There are a couple of statements that I have heard down through the years. One common statement is particularly from others outside the education field, and that is it must be difficult to teach a child to read. I’ve taught reading for many years, but I’ve never thought about it being easy or hard. The other common remark I hear is particularly from a parent whose child is struggling in reading and that is the parent doesn’t know where to begin or exactly what to do to help their child learn to read. Both of these statements have made me stop and think about the process I use from beginning to end when I get a non-reader.
Here’s the first step in the process I take when a child is ready to learn to read [or an emerging reader]. I administer a letter/sound assessment, as well as, have the child to independently write their ABC’s. This way I know what letters/sounds he or she knows. If he or she can identify 21/26 letters, 21/26 correct letter sounds, and is able to write 21/26 letters of the alphabet, then it is my clue to move on to step 1 in reading [see Teaching Reading Step 1]. If the child knows less than 21 letters on any of these given assessments, then I remain there until the child scores 80% accuracy or above.
If you have a child who has difficulty reading, or it is time to teach the child to read, download the free assessments I offer below. This way you can see exactly what the child knows and doesn’t know about the letters and sounds of the alphabet.
The first download is the letter sound assessment. There are two options: one assessment has the child to identify only the lower case letters and sounds, and then the other assessment has the child to identify both lower and upper cases letters and sounds. Use either one you prefer. Once a basal score is determined, then you have a starting point from which you can begin teaching.
When administering the assessment, I cut one of the four assessments apart from the page shown below and give it to the child to use to read from during the assessment. I have a copy of the page below on a clipboard and mark it as I assess the student. Here is an example of how I mark it for data.
As you can see, I collected data on this student for ten months. The student achieved 80% on the 3/17/15 assessment, and it was at that point I moved onto Teaching Reading Step 1. I did continue to monitor their letter and sound i.d. until 100% accuracy was achieved.
Here are a couple of good youtube videos that teaches the letters and their corresponding sounds:
Here is a excellent set of alphabet cards with matching pictures. Alphabet actions are included to make it fun for the student as he/she is learning. Having letter/sound cards such as these, helps the child to anchor the letter and sound of the letter to a particular picture. For example when the child is trying to sound out a word and doesn’t know the sound of a certain letter, such as not knowing the sound of “n” in the the word “can,” then you can can say that “n” is the sound of “n” in napkin.
The next download gives you four options to the child writing the alphabet: emerging, developing, transitional, and independent models. When administering this assessment for the first time, I always begin with the independent model. This way I have a true indicator of the child’s ABC knowledge, and then I know exactly which writing model I would need to begin using with the child.
If you would like to view data of alphabet writing assessments that I gathered on a specific student, you may read this blog post:
Here is the link to the free writing assessments.
These assessments are set up to re-administer until the student masters the skills to 100% accuracy. Also, these assessments provide good data to keep to show the student’s progress and to guide instruction.
I hope I presented the beginning process of teaching reading in a simplistic way. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.