When reading with your child, you can focus your reading that day on one of these aspects. Your child should be able to tell you exactly what goal he/she is working on: “I am working on my accuracy” and his /her strategy: “I am looking for small words inside big words to help me read new words”.
Research shows that when students know exactly what they need to work on, and why, they are much more successful in meeting their goals! You can do this at home too! This is divided into 4 categories: Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expand Vocabulary, or CAFÉ.
Comprehension- “I understand what I read.”
Check for Understanding: We have learned that it is very important to not only do our best reading, but to also do our best thinking! We know it is necessary to stop often during reading to make sure we have understood what we are reading. Practice this at home by stopping every so often during the story. Your child should be able to give a quick summary of what they just read. Who was the story about? What has happened so far? Go ahead and use the words, “Let’s check for understanding,” with your child. They know just what it means!
Back up and Reread: Have you ever read a page or two of a book and suddenly realized that you don’t have a clue what you just read? What do you probably do? You back up and reread it! This strategy is important for children to try when they have not understood something they just read. By backing up and reading a section or page over, they will hopefully take their time and focus more, which will lead to a clearer understanding!
Name the setting: The setting is where the story is occurring and when it is happening.
Know the title, author and illustrator: Your child should know how to recognize the title, author and illustrator (if there is one) in every book that they read.
Making connections: We discussed 3 different connections that the student can make while reading.
Text to Self: The student tells how he/she has something in common with the characters or the story.
Text to World: The student makes a connection with the knowledge that he has with something in the book.
Text to Text:The student makes a connection between two books (same characters, setting, etc.)
Identify Fiction or Non-Fiction: The student can tell if it is real facts (non- fiction) or a made up story (fiction).
Make predictions: Your child is practicing stopping in the story and thinking about what might happen next. It should make sense with what is happening in the story but doesn’t have to be correct.
Know author’s purpose: Your student can determine what the author’s purpose was in writing the book (to inform, to entertain, etc.).
Use text features: This is most important in non fiction text. The student can use titles, headings, captions, and graphics to understand more about what is happening in the book.
Ask questions throughout reading: Your child is working on thinking and asking why while reading. They are realizing that good readers continue to ask questions throughout the reading process.
Accuracy- “I can read the words.”
Cross-Checking: Your child has been learning to stop when they have just read a sentence that doesn’t make sense or if they get to a word that they just don’t know. After they find that tricky word, they ask themselves some questions: “Does the word I’m reading (or thinking it could be) match up with the letters or picture I see on the page?” “Does it sound right?” “Does it make sense?”
Tap the word: This is a strategy that we emphasize in Fundations (our phonics program) and use to read and spell words. Your child should be able to use their fingers to tap out each sound (it is a tactile way to sound out words).
Say it fast: Your child is working on reading the words after tapping the word. Your child should get their mouth ready to say the sounds, say and tap each sound, and then say the sounds fast to say the word.
Know letters and sounds: We have to know the sounds of the words to read and the letter names to spell.
Flip the sound- This is a strategy that the students use as they begin to encounter words with long vowels. We have discussed short vowels so it is natural for them to read the words with a short vowel sound. If that way does make sense in the story we say, “Flip the Sound.” They then say the long vowel sound (it always says its name). Example: If the word “cake” is in the story, your child may say “cak”. That does not make sense. So then, they should say the long vowel sound and say “cake”. That word should make sense with the pictures or rest of the sentence.
Find Chunks in words: This means that the student is finding smaller words or parts in the larger word.
Know trick words: Your child is practicing reading our trick words in stories. Your child should be able to recognize these words automatically while reading.
Play with rhyming words: Students can see a word like “cat” and know the words, “mat, hat, bat, etc.
Identify compound words: Students notice that there are smaller words in larger words. For example, cupcake is a compound word that students can read if they break the word into its two words.
Skip the word and come back: The student can skip the word and then come back after reading the rest of the sentence. It might give context to what the word is and how to say it.
Choose Good Fit Books: This is a BIG one in first grade! We have learned that it is SO important to spend time reading books that are good fit books for each of us (we used shoes to see how different people need different size shoes). It is very important for your child to be able to read books that they can read independently with very few to NO errors. We use the 3 finger rule- if they can’t read more than 3 words on a page then the book is too hard right now. This will help them become smooth (fluent) readers. I meet with each child often so that they can show me the just-right books in their book tote. After your child reads a book to you at home, ask them to share how they felt about the book. Did the book feel too easy, too hard, or just right? Why?
Read and read it again: Your child is learning that when you are reading sometimes you need to read it multiple times to read it the correct way. We have talked about how it sounds to read so that people enjoy listening to it and not like a robot.
Read and talk like the characters: This means that your child is working on expression and making the book come to life. Add emphasis on different characters and what they are saying. If there is something exciting going on in the story, make it sound exciting and how the characters really would sound.
Read to the end of the sentence: It always sounds good to read a book and not read choppy or word by word. As adults, we know that a sentence means to pause in reading. That is how we want our students to read. So your child is working on reading the entire sentence without stopping. It may take a few times to get it right, but that is what practice is for. Make it like a game and see how many sentences they can read without stopping in the middle of the sentence.
Expand Vocabulary- I know, find, and use interesting words.”
Tune into Interesting Words: We are excited to learn new words and figure out what words mean. When this happens at school, the word is explained and then added to our Word Collector. We refer back to the words often as this will deepen their understanding of them and expand their vocabularies. Perhaps you could keep a notebook at home to jot down interesting words that you and your child come across when reading.
Voracious Reading: This is a strategy that we used to get excited about reading and finding new words while we read. Reading takes practice and is something we must do a lot to be able to read our best. We want to read as much as we can to get better in reading!
Ask for help defining the word: Student can ask another person (adult or other student) if they come across a word they do not know. The student records the word and page number on a new words chart and then can ask when reading time is over (if it is silent reading time).
Use a tool- dictionary, thesaurus, or glossary: The student can use a dictionary as a tool when they don’t know a word while reading.
Use other words to help (context) and prior knowledge: Students can use words within the rest of the sentence or paragraph to know what a word means.