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- Early Reading Skills
Early Reading Skills
Research has shown repeatedly that phonemic awareness is a powerful skill for success in learning to read.
What is it?
- the understanding that speech is composed of a series of individual sounds (called phonemes)
- the ability to hear individual sounds in words
- the ability to manipulate sounds in words orally
How to Support Phonemic Awareness Development
- sing nursery rhymes and songs, including playful songs
- play rhyming games
- play with magnetic letters
- use physical responses such as clapping and tapping to demonstrate patterns in song, stories, and words
- separate words into separate sounds
- participate in word play where children change beginning, middle, and ending sounds
- blend letters when learning common spelling and sound patterns
- decode big words by decoding smaller words or word parts within them
- Developing Reading Fluency
Developing Reading Fluency
A reader is fluent when she/he can read with accuracy, flow and understanding. Increased fluency equals better reading comprehension.
You can help your child by supporting:
Repeated reading: This is when the student reads and re-reads a text, with support to correct words and praise and encouragement on progress. This helps the student develop confidence and competence and fluidity - essential when reading longer texts. Choose a text that is worth repeated reading - it can be informational about a topic of high interest, a poem or a story that is motivating because it is funny or inspiring. Comics and graphic novels are also good choices to foster expressive reading. Select a short portion of text (50-500 words), read for no more than 15 minutes, repeating the text without rushing. With each new session, you can track accuracy and when the student achieves fluency and accuracy (no more than 2-3 errors) you can choose a new text. Each lesson after that begins with review of known texts and then practice of the new text. You can create your own text by scribing a story or narrative on a favorite topic that the student dictates. You can inject novelty and fun by having the student read in the voice or role of one of the characters.
Performance reading: This is supporting the student to read with emotion and range of expression. Have the student audiotape or video themselves as they read. A well-known example of this is known as reader's Theatre - students can read a well-known story, poem or song lyrics with a high level of expression and emotion contained int heir voice. The practice and repeated reading to perfect the performance enhance fluency and comprehension.
Assisted reading: Partner read by having the student choral read with you, or take the part of a character. The adult will carry the reading and the student joins in and is supported as you read together. The student can eventually signal when he/she is ready to try on their own.
Technology: Use e-books to view and read along with a book online. Use Lexia Reading to work on sight vocabulary. Fluency with sight words contributes greatly to overall fluency and comprehension.
Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division can be understood more easily when children can use "math manipulatives" or concrete objects. Use objects, such small rocks, dried beans, or sunflower seeds to help make mathematics operations into processes that students can see. When children manipulate the objects themselves, they experience the processes physically, step by step.
Children build understanding of concepts when they use language to describe the ways they are applying mathematics. Give children frequent opportunities to write or describe verbally, in their own words:
- each step in their solutions
- what each step accomplishes (or why they are trying it)
By joining skills (recall and skill&drill) with opportunities to build conceptual understanding, students develop number sense. Number sense develops over time and is visible when students can:
- estimate to provide reasonable approximations
- assess how reasonable an answer may be
- judge the degree of precision appropriate to a situation
- round (understand reasons for rounding numbers and limitations in comparisons)
- recognize and use patterns to predict outcomes
- choose measurement units to make sense for a given situation
- solve real-life problems involving fractions, decimal portions and percentages
Number sense is not taught - it is caught! It is caught by engaging in counting, comparing, experimenting, sorting, predicting, visualizing, ...and more. The pdf files below provide good recommendations for at home activities.