There were a couple of things that inspired me to write this blog post, one being the launch of a new product that has been way down on mt to-do list for a few years. A Nursery Rhyme edition in our My First Readers series. Another was a conversation I had with some friends recently about new readers.
This post will have information that many followers will already know. I am aiming it more at blog readers, new teachers, mums and dads that might be looking for some more information about beginning readers........ and beginning readers.
I may refer in my post, to 'Beginning Readers' - ie. the books that children read
'Beginning readers' - ie. children that are just beginning to learn to read.
It could be confusing!
Our latest set of 'Beginning Readers' has a nursery rhyme theme and the set includes 5 little readers. Nursery Rhymes make an excellent topic for beginning readers as the students are very well supported by their knowledge of the words to the rhyme. As they are decoding the text they will use this knowledge to help read unknown words.
'Readers' are essentially books. But they are special books. They are written especially for students that cannot read independently.
Readers have special features that aim to help, or 'scaffold' a new reader on their journey to becoming literate. Readers help students to feel successful as they learn to read.
Good Beginning Readers for students just starting to learn to read have important features such as:
- text that students can decode (sound-out)
- one or two lines of text on each page
- pictures that closely match the text
- repeated words and phrases (they may even have the same words on each page
- high-frequency sight words
- consistent text placement on each page (this is an important one)
- text that is positioned on the page to run from left to right (not centred); and
- familiar story themes
All of our readers are 'blackline' which means you can print them once and then photocopy them for your students. As well as being cost effective, your students will LOVE colouring the pages once they have read the stories. If you participate in 'buddy reading' with an older class, the older students will also enjoy assisting your little ones to colour them.
We have a 'starting star' on each page of all of our readers, to help direct students to the starting position and to read from left to right. Use a 'starting star' when they are beginning to learn to write as well. It will help sort out that issue where they want to write backwards and from right to left!
Our readers are very easy to make. Each reader starts as 2 pages to print out. Keep these as a 'master copy' in a folder designated just for readers.
Feed the 2 pages through the photocopier and get them back-to-back. You may need to experiment with your feed tray to achieve a copy that is back-to-back but both pages with the text facing the same direction.
Once you have your back-to-back copy, you just need to fold and cut it down the centre. If doing a whole class set, this can quickly be done with an office guillotine.
Then place the half-pages on top of one another (check they are in reading order).
You can see in this picture, that the back page of our readers is a 'word page' that features sight words that occur frequently in the story.
Then, just fold the pages in half, and staple at the side.
You get one whole 8 page reader from just ONE piece of paper!
Our My First Readers packets include a worksheet for each text. Students will complete activities that require them to attend to the print in the readers. Each worksheet has a visual/word discrimination task, reading/writing task and a handwriting task.
The packet also include word cards and instructions for a few easy 'flashcard' games. These games will assist your students in learning to recognise the sight words that occur frequently in the texts.
Copy these cards onto different colours to make them easy to separate and locate.
The cards have been formatted to fit easily in credit-card sized laminating pouches, if you wish to laminate them easily.
Our Nursery Rhyme Readers packet also includes word cards for your students to retell the nursery rhyme using a pocket chart. You could encourage them to use their mini-reader as a guide, or try to sort the cards in the correct order independently.
So, the resources in the Nursery Rhyme packet will allow you to implement four different activities for each of the five readers - perfect for a morning literacy session. The students could read the text, play a sight word card game, retell the rhyme with the pocket chart and then complete a worksheet.
Another GREAT way to support your students learning to read is to help them to VALUE their readers. I have seen this idea work beautifully, and the real key to unlocking its potential is for the teacher to REALLY show they CARE about the students' reading and readers.
When the students see that is genuinely important to the teacher, they will follow!
Help your students to make a '100 Readers' box. Create a special place in the classroom for students to keep them. Make a big fuss about them and the stduents that are looking after and using their readers.
This box is for storing all the paper mini-readers that the students receive in class. You can house these boxes in class for the week, and students can take them home to share with their family for the weekend. What a gift it will be, to make sure the students in your care, all have at least 100 'books' to read.
First, cover an unused shoebox with coloured paper. I covered this one today, and it took me about five minutes. You can also ask the students to bring along a box already covered, especially if you are starting this idea at the beginning of the school year.
A shoebox is perfect as it fits little paper mini-readers perfectly.
Commercially produced 'readers' will fit in a shoebox as well.
There are five labels to glue onto the box. Each label has 25 stars. As each book is added to the box, the students will colour a star with a marker. The aim is to have all 100 stars coloured. Your students will love working towards having all 100 coloured, and it is a good way to incorporate some number work as well.
You may like to 'buddy up' with an older class in your school. The students will enjoy reading with one another. The older students always enjoy assisting younger students and your new readers will be proud to 'show off' their books and growing reading ability.
I am getting quite a few emails of late asking me what font I am using at the moment on my latest packets - it is called "Buttons" and you can find it in my TpT store right HERE
Thanks for getting to the end of this long post. Please leave a comment and let me know of any special things you do to help your 'beginning readers'!