Friday, January 29, 2010

Cut It Out!



Today, we celebrate ALPHABET COOKIE CUTTERS, those wonderful metal or plastic widgets that can turn snack time into learning moments.


Before passing out that cookie, let's see who can name an animal, or a place, or a person whose name starts with that letter.
Turn that W cookie upside down. What letter do you see? Now bite a little piece of it--it's an N!

Are you a design-savvy parent with a membership to the MOMA? Then make Helvetica font cookies. Teach your children how to spell Mies van der Rohe.


Not in the mood for cookies? There are molds for ice. Teach your kids how to spell 'MELT' and watch it happen. (Hint: Put those ice letters under a lamp or it will be a lo-o-o-ong lesson.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Can I Do to Help My Child Learn to Read? Part 3

I have already discussed Phonemic Awareness and Phonics in previous posts, two areas that need to be addressed when teaching children to read. However, a child must also acquire reading Fluency in order to become a successful reader.

What exactly is Fluency?
Fluency is the ability to read accurately and quickly. A fluent reader can look at words, know how to read them, and comprehend the meaning, all at the same time. Fluency is important because it allows children to focus on the meaning of a word instead of trying to decode it.

How can I help my child become a fluent reader?
In order to become fluent readers, children must first learn what a good reader sounds like. When children hear good models reading fluently, they learn by example. Children should also read and reread a book or a story several times until they can do so fluently using correct expression, pronunciation, tone, and pauses. This usually occurs after the third or fourth reading.

Instructions:
In just 20 minutes, your child can practice reading fluently by watching our Itsy Bitsy Spider video and reading along with the companion minibook. Just click on the link and print it out, it’s free!

1. Print out the Itsy Bitsy Spider book by clicking on this link: Itsy Bitsy Spider Minibook. You can print the pages in full color or black and white.
2. Cut on the dotted lines.
3. Stack the pages in order, from page 1 to page 6.
4. Staple the pages on the left hand side.
5. Now, watch the Itsy Bitsy Spider video with your child and read along with the book.
6. Have your child read the book out loud a few times. Make sure he’s reading with correct pauses, expression, pronunciation, tone, etc.


At the end of this activity your child’s level of fluency will have increased, and he’ll be one step closer to becoming a great reader.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Choosy Children Choose Chapter Books

One of the keys to cultivating a strong and engaged reader is obvious but often overlooked: finding books your child will love. And the key to finding those books? Letting your child choose.

I was six years old when I read my first chapter book. It was called Striped Ice Cream by Joan M. Lexau. I vividly remember choosing it from the library shelf. The color was the same shade as the strawberry flavor in Neapolitan ice cream. (Apropos, indeed.) That was what drew my eyes to the book. Then the cover of the book had a picture of a mother and daughter sitting in a chair together, reading. It wasn’t just that it was a mother and daughter, but that they were African American. That sealed the deal.

Growing up in rural West Virginia, I actually didn’t know any African American families. But when I saw the cover of Striped Ice Cream, it reminded me of the only African American family I knew—the Evans family. At that time in my life, my favorite TV show was “Good Times.” I loved that family, and for reasons not entirely obvious, I felt like they were very similar to my own.

I remember loving that book. I was so proud to carry it around and have adults comment on the fact that I was reading a chapter book in first grade. As it turned out, the story resonated with me in ways that I’m not sure my parents would have guessed. I chose it because I identified with the cover and sitting with my own mother and reading, but what was inside was very personal to me.

I’m a big believer in the library. Take your kids to the library and let them choose their own books. Let them spend as much time as possible just sifting through the books. If you have suggestions, by all means, make them. But don’t feel as if you have to steer your child one way or the other. Let your child choose. It’s okay for children to judge a book by its cover—that just might be all it takes to get them started on their first chapter book.


Do you remember your first chapter book? Tell us about it!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Laughing with Letters

Question: What comes twice in a moment, once in a minute, but not once in a thousand years?

Answer: The letter M

They're clumsy, they're clunky, but alphabet jokes are a great and fun way to learn letters, and to think about reading in different ways. Here are some books we've found full of alphabet riddles to read and share--the good, the bad, and the corny!


















Here's a Bonus NUMBER riddle for you. Can you guess the correct answer?

Question: Why was 10 so scared?

Answer: Because 7, 8, 9!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Z Song - Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Pre-K

The Z Song is part of Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Pre-K and is designed for children ages 3 to 4. Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read is a reading program designed to help children learn how to read and improve reading skills using phonics.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Y Song - Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Pre-K

The Y Song Pre-K is part of Hooked on Phonics® Learn to Read Pre-K and is designed for children ages 3 to 4. The new Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read is a reading program designed to help children learn how to read and improve reading skills using phonics.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

What Can I Do to Help My Child Learn to Read? Part 2

As I mentioned in my Dec. 23 posting, the National Reading Panel (NRP) identified five areas of reading instruction that must be addressed when teaching children to read. My first post was on Phonemic Awareness, the ability to notice, understand, and work with the sounds in words. This post will address Phonics.

What exactly is Phonics?


Phonics is a method of teaching reading, based on sounding out letters to read words. Let’s say that you learn the letter i makes the /i/ sound, and that the letter t makes the /t/ sound. And when you read these sounds together, /i/ /t/, you have it. You’ve just used phonics to read the word it.


How can I use phonics to help my child learn to read?

Here’s an easy activity you can do with your child using our phonics teaching method. In just 20 minutes, your child can read a book all by himself by playing an easy flashcard game and printing out our free Learn to Read Minibook.
Just follow these instructions:

  1. Make one flashcard for each of the letters d, n, a, r, b, t, and p, for a total of 7 cards. You can use index cards or just cut up a piece of plain paper. Lay them on the table.
  2. Help your child to put the cards together that form the words dan, ran, bat, pat, and at. Call out the name of each letter and the sound it makes as you push the cards together. Do this a few times until your child can do it all by himself.
  3. Print out all of the pages of our free minibook by clicking on this link: Learn to Read Minibook
  4. Once you have printed the pages, cut each page in half by cutting on the dotted line.
  5. Stack all of the pages together with the cover on the front, followed by page 1, page 2, etc., until all of the pages are in order. Do not include the instructions.
  6. Staple along the left side of the pages.
  7. Finish the book by tracing all of the words with dotted lines.
  8. Have your child color all of the pages.
Your child is now ready to read the book he just made all by himself! He has already learned to read each word by playing the flashcard game. Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read is full of activities just like this one, plus story books, workbooks, online games, flashcards, and much, much more.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Post Holiday Book Poll


The holidays are a time for family, fun, and hopefully a little relaxation. Over the holidays, how many books did you read with your children? Take our poll and let us know!

Poll: How many books did you read to your children over the holidays?

Monday, January 4, 2010

X Song - Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Pre-K

The X Song is part of Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Pre-K and is designed for children ages 3 to 4. Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read is a reading program designed to help children learn how to read and improve reading skills using phonics.

Follow us on:
Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read
Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Blog
Hooked on Phonics on Facebook
Hooked on Phonics on Twitter
Hooked on Phonics on iTunes
Hooked on Phonics dot com