Wednesday, July 6

9 Tips for Teaching Reading with the TGTB Library

When you have one child reading at the age of four and another who doesn't learn until eight, it can be frustrating and a bit concerning.  But remember - every child learns at his or her own pace.  By being patient, reading regularly as a family, and making it enjoyable, you can help to instill a love of reading and encourage the process!

  1. Talk to your child from birth.  You've probably already been doing this one, but keep it up!  Children are like little sponges - they absorb everything.  (If you don't believe me, curse in front of your child just once.  Just once...and see what happens.)  Use a wide vocabulary, and even different languages, when talking to/with your child...they'll pick up more than you think.
  2. Sing together.  The rhythm and rhyme of children's songs helps to build critical reading skills, such as speech sounds, and clapping or toe-tapping helps to develop syllabic awareness.  TGTB's preschool program includes several learning songs to help develop these skills.
  3. Point out words...everywhere.  Whether it's a poster, chart, app, commercial, or a book, point out words whenever and wherever.  Make a game of it, asking your child what letter a word begins with, or what sound it makes.  Make it fun!
  4. Uppercase letters first.  You know how little b, d, p, and q kind of look the same?  That's confusing to a new reader!  Start with the more distinct upper case letters - B, D, P, Q, etc - and once the reader is comfortable with those, begin making connections between upper and lower case.
  5. Focus on the sound.  When students learn phonics, what they're really learning is how each of the letters sounds.  Teaching the sounds that A, B, C, and D make can be tricky at first, especially with English, which has so many exceptions!  Focus on the hard sounds first, and add in the soft sounds later on.  (For example, /C/ can make the c-sound or the s-sound.)  TGTB's Kindergarten Prep focuses specifically on mastering letter sounds.
  6. Highlight interests.  Whether it's animals, sports, history, or cars...choose books that involve the reader's interest.  This will help motivate them to read and improve those skills.  (This is a good strategy for Hi-Lo readers as well.)
  7. Start in the right spot.  You want stories that aren't too difficult, but that aren't too babyish either.  This is particularly true for late bloomers who have lower reading levels, but higher maturity.  Hi-Lo books (or high interest, low level books) are a good option for this group.  The TGTB Library numbers every book with it's reading level, making it easy for you to choose books and work your way 'up the ladder' as reading skills improve.
  8. Read together.  Don't just snuggle together to read, but actually take turns reading with your child.  This can take a bit of patience, particularly if your child is struggling, but give them that time to sound out words, read with a finger, and develop reading confidence.  Depending on page length, maybe you take the longer-text page and your child takes the shorter-text page.  Reading the same book a few times will help them develop confidence, and once that happens, switch it up!
  9. Understand what you're getting into.  Children need to master five different skills if they are to be successful emerging readers.  These include:
    1. Comprehension - understanding the meaning of the sentences
    2. Fluency - reading aloud with understanding, accuracy, and speed
    3. Phonemic awareness - hearing different sounds in words  
    4. Phonics - understanding the connection between sounds and the letters that represent those sounds
    5. Vocabulary - understanding the meaning of individual words

I have a son with severe speech and hearing issues who is physically unable to master phonemic awareness.  He was 15 before becoming a successful reader.  So if you have a child who struggles, do NOT give up.  Keep plugging away at it, because it will eventually will just take a bit longer.  Check out some of our favorite early level readers from The Good & the Beautiful Library below...

There is a fabulous and FREE book list available to download for you to get started on the journey to filling your shelves with good books!  They also have a searchable database, where you can filter by reading level, author, and genre.  Many of the books feature parent reviews, as well as commentary about the moral, literary, and educational value.  You do NOT have to use the curriculum to use their book list.  It is just a guide of vetted, 'good' books.  

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