Reading!

I am so excited about the progress all of your children have made with reading this semester. Progress reports are being compiled and will come your way soon that will contain more individualized information about how your child is doing. However, I wanted to go ahead and give you some more information about how you can be helping your child at home to practice reading.

Each child learns to read differently, and at a different pace. As long as they are practicing every week and preferably every day, they will grow well at their own pace. There are many different reading theories and I like to supply children with as many different types of readers as possible so they can enjoy the ones they are more naturally good at but also practice the ones they find more challenging. Below is information about three types of readers I've shared with your children on Google Drive. The three types of readers are leveled readers, decodable readers, and high frequency words readers.

All of your children have access to book PDFs that I've uploaded to Google Drive for them. They all know how to access these books on their own, so you should ask them to read them to you!  Here are the different types of books available:

1. Leveled Books:

"The Baseball Game" is one of the books in everyone's level aa book folder on google drive. Level aa is the easiest and first level on which a child can start in kindergarten. Each page has a similar format and lots of repeated words. Some of the words are able to be sounded out (and sounding out words is a very valuable strategy that should always be encouraged) but a lot of the words are likely to be what are typically called "sight words" which are either some of the most frequently found words in English print or words that break the rules of phonics, thus making them impossible to sound out. The leveled books contain both sight words and words that can be sounded out.

As you can also see in the above picture, after level aa, the levels then go to A, B, C, D, etc. Technically, the kindergarten reading levels are aa, A, B, and C. So, if they complete level C by the end of kindergarten, they are on track.  If you only see a "aa" folder in your child's google drive folder, that is the level at which they are currently learning.  If you feel like this level is too easy for your child, feel free to shoot me an email at any time and I'd be happy to re-test him or her. The test for each level is a book they've never seen before to ensure they display the skills necessary to move on a level rather than having simply memorized the book. If I test your child and they remain at that same level and aren't ready to move on, I will still reward their effort with getting to pick out at least one new book for their google drive folder! There are at least a hundred books in each level.

Ways to help your child while reading leveled books:

  • Encourage them to look at the pictures for clues as to what words might be
  • Encourage them to at least sound out the first letter of a word and see what might start with that sound in the picture. (Ex: if the picture has a goat and a cat and the sentence says, "See the goat." Then sounding out the "g" sound should match up with the goat in the picture.)
  • Remind them that when a word is spelled the same, it will sound the same, even if the first letter is big or little. So, "The" and "the" will be pronounced the same on every page. 
  • Encourage them to read their books to you, their siblings, and anyone else who will listen! They should be confident that they are growing as readers!

2. Decodable Books:

Decodable books contain words that should be sounded out! In order to make sentences, decodable books might occasionally contain a few sight words that would be more difficult to sound out, such as "the" but this is rare in this series. All of your children should be practicing their decodable books, and they are especially great practice for students who struggle with their letter sounds. The decodable books are numbered and should be read in order, as they increase in difficulty the higher the number gets. I share these with students individually, so they aren't in a folder, and once they can confidently read book #1, I will share book #2 with them. Kindergarteners typically have a hard time judging on their own if they have successfully read a book and are often too impatient to try to read them in order, so this is why I only give them access to one new book or level at a time.

Ways to help your child when practicing decodable books:

  • Have them sound out each and every letter! This is the entire purpose of decodable books, to sound out words.
  • Encourage them to look at the pictures, too, as the words will match with the pictures.

3. High Frequency Words Books:

Finally, the third type of book I've shared with your child on google drive is a "High Frequency Book" folder. This type of book is quite different than the other two types and works on some of the most frequent site words in English print. These words are great tools to have in your child's reading toolbox! 

These books are also numbered and should be read in order, as they build on each other. However, the only normal looking words in each sentence are the sight words, with any other words in much smaller print along with a picture of that word in the sentence. So, these books heavily focus on the sight words, which are also called high frequency words.

Ways to help your child with the high-frequency words books:

  • Remind them that each book helps them learn one or more very important words! Those words will show up in almost every book they read as they get older.
  • They might need help with the smaller print words in these books, but still encourage them to look at the little picture by the little words and use the first letter of that word to guess what it could be, according to the picture.

In conclusion, feel free to email me at any point (even over winter break) if you would like more books for your child to practice. I can upload them easily at any point from my computer. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask! At home, repeated practice is key!