This page has resources for early literacy skills, those that are foundational to reading.
I will add to them routinely. I teach an online course, Foundations of Literacy K-8. I will add to them routinely. If there is a specific topic you are looking for, contact me at
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Begin With Phonemic Awareness!
Check out this video to help your child with phonemic awareness. Many struggling readers lack knowledge of sounds (phonemic awareness).
Children have better success with phonics once they have experience with phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness may be the component that will help fill that gap. Children must be able to segment words into individual sounds to read in any language that uses the alphabetic principle.
Phoneme isolation is the ability to isolate a single sound from within a word. Phoneme blending is the ability to blend individual sounds into a word. Phoneme segmentationis the ability to break a word into individual sounds.
Blending is linked to reading, segmenting linked to writing. Therefore, blending should come before segmenting, as you want to get children starting to read some words before they need to start writing them. Also, blending is a slightly easier skill to master as it relies more on listening.
Rhyming is a foundational skill for reading. Research tells us that children who have a good understanding of rhyme do better in literacy than children who have poor skills in this area. Including a regular routine of songs and rhymes into a child’s day supports early speech and language development. It is a foundational reading skill.
Sadly, children are not often taught nursery rhymes. Dr. Seuss books have stood the test of time for their wealth of rhyming words.
Rhythms can help children’s listening skills – they are the foundations of the careful listening needed for
often developing clear speech; children pick up the patterns of speech and benefit from hearing the repetition
A child may be able to recite the alphabet, but they need to first learn SOUNDS. Most of reading problems come from a lack of phonemic awareness (knowledge of sounds). When teaching this skill you would not introduce letters yet. Sounds first! There are many ways to do that. The following items will help you. Phonics (combining letters and sounds would come once a student knows sounds.
Here is a Powtoon on Phonemic Awareness:
Another rhyming game
Children that are read to learn that symbols on the page hold meaning. They learn to hold a book, care for a book, how to read from left to right, and how to turn pages. Most importantly they associate books with pleasure.
Concepts of Print refers to the awareness of ‘how print works’. This includes the knowledge of the concept of what books, print, and written language are, and how they function. It encompasses a number of understandings that allow the reading process to take place including: understanding that print conveys a message.
Concepts of print include:
- Reading from left to right (Different languages have different concepts of print. For example, Arabic and Hebrew read from right to left while English, Spanish and French all read left to right).
- Reading from top to bottom
- The fact that letters and words convey a message.
- Print is what we read.
- The “return sweep”, to move from one line to the next
- Illustrations in a book correspond to the print
- Every book as a front, back, and an author
Students have different learning styles. It’s vital that instruction meet the needs of all students. Using a one size fits all approach is not best practice. Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs.
•Research shows differentiated instruction is effective for high-ability students as well as students with mild to severe disabilities.
•When students are given more options on how they can learn material, they take on more responsibility for their own learning.
•Students appear to be more engaged in learning, and there are reportedly fewer discipline problems in classrooms where teachers provide differentiated lessons.
•There are 4 ways to differentiate instruction:
•Content– what are you teaching?
•Process– How will you teach it?
•Product– What will be the outcome?
•Learning Environment– whole group? Small group?
PHONICS– you should teach phonemic awareness first. Then phonics.
NOTE: A child may be able to recite the alphabet, but not know the sounds. Phonics combines
both skills. For many students the two skills are too much to tackle at once. Most reading difficulties are a result of a lack of phonemic awareness (sounds).
***************See my page on Resources for Phonemic Awareness first:
Sight words comprise close to 70% of the words we read. For a child to be a fluent reader, it is important that sight words are stored in long term memory. That requires practice through games and engaging activities that activate various parts of the brain. Sight words are often words that cannot be sounded out. For example said.
I have collected resources to help:
******Make it Multi-Sensory: Use salt or sand. Student finger spells the words.
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This is the best Interactive phonics Chart I have seen. Click here to buy
•Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression
•A fluent reader reads smoothly and is interesting to listen to.
WAYS TO FOSTER FLUENCY:
- Repeat reading of familiar text
- Echo Reading
- Reader’s Theater
- Partner Reading (at similar ability levels)
CLOSE READING= Reading to gain information and insight
Close reading is thoughtful, critical analysis of a text that focuses on significant details or patterns in order to develop a deep, precise understanding of the text’s form, craft, meanings, etc. It is a key requirement of the Common Core State Standards and directs the reader’s attention to the text itself. The skills gained from close reading help students locate information more easily and develop comprehension.
Strategies for Close Reading:
•Use Think Alouds
•Model it often. For example,
I might say, “I see a word I don’t know. I’m going to circle it or write it in my personal dictionary and find out what it means.”
•Make connections as you read. “I think the Empire State Building must be as tall as a roller coaster I saw once.”
•Ask questions: “What evidence or proof do we have that bats are nocturnal?”
1.Sequence: Which event happened first? Which happened last?
2.Character Traits: Name one character. What is one trait you infer that character has? Explain why you think that.
3.Motive: What is something that person does? Why do you think that person does that?
4.Summarize: Summarize the story in four sentences. Tell about the characters and what they do.
5.Main Idea: What do you think is the main idea of the story? Why?
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I love teaching. I have the joy of teaching adults now. I have a collection of articles on best practices and strategies for literacy. I also am a lover of children’s literature. Let me know if there is a resource I can share with you, or if you have one I can add. I can be reached at Caysunset@gmail.com