There are 5 Big Ideas in Beginning Reading: Phonemic Awareness: the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken words Alphabetic Principle: the ability to associate sounds with letters and use these sounds to form words Fluency with Text: the effortless, automatic ability to read words in connected text Vocabulary: the ability to understand (receptive) and use (expressive) words to acquire and convey meaning Comprehension: the complex cognitive process involving the intentional interaction between reader and text to convey meaning Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS Next) Explanation of Scores First Sound Fluency (FSF) - Kindergarten: fall, winter Benchmark goal: 30 beginning sounds identified correctly in one minute Can your child hear and pronounce the beginning sounds in a word? This skill helps children learn that words are made up of individual sounds. Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) - Kindergarten: fall, winter, spring; First Grade: fall Benchmark goal: 40 letters identified correctly in one minute Does your child know the names of letters? Can your child recall them quickly and easily, even when upper and lower case letters are randomly mixed together? Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) - Kindergarten: winter, spring; First Grade: fall Benchmark goal: 40 sounds identified correctly in one minute Individual sounds are called phonemes. Can your child segment or break apart spoken words into individual sounds? Example: mat.../m/ - /a/ - /t/. This skill helps children put sounds and words together in their writing, also. Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF) - Kindergarten: winter, spring; First Grade: fall, winter, spring Kindergarten end of year goal: 28 letter sounds read correctly in one minute First grade benchmark goal: 58 letter sounds read correctly in one minute with at least 13 nonsense words read as whole words Does your child know the sounds that letters make? Do the sounds come to mind quickly and automatically? Can your child blend these sounds together to pronounce unfamiliar words? This is an important skill because many words encountered by beginning/emerging readers are not familiar to them. Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) - End of 1st grade through 5th grade First grade end of year goal: 47 words read correctly in one minute Second grade end of year goal: 87 words read correctly in one minute Third grade end of year goal: 100 words read correctly in one minute Fourth grade end of year goal:115 words read correctly in one minute Fifth grade end of year goal: 130 words read correctly in one minute How many words per minute can your child read correctly? Once your child has learned to “sound out” phonetic words and learned “sight” words (those that must be memorized), do they become instantly recognized words? When a child can recognize many words easily, reading is much more enjoyable and text is easier to comprehend. Letter Identification Assessment: Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) What is it? Letter identification is the ability to see an upper or lowercase letter and quickly say the name of the letter. Why is it important? Knowing the names of letters allows teachers and children to communicate easily about letters and their sounds. What can we do at home? Magnet Letters - There are many, many ways to using magnet letters on the refrigerator! Help your child... *spell his/her name and the names of family members. *sort letters by shapes or characteristics, such as straight lines/curvy lines, circles/no circles, tails/no tails, or uppercase/lowercase. *put letters in ABC order (sing the alphabet song when you are figuring out the order). *match uppercase letters with lowercase letters. *search for letters. Say the name of a letter, and have your child find that letter. Newspaper letters - Have your child search for a particular letter in the newspaper or a magazine, and cut out that letter whenever he/she finds it. (As a bonus, this also works on fine motor cutting skills.) Use large motions - Have your child write letters in the air or on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. Have your child use his/her body to form letters. Use tactile materials - Have your child use his/her finger to trace letters in a pile of shaving cream, on a tray of powdered jello or pudding, or on a sheet of lightweight sandpaper. Type the letters - Allow your child to use the computer (or even an old typewriter) to type letters that he/she knows. Play Guess the Letter - In this game, partners take turns using their fingers to write a letter onto their partners' backs. The partner needs to guess the letter. Phonemic Awareness Assessments: First Sound Fluency (FSF) and Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) What is it? Phonological awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate words, parts of words, and individual sounds in spoken words. Phonemic awareness is one piece of phonological awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. No print is involved. It is completely auditory. These are great activities to do at home or in the car because they can all be done out loud without any materials. Why is it important? Phonemic awareness is a critical skill because it sets the foundation for later phonics learning. It is also a very strong predictor of later reading success. When a child notices the individual sounds in a spoken word, he or she is more prepared for sounding and blending written words. What can we do at home? Word identification - Count the number of words is a spoken sentence. Say the first line of a nursery rhyme (for example, Mary had a little lamb.) Then, using your fingers, count the words together. (Phonological awareness activity) Beginning Sounds - Play "I'm going on a camping trip..." Start the game by saying, "I'm going on a camping trip, and I'm going to bring a dog and a dandelion. What are you going to bring?" The child should think of something that also starts with the /d/ sound. Remember, this game is all about sounds, not letters! For example, if the sound you chose is /s/, and the child says, "circus," that would be an appropriate answer. (Phonemic awareness activity) Rhyming - Play a thumbs up-thumbs down game. Start the game by saying, "If the words rhyme, give me a thumbs up. If they do not rhyme, give me a thumbs down." Make sure that your examples are very obvious for young learners, especially when the words do not rhyme. Avoid words that start with the same letter (dog-dinosaur) or fit in the same category (dog-cat). By choosing words that are very different and unrelated (dog-refrigerator), you are helping your child learn to focus in on the rhyme. (Phonological awareness activity) Segmenting/Blending - Choose a word with three sounds (mat). Say each sound separately. Have your child touch his/her head when saying the first sound /m/, touch his/her waist when saying the middle sound /a/, and touch his/her toes when saying the last sound /t/. When your child can do this activity easily without assistance, say one of the sounds separately and ask your child to place his/her hands on the head, waist, or toes to show if the sound comes at the beginning, middle, or end. (Phonemic awareness activity) PS - Tongue twisters, nursery rhymes, Dr. Seuss books, and other rhyming books are also great ways to develop these skills! The Alphabetic Principle and Phonics Assessments: Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF) What is it? The alphabetic principle is the understanding that words are made up of letters and the letters represent sounds. Additionally, it is the ability to use these letter-sound associations to read or write words. Phonics is the instructional method that focuses on these letter-sound associations. Why is it important? The English language is based on an alphabet, so being able to sound out (decode) words is necessary. What can we do at home? Building words - Using magnetic letters, make a three letter word on the refrigerator (cat). Have your child read the word and use it in a sentence. Every day, change one letter to make a new word. Start by changing only the beginning letter (cat, bat, hat, sat, mat, rat, pat). Then change only the ending letter (pat, pal, pad, pan). Finally, change only the middle letter (pan, pen, pin, pun). Making words - For this game, you will need magnetic letters and three bags. Put half of the consonants into the first bag. Put all of the vowels into the middle bag, and put the remaining consonants into the last bag. Have your child pull one letter from the first bag. That will be the first letter of their word. Then have him/her pull from the vowel bag for the second letter of the word and from the other consonant bag for the third letter of the word. Next, the child will read the word and decide if it is a real word or a nonsense word. If it is a real word, have your child use it in a sentence. Take turns, replacing the vowels as needed until there are no more consonants left. The player with the most nonsense words wins. Writing words - Many children love to send and receive notes, and writing is a great way to reinforce phonics skills. Send your child notes in the lunch box or place notes on the pillow. Have a relative or friend send a letter or email to your child. Whenever your child receives a note, have him/her write back. Don't be concerned about spelling. Instead, have your child sound out the words to the best of his/her ability. Labeling words - When reading a book with your child, keep Post-it notes handy. Every so often, have your child choose one object in the picture and write the word on a Post-it. Put the note in the book to read again and again every time you come to that page. Practicing words with pictures - Choose pictures from a magazine or catalog. Say the name of the picture, have your child say the sound that the picture begins with and the name of that letter. Hunting for words - Choose a letter and have your child hunt for five items beginning with that letter sound. As each object is found, help your child write the word on a list. For example, if the target sound is /m/, the child might find and write mop, mat, Mom, money, and microwave. Hints for helping your child sound out words - When your child is reading and comes to an unfamiliar word, there are several ways that you can help. 1. If the word is a high frequency word (for example, was, what, or of) that does not follow the phonics rules, simply provide the word to your child and explain that this is a word that needs to be memorized. 2. If the word can be sounded out, have your child stretch out the first sound, check the picture if appropriate, and make a guess. Next, come back to the word and sound out the whole word to see if that guess was correct. 3. Have your child say each sound individually (mmmaaannn), then stretch out each sound (mmmaaannn), and finally, read the word quickly (man). 4. As your child becomes more proficient in sounding out words, help him/her pick out parts of the new word that are already familiar. This will lessen the effort level needed to sound out a longer word. For example, in a word such as shouting, your child may already know that sh will go together, that out is a familiar word and that ing is a common word ending. High Frequency Words Assessments: Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) What are they? High frequency words are the words that appear most often in printed material. These words might also be called sight words. Why are they important? High frequency words make up the majority of the words a child will encounter in print. If the child has learned to recognize these words quickly and automatically, he or she will have far less to decode and will be able to focus more on reading comprehension. What can we do at home? It is very important to provide a little bit of practice every day. Five minutes for five days in a row will be far more effective than 25 minutes on just one day. Flashcards are probably the easiest way to practice, but here are some more ideas to keep your practice interesting. Play Bang - Using index cards, write one high frequency word on each card and write "Bang" on two or three cards. Put all words in a bag. Players take turns pulling out a word out of the bag. If the player can read the card, he/she can keep it. If not, he/she puts the card back in the bag. If a player pulls out a bang card all of the cards have to go back in the bag. Play Tic-Tac-Toe - Create a tic-tac-toe board and write one high frequency word in each square. Players play as usual, except each player must read the word in the square before he/she can write down an x or an o. Play Checkers - Laminate an old checkerboard, and using a dry-erase marker, write the high frequency words on the board. Players play as usual, except before the checker is moved, the player must read the word. If he/she can read the word, he/she can move. If not, he/she stays in the current square. Play Concentration - Make two sets of high frequency cards. Mix them up and turn them face down on the table. Players take turns making matches. In order to keep the match, the player must read the words. Play Go Fish - Make two sets of high frequency cards. Shuffle them, and deal 5 cards to each player. Place the rest face down on the middle of the table. Players must read the word when asking for a match. If no one else, has the match, the player tries to find a match from the pile on the middle of the table. Players keep the matches, and the one with the most matches at the end of the game wins. On the Go Words - Place the high frequency words in a sheet protector, and, using some pins, paperclips, or metal rings, attach the words to the back of the car seat so that your child can easily see them from his/her seat. As you are driving, he/she can read the words to you. If he/she does not know the word, he/she can spell it out, and you can pronounce it. Big Words - Many children enjoy and benefit from using large motions when learning high frequency words. Have your child write the words on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, trace the words in the air, make the words out of Play-Doh, or spray a thin layer of shaving cream on a table or counter and trace the words in shaving cream. PS - There are other ideas in the Letter Recognition section that would also work for High-Frequency Word practice. Fluency Assessments: Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) What is it? Fluency is the ability to read text accurately, automatically, and effortlessly, using appropriate expression and phrasing. Why is it important? If a child is not fluent, it means that he or she is focusing primarily on figuring out (decoding) the words, and that makes it difficult for the child to understand and remember what has been read. What can we do at home? Repeated reading - Choose a story, a short chapter, or even a page that is not very difficult. Read the passage aloud to your child, and then read the passage together, helping your child figure out any tricky words. Next, have your child read the passage to you, focusing on accuracy. Finally, have your child read the passage to you again several more times paying attention to fluency and expression. The goal is to sound smooth and natural, like speaking. Use different voices - When reading a familiar story or passage, try having your child use different voices. Read the story in a mouse voice or a cowboy voice or a monster voice or a princess voice. This is just a variation on repeated readings designed to add interest and a sense of fun to reading practice. Read to different audiences - Although a young reader may not think of it this way, reading aloud is really just a way to communicate to an audience. When a reader keeps the audience in mind, he/she knows that the reading must be fluent and expressive. Provide a variety of opportunities for your child to read to an audience. Your child can read to stuffed animals, pets, siblings, neighbors, grandparents - anyone who is willing to listen. For example, an out of town relative can easily share a book with the child over the phone if your child and the relative have both checked the same book out from the library. Additionally, there are even books that are specially written to be read to a pet, such as Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog. Practice reading phrases - Once your child is comfortable with the high frequency words, try reading the Fry Sight Word Phrases. Click here to go to the Fry Sight Word Phrases. These lists were retrieved from http://www.timraskinski.com/presentations/fry_600_instant_phrases.pdf. Record the reading - After your child has practiced a passage, have him/her record it with a tape player or MP3 device. Once recorded, your child can listen to his reading and follow along in the book. Many times, a child will want to rerecord the book and make it even better! Comprehension in the Early Grades Assessments: Retell of Oral Reading What is it? Comprehension is the ability to understand and interact with text. Why is it important? Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. Authors write to be able to communicate with readers. Readers need to be able to actively interact with the author's words. Good comprehension leads to reading enjoyment. Reading enjoyment leads to more time spent reading. More time spent reading leads to better comprehension, and so on... What can we do at home? Sequencing errands - Talk about errands that you will run today. Use sequencing words (sequence, first, next, last, beginning, middle, end) when describing your trip. Ask your child to remember and sequence your errands. For example, you might say, "We are going to make three stops. First, we will go to the gas station. Next, we will go to the bank. Finally, we will go to the grocery store.. Let's sequence them. What will we do at the beginning? What will we do in the middle? What will we do at the end?" Sequencing comics - Choose a comic strip from the Sunday paper. Cut out each square and mix the squares up. Have your child put them in order and describe what is happening in the story. Encourage your child to use words like first, second, next, finally, etc. Every day comprehension - Ask your child the five Ws and an H questions (who, what, when, where, why, how) about an event in his/her day. For example, if your child attended a party, you could ask, "Who was there? What did you do? When did you have cake? Where did you go? Why did the invitation have dogs on it? How did the birthday child like the presents?" Once your child is comfortable answering these questions about his/her own experiences, try asking these questions after reading a book aloud to your child. Think aloud - When you read aloud to your child, talk about what you are thinking. This gives your child a little glimpse into the mind of a reader, and it is your opportunity to show your child that reading is a lot more than just figuring out the words. A good reader is always thinking, wondering, and questioning. For example, describe how you feel about what's going on in the book, what you think will happen next, or what you thought about a character's choice. Reading fiction 1. Before beginning a fiction book, find the title and author. Look at the picture on the cover and ask, "What do you think this will be about? Why? Why do you think the author wrote this book?" This will help your child set purpose for reading. If you have had a chance to read the book prior to reading it with your child, now is a good time to explain any unfamiliar vocabulary that he/she will come across in the story. 2. While reading, ask your child to identify the setting (where and when) and the problem. Stop every now and then to ask, "What's happened so far?" or "What do you think will happen next?" 3. After reading review the story. Ask, "What happened at the beginning? What happened in the middle? What happened at the end? How was the problem solved?" Be sure to ask for your child's opinions too. "What did you like about the story? What didn't you like? What would you have done if you were the main character?" PS - Keep the discussion quick and lively! Even when you are working on comprehension with your child, reading time together should still be cozy and enjoyable. Reading Nonfiction Before beginning a nonfiction book, find the title and the author. Look at the cover and ask, "What do you think this book will be about?" Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three sections, and be ready to write down your child's ideas and questions. The first section will include a list of all of the things that your child already knows about the topic. The middle section will include a list of questions that your child has about the topic. The third section will be completed later. (Teachers call this a KWL chart. What do I know? What do I want to know? What did I learn?)This helps your child start thinking about his/her background knowledge and set a purpose for reading. Now, look at the table of contents. Have your child choose the topic he/she wants to read today and go straight to that page. Nonfiction books do not necessarily need to be read cover to cover. While reading, be sure to point out the text features, such as headings, bold face type, illustrations, and captions. Talk about information that the author included. Is it really important or just interesting? This is a great opportunity to introduce your child to the idea of main idea and supporting details. As you read, see if any of your child's questions were answered. If so, write down the answers on the third section of the KWL chart. After reading, ask your child, "What was it mostly about? Did it answer your questions? What do you still want to know? Where could you find out?" PS - Keep the discussion low key and brief! You do not need to do everything with every story. Let your child see that you think reading is an enjoyable, worthwhile activity.
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