Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Teaching Kids to Read

When I graduated from college and was hunting for a job, I thought for sure, I would get a 3rd or 4th grade teaching job. Those are the grades I really enjoyed teaching while doing my cohort and student teaching experiences. Well, you know how things don't always work out the way you plan them to. I was offered a 1st grade teaching job. I never thought I would teach the younger kids, after all, they are so young. I accepted the position and loved my 7 years in the first grade.

One of the things that scared me to death about teaching first grade was that I had to teach the kids to read. Where do I begin? How do I do it? Here are some tips:

One of the most important things a parent can do is read with their children everyday. Another thing is to make sure your kids see you reading. Set the example and show your kids that you enjoy reading.

Environmental print is all around you. Read labels from cereal boxes, favorite food boxes and wrappers, candy bar wrappers and familiar logos like McDonalds.

One of the first words your child should be able to recognize is his or hers name. It is the best place to start because with younger kids, "it's all about them."

Make a name bag with the letters in your child's name and have them put it in order. I used foam squares.If you don't have individual letters, use the game "Scrabble".
Explore your child's name by using magnetic letters.
Use food to make letters in their name. Let your child "play with food."
I say food because all kids love to snack and what better way to learn than with food. You could get alphabet soup, licorice lace to make their name, make some pudding and put some on the table and have the kids write the letters in their name. My daughter loves using pretzels to make letters. She'll eat the parts she doesn't need. Say the name of the letters. Put your child's name on their jacket, backpack, etc. Let your child see their name everywhere.

I think letter recognition is one of the first places to begin. Using your child's name will get them started. Introduce a letter a day (or do one a week or just a couple a week, whatever is best for your child).

a. Say the name of the letter.
b. Make the letter.
Use playdoe and make snakes to make letters, Pipecleaner, wikki sticks. Write the letter
on a chalkboard, a white board, in your writing journal, in sand.

c. Find the letter.

Use old magazines and highlighters to find that letter. Give your child a pointer stick and go around the house finding that letter. I have also made a letter hunt where I typed the letter on a sheet and cut them out and taped them around the house and had the kids find the letters.
Make a neckless finding the letters in your name.

Next time we will look at ideas for learning letter sounds, sight words and blending.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me so excited to teach my kids to recognize letters! Sounds SO fun!