Make your finger match the words! 

Students are learning how to finger point to each word they are reading, starting from the left and reading to the right. One-to-one matching can be modeled when parents are reading aloud to children. This strategy can be practiced when singing the ABC sound chart (on the back of homework folder), when counting, and when reading.

 Look at the Picture

Students are learning that when we get stuck on a word, we can look at the picture to help us figure out what the word might be. For example, if the student does not know the word "cat" but there is a picture of a cat, we can look at the picture to help us think about what would make sense.

Get Your Mouth Ready for the First Sound 

When we get to a word we do not know, we look at the first letter in the word and say the sound it makes. For example, if the text says "We can see rabbits", the student will point to each word and say "we can see".. but might get stuck on the word "rabbits". If we just say the sound "r" and look at the picture, our brain will think "oh, the word is rabbits". This strategy is very powerful when students are just guessing words. For example, if your child says "We can see bunnies", bring them back to the first sound "r" and point out that "bunnies" doesn't start with "r" so it must be "rabbits" instead.

  Look Through the Word at ALL the Sounds 

While getting our mouth ready for the first sound is a good strategy, it is not enough. We need to look THROUGH the word at ALL the sounds. Let's go back to the last example: in "We can see rabbits" getting our mouth ready for the first sound would not be enough because the student could just guess another word that starts with r (like rainbows) and move on. It is important to look through the word, pointing and saying each sound. In the word "rabbits", point to the "a" next and have your child tell you what sound "a" makes. Next the "b" and so on. This will be a huge help with sound recognition!

 Stretch Out the Sounds 

We learn to stretch out EACH sound as we are reading the word by saying the sound of each letter in the word then blending it together. For example, the word CAT can be decoded "C-A-T, then blended together, CAT". Play stretching and blending games at home. Stretch out a word for your child by saying each sound in the word "d-o-g" then have your child say the word. This may seem extremely easy, but kindergartners actually have a tough time grasping the concept of blending.

 Go Back and Get a Running Start 

If we get stuck on a word, a good strategy is to go back to the beginning of the sentence to get a running start to see if that helps us think about the meaning of the sentence.  It is also important to go back and get a running start when a word was just sounded out.  After working hard on sounding new words out we want to make sure we read the new word in the sentence fluently.  This will help in remembering the new word and it will help with our reading comprehension. It is important to always go back to make our reading fluent.

 Skip the Word and Read on to Think About What Makes Sense 

We can often figure out an unknown word by skipping the word and reading the rest of the sentence to try and gain meaning through the context of the rest of the sentence or maybe several of the following sentences to help determine the unknown word.  Sometimes this also works by going back to get a running start to reread the previous context to construct meaning of the sentence.  When using this strategy it is important to go back and check to see if the sounds in the predicted word

matches the sounds in the skipped unknown word.  We never just guess and keep reading.  For example in the sentence:  Our new house has 4 bedrooms and a big back yard.  If house is the unknown word the context of 4 bedrooms and back yard help determine the sentence is about a house. When we go back and check we can see that house matches the sounds.

Look for a Letter Team Inside the Word 

For beginning readers it is common for them to want to give each letter one sound and ignore letter teams.  With this strategy we focus students on identifying and applying the use of letter teams in unknown words.  For example: the word chip has four letters but only three sounds ch-i-p.  It is important for students to look through the word when identifying letter teams because they are often in the middle or at the end of words, as is  house, with, tree, monster, and other words are made up entirely of letter teams as in shower

Look for a Magic E

The “magic e” sits at the end of a word and

tells the first vowel to say it’s name! And the e says nothing!  Our sight word take is a good example of the “magic e”.  More words with the “magic e” are: rose, tube, cape, Pete, bike

Look for 2 vowels go-a'walking

“When 2 vowels go-a’walking the first one does the talking by saying his name”  For example: in the word road the 2 vowels are oa so o does the talking by saying the long o sound and a says nothing because he just does the walking.  Here are a few more words in which this rule applies:

wait, read, toad, fruit

Look for smaller words inside the word

Look at the word to see if there is a smaller word or word family we know inside the bigger word.  Say each word chunk and then blend the chunks together.  Always remember to cross check to make sure the word makes sense in the sentence.  Some examples are:  pond, hand, can, win, ball,