How to Help at Home

Our Reading Program is Guided by Four Principles:
        Students needs various amounts of repetitions to learn sight words and
        phonetic word patterns based on their individual learing style.        
    *Teaching Decoding Strategies
      Guided Reading 
    *Practicing these Strategies
         Guided Reading/Independent Reading
    *Transferring these Strategies
      Guided Reading/Independent Reading

Games are a great way to provide repetitions in a fun, engaging manner.  (Click on the "Games" link for more games)
Game:        Bang
Materials:   Box, word (letter) cards, list of words your child is
                   working on learning to read
Object:       To collect the most cards 
How to Play:   Write each word on a seperate index card or slip of paper.   Write the word "bang" on four different cards.  Place all cards in a box or a bowl.   First player draws a card and attempts to read the word.  If he is correct, he keeps the word.  If he is incorrect, the word goes back into the box.  The next player does the same as the first player.  Play continues until someone draws one of the "bang" cards.  The player that draws the "bang" card places all of his cards, except the "bang" card, back into the box.  The game continues until the box is empty. 

Kindergarten:   Students working on letter identification and letter sounds can play with cards that have letters or pictures on them.  When a letter is drawn, the players will identify the letter and/or sound.   If using pictures, the players can identify either the beginning or ending sound of the picture. 
Spelling:  Students can practice spelling their word wall words by playing Bang.  Instead of reading the words, players will ask each other how to spell the words.
Vocabulary Development:   Have the players use the word in a sentence after reading the word.

Game:      Memory
Materials  Index cards and list of words child is working on
                learning to read. 
                Or click on "Games" and print word cards from the 
                word family games.
Object:    To match words
How to Play:  Write each word on two seperate index cards.   Place cards face down.  Player one will flip over a card and read it.  She will then try to find its match by flipping over another card.   If the two cards are the same word, the cards are removed from the game, and the player gets another turn.   If playing with Word Family cards, a match is made when matching a word family.

Practicing these Strategies

Beginning readers need to "practice" or read 20-30 minutes a night at their level to develop their reading skills.   Create a reading atmosphere in your home by having everyone read, making a special reading nook, and having a routine time to read.   Encourage your child to use the "Strategies for Unknown Words" when they get stuck.  Your child's teacher will be happy to help you select books at your child's level.  You may also use the "Five Finger Rule."  If your child needs help with 5 or more words per 100 words, then the book is too difficult.  When a book is too difficult, the brain's energy is used to decode the words and there isn't enough energy left for comprehension. 
Transferring these Strategies

Word Hunts are a great way for children to apply their strategies.  Children can look for the various word features they are studying in class. (Word families, blends, prefixes, suffixes, specific letters) They can hunt for these words in any text:  street signs, books, magazines, cereal boxes, newspapers, etc.   Hunts do not need to be done in material at a child's reading level.  In fact, it is more exciting and powerful for students to find the words they are learning in things their parents or adults are reading!
Different Ways to Hunt
1.   Cut out the word features you're looking for from cereal boxes,
      magazines and newspapers to make a collage. 
2.   Highlight the word features when you find them.  
3.   Create a chart with what you're hunting for and make a tally
       mark every time you find it.
4.   Simply point to what you're hunting for when you find it.    
Word Features to Hunt for in text:
1.   Word Families
        Word families are words that 1) rhyme and 2) have the same ending,
        such as -ut in "but," "rut," "shut," etc.   Each week a word family is
        featured in both the first and second grade classrooms.  Check your
        child's word wall list to see what word families have been studied
        in his  class.  When hunting for word famililes you may find the word
        "butter," and highlight it like this:

2.   Letter Hunt: 
        Kindergarten students can hunt for letters.
3.   Word Wall Words:
        Words featured on your child's classroom word wall.
4.   Prefixes/Suffixes:
        Beginning readers concentrate on common endings such as "er,"
        "ed," "ing."    As they advance they are introduced to more suffixes,
        "ful," "ly,"  "tion" and prefixes such as "re," pre," "dis," "un," etc. 
        When hunting for  prefixes or suffixes, you may find the word
        "replayed," and highlight it like this:
5.   Blends:
      Blends are two or more consonants that come together to make
        one sound, such as "sp," or "str."   You may find the word "string,"
        and highlight it like this:
NOTE:  It is great to highlight more than one feature in a single word.  For example, the above words all have more than one feature and could also be highlighted like this: