We have just started bringing home ‘home readers’ and even as a teacher I have found it difficult to really understand the role these books play in my child’s education.
I understand that it is great to expose children to books and texts they can possibly decode BUT I am starting to see it causing more worry in my child than joy.
We have been told to read the story first to our child – but I do not see the point as she can quickly memorise the words and then is she actually reading? Or just copying what I said?
These home readers are the only books we have access to for early reading and although there is are some great new readers out there, we do not have access to them.
If your child does not feel rewarded in an increased ability to read there can be feelings of anxiety developed towards reading. Your child needs to feel confidence and enjoyment from the start. If you can, do these extra activities at home and tell your child it isn’t about the child who reads the most books but rather the child who can sound all the words out and know what it means.
So what are we doing?
- I ask my child to tell me the initial sound of each word. We break down the word into sound chunks and syllables before I tell her the whole word.
- We talk about the letter name and the sound it makes (remember not all children have been exposed to all sounds in Term 1)
- If there are any words which can rhyme easily I write them down and after we have finished the book we think about other words that rhyme and spell the same as the one in the story.
- Try to keep the book for two nights (if possible – I know my child is not keen to do this as she wants to read them all!). If you keep it for two nights you can try the sounds again.
- Make up a new story with simple words in it. Make it repetitive but not as simple as the home reader. E.g. Is Bob in a mop? Is Bob in pot? Is Bob in a hat? Is Bob in a kit? There is a company called Little Learners Love Literacy: http://littlelearnersloveliteracy.com.au/pipandtim-books#. That create books like this. You might be able to talk to your school about using these books?
- Have fun with the home readers -even if it is only for ten minutes each night. Make the experience worth while. A child who can just parrot the home readers isn’t really getting the full benefit of what home readers are set out to be.
I hope you can avoid the experience becoming stressful! That’s the last thing you want! Having had limited exposure to a great ‘reading recovery’ program myself (just a parent info session) – I was suprised to learn about techniques like ‘book walks’ and shared reading (I read a line, he reads a line) and even just ‘word spotting’. Maybe try a book walk? I think I’ve completed a ‘book marathon’ the distances I’ve covered 😆
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