reading readiness

Readiness for Kindergarten, Learning With Dr. Seuss, #14

The Eyes have it, that is The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss has the blog post today. A simple little story, after reading it a few times, kids will have parts of it memorized and can “read” it back to you. This pretend reading is tremendously important for learning to read later on and forms part of the readiness for kindergarten package.

Why is this pretend reading so crucial? It is so important because it is the basis for learning to read. It seems obvious to us, but it isn’t to kids. Kids need to learn that the black line squiggles called letters have meaning. Once kids connect that print tells us something, they are on their way to figuring out that something.

This may still sound confusing, so I’ll use an example. Following are 2 ways of reading the word eye.

1. Point out the word eye. A child could look at the letter e and say it looks like a circle but instead of going all around, it has a line across the tummy, then there is a letter with 2 arms and 1 leg, and the circle e again. That’s one way of “reading” the word e y e but it has no meaning.

2. Point out the word eye and say this is how we write eye when we say it. Talk about eyes: where they are, how we use eyes, point to eyes, open and close them, etc. Together look at the word eye and “read” it. This time the child connects those same 3 squiggles with the meaning of eye. A connection is established with the letters and what it stands for. Just like a long chain, the print is connected to the word eye, and the word eye is linked to all the things that the child knows about eyes and suddenly those letters e y e are full of meaning.

Only when children understand that print is meaning-full are they ready to start building toward tackling the squiggle-code. Simple books such as this one help build the print-meaning connection for kids. Check out eyes in a mirror and see their colors. Your child may want to draw a picture of eyes or add some to a face shape. Play peek-a-boo. Or h’eye’d & go seek, (just couldn’t resist that play on words). These are ways to grow the pathways in the brain that kids need so they can learn to read. Eye hope, oops…, I hope this has been helpful for you. Can you see how to do this?


Kindergarten Readiness – Resolution to Read

We almost had a snow day but overnight the temperature rose and we woke up to rain. Some of my favorite kids’ books are all about snow. If your kids are very young choose one with only a few words on each page like Snow, by Eastman and McKie, that says: Snow, snow, come out in the snow. 

Books that talk about something that the child has already experienced help children enter into the meaning of the story. That’s a key process because that’s what reading is for all of us–making meaning from the lines and squiggles. While travelling over the holidays, I found a wonderful book that listed all the attractions of the area, but I could only look at it because it was written in Spanish. Thankfully, I could understand a few words but I couldn’t read the meaning. As you read to kids, help connect the story to their experiences. They are not yet reading on their own, but all these stories that you share are crucial for helping kids understand what it will be all about and enriching their language development. This helps with more than kindergarten readiness. It’s significant for every school year and beyond. No matter what the weather!
What’s your child’s favorite book?

Kindergarten Readiness – Mother, May I?

 Mother and May both start with the letter M. The letter M makes the sound mmm. What else starts with the sound mmm?
Sounds like a simple question doesn’t it? While the question may be easy the answer requires a critical skill called phonological awareness.  This is the concept that words are made of bits of sounds. For instance, the word may has 2 ‘sound-puzzle’ pieces: mmm and aaa. Once children have developed this awareness they can manipulate words and hear both rhyming sounds and initial sounds. This skill is absolutely critical for learning to read.

Here are some more ideas:  do mother and coat start with the same sound? do mother and mitten start the same?  how about more and basket? 

P.S. You can even disguise a few hints in the questions:  do mother and flowers start with the same sound? how about mother and chocolate? do mother and (name of favorite restaurant) start the same? Maybe the family will get the clues! Enjoy your meal out. Make the most of your memories.