Monday, June 15, 2009

Julia's Reading

I try to have a simple reading lesson with Julia several times a week. To begin, Julia chooses three or four books from her book box. These are books that she has already read with me. Some of her favorites have been read several times and are quite familiar to her. Rereading familiar books allows Julia to practice reading fluently. Because these books are usually rather easy for her she builds confidence right from the start of her lesson.

After she reads each book I usually praise a specific strategy that she has used effectively. For example, I might turn to a page and tell her, "Wow, you noticed that what you said didn't make sense, so you went back and read that line again. You know that what you read always has to make sense!" About once a week I'll go through her box and remove any books that are too easy or not interesting to Julia.

We spend a few minutes on word work. In this picture she is changing the first letter or letters of words to make new words. I started this by showing her the word 'make' and saying, "This says 'make'. I can change the 'm' to 'f' and make the word 'fake'. When I put the 'm' back I made 'make' again. Now you try. Can you change 'make' to 'fake'? Now make 'take'. How about 'shake'?" Julia moves the letters to make the requested words. Then I'll make words for her to read.

Finally, Julia gets some new books. I choose books that I know will provide some challenges but are within her grasp. I always begin by introducing the book to her, making sure I discuss any unfamiliar vocabulary or concepts. Julia then reads the book to me.

We really enjoy this time together. We discuss the stories, laugh at the silly parts, and learn from the non-fiction books together. My purpose of these lessons is not only for Julia to develop reading skills but more importantly to develop a love of reading. This is a natural extension of the wonderful experiences we have had exploring books together since she was a newborn. Now Julia is the one reading to me!

I have lots of leveled books that I purchased when I was a classroom teacher. Books for beginning readers can also be found at:


  1. Looks like you're doing some really important reading activities and word work over at your house! Great ideas!!

  2. I love those ideas! I like the make words activities...

  3. Fabulous ideas here. I'm bookmarking this little gem. :-)

  4. I like the work work too! Great ideas.