Children's Reading Resource | Pre-K - 3rd Grade | Home Reading Helper | Read Charlotte
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Reading with My First Grader at Home

Read, Read, and Read Everyday!

Read, Read, and Read Everyday!

You can read anything, a menu, a poster, and of course, lots of books together! Try to find a few short sessions throughout the day to read together, such as when waiting at the bus stop or eating at a restaurant, after watching your favorite TV show, or before going to bed. Reading together helps children relax and feel connected to their families.

What’s the Sound?

What’s the Sound?

If your child has not begun to read yet, make it a goal to ask your child what letter and sound a word starts with (“Apple starts with a which makes the sound/aaa/.”). This only takes a moment, but it’s exactly the practice they need to master all their sounds. If they’re ready for more of a challenge, start changing out the sounds in words. “Rake starts with “r” which makes the sound/rrrr/.” Then, ask them to switch the “r” with a “b”. “What word does it make now? Bake.” Now, switch out the -ake with -are. “What word does it create? Bare. What if we took off the ‘e’? It’s ‘bar’”. Switching around sounds, adding and taking them away, are advanced letter sound activities that build strong reading skills.

Diffuse Frustration at All Costs

Diffuse Frustration at All Costs

First grade is usually a child’s first leap into “big kid school”. The material they are learning may be more challenging, and they begin to feel the pressure to be reading. In pre-k and Kindergarten, they were often praised for the work they did and celebrated for accomplishing tasks. 1st grade presents the first time they are graded, which can cause new frustration and shame.

Frustration, if not talked about, can lead children to shut down or avoid the work that challenges them. If memorizing sight words has been frustrating, scale back and just focus on one word and let them create a picture for the word to help them remember it. It’s important to help them handle these big emotions and encourage them every step of the way.

Teach your child to treat making an error like a puzzle to be solved, rather than feeling like they’re failing. Remind your child that you are on their side and they are never “bad” or “dumb” for not knowing the answer; remind them mistakes are normal, and it’s like learning to ride a bike or learning to swim. It felt uncomfortable and frustrating at first, but after struggling they were able to do it!

Create a Personal Dictionary

Create a Personal Dictionary

Take seven sheets of blank copy paper and fold them in half, stapling the fold to create a book. On the cover have them write “My Dictionary”. Show your child how to write one letter of the alphabet on the top of each page. Keep this at home so they can write their new sight words in it each week or words they ask you to spell. Encourage them to draw a small picture to help remind them what the word means. For example, if the word is “two” have them draw two tiny hearts on the tips of the w to remind them it means the number 2. This is an empowering technique for children to take ownership of learning and using new words.

Make Homework Time Happy

Make Homework Time Happy

If your child dreads homework and is struggling to complete it, rethink your approach to completing homework. Show your child ways to get comfortable, like standing at a counter to write, laying down on the floor or sitting on a large yoga ball. Let them eat their favorite snack or chew gum as a reward for getting started. Model how using a timer and setting it for 5 minutes at a time gives them a goal for staying focused. When the timer beeps, get up, run a lap around the house and start again. All TVs, tablets and distractions should be off and away so your child’s space is clear and quiet. If they have a friend or neighbor, invite them over so they can have a “study group” and complete their work together. Kids work at different paces, one child may take a half hour to complete what takes another child 10 minutes. If you feel like your child is overwhelmed and frustrated, it’s time to notify the teacher.

Get Free Homework Help:

Get Free Homework Help:

Tutor.com Live Homework Help from the CMLibrary
Get free homework help from a live, online, qualified tutor—up to 10 free tutoring sessions each week! All you need is a library card and an Internet connection. You can use Tutor.com from home, school and even the Library. Tutor.com is available for K-12 students to get help from English-speaking or Spanish-speaking tutors in a wide range of subjects including math, science, English, social studies and essay review. NOTE: One Access students should enter their Student ID number as their username and their 4-digit birth year as the password.
  • English-speaking tutoring: Daily from 4 p.m. to midnight.
  • Spanish-speaking tutoring: Sunday to Thursday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.

Practice the Way to Read

Practice the Way to Read

Show your child the title of the book, looking at the cover and some of the pictures to see what the book might be about. Show them how to slide their finger under the words from left to right when you read the words on the page, then sweep down to the next line to continue reading. Tell them how punctuation like periods and exclamation points work and the different types of books, such as fiction (made up stories) and nonfiction or informational (facts and real events).

Take Turns!

Take Turns!

Children need lots of practice with reading, and they need someone to hear them read. Simply telling a child “go read” before they have the ability to read well by themselves does not help build their skills. Your guidance and corrective feedback is the exact help they need to improve “Oops, I think you skipped a line....Could you read that one word back to me?....How do you read a sentence with an exclamation point?” You listening and taking turns reading with them makes the activity fun and gives them the chance to hear how YOU read as well.

Borrow Books to Practice!

Borrow Books to Practice!

The library will have everything you need to get your child practicing their new reading skills with the best books. If your child is a CMS student, they automatically have a Charlotte Mecklenburg Library card and can check out as many as 99 books at a time! If they do not already have a library card, they can tell the librarian their student ID number to check books out. You can find out your child’s school ID number by looking on their report card or calling the school.

Find a library location close to you

Use the “Goldilocks Strategy” for picking out books. Most children should spend time with “just-right” books.
Have your child ask themselves:
  • Is this book too hard?
  • Is this book too easy?
  • Is this book just-right?
To check the difficulty, have your child show you this:
The Five Finger Rule
  • Hold up your fist
  • As you read the book, put up a finger each time you find a word you don’t know
  • If you get to five fingers before you are with done with the book, it’s too hard.
If you’re not checking out books, know that simply visiting the library is an excellent practice. Spending a few minutes letting your child find books that interest them and allowing them to read greatly enhances their reading achievement compared to other activities, like video game playing or watching TV.

Check Out These Perfect 1st Grade Books for Your Beginning Reader: 30 of the Best Level 1 Books for Early Readers

Can’t make it to the library? Read a book on ANY computer!

Can’t make it to the library? Read a book on ANY computer!

NC Kids Digital Library (Free, requires library card number) NC Kids Digital Library offers e-books, audiobooks, streaming videos, and Read-Alongs. This collection was specifically designed for youth ages pre-K through 4th grade and includes picture books, youth fiction, youth nonfiction, and more.

Libby, by Overdrive (Free app for iPhones and iPads, Google Play, or Windows Mobile) This app can be used on your phone or tablet to access the NC Kids Digital Library for Read Along books for free.

Boys Rule, Boys Read Iron Guy Carl provides boys between the ages of 9 - 14 with great book recommendations with the hopes of inspiring them to love reading.

Keep Reading Sessions Short in the Beginning….only a few minutes at a time!

Keep Reading Sessions Short in the Beginning….only a few minutes at a time!

Reading requires a lot of hard work from children. They have to figure out letter shapes while remembering the sounds they make, then blend these sounds together. They’ll tire easily, so try to be patient with their attitude about reading. Some days they’ll want to show you everything they can read, and other days they’ll be frustrated with not knowing how to say the words they see. Once they catch on, they’ll be excited to read with you.
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