A great book for a beginning reader has a strong pattern. For the earliest reader, the pattern is supposed to be consistent on each page. Some of our books have a change at the end, like in Band from the Pay Book Pack. The text goes from ‘Pigeon plays drums’ to ‘Giraffe sings!’ and then ends with ‘Band!’, where the number of words on the page decreases. This ups the difficulty level of the book, even though it is getting simpler, because the pattern changes, thereby removing that scaffold. A scaffold, like in construction, is all the ways that a text or a teacher support the reader as they develop.
Although it may seem counterintuitive that text getting easier is upping the difficulty level, it is really the change in the pattern that makes it more difficult. The child has to see that there are two words instead of three, and then adjust what they know about this book in order to read it accurately. This is one of the many small ways to support a new reader to go to the next level in their development.
Understanding how scaffolding works in the process of learning to read allows us to support beginning readers better. We begin to recognize all the details we take for granted in a text and can better help children break it down. As they learn more strategies, letter sounds, words, and text analysis, we can slowly take away the highly scaffolded text we start with until they are independent readers.
For more information about introducing the pattern, take a look at our Parent Resources page. On this page, you can find videos and frequently asked questions around the entire early reading process.