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Parenting Issues Message Board

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Even though she is interested in letters and numbers, does she express to you that she wants to read? If not, I would just continue to read to her pointing to the words as she reads and asking thought provoking questions as you read. Get her some of those books and CDs or tapes and let her enjoy those at her leisure. If she does say she wants to read, you can start introducing her to some common sight words. I will list the 23 that we teach in kindergarten in my district in FL (I am a kindergarten teacher) at the end of this response. Those are words which are very common when one reads and most are unable to be sounded out. They need to be learned by sight. Then you would also need to teach the letter sounds. Start by teaching some of the more common and easier to form, consonant sounds, such as M, S, R and T. Focus not only on the sounds at the beginning of the words, but at the ends of the words as well. Usually then we introduce the first vowel, which is a. We only teach the short sound such as in cat and map. You can name three letter words with short vowel sounds in the middle and ask her what sound she hears in the middle of the word. Once she learns several sounds and at least one short vowel sound, you can start teaching her to blend lettlers together to make words. We might focus one day on ap and have the child try to read words like map, tap, sap and lap. Some other concepts and skills which are very important in reading need to also be taught if you are to have a well rounded, competent reader. Pointing to words as you read teaches her the concept of left to right and top to bottom progession and that one group of letters strung together is a word. Point to a sentence and count the words in it, pointing to each one. Another good activity is to have her draw pictures and tell you about them. Write down exactly what she says and read it back to her pointing to the words as you go. Eventually she will want to write and will start by writing just random strings of letters, probably telling you what it says. That is fine. It is beginning writing and is also an effective way to help teach reading. She will then progress to writing maybe the first letter of each word she hears, then to first and last sounds, etc. Do not correct spelling. Just let her write, help her sound out words if she asks and let her read it back to you. Picture clues are important as the child learns to read in helping them figure out unknown words, so ask questions about the pictures before you read a book to her. Ask her what she thinks will happen next as you read a story. Ask her specific questions about what happened in the story, who the characters are, where this and that took place. That will help with the very important comprehension skills. Count syllables in words together by clapping out the parts you hear. This will help her later on when she needs to sound out longer words. Sing a lot of children's songs together and focus on nursery rhymes. Rhyming is a very important skill related to reading. Really all of these concepts should be introduced before teaching about sounds in words. If she has a lot of these reading concepts but is not able to read before school, she will still be well ahead of the game. You would not believe how many students come to school at five years old who have never even had a story read to them! I also want to point out that a bigger danger than boredom is burn out. That is why at four years old you only want to do this as she expresses an interest. When she seems tired or wants to quit, quit. Keep in mind too that research actually has proven that children who learn to read between the ages of 3 and 5 do read better in the first couple of school grades, but by fourth grade generally are reading at the exact same level as their peers who learned at the age of 6 or 7. Learning to read has actually a lot more to do with maturity than intelligence. And one more word about boredom, it is rare in a good kindergarten classroom. These children should be singing, listening to stories, painting, cutting, playing at centers, etc. in addition to strictly working on skills. Many of these skills can actually be taught through play and these things are not boring to a five or six year old. They thrive on them. Here are the high frequency words we teach here:


I am sorry that I cannot remember the rest right now, but if I think of them I will post again. As I mentioned though I would focus on the other pre-reading skills before focusing on words and sounds.


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