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Entries in learning to read (17)

Tuesday
Aug022016

Beginning Reader Books for Kindergarten Through Second Grade

Pre-reading skills and literacy are part of our scope as SLPs (speech-language pathologists).  In this post, I’ll be sharing some of our favorite books for emerging readers in kindergarten, first grade and second grade.

 

Max adores his pet fish but his hopes are dashed when he realizes that his fish does not possess the ability to dance.  Max Has a Fish is a fun read for kindergartners and first graders learning early word families.  Also check out Max Finds an Egg.

 

In my search for early reader texts, this series has been one of my best finds.  The three books in the I Can Read It! series contain collections of stories with early word families and sight words that are taught in kindergarten and first grade.  The stories are substantial in length and are comprised of mostly controlled vocabulary, and are good for building reading fluency and automaticity.  There’s a preview of the table of contents and some stories from the first book on Amazon but not the second or third.  You can do a search on Google Images to take a look at the index in both the second and third books.  There’s a fourth book in the series that contains just lists of the word patterns in each book.  

 

The Ready…Set…Read—and Laugh! treasury is a wonderful anthology of stories, poems, word games and riddles by some of our favorite children’s book authors and illustrators.  The texts are high-interest, funny and engaging.  While keeping in mind that there is such a wide range of reading ability at every age (and especially at the younger ages), the text readability is second grade.  Recommended age levels for this treasury are 6-8.  If you have a pretty good handle on your child’s reading levels, you can read a few pages of a book and tell whether or not the text will be a good match for your child.  This anthology was compiled by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson.  Be sure to check out the companion book: Ready, Set, Read! The Beginning Reader's Treasury.

 

Another great book for early readers to build fluency with—Oliver by Syd Hoff.  A classic, funny and charming story of elephantine proportions.  Its text readability is second grade.

 

Arnold Lobel’s Grasshopper on the Road has a text readability of second grade.  Other story collections at this reading level include Uncle Elephant, Mouse Tales, Owl at Home, Mouse Soup and Small Pig.

 

Another great early reader by Arnold Lobel.  Frog and Toad Are Friends, a Caldecott Honor Book, has a solid second grade readability.

 

It’s no secret that we have a serious love for Nate the Great, for so many reasons.  Nate is my youngest child’s name.  Most of the stories in the series are at a second grade readability, and make great first chapter books for those ready for a longer plot.  Like I’ve said in the past, there’s a lot of repetition in Nate the Great texts that helps build fluency, automaticity and confidence in reading ability.

 

The simple text in Cat the Cat, Who Is That? has a great rhythm to it, and of course, Mo Willem’s illustrations are playful, lighthearted and engaging.  Emerging readers in kindergarten/first grade will love the surprise at the end.  I include ‘first grade’ in my recommendation because there are a few difficult words in it that we wouldn’t expect all beginning readers to be able to tackle easily.  Also, with changing standards in our public school system, children are expected to be reading by the end of the kindergarten year, even though many might not be developmentally ready.  Of course, we want our children to learn how to read, but we also need to be patient and keep in mind that each of them will read in his/her own time, given systematic instruction, daily practice and opportunities to interact with various texts and print in their environment.  Also, one of the best ways we can produce lifelong readers and motivate our children to become independent readers is to read aloud to them—books that will engage their senses and stoke their imagination, stories that they will revel in, with characters that will resonate with them—books that they will love.  Here's to the marvel of the reading process, and to watching its magic unfold in our children.  And that we would be witnesses to it and facilitators of it, is truly a privilege.

Thursday
Jul212016

i can read it series

Pre-reading skills and literacy are part of our scope as SLPs (speech-language pathologists).  In my search for early reader texts, this series has been one of my best finds.  The three books in the I Can Read It! series contain collections of stories with early word families and sight words that are taught in kindergarten and first grade.  The stories are substantial in length and are comprised of mostly controlled vocabulary, making them great for building reading fluency and automaticity.  There’s a preview of the table of contents and some stories from the first book on Amazon but not the second or third.  You can do a search on Google Images to take a look at the index in both the second and third books.  There’s a fourth book in the series that contains just lists of the word patterns in each book.  Stay tuned because I’ll be sharing more recommendations for early readers in the next couple of posts.

Friday
May202016

summer reading and snacks

From my post on Honest to Nod today.  With the end of the school year upon us, I’m sharing a way to make summer reading more fun.  Nosh inspired by the wonderful team at Super Make It!

Monday
May022016

my ten favorite picture books for tiny readers

I'm a fan of Tiny Readers and was so excited to share some thoughts on reading, how I choose books for my kids and my ten favorite picture books on their site today.  Check out the post here.

Michelle Sterling is a speech-language pathologist, photographer and mother to Avery (7) and Nate (5).  You can find her sharing books she loves on Instagram and on her blog Avery and Augustine.  Here are some of her thoughts on reading:

“There’s something so magical about finding a book or book series that you click with as a child.  It makes reading enjoyable, which is so integral to contributing to a lifelong love of reading and learning.  When they can’t wait to find out what happens next in a book, children are motivated to learn how to decode words that are new them (even if they’re difficult), and understand their meanings.  As adults, while we read aloud a story to our children, we can bring to light the nuanced meanings of those new words, help our children understand the plot of the story and really teach them to think beyond the story, and relate it with their own life experiences.  This is a huge part of the learning process: connecting new experiences with old.  This is what happens when we’re there reading aloud books to our kids or are even just present while they’re reading aloud on their own.

According to so many books (The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease comes to mind) and many recent articles, as our kids get older, they lose interest in reading.  Compared to other countries, our kids read less and less on their own as they become teenagers.   And time devoted to reading decreases with each new generation.  Yet, lifelong reading is so essential to a well-rounded education, understanding the world, making learning connections and ultimately, helping our children discover who they’re going to be in life and what their mission will be.  So, this is why it is so, so important from a very young age and all throughout childhood to build a library of books that children will enjoy and treasure.

So, with this in mind, I carefully look for a variety of books—fresh, new works and old, beloved classics—but most importantly, I look for stories that my kids will engage with, laugh at, be amazed by, be in awe of and thoroughly enjoy.  And I am always on the lookout for books that instill a sense of wonder in my kids, ones that they can go back to over and over, get lost in, and reflect on later.  Because childhood is about nothing if not wonder.  It is my hope that in doing all this, they’ll become lifelong readers, explorers and dreamers.”

Here are ten of her favorite recent picture books, which she loves for their story as much as their artistry.

Rapido’s Next Stop by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet

Home by Carson Ellis

Henri’s Walk to Paris by Leonore Klein and Saul Bass

Little Pear Tree by Rachel Williams and Jenny Bowers

How To by Julie Morstad

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

Arrow to Alaska by Hannah Viano

Chloe, Instead by Micah Player

When I Was Born by Isabel Minhós Martins and Madalena Matoso

Float by Daniel Miyares

Thursday
Apr072016

alligator arrived with apples

Alligator Arrived with Apples: a Potluck Alphabet Feast was penned by Crescent Dragonwagon with pictures by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey.  A huge group of animal friends gather for a Thanksgiving feast and eat their way from A to Z.  Alligator arrived with apples and allspice.  Bear brought banana bread, biscuits and butter.  Zebra zipped over a zaftig zucchini.  An epic meal to go down in history!  This book is an entertaining read-aloud and is about nothing if not alliteration—a phonological awareness skill that contributes to a good foundation for reading.  So many children’s books have alliteration and rhyming elements, so when you’re reading them aloud to your children, you’re naturally supporting their pre-reading skills!

Alliteration is a phonological skill that contributes to emerging reading skills, but when your child becomes of reading age, some of the more significant phonemic awareness skills that contribute to a strong reading foundation are segmenting and blending.  Click here for a post about phonemic awareness from a couple of years ago if anyone’s interested in learning more about it.