The beginning of the school year is a time of change, growth, and setting new goals. Hopefully, students spent some time over the vacation months visiting the library to borrow books for summer reading. Enjoying books with friends and family members is a wonderful way for young children to be introduced to reading. When a child is read aloud to, their vocabulary and ability to understand concepts increases. They’re able to hear the difference between “ book language ” and everyday spoken language. This immersion in language and vocabulary increases a beginning reader’s chances of success. It helps them predict what the text might say when they begin reading it for themselves.
As we select books for emergent and early readers, it’s important to think about more than just the differences between fiction and non-fiction. How the text is put together is important. It can help or hinder a young reader. To fully support our students and encourage their success, we must consider the following when selecting books:
- Does the text support reading for meaning?
- Does the text draw on skills that the child already has?
- Will the text expand the child’s current processing strategies?
Use the narrative text chart on the following page as a guide when matching books to emergent and early readers. Remember to think about what the student needs to learn and whether the text features in each book support that learning. Welcome back to the classroom. It’s going to be a great year!
Teaching Points for Emergent Readers
- Tracking print
- Noticing patterns in text language structure
- Using pictures to predict the story and words
- Attending to graphophonic cues (especially the beginning and ending letters) to decode unknown words
- Looking through the word to the end
Text Features That Support Emergent Readers
- Consistent placement of text
- Fonts and spacing between words and lines that help children focus on the print
- Pictures that closely match the text
- Book language that matches a child’s spoken language
- Predictable text and language structures
Teaching Points for Early Readers
- Monitoring and self-correcting
- Using meaning, structure, and graphophonic cues together to decode unknown words
- Chunking words into phrases
- Rereading to predict and confirm
- Beginning to notice spelling patterns
Text Features That Support Early Readers
- Pictures that support and extend the text
- Text that is chunked into phrases
- Adequate spacing between words and lines
- Language that reflects a child’s oral language
- Books about topics children can relate to and about which they have background knowledge