Thursday, October 29, 2009

Suggestions for beginning readers

One challenge for beginning readers is that their comprehension far outpaces what they can read independently. This is naturally frustrating! To help keep them engaged with books, use audio books. You can borrow them on CD or download them as eBooks from the public library.

It also helps to make reading as social and interactive as possible! Sit together to read, alter your voice and expression while reading, and talk about the story (predict how the plot might develop, discuss why the illustrator made the choices he/she did, describe alternate endings, etc.).

It is difficult to write works of gripping literature using a limited vocabulary of phonetically spelled words! However, beginning readers can be made more engaging with parental involvement. If you take turns reading sentences, that will also help minimize the mental fatigue (think back to your own experiences trying to express yourself or read something complex in a foreign language...).

Two of my personal favorite beginning reader series are The Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems and the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik. However, I think the best strategy is to go to the public library, settle in for awhile, browse the shelves of beginning readers, and choose together a few titles that appeal to your child and that he or she can read without too much of a struggle. After all, there is nothing quite like the thrill of picking out your very own books!

Here are some other resources to check out:

Books for Beginning Readers from the Cooperative Children's Book Center.

TumbleBook Library and BookFlix – Databases of video storybooks and read-alongs for children. You will need your KCLS card to log in.

Book lists for various ages from the public library.

The Geisel Award - A beginning reader book award given out by the American Library Association (which also gives out the Caldecott & Newbery Medals).

Beginning Readers: Overview from the International Reading Association - Check out the Teachers' Choices and Children's Choices Booklists, which include beginning readers!

Read Kiddo Read - Reading lists for all ages.

Ready to Read - Resources for parents of infants to 3rd graders about supporting reading.

How to Read with a Beginning Reader - Tips from Reading Rockets.

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