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A Sequential Phonics Program - Materials - PDF Files - Pictures - Audio - Video - Reading Street - Blog.
A Sequential Phonics Program - Materials - PDF Files - Pictures - Audio - Video - Reading Street - Blog.
There are many important things that parents and teachers can do to promote reading readiness. A child’s future success in reading is dependent on the groundwork laid before formal reading instruction begins. A parent or teacher can plan a learning environment for the child which will have a strong positive impact on future reading ability. This planned learning environment will foster the development of speaking and listening skills, the development of visual perception and eye-hand coordination, and an understanding of what print is and how it is used, thus assuring that all the necessary prerequisites for learning to read will be in place.
To become ready to read, there are several important language-related tasks for a student to learn.
- First, a child must develop a solid grasp of his language. He must be able to understand the oral language that he hears. He must also develop the ability to communicate his own thoughts by speaking. A child develops this language awareness through exposure to the speech of those around him. A child learns by listening to others, and by practicing speaking for himself. At the simplest level, a child comes to understand that individual words and groups of words in our language convey a message. Words can name people or objects. They can be used to name an action, describe something, or make comparisons. A child must not only be able to understand the meaning of individual words, but also be able to hear a series of words, and form a mental image of the concept that the words represent.
- Second, the child should also discover, by watching modeling by parents and teachers, that words can be written to convey a message, and can be read to discover a message. He should become aware that there are many different kinds of printed materials, such as lists, newspapers, books, and journals, each with a particular set of characteristics. This understanding can also include the concept that written shapes called letters make up the words.
- Third, children must develop their motor skills and spatial awareness. They need to develop their vision so that they can focus on objects that are near and far away. They need to develop their large and small muscles, including the muscles used when breathing and speaking and the muscles used for writing. They also need to develop an understanding of spatial terms such as up, down, above, below, left, right, near, far, etc.
Developing Oral Language
Providing exposure to oral language is an important part of preparing a child to read. Children must have extensive language experiences through social interaction with others. Having conversations with adults and peers, playing listening and memory games, singing songs, listening to and following simple directions, telling and retelling stories, and dramatic play activities with other children are all important means of developing a child’s competence in the use of language.
- Children learn to match words with real life concepts by conversing with adults about everyday experiences that they share. Adults can talk to children as they go about the tasks of preparing meals, cleaning house, running errands, and so on. Special trips can be planned to the zoo, to the fair, or to a museum. Students can broaden their experience by taking a bus ride, riding an elevator or escalator, or going on a nature walk. Simple science projects such as planting seeds, taking care of a pet, or collecting leaves, rocks, or shells help students to learn new concepts and words. Caregivers can help the student discover words which describe and compare items. All of these activities help to spur a child’s vocabulary development and ability to converse.
- Children’s language blossoms when adults provide a rich play environment. Students interact with each other verbally as they play house or pretend to be a fireman. This dramatic play helps students learn to communicate with each other. Art activities or exploratory activities, such as water play or building with blocks, also promote verbal interaction among children.
- Students can be taught to sort objects or picture cards into categories, such as “things with wheels, people, animals, toys, things that are red, things with stripes, or things to eat.”
- Students can learn about words that are opposites by “acting out words” or sorting pictures cards that illustrate the concept. For example, say, “Put your hands above your desk. Put them below your desk. Put them in your desk. Take them out of your desk.”
- Games which require the student to listen and follow directions, such as “Mother May I,” help to build auditory processing skills. By observing the student’s actions, the teacher can see immediately whether or not the student understands oral instructions.
- Children can be taught songs, nursery rhymes, and finger plays orally. All of these are beneficial for developing listening, speaking, and comprehension skills.
- Students can participate in “Show And Tell ” at school. They learn to listen to others and to organize their own thoughts as they present their treasures to the class.
- Students will enjoy acting out familiar stories. They may want to wear simple costumes or masks and act out the story themselves, or make and manipulate puppets to tell the story. Either way, they will be strengthening listening and speaking skills, and developing a sense of story structure that will help them understand stories as they learn to read.
- When children hear stories read aloud, they learn to understand a more formal type of speech compared to everyday conversation. This prepares them to understand the vocabulary and sentence structure in books when they begin reading on their own. The most important thing parents and teachers can do for students is read aloud to them aloud on a regular basis.
Becoming Familiar With Printed Material
The following activities will help children develop an understanding of printed materials. They will also bring enjoyment, creating a positive feeling about books, reading, and writing.
- Young children should participate in frequent, warm, interactive discussions with care givers as they look at beginner books together. The very first books for children consist of bold pictures with words, phrases, or brief sentences that describe them.
- Children should hear rhythmic, rhyming materials read aloud. Mother Goose Rhymes and Dr. Seuss books are two time-honored examples. As children hear these materials, they develop an ear for rhyming words. Listening to these books read aloud will familiarize students with their vocabulary and sentence structure, preparing them to read the books for themselves when they begin formal reading instruction.
- Children should also hear classic children’s stories read aloud, such as The Three Bears, The Story About Ping, Caps For Sale, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Children should have the opportunity to hear the same stories read over and over again. In this way children learn to comprehend story structure and understand the slightly different, more complex vocabulary of written language as opposed to the oral language of daily conversations. Repeated readings give a child a chance to assimilate these vital language components. In this way the child gradually develops listening comprehension.
- Children should be given the opportunity to hold and handle books by themselves, to look at the pictures independently, and to “play read” books which they have heard. They will repeat the story in their own words. Give the child his or her own space to creatively respond to these stories without any worries about the printed words.
- Children should “echo read” books with a parent or teacher. Select rhythmic, rhyming stories with colorful pictures that illustrate a predictable story line. Choose books with large print and one or two sentences on a page. Point to each word as it is read. The student watches as you point to the words from left to write across the page. The child repeats each line after the teacher, while the teacher points. After several readings, the child will know many of the phrases by heart, and be able to chime in and repeat the story with you. A child is learning a number of conventions about print at this stage. He or she learns that print is read from left to right, and lines are read from top to bottom. Books are read from front to back, and the left page is read before the right page. The words are put onto the page in the order in which the words are spoken.
- Children should have the opportunity to see words turned into print by watching adults as they model various writing tasks. Teachers or parents can make lists, prepare schedules, write stories, record events, and compose poems as students look on. The adult should think out loud, verbalizing his thought processes as he writes. He writes the words on a chalkboard, on chart paper, or on regular lined paper as children watch. As this occurs, the child sees that print can convey a specific thought or idea.
- Invite the child to tell you a story. It could continue a previous theme or be something entirely new. Write the words down exactly as spoken by the child. Draw pictures to illustrate the story, or have the child do so. Read the story back to the child. Do stories in this way on a regular basis. If the child goes on and on with the story, you’ll have to say, “Now it’s time to end the story. What happened at the end?” Keep the stories together and reread them to the child as often as she wishes.
- Teachers can make word cards to label a number of items in the classroom or at home. For example the words door, desk, bookshelf, clock, pencils, and calendar may be taped to the appropriate objects. Students learn that certain words can name specific objects. The teacher reads the words to the students - they are not expected to read the words on their own.
- Teachers should model the use of reference materials for children. For example, if the class is curious about a the meaning of a word in a story that the teacher is reading aloud, she could look up the word in the dictionary, and read its definition. If the class enjoys watching a bird build a nest near the playground, the teacher could show the class an article about birds in an encyclopedia, reference book, or on the computer.
Matching And Sorting
Children should learn to match and sort materials. This helps to develop their visual discrimination and sense of logic. They will enjoy sorting a bucket of small items by color, size, or shape. They can compare two things to see if they are the same or different. Lotto games, in which a child chooses pictures to match the pictures on a card, are useful. Card sets are available commercially which allow children to sort picture cards into logical groups, such as toys, vehicles, animals, and people.
Developing Visual Discrimination And Motor Skills
To prepare for learning to read, the student must also develop visual perception and eye-hand coordination. Rich, hands-on, sensory experiences with a variety of materials will help to develop visual-motor skills. This includes activities such as working puzzles, manipulating clay, painting and drawing, using construction toys such as blocks, and cutting and pasting activities. For children in early childhood programs and primary classrooms, “playing” with these types of materials provides the vital fine tuning of a child’s senses necessary to develop the skills needed to read and write. Children will develop an appreciation for subtle differences in shape and visual details as they work, and their hands will learn to move in a coordinated manner.
Sequence cards allow children to learn to sort pictures according to which comes first, next, and last. Students should be taught to look at the cards, think about the story that they tell, and put them in the correct order. They will be thinking, “Which picture comes first, which comes next, and which will be last?” As they work, they place the pictures in order, working from left to right. This will help them understand the sequence of events in stories that they hear and eventually read for themselves. Also, the concept of going left to right will prepare students to go in the correct direction when they begin to read words and sentences.
Becoming Familiar With The Alphabet
Young children should become familiar with the letters of the alphabet over an extended period of time. Ideally, a child will be exposed to alphabet letters from the time he is small.
- Read a variety of alphabet books aloud just for fun.
- Sets of plastic letters, foam or felt letters, alphabet stamps, and alphabet puzzles all provide children with multi-sensory play experiences that develop familiarity with letters, especially if an adult provides occasional low-key input. Include lower case letters as well as capital letters, since these are the letters children will use the most when learning to read and write. Children can play with the letters as they see fit. After a time, children can be encouraged to sort letters by putting all the letters with straight lines together, all the letters with circles together, and so on. “Let’s look for letters that have only straight parts.” “Do you see some letters with round parts?” “Can you find a letter with a circle stuck to a stick?” “Let’s see if we can find any letters with lines that cross.” You will naturally talk about the letters as you and the child manipulate them. When doing so, emphasize the letter sounds more than the names. For instance, say, “This letter shows the mmmmm sound.” This will prevent confusion when the student begins formal reading instruction, because children need to use letter sounds to read words, not letter names.
- Children will enjoy art activities focusing on letters as well. For instance, draw the outline of a large lower case b on a sheet of cardboard. Have the student glue beans in the outline to form the letter b. Make marshmallow m’s, feather f’s, and so on.
- Some children enjoy forming the shapes of the letters with their entire body. You can use the diagram below to teach the shapes to the children, or you can have children look at a letter and come up with a matching body position on their own. You could also write huge letters on a sidewalk or parking lot, and have the student walk along the path created by the letter.