Holy moly, we’re on the road to reading–and it’s nuts. I’ve been working with all levels of readers for so many years now, and finally I’ve got some emerging readers under my own roof. I love it. I’ve died and gone to heaven.
A few weeks ago–yikes, months ago now–I brought out some of the reading a-z books for Maddy and Owen to look through and read. I use these books for tutoring with my beginning readers, and I know that many schools belong to this site since it’s literally an online book room.
I was more bringing the books out because I was planning a session with a student, when–like the cobbler’s son who runs shoeless–I realized that I should probably introduce some of these texts to Maddy at some point. And so I did:
- Leveled Readers: I introduced the books to her not in the way you’d want to if you were teaching a Guided Reading lesson; that’s a whole other post, and my goal with my kids is not to overwhelm them, bore them, or cram learning down their throats.
I try to be sneaky about their everyday learning because I know they’re kids and they’ll have the next 13 years of their lives to be in school. . . but I do know that they’re sponges right now, so I do try to capitalize on those few minutes each day when I can (okay. . . ) secretly cram them full of important stuff.
So, when I brought them up to her room one afternoon, I brought them up to read with her–not to use to teach her. She was, however, excited and giddy because she knew I used them for tutoring.
I took out a few aa – B levels (early emergent reading levels are readinga-z levels aa-C/ Fountas & Pinnell A-C/ Reading Recovery 1-4), and I did the same thing I do with any book I read with my kiddos: I looked at the picture on the cover, read the title, and talked about what I thought the book may be about.
Then I read the book. I pointed to the words as I read them, and by the time I was finished, Maddy grabbed the book from me and wanted to do it herself. (Hooray!)
Just like with the picture-word cards, I encouraged her to use the pictures on the page to help her figure out the words when she got stuck. She went crazy. I should have done this earlier, I realize now; she had a hold on so many books, I think that she surprised herself. (I know she surprised me!).
She read them over and over all day long to Owen and Cora, and that’s what I hoped she’d do. In order to increase fluency and improve reading, teachers encourage students to read the same early reader books over and over and over. It’s not a bad thing, really!
Early emergent books all have the same characteristics. At this level, look for books that have:
- strong picture support (big, easy, clear pictures)
- carefully controlled text (see below)
- repetitive patterns (I pick up my room. / I pick up my book. / I pick up my teddy bear. )
- controlled, repeated vocabulary (see above)
- natural language (sounds familiar to students)
- large print (helps keep focus on words)
- wide letter spacing (again, easier to decode)
- familiar concepts (high interest helps, too, like ‘the zoo’/ ‘school’ / ‘family’ etc)
- limited text on a page (one line maximum at this point)
If you need them, check out these sites for some free, downloadable, leveled early readers:
– readinga-z : Free 30-day trial. Do it. You’ll LOVE it.
– Mrs. Jones : Free printable books.
– Ebooks : Great one! Free printable books, levels 1-10. Recognized by the IRA, International Reading Association
– Hubbards Cupboard: Awesome site. Free word family books and so many other great resources.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and grandmas reading this!