Category Archives: Reading


Blog 55 Rhyming



Rhyming.  I touched on this topic earlier when I wrote a blog about Nursery Rhymes and the importance of learning rhymes.  It never ceases to amaze me how many new Kindergartners (and if you can believe it, many first graders) coming to school cannot rhyme.  Children are already behind their peers, sometimes way behind, when they cannot rhyme.  When a child has the ability to hear and identify words that rhyme they are practicing an important listening skill.  Children are able to understand that many spoken words sound the same when they have the skill of rhyming. Rhymes help children to understand the sequence of sounds in some words.  5 year olds should be able to hear rhymes when spoken by others; they should be able to make their own sets of rhymes and should be able to make nonsense words that rhyme.  If your child can’t rhyme, start practicing rhyming each and every day NOW if you want your child to be a good reader. Click on this site and you will find rhyming games, rhyming books, and internet sites for practicing rhymes.  If your child can’t rhyme, he/she needs to start working, and if he/she can rhyme, practicing more rhymes can only be beneficial to the reading and writing process.

Re-posted from 2009


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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Parents, Reading

Every Letter Every Day

In Kindergarten we teach and then review every one of the 26 alphabet letters every day.  We say every letter, every day. Some philosophies on teaching the letters and sounds revolve around learning a letter a week.  However, if you don’t learn the letter M,m until after January it makes it difficult to begin to write words with all sounds if you haven’t been taught all of the letter sounds.  We ask parents to review all 26 letters and sounds at least once a day at home with their child.  All you need for this method is a pack of alphabet letter flash cards.  We keep our letter flash cards in order for the first nine weeks of school, so the review would go like this, Letter name, then name of picture that begins with that letter, and finally the alphabet sound itself.

A, apple, a, b, boy, b.

Children will learn their letters and sounds when they are developmentally ready.  No amount of drilling from the parents or teachers will make it happen before its time, but the key is to your child being ready for reading and writing, is for us to provide the foundations that are needed.  Even if your child knows all of the letters by looking at them and naming them, learning the letter sounds and then being able to use the sounds in phonetic writing is the next stage of development.  It all starts with 26 little letters.  Start working with your child now to reinforce what is being taught in Kindergarten; all you need are 26 alphabet letter flash cards.


Re-posted from 2009

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Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Reading, Writing

Three Ways to Read a Book

First Grade Students are taught that there are 3 ways to read a book:

  1. Read the book by looking at all of the pictures.
  2. Read the book by reading the text
  3. Read the book by retelling the story

1. First Grade teachers everywhere teach their children to look at the pictures as a strategy when trying to decode a word.  When a child has taken the time to look carefully at each and every picture and tell a story just by using the pictures, the text makes more sense when it is time to read. (Parents take note:  DO NOT COVER THE PICTURES WHEN YOUR CHILD IS READING – This does not help and you are hurting the reading process rather than helping the reading process)

3.  Retelling the story is the 3rd way to tell a story and believe me, this IS the hardest for a child to accomplish. Parents, if your child cannot tell you in order what happened in the story, then he/she really didn’t understand what has been read.

Year after year I try to tell parents about the importance of reading comprehension, but when a parent is proud that their child is reading ‘chapter books’, they don’t want to listen.  That is because I usually am telling them that the chapter books are not appropriate because their child cannot retell anything about what has been read. Parents, you MUST be actively involved in your child’s reading.  Stop your child while he/she is reading and ask him/her to start at the beginning and tell you what he/she has read so far.  He/she SHOULD be able to do this with ease and if he/she can’t they must start over and re-read.  No excuses, this is what has to happen as we work together to teach these young children that we are reading for a purpose, not just to ‘call out’ words with no meaning attached.

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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Parents, Reading

Re-Reading a Story

Children love to hear their favorite stories over and over.  You the reader, may tire of reading the same stories night after night, but your child maintains the same level of excitement and interest each time the story is read.  Children need to hear stories over and over again to become familiar with the characters and the story line, they better comprehend the story and sometimes hearing it again is for pure fun. If there is repeated text (Gingerbread Man) that they can learn and recite as you read, they love it.  We have to learn to respect our children’s choices in reading although they may not always be what we would have chosen for them.

Here is a website that lists 100 books every child should hear before Kindergarten.  If you haven’t read all of these books, don’t worry, you still have time, even if your child is already in Kindergarten, or even First Grade.

Re-posted from 2009


Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Parents, Reading

Library Card

I am the child of a children’s librarian getting a library card wasn’t a question, it was an expectation.  I still remember the excitement of finally being able to print my own name across the application form (although I printed so large it didn’t even all fit) and being handed my temporary card.  The thoughts of receiving mail with the ‘real’ card in it, took the excitement of the library card to whole other level.  The librarians at the desk told me I could check out books that very day using my temporary card.  Wow! I practically ran to the children’s room to start shopping.  I won’t tell you how many years ago that day was, but the fact that I still remember it means that it obviously had a lasting effect on me.  ALL children need to have their own library card.  What a wonderful, not to mention free, way to enjoy books, music, movies and more. Choosing their own books help children:

  • Feel responsible
  • Realize that books are lifelong friends
  • Learn to read
  • Encourage imagination

Good readers make more successful students at school.  What are you waiting for?  If your child can write his/her own name, get out and get that library card today!

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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Parents, Reading

Child Development Tracker

Here is a wonderful site from PBS that will help you to track the skills your child should possess for his/her age. Take a look at how your child should be functioning in the following areas according to his age:

  1. Approach to Learning
  2. Creative Arts
  3. Language
  4. Literacy
  5. Math
  6. Physical Health
  7. Social and Emotional Growth

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Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, Behavior, Fine Motor Skills, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Math, Maturity, Parents, Play, Reading, Responsibility

Parents are Child’s Primary Teachers

Your child will encounter many teachers in his/her lifetime. Not only will there be teachers in the classroom, but there will be just as many outside of the classroom.  He/she will have teachers in sports, after school activities, music lessons, girl/boy scouts etc.  Your child will have to listen and learn from many adults but the most important teacher for your child is YOU! Yes, you! Your child’s learning is ongoing and he/she will be learning many new activities throughout his/her day, but he/she will depend upon you to help keep the learning going when he/she gets home. How to do this? During dinnertime conversation, or at bedtime:

  • Ask your child to tell you about his/her day
  • Ask your child to tell you about one new thing that he/she learned that day
  • Find ways to extend what your child is learning about school
  • If he/she is learning about a new artist in Art class, visit a local art museum
  • Play board games that reinforce math skills that are being taught
  • When your child is learning about animals, visit a local zoo or animal habitat where your child can see and learn first hand
  • When your child is learning about an important person in history, find out where local museums, or local neighborhoods are celebrating the life of that person…and then go there
  • Take your child to the local library to check out books to explore the topic
  • Look online for games, activities, lessons, videos that will reinforce what is being taught in the classroom

Remember parents, your child and your child’s teachers will be expecting your help in your child’s learning process. Please don’t let them down!

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Filed under First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Library, Math, Parents, Reading, Science, Social Skills, Writing