What is the “Does it Make Sense?” Reading Prompt?

So, your child is reading along and comes to a word she doesn’t know. What do you do?  

Do you tell her to sound it out? Say the sounds?  No. You ask her what word would make sense here.
Children use basically three reading strategies when learning to read:
Does it make sense?
Does is sound right?
Does it look right?
The most POWERFUL  of these is the first one – Does it make sense?  Reading for meaning.

Mother and Daughter Reading Together --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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Sight Word Flashcards…there’s a place for them!

It’s a good idea to use flashcards to help your child learn sight words which are the building blocks of reading (and writing).  However – 

  • Use flashcards in addition to teaching sight words by using books you’re already reading with your child. Why?
  • We want the words to be meaningful to your child. When you point out a sight word such as “I” in a story you’re reading, your child sees how the word is used. It’s part of a story and has more meaning than if it’s isolated on a card.

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  • When your child is about 4 years old, you can start introducing sight words, but it really depends on the child. Some children might be ready at 3 years, some at 5.

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Teaching Sight Words is Important…

What are sight words?

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Sight words are the building blocks of beginning reading. They are words such as it, is, am, and, the, you, I, he, she and here. It’s important to build up a word bank. These are words that your child will be able to recognize on sight, quickly, without actually having to read them. This will speed up the reading process and make things easier for your child. Sight words will be important for beginning writing, too. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand.

Use the books you’re reading to your child to teach sight words…

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Super Hammy’s in Flight!

The Super Hammy – My First Reading Series – has been officially launched!

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I met so many wonderful and interesting teachers, principals, authors, book store owners, and publishers at the Reading for the Love of It Conference 2017 at the Sheraton in Toronto today and yesterday.  I appreciated the feedback I got about my books and came away with some good advice, too, for future endeavours.
I think I can safely say that the consensus is that Super Hammy is very cute!  I did some drawing while I was there!

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Many thanks to Susanne and Leonard of DC Canada Education Publishing.  In addition to the Super Hammy series, DC Canada was showcasing their series called The Charter for Children which is a set of fictional stories describing our rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The author is Dustin Milligan.

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Here Comes Super Hammy…

The official book launch for Super Hammy – My First Reading Series…is Thursday, February 23rd, 2017.

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I’ll be attending the Reading for the Love of It Conference which runs February 23 and 24 at the Sheraton in Toronto. If you’ll be attending the conference, stop by booth 702 and I’ll sign some books for you! The official launch is Thursday, Feb. 23rd from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The books can be purchased individually or as a set.

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“The Super Hammy reading series is a collection of 15 books about a mighty little hero Super Hammy who goes on big adventures with his friend Little Mouse. His simple and funny stories are told in small sentences – just right for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and grade one.
The stories are carefully written with controlled vocabulary and simple sentence structures. The characters and humorous story lines and illustrations will appeal to children and make learning to read fun. The books are designed to facilitate the teaching of reading for classroom teachers, Reading Recovery teachers, teachers of English Language Learners and students with special needs, and for parents. An audio CD is included in the box set.”  DC Canada Education Publishing
Hope to see you there!

More Ways to Teach Your Child the Alphabet…

You can buy all kinds of hi-tech alphabet toys and computer games to teach your child the alphabet…

But often it’s the simple, homemade things that work best. My kids learned their abc’s with the good, old alphabet fishing game. Nothing hi-tech about it, but it works!

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  • Make some fish. Print the fish-template I’ve provided on card stock. Make 5 copies. You’ll need 52 fish. Or you can cut them out of foam. Print one letter on each fish: a capital ‘A’ on one fish, a small ‘a’ on another fish, and so on. Attach a paper clip to each fish.
  • Make a fishing rod using a small stick (a chopstick, a paint brush, a dowel). Attach a string with a magnet on the end. It will pick up the fish by the paper clip.
  • Make it easy. Put only 3 fish on the floor face down so you can’t see the letter. Your child will “catch” a fish, turn it over, and tell you the name of it. Always include letters your child already knows and add one new one at a time. If your child doesn’t know any letters yet, start with 3 fish, but when your child catches one and turns it over, you name the letter.
  • Variation: Once a few fish have been collected, have your child match the upper case letter with the lower case letter.
  • Variation:  Lay out 5 different fish face up. Ask your child to catch a specific letter. Praise your child.

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How to Teach Your Child the Alphabet…

There are many ways to learn the alphabet.

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Your child can watch any number of wonderful children’s television programs and play educational games on the computer.  But, here, I’ll show you some simple things you can do at home with one of my favourite teaching tools – magnetic letters.

So, do you teach the upper case or capital letters first?

I’d start with the lower case or small letters – a, b, c and so on. Then, add the upper case letters. Why? Take a look at a page of print in a book. What do you see more of? Upper or lower case letters? Right! Your child will need to know both to begin to read most efficiently.

Read alphabet books.

  • Say the name of the letter and say the sound it makes.
  • Ask the children’s librarian at your public library for some ABC books.

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