Tuesday, October 2, 2012

PART 3 Beyond ABC's: Teaching Your Child to Read in Just 15 Minutes a Day

You've read PART 1: Getting Organized, so you now have a handy-dandy notebook and a place to keep all your teaching/learning materials.

You've read PART 2: Ongoing Assessments, so you know exactly which sight words your child knows, his level of phonemic awareness, his reading level (if he's reading at all), and his comprehension ability.

Now, you are ready to teach...

PART 3: Planning Lessons.

When planning lessons for my child, or for any student that I tutor for reading, I aim to include all 5 components of reading into each lesson. However, only one skill from one component will be my focus during a single lesson. You only have 15 minutes to really focus your instruction, so don't try to cram too much in all at once.

Some examples of what your lesson focus could be:
  • a decoding strategy, (i.e., using the picture to figure out an unfamiliar word)
  • a phonics rule (long a words, short a words, beginning sounds, etc.)
  • a phonemic awareness lesson (rhyming words, alliteration, etc.)
  • a comprehension skill (retelling, sequencing, etc.)
The list can be infinite, but these are just a couple examples to get you thinking. Of course, the skill or strategy that you teach will depend on what your child needs to be taught. How will you know what he needs to be taught? From your ongoing assessments. If you haven't administered any assessments, then you seriously need to do so.

Every single lesson that you teach should include a book. Every. Single. One. This is just a little neuroses of mine. Whenever I observed a teacher in the classroom teaching a small reading group, I expected to see, I don't know, something for the children to read, perhaps? Sure, you can teach a very effective lesson without a book, but what is the point if you remove the one element that gives purpose to your lesson? That's like teaching someone to swim without going in the water. Just let your child dive into a book and practice what you are teaching him! If he's not reading on his own yet, then read the book to him.

I like to focus my entire 15 minutes around the book I am using. I carefully select a book that is not only ability-level appropriate, but fitting for the skill or strategy I am teaching.

Confused, yet? Let me show you what this would look like in action....

Book: How Frogs Grow (Fountas and Pinnell reading level C)
Lesson focus: Sequencing (a comprehension skill)

Before Reading:
Remind the child that he read this same book the day before. (Yes, you may revisit books!) Ask him what he remembered about the book, and engage in a casual discussion for a couple of minutes. Review content vocabulary: eggs, tadpole, froglet, frog.

During Reading:
Set a purpose for reading by telling the child that you want him to pay attention to the order of events. Which comes first, second, third, fourth? Have the content vocabulary written on index cards and display them in from of the reader as a reference.

After Reading:
Ask the child to put the content vocabulary words in sequential order, matching them to illustrations from the book. (Eggs, tadpoles, froglets, frogs) Have the child dictate a sentence for each word while you write the child's sentences on a piece of paper divided into four sections. Then ask him to draw his own illustrations for the sentences.

"Eggs are in water. Tadpoles come out. Froglets have legs and tails. Their tails get smaller and smaller. Now they are frogs."

I'll post more of my lessons in subsequent posts. But, in the meantime, figure out what your child needs to be taught and start teaching!

Have a question or comment? Leave it below. Or, find me on Facebook.

Also, check out this post and many, many other awesome ideas on Living Life Intentionally's Linky Party #50.


  1. Thanks for sharing your reading tips.

  2. Great reading tips! Love the picture of your son reading & playing =-)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great week and I look forward to seeing you linked up again on Friday,
    Beth =-)