Create a Solid Foundation for Reading


You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be–
I had a Mother who read to me.

The Reading Mother by Strickland Gillian

I adore reading!  I could read all day long!  When I go on vacation I take a couple books because I enjoy it so much.  I know this is not the case with everyone and I’m sad that people miss out on the enjoyment and adventure a great book can read.  As a teacher I have met kids on every part of the reading enjoyment spectrum.  I have found that the kids who really enjoy reading gained that love from an early age.  They say that children become readers on the laps of their parents.

Before children learn to read, there are a few things they need to establish.  We talked about playing with sounds and how that ties into reading before.  Today I want to write about concepts of print.  Essentially, this is understanding the elements of a book.  When a child understands the basic elements or reading, then taking the next step (becoming a reader themselves) is easy and natural.  Here are some of these concepts (which can easily be learned when you read to your child regularly):

  • You open books on the right side
  • Where the front and back cover are
  • On each page words go left to right, top to bottom
  • The pictures and words on a page to together
  • The title is on the front cover and the title page
  • Where to begin reading in a book
  • That words are groups of letters with spaces separating them
  • Being able to show the first and last pages, pictures, words on a page, etc.
  • Understand that you turn pages while reading and that the story continues on the next page.

Here is an assessment you can look over and use with your child if you are interested.

If you make it a habit of reading to your child regularly, these will come along incredibly naturally!  Happy reading.

Simple Start: Phoneme Segmentation

Simple Start:
{A series providing simple activities that set a strong educational foundation}


Phoneme segmentation

That’s quite a mouthful!  And yet it is SO MUCH simpler than it sounds.  A phoneme is a sound.  Segmentation just means taking something apart.  So phoneme segmentation is quite simply taking apart the sounds in a word.

Here’s are a few examples: cat becomes c….a…..t… or /k/ /a/ /t/.  In teaching and phonics instruction each sound goes in between slashes.
Stop  /s/ /t/ /o/ /p/
Chip /ch/ /i/ /p/
Hello /h/ /e/ /l/ /o/

Pulling a word into the sounds is a simple start because it is done orally.  No paper, book, or materials needed!  It can be done in the car while driving, while shopping, during bath time, right before bedtime, while at the dinner table.  Just say a word and break it into its sounds!

Why is this helpful and important?

  1. It sets the foundation for writing as well as reading.  When a child is writing they have to be able to hear all the sounds in a word to be able to spell it.  If they can’t hear all the sounds then they will leave something out when writing the word.
  2. When people start reading they begin by sounding words out, which is the opposite of this activity.  They make each sound separately then put them all together to make a whole word.  If they can take the sounds  in a word apart, then the natural next step is putting them back together.

Give it a shot! Pull some words apart as you go about your daily routines.  Remember that you’ll have to do all the work in the beginning to show them how it’s done.  They as they hear it they’ll begin to jump in.  Start with words that had 2 or 3 sounds and work up from there.   This is a very simple activity that lays the foundation to great readers and writers.