This Reading Mama's Suggestions: Stage 1

  • Read, read, read to your child; immerse them in some good literature.  And just what is a good book?  “The quality of the idea, the skill of the plot, the depth of the characterization, the distinctive style of the author—that’s the best I can do by way of defining a good book”– Honey For a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt, pg. 44.
    • Reading to your child introduces them to so many great things such as vocabulary, print awareness (tracking the print, pictures vs. print, front cover, back cover, etc.), using their imagination, building their prior knowledge; the list could go on and on!
    • At a very young age, “reading” to your child may consist of simply talking about the illustrations or photographs within the book.  This may be all your child has the attention span for and that’s okay.  There’ll come a day when you are so tired of reading every word of that 65 page book and as you try to skip a page, she will be greatly offended (I know I’m probably the only mom in the world that’s done that, right?!?).
  • Read poetry, nursery rhymes, Dr. Seuss—anything that rhymes.  There is no shortage of rhyming books out there these days.
  • Sing songs–this also reinforces the rhyming.  So what you don’t have the best singing voice.  Kids don’t really notice or care much about that, so crank up the music and make a joyful noise together!  My kids especially like Jana Alayra’s Jump Into the Light and Party Like a Preschooler by Go Fish. 
  • Visit the library often—find one that has a story time for preschoolers
  • Get stories on DVD (our local library has these).  The Scholastic books on DVD are awesome and you can also view them on Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a favorite around our house.
  • Integrate literacy into your everyday life.  One way is to point out letters in everyday places, “Oh, look—Target has a t at the front, just the like the first letter in your name! /t/, /t/, /t/.” (say the sound that t makes)  I hope to show you some more ways to do this in my posts.
  • When learning letters, “letter of the week” is not a favorite of mine, especially when it teaches one letter a week in order.  Start with learning the letters in their name, mama or daddy’s name, sibling’s names, or favorite objects around the house (car, ball, etc.).  Letters are easier to remember (as is anything) if learners can attach a meaning to them.
  • Get magnetic letters and let them explore with them on the refrigerator or any other magnetic surface.  A cookie sheet is also another favorite.  Start with the letters in their name.
  • If your child doesn’t seem interested in learning his letters, but he’s really into dinosaurs, use this to your advantage, “Wow, look at the t in T-Rex”.
  • If your child is ready, you can introduce more than one letter at a time.  To keep confusion at bay, it is beneficial to introduce two very different letters, such as M and R.  The sounds are made very differently in the mouth and they look different as well.
  • Want a guide for this stage?  A GREAT resources is Words Their Way: Letter and Picture Sorts for Emergent Spellers. In it, you’ll find concept sorts, rhyming sorts, poems and songs with lyrics, and beginning sound activities with pictures.

Some of my favorite authors for Stage 1 Readers (these are off the top of my head):

Sandra Boynton                                                Robert McCloskey

Margaret Wise Brown                                    Richard Scary

Eric Carle                                                              Maurice Sendak

Don Freeman                                                       Dr. Seuss

Eric Hill                                                                  Peter Spier

Ezra Jack Keats                                                  Nancy Tafuri

Leo Lionni                                                            Charlotte Zolotow

Oops…I forgot Donald Crews and Bill Martin, Jr…so much for alphabetical order!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brenda
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 11:54:00

    WOW! This is very informative. From your list my son is in the Middle-End in the stages section, but only in the middle for spelling stages. I am going to see if I can find Wow, look at the t in T-Rex at the library to see if this will help him focus more on letter learning!


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