Resources for our young readers-to-be

Before I dive into resources for our already struggling readers I thought I’d look at things we can do for our youngest of readers (aka our “pre readers” or “emerging readers”). While we can’t cure a child of a learning disability, we can teach them skills we know they’ll need to become successful readers.

Lets start with the foundation!

Phonemic Awareness

We know phonemic awareness is crucial in reading success. To sum it up, its the ability to manipulate the sounds of the language- no print is involved in this step.

  • Read books with alliteration,

  • Read rhyming books

Kids should know nursery rhymes. Bring them back! These are 2 of my

favorite. They’re short and easy to read. My kids basically memorized

them and could finish the sentences. I would read “Yankee Doodle went to

town, riding on his pony, stuck a feather…” and they would finish the

rest. This is a great way to give them that much needed “I can read”

confidence. (The Circus Ship is poetic and beautifully illustrated)

  • clap syllables.

Every new word we learn, we clap. If you want to go the extra mile,

practice identifying sounds. Ask “whats the first sound in monster?”

  • Listen to music! It improves their listening skills (and lots of rhyming of

    course). We love The Laurie Berkner Band. She sings about trains,

    dinosaurs and fish- how could you not love her?

LITERACTIVE.COM has a ton of wonderful literacy activities that incorporate nursery rhymes and other beginning reader activities. Love this site.


This is where we look at letters. Of course there’s a ton you can do but I stick to a word wall. For every book we read, we write a word or two down on an index card and post it to the wall. We practice sounding out each letter and thinking of other words that start with the same letter (or sound). We try and read it every day.


Fluent readers read accurately with appropriate speed and inflection but they need to hear how its supposed to be read first.

Read aloud. Practice different voices. Listen to books being read. Have Betty White or Oprah read your kids a book.

Vocabulary and Comprehension

Read Fiction and non fiction- expose them to as many different topics as possible. Is your child obsessed with trains? Get them a book about frogs. Exposing your kids to different topics encourages greater comprehension when they do go to school.

Ask open ended questions:

What do you think will happen next?

How does she feel?

What was your favorite part, why?

Writing is important too- write letters to Grandma or your next door neighbor. Its good that kids learn there are real reasons to write (other than a required essay in 4th grade).

I’m always worried I’m not doing enough but with these activities, I feel I’m building a solid foundation for my kids…at least for now.

Holly TurnerComment