How do I pick a book that my child can read?

How hard should the book be?How do I know if I am buying the right one? I am probably asked this question weekly by parents.

Picking a book to read to your child is pretty easy, finding one that he/she can read independently is a little trickier. Often parents think that should be stretching their child with a “hard book”. I get complaints about school “take home books” being “too easy”!

Children will learn sight words from regular reading. No one is disputing this. It is recommended that children read for up to 10minutes daily.If the books that they read are always challenging it may actually turn them off reading.  Reading at home should mostly be about “reading for fun”.

You might actually be surprised by the rule below. Only 2/10 unfamilar words  per page is considered the perfect level for both learning and enjoyment.

The 5 Finger Rule

Open a page in the middle of the book and read it using the 5 finger rule:

  • Make a fist.
  • Hold up one finger for every word that you find tricky

 

a) Too hard: 5 tricky words = Frustration

4 tricky words = Challenging/instructional level that we would use in school

b) Too easy 0-1 tricky words

 

 

c) Just right 2-3 words = Interest level

I made this cute little bookmark for you to downloadand stick into a book or onto a noticeboard for reference.

It is a really great idea to use this rule with your child so that in time he/she can actually make informed choices about what to read.

Clipart by DJInkers

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

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Word Slide for tricky words (the, then, them, there, they, these)

Some of my students are having terrible trouble with the following tricky words:

  • then
  • them
  • they
  • there
  • these

The don’t call them “tricky” for nothing! They look similar, too similar, and only some can be “sounded out” correctly. So, where to begin?!

It is important to draw their attention to the familiar chunk in all these words :

  • then
  • them
  • they
  • there
  • these

I have created a word slide to help make the similarities and differences between the words more obvious.  I also think that it is kinda cute! What do you think?

You just slide the letter up into the window to create a “tricky word”. Generally, after doing this for a few days the penny will drop 😉

To download your free word sliders please click on the image below. There are two different images to choose from, a Gingerbread Man and Monkey Business.

It is pretty easy to put together. Just have a look at the photo. Fold it in half across the flap. Cut out the window and a tiny piece from the top to allow the letters to slide up and down.

Note: When downloading don’t forget to have your gmail or google docs account open. Click save when requested to do so at the bottom of your screen ( the warning is because the document is large, not because it is unsafe!)

I really hope that you find this useful. Please let me know if you would like me to create some more word sliders.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂

Clipart by DJInkers

Free Phonics Fun for Little Kids

Starfall.com is just a brilliant way for beginner readers to learn their sounds. I just love how easy it is to use. You just click on whatever sparkles. Cute! It is always really, really popular with Pre-schoolers and children who have just started school. It would also be useful for a slightly older child as a way to revise or to get some extra practice.

Click on the screenshot below to visit the site 🙂

Your child will learn:

  • to recognise the capital and lowercase form of each letter
  • it’s phonetic sound
  • to recognise what begins with that sound

Each time you click on the letter or the navigate button you will hear phonetic sound of that letter. This encourages quick and easy learning.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful to look at. There are games built in to the end of most of the lessons. It is also a great way to check that you are pronouncing your sounds correctly.  Check out my previous blog on the Top 7 problems when teaching phonics to learn a little more about this.

The only negative about this site is that pronunciations are American and can therefore be slightly different to Irish pronunciations. This is only the case for a small few letters, though, and it certainly hasn’t stopped me from using it.

Starfall also offers free ABC Printouts for each letter of the alphabet. They are of a really high quality and are great for writing practice too.

It is worth reading the bottom of each printout for more game and activity suggestions

Have fun 🙂