Reading Readiness Intro
Reading Readiness. Sounds pretty
simple, right? Not necessarily. Reading Readiness is a
“new term” used to describe teaching children how to read.
That is simple part of it. It
gets pretty technical. I am going to break the “Reading
Readiness” thing down into small “chunks”. This makes it
easier for you because you can choose which parts you want
to use, and which parts you feel are not for you.
Observe the children around you.
Are they exposed to words and print everyday? Do they know
that letters have sounds and that combined letters make
words? If so, they are ready to move on to the next level.
If not, then saturate them with words, letters, songs
about words, pencils, paper, etc.
They need to see that everything
has a word to go with it. To move on to the next level,
they do not need to know all of the letter sounds. They
just need to know what letters are and that they have
is everything in the classroom labeled? At one time I
hated the labels in my Pre-K classroom. Then as I saw
children actually pointing to labels and telling me what
they said, I changed my mind. I was so excited by the
progress my class made, I even labeled everything in my
daughter’s bedroom (She was in Pre-K also). This is a good
strategy because children begin to recognize beginning
sounds and put the word with the object. They began to
make connections about print on their own. For example,
they will start telling you what things start with or that
something starts with the same letter as their name. One
child in my class searched the room for objects that
started with “A” because his name started with that
Another student put her puzzle on
the correct labeled shelf because the label had a word
that started with “p” and she heard “z” when she said
create a Word Wall in your class. Start with the very
basics. On a bulletin board, start with the letter “A” and
of course, end with the letter “Z”. Put the student’s
names under the appropriate letter. This is the very first
stage of creating a meaningful word wall. Now that your
word wall is up, add two or three basic sight words every
week. I have a list of Dolch Basic Sight Vocabulary Words
that I like to use. This is a list of 220 words that
comprise approximately 50 to 75% of all words used in
textbooks, newspapers, library books, and magazines.
Because these words cannot be learned by associating them
with pictures, the child must be able to recognize them at
a glance before he/she can read with confidence. You are
probably wondering why I say to add two words a week if
there are 220 words on the list. Well, the words range
from “the” to “together”. You may have a group of students
that could easily learn two or three new words each day.
If so, go with it. If not, then
keep it simple and introduce a couple of words each week.
When they do get to Kindergarten, they will still have
been introduced to many sight words. For a complete list
of Dolch Sight Words, go to the link below.
Finally, remember to keep
age/level appropriate books and magazines in the
classroom. Allow children to explore the books without
fear. Let the students tell you what is happening in the
pictures and let them make their own books to take home.
It is also fun to make a big book to keep in the
classroom. Use photos from fieldtrips, special visitors,
or make theme related books. Books are so easy to make and
it does not cost a lot to do.
Take five or six pieces of paper,
fold them in half, and staple. You can also get
reproducible books at school supply stores.
tell them often that they can read. Recently I worked with
a little boy who told me he was too little to read. I told
him to tell me the letters on a card I was holding. He
said, “R-E-D”. I praised him and said that if he could say
the letters, he was reading. Then I told him the letter
sounds for R and E. Before I could say the sound for D, he
excitedly said, “OH! I know that word, it’s red. We talked
about that at school.” After that he has blossomed. He
loves to point to different words and letters telling me
what they say. There are so many teachable moments in the
day. Look for them and use them. You and your student will
Dolch Sight Word List:
Next week: Classroom photos
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