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Ending one year and looking forward to a new one should be exciting and full of anticipation! It is also a time of reflection and looking ahead. I want to share a few grade level topics that support your child’s love of reading. Happy New Year and all the best in 2014.
1. An important step for Kindergarten students to become better readers is to work on phonemic awareness, (PA). PA is learning that every word is a combination of sounds. Before children learn to sound out words, it is necessary for them to know that letters represent sounds! As a bit of practice, ask your child to tell you the sounds they hear in the word cat- kuh-a-tuh. Don’t worry about correct spelling at this point. Practice connecting the sound with the letter by using what I call, voice-print-match. Touch each letter as you and your child say it. Move onto more challenging words to make the connection meaningful. This exercise should be viewed as a lesson in letter/sound relationship that will build your child’s confidence in sounding out letter representations. Model the sound!
2. Your first grader and sight words! You may be wondering why knowing sight words is a key element is teaching reading. The truth is that the benefits of being able to recognize high-frequency words enables your child to read more smoothly and at a faster rate. With this in mind, your child will be supported in remembering more of what they read and to make sense of it. Comprehension is the final goal of reading. As practice, make a set of flash cards from the helpful Kidzone website. Make it a game of memory, or “go fish”. Either way, these activities will support your child in learning his/her sight words.
3. Your third grader. At this juncture, your student is transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. To support your student during this transition period, research shows that conversations that build vocabulary on a certain topic goes far to support the cause. Read challenging texts to your child, introduce them to new vocabulary and use words that he/she doesn’t know in normal day to day conversation. This groundwork will support your student when their decoding skills catch up, should they be challenged in this area.
All these are helpful reading comprehension strategies to practice with your child, but if you would like to further their literacy support, contact me to schedule a free reading assessment!
If you are the parent or guardian of a struggling reader, or a highly achieving reader you may find yourself wondering how to motivate your student. I believe that effective teachers teach skills, strategies and concepts that support student success. I believe that instruction must be differentiated; i.e. personalized to fit the needs of the student. Instruction must be explicit and systematic. Students must be a part of their education and this is done by including the student in feedback; they should be included in the learning process. In teaching reading at all levels, I incorporate what I like to call the Big Five: teaching phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, fluency instruction, building vocabulary and improving reading comprehension. Keep in mind that the goal of reading is comprehension. Teaching the essentials ensures student success. Stay tuned for more information and small lessons in teaching early literacy concepts and reading comprehension.
Bridget Swartzlander is a credentialed teacher in Colorado who has taught at Montessori for 21 years. Bridget holds a Master’s in Education Degree in Reading and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.
My fundamental premise is that we don’t need to wait for students to fail before implementing interventions that can be designed for your child’s specific needs. I work on supporting student success in phonemic awareness instruction, phonics instruction, fluency instruction, vocabulary instruction and comprehension; the ultimate goal of reading is comprehension.
The solution is not homework-focused, but rather a one-on-one instruction that is research and evidence based; a tutoring program that puts tools in your child’s toolbox for being able to decode, engage with the text and ultimately become a proficient reader and writer.
When you work with me, the program will be designed for your child and your child only. There are no “cookie cutter” solutions, but rather effective methods of phonics instruction suited to your child’s particular learning style; a tailored and outlined program for your student only.
You will receive detailed notes on the sessions and progress monitoring reports as well. Changes and alternations to their learning plan will be discussed before being implemented and will be made to ensure optimum results.