The steps to reading are not something we are born with. Reading is a learned process. All but about 2% of people that have a severe learning or mental disability can learn to read. Some children just stumble along the way. Some of these children get to be adults and still can't read proficiently.
The first step to the reading process is phonemic awareness. This is usually acquired between birth and Kindergarten. Phonemic awareness is being aware of the sounds around us.
The next step to reading is for the student to learn the symbols, the printed letters, that go with the sounds. Many pre-schools are now teaching the alphabet. This is the alphabetic principal.
For the most part, most children are exposed to the alphabet in pre-school, head start and other pre-K programs. Many schools are now requiring that students know the alphabet before entering kindergarten.
The third step is putting the phonemes together to make words.Phonological awareness is understanding that words are made of sounds and written with the letter symbols. The first words are often learned in 1st grade. However, some Kindergarten teachers are teaching easy words like cat, dog, and is.
Reading words together in short sentences is the fourth step in reading. This can begin in Kindergarten with easy sentences like: The cat sat on the hat. It depends on the phonics program that is being used.
At this stage you want to start using decodable books.
Many schools use reading programs that include the Dolch Sight Words List. Some of those words show up in Kindergarten readers. These are words that the student has to memorize by the sight and see method.
Most sight words are decodable IF the student has been taught with a phonics method. Many basals include words like play, color and little. However, these words are often introduced in kindergarten; before the child has even learned how to read simple words like dog, cat, and dad.
About 25% of students will struggle with memorizing many sight words because they haven't been taught the phonetics needed to decode (sound out) these words. If a child has a learning disability, sight words may be near impossible to learn WITHOUT decoding skills.
Frecklebox (see banner on the right) has great sight word activity sets. Each set is personalized with your child's name on each page. This helps keep the child engaged in learning. Also each set contains flash cards and activity sheets for each of the 20 sight words in that packet.
I highly recommend these sight word sets that come in 3 levels: K-1, K-2 and K-3. EVEN if your child has a learning difference, these are fun and engaging activities that he will be able to do with your guidance.
I have taken the Dolch Sight Words List and have rearranged the words to correlate with the teaching of the alphabet letters. Once a child knows five to six consonants and the short vowel a, he can start reading words like cat, sat, hat and sentences like The rat sat on the cat.
Doing sight word activities with your child will help reinforce these difficult non-phonetic sight words. NOTE: Any activity has to be tailored to your child's ability level. One child may need more repetition than others.
Step 5. Have the student read more than two sentences. The final part in these steps to reading is when the student can read a paragraph that consists of about 5 sentences. Students should be able to do this by the end of the 1st grade depending on the reading program that is being used.
The above steps should be done with decodable books when teaching beginning readers. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE BASALS or other reading material when teaching reading IF the child has a reading or learning disability.
Only decodable readers should be used while teaching the steps to reading. Other books may be used at any other time BUT NOT during the lesson time.
Step 6. Several paragraphs make up a page. When the student has practiced reading with many decodable books for one phonetic concept (one or more letters together) than introduce the next concept.
After the student has learned several phonetic concepts, then have the student start reading easy readers like I Can Read Books. Students who are taught sequential phonics should be able to do this at the end of 1st grade. AGAIN, it depends on the program being used and the student themselves.
Step 7 and 8 are reading fluency and comprehension.
How fast can a student read the text? Does she read the text so slow that she loses the meaning of what she just read? Fluency, the rate of reading, and comprehension, understanding the text, go hand in hand.
If your child reads slowly, then comprehension will be sacrificed. Having your child read decodable books while she is learning to read helps develop fluency.
These are the steps to reading. Now you must decide what you will have your child read and how will you motivate her!
If you would like to have a FREE CONSULTATION to help you get started on the steps to reading, please call me at 785-845-1201 between the hours of 8AM and 10PM CST (central standard time).
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