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“Helping Your Child Learn”

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Parent tips from the Utah Education Association

Reading and Writing – Pre-Readers
By Denise Ulrich, reading teacher at Crestview Elementary School, Salt Lake City, and literacy coach at Syracuse Elementary School, Syracuse, Utah

Did you know that when your student sees a picture of a cow and says "moo" they are already taking an early step towards becoming a successful reader? Just like a cow says "moo" the letter b says “b”. The ability to recognize that symbols have specific sounds attached to them will help your student understand the concept of phonics. Who knew a trip to the farm would start your reader off on the right foot?!!

Did you know that many things can be done to set your reader up for success before they even know the alphabet song? Often students get hung up in reading because they do not understand that words are made up of many smaller sounds. For example, the word “cat” has three distinct sounds: c-a-t. Practicing breaking apart words into their individual letter sounds can be done long before your student knows the names and symbols for each letter. A strong ability to hear sound segments in words is a fundamentally important step in the reading process and can be practiced long before kindergarten.

Did you know that tracking words with your finger while you read aloud to your children helps set the stage for your young readers? Knowing which way to read the words and where to go next when you finish a line seems a simple task to adult readers, but for these youngsters it's best to keep in mind that nothing is too obvious.