Although many wonderful and exciting things are happening around our house lately (hmmm, like making preparations to move to HAWAII!!! — click here to learn more about our moving situation), perhaps the most exciting item of interest is the fact that Emma, my 5 year old, is on the verge of reading. As an early-childhood enthusiast, this is a dream come true. The only thing more thrilling than watching those wheels turn in her head when trying to figure out a word is watching the excitement in her eyes when she finds just the right book in her stash.
With her as my inspiration, here is part one of a three-part Reading Readiness presentation.
Part 1: How do you know your child is ready to become a reader?
Your child does the following:
- Pretends to be a reader- Often, I catch Emma pretending to read one of her favorite books. Typically she reads to one of her sisters or pretends to teach them how to read. (Also, I think she just loves being bossy!)
- Turns the pages of a book at the appropriate time-Does your child follow along with you when you read? If you’re not sure, give him/her that job! “My job is to read you the words and your job is to turn the page!” See what he/she can do!
- Holds the book the correct way-If he/she usually picks up the book and holds it correctly, ask him/her to open the book to the correct page. “On what page does our story start?”
- Can summarize-Ask, “What was the story about tonight? What happened in the story?” If they do not automatically sing out a summary, ask your child what happened in the beginning and prompt him/her what happened “next”. If he/she still has difficulty, choose a few pages and ask, “What happened on this page?”
- Can make connections-Model this a few times and your child will catch on quickly. Making connections is my favorite aspect of reading to teach. Kids catch on quickly because they LOVE relating anything to themselves…start with a connection between them and the book. You can make it an obvious connection to help teach the concept and go from there. An example of this would be, “I have a connection to my book (Fancy Nancy’s Delectable Cupcakes) because I also put way to many sprinkles on my cupcakes!”
- Knows that words tell the story and the reader is looking at the words-Does your child know where you are looking when you’re reading the story? Can he/she point to the part of the page that tells the story? Emma will often correct me when I’m reading. I will say the word “rabbit” and she’ll say, “No Mommy, that’s a bunny.” We talk about how there are a lot of different words that mean the same thing but my job as a reader is to read the words the author wrote. It recently clicked that I’m just not making up or reciting the story…the words on the page tell you what to say.
- Read his/her name-Better yet, can he/she write his/her name?
- Recognize and “read” familiar brand names-A great way to build on this is to create an alphabet chart or set using familiar pictures. You can either buy an alphabet set for just a few dollars and then glue wrappers or pictures on the corresponding letter or if you want to make a personal version of this, check out my family alphabet post. I truly believe this alphabet set hanging up in Emma’s room has made the biggest difference in her letter/sound correspondence. I catch her trying to remember what sound a letter makes by picturing what photo was associated with it. She was just repeating, “G-G-G-Grace” for the letter G.
If your child can do all or most of these, you are in an exciting place! Find out what to do next in the next installment of Reading Readiness :Next Steps. Fear not if your child is not quite ready, there are many fun activities in the third installment to help get you there.
Until next time, Happy Teaching!