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Home : 2004 : Aug : 17

    relax, it will happen
    By Cathy-Dee

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    I usually only have 1 or 2 "beginning" readers in September and I often have 5 or 6 students who don't even know the letters that spell their name.

    It is amazing though how much they will learn over the year and those who are ready will learn to read and you will see great strides between now and Christmas.

    One of the keys for the next 2 months is to continue practicing those letter sounds and to introduce sight words.

    One method I use which is from a program called Companion Reading is to teach the students how to blend the sounds.

    So my first lesson would be to teach these sounds

    a, m, s, f, n

    I teach them by writing them out like this


    I have the children make the sound while I draw my finger along the line.

    Then I combine these letters as well as others




    I teach them not to stop when the letter changes but to just change the sound.

    Then we move on to 3 letter words



    Along with this we begin to learn basic sight words.

    Then you can begin to write simple sentences on the board for the whole class to read.

    I am a boy.

    I am big.

    She is little.

    Look at the big dog.

    I like to make little booklets with these types of sentences for my students to practice reading together. As they learn more words they will begin to be able to read more "regular" grade one level books.

    Reading is very much an internal thing - students have to take all the skills we are teaching them, blending sounds, sight words, etc., and put those skills together and then figure out how to use them with their reading.

    Other good methods are to have them guess missing words (I often do this in my morning message). This allows them to use context to help them figure out what might be the word.

    When you read to them, you can also ask many insightful questions to get them thinking about what might come next based on pictures, what has already happened, etc.,

    A HOME READING PROGRAM would also be very beneficial. It often works best if you have books that are suitable for grade 1 students that you can send home. If your school doesn't have any books like this and your class budget doesn't allow the purchase of them, then this site might be useful as you can download hundreds of levelled books at it. There is a fee to join but it's not too bad (about $30.00 for 6 months). You can download a lot of books over a few days so then you don't need the membership after you have all the books you need.

    Hope this is helpful

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