Readers need to correctly hear and make short vowel sounds. Teach short vowel sounds early. Many readers I've worked with who struggle with reading at the end of first grade have problems with short vowel sounds. I'm currently tutoring a third grader who makes the short a sound when she tries to make the short e sound. There are confusions with the other short vowels at times too.So, teach short vowel sounds early. Check if a struggling reader needs to learn short vowel sounds and teach them. I've seen huge improvements in most children I've tutored with reading once they learned vowel sounds.
I think many children learn best when they are taught a few things at a time and given the opportunity to practice until it becomes automatic.
Nora Gaydos has written my favorite phonics books for early readers. You will find these books and more in my Amazon Store. Please take a look around and be sure to look to the right and Browse by Category. Amazon offers Free Super Saver Shipping on many items in my store. (Remember to check the Free Super Saver Shipping box at check out to get the free shipping.) I've shared my favorite books, magnetic letters, and leveled books in this store.
The phonics books I've shared in my store have some high frequency words or sight words. You can teach a child to sound out most sight words.
I do recommend having a child practice reading with short vowel words first, but it's good to throw in a few easy long vowel words to introduce the sounds. (no, go, he, me, we, I)
Here's some advice:
- Wait to tell a child he or she made a mistake until he or she has finished a sentence or two. Then say, "Something didn't sound quite right. That sounded confusing." Engage the child in the story, look at the pictures, talk about what has already happened, ask a child to make a guess about something that might happen. You can take the opportunity to get a child thinking about what's happening to help, or you could just ask a child to read the page again. The goal is to have a child stop and fix his or her reading when it doesn't sound right or make sense. Follow a child's lead. Try not to frustrate or bore a child with too much talk.
- Give a child help with words if the child asks. Read part or all of a book if a child is struggling. Let the child read the book after he or she has listened to it a few times.
- A child practices sounding out and thinking while reading every time a book is read. Think of re-reading a book like a sports drill. Practice makes perfect. A child can and should read a good beginning reader book five or more times. Encourage a child to read early reader books many times.
- Don't make a child struggle through a book that the child can't read more than one in ten words. Find easier books or read the books a few times out loud to a child before asking the child to read.
You may find useful information in my Reading Resources page.
These are the books I'm currently using to tutor my friend's third grade daughter to help her with short vowels.