Emergent readers — ya gotta love ’em, and ya gotta teach ’em to read! It’s more than just a job–it’s our privilege to open the door of literacy. We get to be the ones to introduce these kiddos to the joys of reading! So let’s take a quick look at how to effectively scaffold & support emergent readers in a Guided Reading small group.
Emergent Readers: What They Know
Emergent readers are reading at F&P levels A-C. At the A-level, most know their alphabet and have an understanding of some letter sounds. They understand left-to-right directionality of print as well as other basic concepts of print, such as the difference between letters and words. Most are able to understand syllables and rhyme.
Emergent readers know a few sight words and are beginning to read slowly, using their finger to point and track the individual words they read. While they may know a few sight words, these “readers” still rely heavily on meaning/semantic cues. They use pictures to help them understand the short texts they encounter.
Emergent Readers: How They Learn
Slow and steady is the name of the game for these little readers, but that’s ok! Although they’re still learning the basics, they are laying the groundwork for the eventual goal of reading fluency. It’s just the beginning, but as they begin to build phonological awareness, learn to read CVC (Consonant/Vowel/Consonant) words, and build their vocabulary of sight words and high-frequency words, they’ll start to get excited about learning to read!
Emergent Readers: What to Teach
We’ve got our work cut out for us when it comes to teaching our emergent readers! This is such a crucial stage of reading development; but it’s so rewarding to teach these kiddos and watch them light up as they learn!
Get down to work in Guided Reading and teach literacy components. Focus on basic letter/sound relationships, phonemic awareness, sight words, phonics, and basic comprehension strategies.
Use Guided Reading texts large, clear print and with plenty of engaging illustrations. Books should not be text-heavy, and the contents should be strong on repetition or rhyme. Although there are few words in the books emergent readers encounter, we want them to learn to love books and words!
During Word Work, help your emergent readers build phonemic awareness, teaching them how to isolate the initial consonant sounds in words. Picture sort activities are great for practice and reinforcement of this skill. With level A students, do C/V/C sounds. Level B & C students can do picture sort activities that isolate both the inital and final consonants.
Sound boxes are a great way to build phonemic awareness and teach the concept that letters make sounds and sounds make words. Start with 2 to 3 sound boxes when teaching your level A kiddos. Model word building for your students by stretching out each letter’s sound and writing the letter that corresponds to it. Then allow students to practice with their sound boxes. If your level A group does well with 2-letter boxes, move on to 3 boxes–again, focusing on changing the initial consonant sound of CVC words. Model stretching out the words, and focus on words with short vowels as the medial sound.
For levels B and C, work on both the initial and final consonant sound, again modeling for your students how to change out the letters at the beginning and end of CVC words. For level C, have students practice changing the medial short vowel sounds within the word as well.
If You Build It, They Will Learn…
Incorporate other word work activities such as word building. Give your level A students practice with low-complexity word work such as changing the initial sounds of words. Show your level B readers how to change the initial and final consonants, and have your level C emergent readers, practice how to change the initial and final consonants as well as the medial short vowel sound.
Teach your emergent readers all the letter sounds. Show them how to use meaning, structure and initial letters to help them decode words. Help them learn to read and write new sight words.
Basic Comprehension Strategies
Share basic comprehension strategies with your emergent readers. Help them understand how to monitor for meaning, looking at the picture to help them solve unknown words. Show them the basic punctuation elements of periods, commas, question marks and exclamation points. Teach them how to use pictures to make short predictions. Have them do a simple retell or discussion of the story. Guide them in making basic personal connections with the texts they read, and help them understand how different stories can be compared or connected. Help them learn to identify basic character traits or feelings, and show them how to use evidence from the words or pictures.
Now…Something New and Exciting for You and ALL Your Readers!
Whew! That’s a lot of learning right there; yet that’s just a brief overview or sampling of some of the bases you’ll need to cover with your Emergent readers. I’ve got you covered, though, and I’m excited to share with you an amazing new online resource.
Guided Readers is a comprehensive online Guided Reading program that provides hundreds of leveled Guided Reading texts, rigorous lesson plans, and word work instruction, based on best practices in literacy instruction. The Digital Interactive Reader will also provide your students with oral comprehension, decoding, and fluency practice.
Guided Readers will give you access to amazing lesson plans along with professionally illustrated printable & digital books and instructional materials. With Guided Readers, students can read the text independently, and listen to the text while words are highlighted. They can also record themselves reading, listen back to the recording, and take quizzes based on the stories they read. On the Teachers Portal, teachers can view student quiz scores and listen to recordings of student reading.
There are hundreds of leveled readers already on the sight, with 20-30 books being added each week! Books ranging from levels A-Q are currently on the site, and levels R-Z will be added in the upcoming months. All Guided Readers leveled books are published by Laprea Publishing and are professionally leveled through our partnership with Fountas & Pinnell and Lexile.com.
You’re Good to Go for ALL Your Guided Reading Groups!
Told ya! Although teaching reading is a huge responsibility, with Guided Readers, I’ve got you covered, from Emergent to Fluent! Lesson plans, activities, digital and printable books–you name it, it’s all in there and ready for you! To streamline your Guided Reading instruction and get your students to LOVE reading, click here for Guided Readers!