Activities For Guided Reading at Home
Reading Aloud Tips for Developing Early Print Awareness
We had discussed the many benefits of reading out loud to your toddler in another article here. This article will discuss some amazingly simple, yet extremely effective strategies for reading aloud, and it is a bit of a meshing of reading aloud with guided reading activities to help your child develop early print awareness and early phonemic awareness.
I'll explain the many benefits of using these guided reading strategies below.
Generally, the term "guided reading" refers to one teacher working with a small group of students (or 1 on 1) with similar reading levels, and work to improve and enhance the reading skills of these students. However, for our purposes here, we use the term "guided reading" as in a parent to toddler setting, where the parent is doing all the reading, but guiding the child along as the parent reads to achieve 2 main goals:
1) help the child develop early print awareness
2) help the child develop early phonemic awareness
So please keep that in mind as you read this article, and we will explain how this "guiding" by the parent works during the read aloud sessions.
Guided Reading Strategies for Developing Print Awareness - What is Print Referencing?
Print referencing is a simple technique to guide your child's attention to the printed text that you are reading. The benefits of this type of guided reading is that you're actively calling your toddler's attention to the text which is being read. Studies have found that young children pay very little attention to the text in story books - instead they pay attention to the illustrations, and this is expected. However, with the simple print referencing technique, you can greatly increase a child's focus, attention, and knowledge of print by highlighting the printed text you read.
How is this done?
The simplest way to accomplish this is to simply POINT to where you are reading! Yep, it's that easy. There are several other techniques; however, we have found that pointing to where you are reading is the most efficient and expedient way to help your child develop print awareness.
The main goal is to help focus parts of your child's attention to the printed text that you are reading. One study has found that using a simple print referencing method, a child may focus on print 20,000 more times than a child who is read to without print referencing. [Print Referencing During Read-Alouds, Justice et al.]
In our family's guided reading activities, we took this a step further and combined print referencing along with some basic phonemic awareness training to achieve amazing results. By the time our 2nd child was a bit over 1.5 years old, he had developed exceptional phonemic awareness, and could easily blend.
This is How its Done:
- Point to where you are reading. Don't worry if your child is not looking at where you are pointing to. The simple act of pointing to where you are reading will be forceful enough to cause your child to look where you are pointing on many occasions.
- Now take this one step further by adding one simple step. Pick 1 or 2 words from each page (or even every second page) to segment and blend during your read aloud.
- For example, say you're reading this passage:
- "The dog jumped."
- You pick one word to stretch out and blend, like so:
- "The d-oooooo-g jumped.
- Point to where you are reading!
That's it! It's that simple. You're not going to see immediate results. No. That's not the purpose of this exercise, and it's not realistic to expect results immediately. However, continue this practice day after day, and you will surely begin to notice your child is developing a natural ability to blend along with you. This is called phonemic awareness - the ability to hear, identify, and work with the smallest units of sound, and it is this ability that is critical to teach a child to read!
Below is a short video showing our 2nd child's reading progress after just 4 and 8 weeks of reading instructions. He developed phonemic awareness very early on using the above discussed methods.