Let’s talk about reading at home with a new reader. Can I be totally real and honest with you? Sometimes it hurts my ears.  Now, don’t start judging me- I have three kids under 7 to read with every night.  So, I feel justified in this honest confession.  But, before you go sending me shaming emails, keep reading.

I LOVE to read with my kids!  What lady?  Didn’t you just say it hurts your ears?  Yes, I did and sometimes it does.  But, stay with me here, I keep at it because you know what?  It won’t be that way for long.  The more you read, the better their fluency gets, and the more everyone enjoys it.  So, when you’re tempted to cringe and finish the word for them and rush them along because you have so much to do before bedtime, DON’T.  This practice in patience will prevail.  Your aching ears will soon get a rest.

A few weeks ago I was frustrated with our readers that we had around the house.  They didn’t seem to be meeting my kiddos where they were at.  I headed down to Barnes and Noble, let the kids play, while I tackled finding a bunch of readers that met our needs.  I wanted my kids to be able to read them, but not be too easy, and have the occasional words they would need help with.  This, my friend, was no easy task!  Here’s another confession:  I really don’t like the character books.  I know kids like them, but I don’t think the words and reading levels are really on par.  Here are the ones that I ended up buying.

first-grade-readers

The kids were thrilled!  We started with the Bible stories.  My idea was that since they know the stories that will help their comprehension and they can focus on decoding the words.  Worked like a charm.  They finished those books with increased fluency and bolstered confidence.

Then we began Sammy the Seal.  I kid you not, reading this did not hurt my ears!  After 10 minutes of reading I went to close the book and each time, the boys begged me to let them read on.  I refused, thus building excitement for the next night’s reading time.  One of my boys came to me and said “Why am I so excited about reading now?  I can’t even wait to find out what Sammy is going to do!”  Y’all, my heart melted- he’s a true reader now!  If you’re a reader, you get this.  This excitement to get back to your book and find out what is going to happen.

I tell you all of this to encourage you to hang on, it will get better!  Don’t be getting your ear plugs out, this time will pass, so enjoy watching and celebrating their progress. It’s really so exciting to see them catch the reading bug!

To help ease this process, here are 3 Must-Have Guided Reading Tools:

  1. Good books!  I already talked a bit about this, but take the time to look at what your kids are reading.  Are you having to help them with every single word?  If so, this is frustrating for a new reader, time to change it up. Is there a good balance of sight words and words to decode?  Have they learned the skills to decode the words in the book?  Giving a kindergarten who knows CVC words a book filled with long vowels and blends will only lead to frustration.
  2. Fun pointers.  Maybe it’s just my kids, but I’ve heard “my finger is getting tired” one too many times.  One of my boys insists on pointing with his middle finger because “it’s the longest finger, it should be the pointer.” There’s only so much I can take of that.  So, fun pointers it is!  Pointing hands, popsicle sticks with googly eyes, magic wands, paintbrushes, and yep, that’s a shark toy in there too.  This is also a great activity to include your kiddos in.  Let them make their own and they’ll be excited about using them!
  3. Colored reading guides.  One of mine consistently loses his place.  No vision problem with him, he just stops to look at the picture, and then can’t remember where he was at. These reading guides have been so helpful!  You just slide them along the line that you are on. They come in different colors so it’s a bit of experiment to see which one they like the best but they’re only .99 each at Mardel’s so it’s a cheap investment for success.

guiding-reading-tools

Hope these tips will help you out with your new reader!  Feel free to leave me a comment if you have a tip I can use- I’m always up for trying something new.

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