By: Madiha Malik
Starting school is such an exciting time for children and parents. As they start learning to read, there are many strategies that educators use to create more interest in children towards books and reading.
This is a great strategy for pre-readers. Before reading a book, go through it by looking at the pictures and predict with the student what the story may be about. Picture walks are very important as they allow the children to use their own words and existing vocabulary to express their thoughts.
Alphabet Sounds (Phonics):
A great indicator of how well a child will be able to read is their understanding of the sounds of each alphabet letter. For example, in the word “mat”, there are three sounds m/a/t. Children can learn to decode words easily once they know most of their sounds. Sounds play a huge role in reading and are more important than knowing the name of each letter.
The adult uses their index finger and points to each word in the book as it is read. Pointing allows children to see where each word begins and ends. It is important for children to understand how a sentence is written. It also shows that the spaces between words are there to separate words. The adult can also ask the child to count how many words are in a sentence.
Stretching the Sounds:
This is where the adult tells the child to pretend the word is a bubble gum or an elastic band. The child looks at each word and stretches out the sounds slowly. Stretching the sound helps them focus on where the word begins and ends. The adult can also demonstrate by slowly stretching the word and asking the child to guess what word is being read.
When children get stuck while reading a simple book, they can look at the image to help decode the word. The adults can also read the book and ask the child how the picture conveys the situation in the story.
Skip the Word:
If the word is too difficult, the child can skip it and read the rest of the sentence. With the adult’s assistance, they can go back and decode which word makes sense to complete the sentence.
Sight words are words that appear frequently in books and may not be depicted through pictures. There is a list of words that early readers need to practice and memorize to increase their accuracy, speed, and comprehension while reading. Some of the sight words include, are, in, the, on, they, and me.
For a deeper understanding of the meaning of the text, ask the child questions before, during, and after reading such as “what do you think this story is about?”, “what will happen next?”, and “what was your favourite part of the story?”.
Sight Words List:
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