Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Beginning Readers 101

"Help! My kid is learning to read. Where do I go?"
We hear this often in the Children's Room. The intensity varies according to the happenings of the day. We also see bewildered caregivers roaming the stacks eager, but wondering where to start first.
We're here to help!

The Tigard Youth Services staff have created a little brochure (coming soon!) to help you with choosing books for your beginning reader.
Some important things to think about when looking for books for your new reader:

  • Different publishers have different leveling systems.
  • Let your child read at her interest level as well as her reading level.
  • Don't worry so much about literary merit at this stage. Children who are learning to read don't necessarily care about the quality of the writing or plot. They are more motivated to read about favorite objects or characters.
  • When your child is first learning to read, look for books that have pictures in the story that match the text. This is part of the decoding process.
There are five phases your new reader will go through:

Phase 1: When your child knows the alphabet and is eager to begin reading, you know she is ready!
First Readers will have big type, easy words, picture clues, familiar objects or characters and require a lot of adult help. Keep it relaxed, though. Nothing quashes a child's enthusiasm for reading more than a critical listener.
Phase 2: Once your child is comfortable reading the First Readers, he will be ready to move on to books with easy sight words, simple plot and dialogue about familiar topics and themes. He will still need some parental help.
Phase 3: Now that your child is reading really well, she can begin reading books on her own. The books will have longer sentences, smaller type and high-interest vocabulary words.
Phase 4: Your child is completely reading on his own in paragraphs. The books are longer and the story plot is more complex. The books will have challenging vocabulary and difficult sentence structure.
Phase 5: Your child is ready for First Chapter books!

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