Letter sounds are important tools for helping us decode words. Practicing letters sounds so that kids can recall them quickly and accurately will help make decoding more effective and efficient. All letter sounds are taught in Kindergarten, but we've found that we can help young readers succeed by reintroducing vowel sounds in Grade One. Knowing the different sounds that vowels make is critical for decoding words as these are the most common sounds that "hold together" words.
You can help your child succeed with distinguishing between short and long vowel sounds by practicing the sounds at home. Below you will find a video that highlights the different sounds that vowels make.
Sight words are high-frequency words that children need to memorize so that they can recall them automatically when reading. Being able to recall these words automatically will help with reading fluently, and allow readers to spend more of their energy on decoding less common words. At Shortreed, we have a list of sight words for each grade-level from Kindergarten to Grade Three. Click the below button to see the sight words for each grade-level.
After trying to read a word and making an error, you can support your child by asking them questions about their reading. The questions that we use at Shortreed are:
Does that make sense?
Does that sound right?
Does that look right?
Understanding What We Read (Comprehension)
When reading with your child, you can help them think about what they are reading by asking questions and encouraging them to talk about the text. Below are several approaches that we use at Shortreed to help build reading comprehension.
The 5 W's
Who? (i.e. Who are the characters in the story?)
What? (i.e. What is happening in the story?)
Where? (i.e. Where is the story taking place?)
When? (i.e. When is the story taking place?)
Why? (i.e. Why did that character act in a particular way?)
Text to Self: This reminds me of my own life when...
Text to Text: This reminds me of another book or movie because...
Text to World: This reminds me of a current or historical event, such as...
Retelling the Story in their Own Words
Encouraging children to retell stories in sequential order (first, then, then) will help build their understanding of stories and help them to better understand story structure. After reading, encourage your child to retell the story by starting at the beginning and talking about each event in order.
Beginning, Middle, and End
In addition to retelling stories, it is important to encourage children to think about the beginning, middle and end of stories. There's lots of ways to do this. From simply talking about the beginning, middle, and end; to having kids draw pictures that show the beginning, middle, and end of a story; the most important consideration is choosing something that your child enjoys doing.
Problems and Resolutions
Stories are often told to teach a lesson. To help children understand the lessons that are taught through stories, it is important to teach them to talk about the problems and resolutions that take place in stories. Asking your child about the problem that took place in the story and how it was resolved will help to develop their reading comprehension.
Reading with Appropriate Speed, Accuracy, and Expression (Fluency)
Reading fluently demonstrates that readers understand what they are reading and helps readers connect and engage with books in meaningful ways. When your child is in Grade One, you can support fluent reading by encouraging them to reread books. When students reread books, they are familiar with the content of the book and are able to focus their energy on reading smoothly with expression. To encourage fluency, remind your child that we are working on reading smoothly with expression and do not want to read like "robots."