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Tips on Teaching Young Students to Read

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Photo of Holly (Teach Starter)
Updated | 3 min read

“I need help with a reading program and other resources to teach reading to struggling kinders who are coming to me in grade one. Where do I start?”


Teaching a child to read is one of the biggest gifts you can give to them. Encouraging a love of reading is crucial in the early years of a child’s learning. However, learning to read does not just happen overnight. There are a number of stepping stones to teach a child before reading becomes a natural thing. In this blog we will aim to give you some Teach Starter resources that will help you on your journey in teaching young children to read.

Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

Teaching phonemic awareness and phonics is vital when teaching children to read. A child who has phonemic awareness can combine the separate sounds of a word and put them together to say the word correctly. Phonics is different. Phonics is the understanding that single letters and combinations of letters make certain sounds. Daily instruction and activities that relate to phonics and phonemic awareness are crucial in the early years.

Here are some Teach Starter posters and games to help with teaching phonics:

When teaching phonics it is best to focus on a sound a week. Use our diagraph posters to display in your classroom and help children remember the different sounds they have learnt. Spelling words for the week should be focused around the sound of the week along with the in class activities.

Here are some Teach Starter resources to help with encouraging phonemic awareness:

Image of Jumble Mania - Star Letters with Blends and Digraphs

teaching resource

Jumble Mania - Star Letters with Blends and Digraphs

An ongoing game that encourages students to use the provided letters to make as many words as they can.

Teach Starter Publishing21 pagesYears: F - 7

Sight Words

Sight words are some of the most frequently used words in the English language. Because they are used so often, and to help young readers while they continue their journey as a reader, instant recognition of these sight words is extremely important. Many of these sight words cannot be easily sounded out or illustrated. It is because of this that we try and encourage instant recognition of these words.

Here are some Teach Starter resources that can help children at different levels:

Image of Dolch Words Card Game – Classroom Game

teaching resource

Dolch Words Card Game – Classroom Game

A card game for dolch sight words.

Teach Starter Publishing7 pagesYears: F - 3Has Starter Sheet
Image of Sight Word Cards - Dolch Primer

teaching resource

Sight Word Cards - Dolch Primer

Dolch primer sight words on flash cards.

Teach Starter Publishing14 pagesYears: F - 3
Image of Sight Word Cards - Dolch Nouns

teaching resource

Sight Word Cards - Dolch Nouns

Dolch Nouns sight words on flash cards.

Teach Starter Publishing25 pagesYears: F - 4
Image of Sight Word Cards - Dolch Year 2

teaching resource

Sight Word Cards - Dolch Year 2

Dolch Year 2 sight words on flash cards.

Teach Starter Publishing13 pagesYears: F - 3
Image of Sight Word Cards - Dolch Year 1

teaching resource

Sight Word Cards - Dolch Year 1

Dolch Year 1 sight words on flash cards.

Teach Starter Publishing12 pagesYears: F - 3

Reading Strategies

Providing beginning readers with strategies that they are able to use when they are stuck on a word provides them with the tools to feel confident in their own abilities. It is important to provide children with the tools to work out tricky words themselves otherwise they will not learn the important elements of reading. Here are some Teach Starter posters and strategy cards that you could display in your classroom or have available for children during guided reading.

Using a variety of opportunities to teach children different reading strategies is best done through independent, guided, shared and modelled reading.

Independent Reading – Students independently apply previously taught reading strategies and self-select a text suitable for their level of reading. The five finger rule is a good strategy. Students open a page and count words they don’t know.

0-1 – too easy

1-2 – perfect choice

3-4 – give it a try

5+ – too hard

Guided Reading – Students work in small group guided by a Teacher. A good opportunity to talk through different reading strategies and comprehension in a small group.

Modelled Reading – Is the explicit teaching and demonstration of reading behaviours such as strategies to use when stuck on a word and comprehension of the text.

Shared Reading – Similar to modelled reading however the teacher and students work together more to read the text. This builds up the students’ confidence in themselves as readers.

Some Teach Starter resources you could use during your class reading program:

Image of Whole Class Guided Reading Focus Poster

teaching resource

Whole Class Guided Reading Focus Poster

A set of 3 posters to write the class focus for guided reading groups.

Teach Starter Publishing3 pagesYears: F - 7

Comprehension

Comprehensions is fundamental. If young readers do not comprehend what they are reading then they are simple stringing words together and not developing meaning. It is important to ask questions and seek answers from young readers to encourage them to interact with texts they read.

Use these Teach Starter comprehension strategies posters to encourage the children in your class to understand the meaning of the texts they are reading.

Image of Reading Strategies Poster Pack

teaching resource

Reading Strategies Poster Pack

A pack of 10 posters explaining some of the most commonly used reading comprehension strategies.

Teach Starter Publishing10 pagesYears: F - 6

Use this checklist to keep track of your students’ comprehension skills:

Image of Guided Reading Groups - Comprehension Checklist (Individual Profile)

teaching resource

Guided Reading Groups - Comprehension Checklist (Individual Profile)

A checklist to help keep track of your students' reading progress and comprehension skills.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: F - 4

Other related resources

Encourage a love of reading

Image of The More You Read... Poster

teaching resource

The More You Read... Poster

A positivity poster encouraging kids to read.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: F - 7

Classroom theme pack

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