Thursday, August 6, 2009

Practical Tips for a Problem Area

One of the big hurdles elementary students must overcome is beginning reading. Transitioning from beginning reading into more advanced reading is critical for success in all academic areas. Parents may feel ill equipped to aid their child in advancing their basic reading skills, but there are many simple tasks you can do with your child to help increase reading skills.

Print out three copies of each sight word (or word family, digraph, any word or letter) your child is learning. Then place a few words in front of your child. Call out a word for your child to SMACK (cover) with their hand. Do this several times for each word. Don't be afraid to help your child know which word to cover. Some children need to be exposed to a word a hundred times before they remember what it looks and sounds like. Then have your child read each word to you as you collect them.

The printed out words can be turned over and used as a memory game. Take two copies of several words and turn them face down. Ask your child to find the matches by turning only two words over at a time and then read each word match they find. The words can be put into a big pile for your child to sort into different categories, such as exact copies, beginning sounds, word families, and so on.

You and your child can build silly sentences by pairing the words with picture cards. Building sentences that are not grammatically correct, but funny, can create a great and fun teaching moment about sentence structure. What is important to remember is that repeatedly seeing and saying words, paired with physical movement will help your child better remember words and improve their reading.

Michell Redfoot

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