Stories with a pattern and good picture clues build confidence in early readers. These are important reading strategies. A word of caution: Make sure to include phonics at this stage. I've seen many beginning readers who rely on picture clues, beginning sounds, and sight words. The reader will be successful until books become more difficult. As books become more difficult it becomes necessary to read words from beginning to end using knowledge of phonics.There is a balance to teaching reading. There are some who say teach with phonic books, and there are some who say teach with whole language books. I say, "Teach with both!"
I'm going to walk you through teaching a child to use picture clues and beginning sounds in a patterned book. Below is a link to a story and teaching tips for the story.
Warning: This post my become extremely boring if read from beginning to end!
Important: Teach only a few teaching points per reading. You can go back to this book on different days.
The Monster Book
This book has audio and arrows to click to turn the page.
Title Page: You read the words in the title, The Monster Book. Say, "Let's point to the first word. This is the word, The. T-H-E spells the. We will see this word a lot when we read. Monster starts with M. Let's point to M and make it's sound. [mmmmm] Book starts with B. Let's point to B and make it's sound. [b]" (The letter b is a quick sound and cannot be stretched like the continuous sound of m.) Then have the child read the title of the book. Support with your voice if necessary.
First Page: The audio will read. A big monster, a little monster. Say, "Which monster is big? Which monster is little?" The child should point to the correct monsters. Say, "What sound do you hear at the beginning of big? Yes, we hear [b]. Can you point to the b and read the word big? What sound do you hear at the beginning of little? Yes, we hear [llll]. Can you point to the l and read the word little?" Then have the child read the page. Support with your voice if necessary.
Second Page: The audio will read. A tall monster, a short monster. Say, "Which monster is tall? Which monster is short? What sound do you hear at the beginning of tall? Yes, we hear [t]. Can you point to the letter t and read the word tall? What sound do you hear at the beginning of short? Yes, we hear [ssshhh]. The sound [ssshhh] is made with the letters, s and h. These letters work together to make a new sound. Can you point to the letters sh and read the word short?" Then have the child read the page. Support with your voice if necessary.
Third Page: The audio will read. A monster with stripes, a monster with spots. Say, "Which monster has stripes? Which monster has spots? The letter w is sometimes a tricky letter. The name of the letter doesn't help us make it's sound. What sound do you think w makes? The letter w makes the sound [wwww]. Does the word, with or the word spots start with [wwww]? Yes, the word with starts with [wwww]." Point to the word with for the child. Say, "This is the word with. Let's point to the word with and read it together. [with] Some words start with blends. These are letters we read quickly together, but each letter still makes it's own sound. The word stripes starts with the letters s, t, and r. Let's practice making these sounds together. [ssstrrr, ssstrrr, ssstrrr] Can you point to the letters str and read the word stripes? The word spots has two consonants together. The letters s and p make the blend [sssp]. Let's practice making this blend together. [sssp, sssp, sssp] Can you point to the letters sp and read the word spots?" Then have the child read the page. Support with your voice if necessary.
Fourth Page: The audio will read A thin monster, a fat monster. Say, "Which monster is thin? Which monster is fat? What sound do you hear at the beginning of thin? Yes, thin starts [ttthhh]. The letters t and h work together to make a new sound [th] like in the words the, this, and there. (Diagraph is the technical term for two letters making a new sound.) What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word fat? Yes, we hear the sound [ffff]. Then have the child read the page. Support with your voice if necessary.
Fifth Page: The audio will read A monster on the bed, a monster under the bed. Say, "Which monster is on the bed? Which monster is under the bed? Show me the word monster. Show me the word the. It starts with the letter combination th that makes the sound [ttthhh]. We see a monster on the bed. The word on starts with the short sound of o. Let's make the sound together. [ooooo] Please point under the word on. Let's separate the sounds in the word on. [oooo - nnnn] Now let's push those sounds together and read the word. [oooonnnn] [on] We see a monster under the bed. The word under starts with the short sound of u. Let's make the sound together. [uuuuu] Please point to the word under. This word has two syllables or two beats like in music." Say and clap each syllable. [un - der] Say, "The word monster has two syllables also." Say and clap the syllables in monster. [mon - ster] Demonstrate leaving your finger directly under these two syllable words without bouncing or moving your finger. Say, "We read two syllable words and point under them without moving our finger. Let's read and point to monster. [mon - ster] Now let's read under. [un - der]" Then have the child read the page. Support with your voice if necessary.
Last Page: The audio will read We're funny monsters! Say, "The word We're has a funny mark called an apostrophe in it, because it's two words squished together. People like to talk quickly. The word we're is the same as we are, but it is said quicker like this [we're]. Let's slow it down and pretend it isn't squished together. [We are funny monsters] Now let's read it like it's written. [We're funny monsters] Make sure you practice pointing only once under two syllable words.