each day.
Most of our Kindergarten Tips also apply for success in first grade. This is the sequence most textbooks use in teaching children to decode words in Grade 1:
- recognizing rhyming words by sound
- lower case letter names (MORE important than upper case because most text is made up of lower case letters!)
- upper case letter names (sometimes later)
- letter/ sound correspondence–first consonants, then simple vowels
- recognizing beginning consonant sounds in words. Check out our Learn to Read Bingo: Beginning & Ending Consonants).
- recognizing ending consonant sounds in words
(Check out our Learn to Read Bingo: Beginning & Ending Consonants).
- recognizing simple short vowel sounds
(Check out our Learn to Read Bingo: Short Vowel Families ).
- blending consonant sounds with simple vowel sounds to form words. Sometimes a word family approach is used. This is effective if the child is familiar with rhyme. (Check out our Learn to Read Bingo: Short Vowel Families.)
- learning irregular, high frequency, sight words. These words appear often in text, but do not follow most simple phonic rules—i.e., they, said, he, she. (Check our Sight Word Kits A & B.) If students learn about 100 irregular, high frequency sight words, their fluency often improves dramatically. Play Sight Word Bingo, War. Write the sight words on a deck of playing cards, or put them on Popsicle sticks and play Pick-Up-Sticks with them.
- recognizing simple long vowel words, with the silent, final e, or double vowels which produce regular, long vowel sounds.
(Check out our Learn to Read Bingo: Long Vowel Families.)
- First graders should read aloud five days a week for 10-15 minutes to an adult who will encourage accuracy. The time spent in first grade doing this will reap enormous rewards later.
- If children don’t master these important skills in first grade, the later years become more complicated as the academic load increases.
- Learning to use the context of the sentence to decode unfamiliar words is also important because it is a bridge between basic phonics and comprehension. It also leads to more fluent reading.
- Comprehension skills should be included in all stories children read, even simple ones.
- They must get the very important message that reading is communication, just as speaking is.
- Encourage retelling of stories, in time order. Ask who? what? when? where? why? how? questions.
- Take a positive attitude when a child reads to you. If you infer that (s)he can’t improve, (s)he probably won’t. Don’t embarrass children by situations illustrate their inadequacies. Accept them as they are, and don’t compare them to others.
- Everyone works better when praised, so encourage the smallest bit of progress you see.It is important that children not miscall too many words. If your child does this, repeat what (s)he said, and ask if that makes sense.
- Be a good listener when a child reads to you. Don’t be overly concerned with teaching skills. If (s)he is having an especially difficult time, simply tell him or her the word and move on. This may be an indication that the text (s)he is reading might be too difficult at this time. (See our TIP: Choosing Books)
- Don’t expect a child to know a word when you tell it to him or her once, twice, or even 20 times. Some children need to see a word many more times than this, especially if a word has been learned wrong. (See our TIP: Words of Praise.)
- Talk to your child about the books he reads and the TV shows he watches. Ask the child to tell you why something happened, what might happen next, what might be a different, logical, alternate ending. These are important skills in reading comprehension.
- Many parents and teachers say that a child has poor comprehension, but often (s)he has poor decoding skills or reads in a hesitant fashion that affects the fluency of the text.
- Parents know their children best. Analyze their needs, and relate them to the teacher in a cooperative way. Teachers sometimes don’t have the time to know exactly which skills your child needs to focus on because of the number of student needs in the classroom. Make it a cooperative effort; after all, you both want the same thing—reading success for the child!
© Reading Spotlight 2017