photographer | slp | language & literacy | love good design, engaging books, reggio emilia, documenting | @averyandaugustine on instagram

founder of | @littlelitbookseries on instagram



Entries in learning to read (17)


the cookie fiasco and we are growing!

Nate’s proclamation after his first time listening to The Cookie Fiasco — “Read it again!”  It’s a hilarious start to the new Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! series.  The Cookie Fiasco is about a serious quandary, a hippo with a nervous habit and how things sometimes work out in the end on their own.  The dialogue, layout, play with type—all genius.  It’s easily one of the most engaging early readers we’ve read this year.

We Are Growing is also very enjoyable.  Blades of grass vie for bragging rights and claim one superlative after another until the ironic ending.  Wow, is all I have to say.  Both are really, really well done.  We’re eagerly awaiting the rest of this series.

The Cookie Fiasco is by Dan Santat and We Are Growing is by Laurie Keller.  Published by Disney Hyperion.


7 Activities That Support Emerging Reading Skills


Today I’m talking about ways you can work your child who is just starting to learn to read—things you can do at home to provide a solid foundation for becoming an independent reader.  Knowledge of letter names and sounds, phonological awareness and phonemic awareness are among the many skills needed to begin reading independently and these tasks support those skills.

1. The game Boggle Junior is a great one for learning to spell and sound out simple words. 

2. Mo Willems' Cat the Cat and Elephant and Piggie are both excellent series for beginning readers.  Some of the words in the series will be difficult for a first-time reader to decode, but there are still a lot opportunities to practice reading simple first words in both series.  For sight words, try a series like Bob Books.  You can do repeated readings with you reading the book out loud with your finger pointing to each word as you read, then have your child follow along with her finger as you read.  For a list of books for beginning readers, head over to this post.

3. Later you can try simultaneous reading (you and your child reading the sentences together in unison) as they become more familiar with the texts of the books you're reading on a regular basis.  

4. Later you can have your child point out individual words that you say (e.g., "Find the word 'dog' and put your finger on it."  "Can you find a word that starts with "b?"). 

5. You can work on some phonemic awareness like blending and segmenting (which are some of the more important ones) with the words from the books.  An example of blending would be "What word am I saying? C - a - t."  Later they become more familiar with the words, you can do segmenting, e.g., "Tell me all the sounds in the word 'cat.'"  You can use manipulatives (like blocks) to represent each sound to provide support.  

6. Joint writing (writing words, phrases and sentences together) also hugely supports pre-literacy skills.  Draw pictures along with what you write to support reading comprehension.  

7. And one last thing, making sure that you're reading rich children's picture books with good writing in them and having conversations about them every day goes a long way in supporting budding reading skills.

Check out other my other posts about how to work on phonemic awareness and early reading skills here.


letter scramble

I’m sharing ways to work on early reading skills over at The Land of Nod.  Amble over to Honest To Nod to read my post.


homegrown books

An artful take on books for beginning readers from Homegrown Books.  In Maps and Flying, simple but thoughtful text paired with otherworldly paintings serve as springboards for further musing and discussion.  Art by Case Jernigan.


raising a reader + munchkin giveaway 

Kids love any excuse to delay bedtime―even just a few minutes―and are probably more eager to get in a little extra reading time if it means they get to stay up later.  That few extra minutes of reading right before bed becomes a special time for them to bond with their books and stories, which promotes a love of reading and encourages them to become a lifelong reader.

So, this is the idea—move up your kids’ bedtime by twenty minutes and when they ask to stay up just a little longer, tell them they can read for a little bit using a bedside lamp or reading light.  This is part of reading expert Jim Trelease’s tips on how to raise a reader (you can read the rest of his invaluable advice in The Read-Aloud Handbook, a book every family should have in their library).

We’re partnering with Munchkin for a giveaway of 3 of their adorable owl night lights.  This giveaway is open to US residents only and the winners will be drawn at random.  You have until Thursday, August 11, 11:00 PM PDT, to enter.  Head over to this post on Instagram to enter!