I've made a few posts about a student I have been tutoring this summer. He only came for three sessions. His family has been in and out of town preparing to move out of state. I feel like we made some progress. I encouraged the family to check with a local librarian for some early reader books once they move.I've given my student's mom this blog address. I'm not sure if she has the time or energy to search through my blog. She hasn't yet. This motivates me even more to write a book for parents with simple advice and book recommendations.
My student loved the whole language Brand New Readers Red Set books I sent home with him two weeks ago. His favorite story was The Big Fish. He was giggling as he retold the story to me. I sent home some phonics books from Starfall and Nora Gaydos for home practice. He also had some early reader books I've collected from used book stores. A few books got lost in the moving process, but it was worth it. He spent some time reading the books. Maybe he'll remember more of what I taught him once he finds them. I wish I had more time with him.
The school system in our town has a balanced literacy approach. This student's approach to reading reminds me of my daughter's early approach. He knows many common sight words, uses picture clues, and sometimes reads words that make sense but don't match the letters in the words. He wants to read without using the letters to help him. He hasn't learned enough phonics to be able to decode and read words.
Some sight word learning is okay for young children, but it can hinder their reading growth if they are not taught phonics. Our school system teaches some phonics, but it wasn't enough for my daughter or the children I have tutored with reading in the last three years. I think children should be taught phonics before sight words. Sight word lists could be used as a list to group words according to similar phonics rules. Then the words are no longer sight words. They are lists of words to practice reading.
I tried to teach my student some of the most common phonics rules. I loved watching him combine his phonics knowledge with his ability to use picture clues and make sure what he reads makes sense. His brain engages in the stories. He is always ready with what he thinks will be coming next in the story. If he reads a word that doesn't make sense, he quickly looks closer at the word and reads it correctly with his new phonics knowledge. I taught him to go back and read from the beginning of a sentence if he took a little time sounding out a word, so he is able to get back into thinking about the story.
I'm wishing my student and his family a safe happy move.
I try to stay up to date on the latest research. I'd love any readers to share favorite reading resources. Please share links to valuable reading research in a comment. Best wishes to you and your beginning readers!