Have you seen my series of little books for kids just starting to read? I’m excited to share Set 6: Summer Emergent Readers! If you’re just here for the readers, zip to the end of this post. If you’d like to know more about teaching little ones to read at home, check out the outline below.
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How am I teaching my preschoolers to read?
The number one thing I do to teach my little ones to read is to read to them as much as possible. Did you know that reading to your children is the number one predictor for reading success? I read to my children every day – but we have a busy family with four little ones, so I’m thankful that the boys’ big sister loves to read to them too!
I don’t have a set schedule for teaching my boys (ages 3 and 4) to read. Some weeks we’re having too much fun outside to sit down and do reading exercises. If the boys are unhappy or frustrated, I back off and find something simpler. I follow their lead, following this general outline:
1. I start with the Reading the Alphabet curriculum.
We’ve been using This Reading Mama’s Reading the Alphabet curriculum for preschoolers. Want to know why I love it?
- It’s hands-on (not worksheet oriented!).
- It gives the parents plenty of freedom in choosing what to teach next – no pressure to do things that don’t work for your child.
- It’s full of colorful printables.
- It progresses at a pace just right for preschoolers.
- It’s educationally sound. This Reading Mama is a former reading specialist, now staying home to raise her four kids. She knows what she’s talking about!
2. Each week we teach a new sight word with our pocket chart.
We add a new sight word to our word wall and print the sentences featuring the new sight word along with the picture cues.
My Four points to each word using a homemade pointer. We got these printables from Lesson 6 of Reading the Alphabet.
3. We play word family games to teach “sounding out.”
My Four has been working on the short a family words for quite some time. As he starts to get more automatic at sounding out words, we’ll move into the next word family. (I think we’re close!) In my experience, this is a developmental skill that suddenly comes together. My Three is still shaky on his letter sounds and is not ready to sound out words – so we don’t attempt it. But my Four can do basic three letter words with help. You can find a variety of free word family games for short a here.
4. We find fun games to review the words we’re learning.
This week we found two fun sight word games to review the words we’ve learned so far. We’re also working at the short a word family words that he’s been learning for quite a few months. (I’ll be sharing more about that in my next emergent reader set, when we focus on the short a word families.)
The first game we played is called Zap it. Talk about fun! My Six (who is always looking for a chance to use the forbidden Sharpies), wrote each word on a popsicle stick. On six sticks were the sight words we’ve learned so far with Reading the Alphabet (a, the, see, I, look, at). I wrote short a word family words (cat, grab, sack, etc.) on the remaining sticks. Three sticks had the words “Zap it!” We took turns pulling words and reading them; we kept the sticks if we read the words correctly. But if we got “Zap it!” all our sticks went back in the cup!
We had so much fun and will definitely be playing this game again. Want to know more about Zap it? Be sure to check out This Meaningful Mama’s post.
Here’s another simple game that my boys loved. We printed out this old lady pattern from Making Learning Fun. (Remember the fun song “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly?”) Then I taped it to the side of a cereal box and cut out the mouth. My Six wrote a lowercase letter on each card. Then my Three read the letter and named the sound before feeding it to the old lady.
My Four read sight words and word family words we’ve been working on.
And when my One got cranky as I was fixing dinner, he fed the old lady plastic chips. 🙂
5. We do other literacy activities – this week, counting syllables.
This is a part of Reading the Alphabet that we hadn’t done before: clipping the number of syllables for each word. This was fun for my Four, and he did great – although “ax” had him stumped. He really thought that it had two syllables. We talked about how the sounds of a word aren’t syllables — the chunks are.
6. We read our new emergent readers – many times!
I created four emergent readers to help teach the new sight word: “at.” Since it’s early August, a summer-themed set seemed just right.
As always, my Four was able to figure out many of the words by using the picture clues. I remember when I was teaching that some parents didn’t like this idea. They felt quite sure that the only to teach kids to read was to give them books that had only words they could sound out. When I talked about using picture clues, I think the parents felt that I was cheating.
Here’s an analogy:
When kids are learning to swim, we don’t just throw them in the water. We give them things they won’t need later on — like water wings or pool noodles. We hold them up in the water. Gradually we let go of these supports.
Beginning readers need supports too. Here are some:
- picture clues
- repetitive or rhyming text
- just a few words per page (to prevent feelings of being overwhelmed)
As our beginning readers grow, we can start encouraging them to use letter clues.
This week’s set of books provided opportunities for me to help my Four find chunks that he knows – or can sound out with help, as you can see in the sample above.
In this case, I called attention to the beginning digraph of a word (a digraph is two letters that make one sound, like ch, sh, th, or wh).
The Summer emergent reader set includes:
- The Fair
- A Cookout
- The Garden
How to assemble:
(for a video tutorial, see this page)
- Cut across the horizontal center of each page.
- Insert one set of pages into the other, paying attention to the page numbers.
- Staple with a long-armed stapler.
Check out the rest of our collection!
Did you know that you can get the entire collection in just two downloads?
You might like this set, too. It teaches the same words but also includes books in black and white!
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