Step 1: Picture Walk
This is the first step in introducing a new book to your beginning reader. In this video, you will learn how to do a picture walk. Notice how they discuss the story without reading the words!
Step 2: Introduce the Pattern
This is the second step in introducing a new book to your beginning reader. In this video, you will see how to successfully introduce the pattern of an early reader book to your child.
Step 3: Supported Reading
The final step is for your child to read the book! In this video, you will see how to support your beginning reader during their first attempt at independent reading.
Using a Picture Cue
In this video, you will see how children use picture cues to figure out words when reading a book.
Using a Phonics Cue
In this video, you will see how to introduce phonics to beginning readers in a natural way.
Full Reading Conference
This video will show you the entire process of a beginning reader learning to read a book successfully, from a picture walk to a supported reading.
The title “emergent reader” implies that a child is in the act of becoming a reader. Emergent readers may also be called beginning readers. This is when children are learning the most basic ideas of reading, such as learning that a book is meant to be read, that the marks on a page have meaning, and that we read from left to right (in Western languages). As a beginning reader, your child will start to understand that the pictures and words on the page are related. They will also notice that the letters in the alphabet are consistent, have sound, and are arranged together to make words.
Like a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon, a child is becoming a reader during this developmental stage. In the earliest stage of this process, choosing the right book is very important! Books specifically made for beginning readers are called early reader books, and are the best option to support your child as they learn to read. Home Grown Books' book sets are created to support beginning readers and their families as they embark on their first reading experiences.
Picture books are always great as read alouds, but early reader books are books honed specifically to support your beginning reader as they learn to read.
Choosing the right kind of early reader is important. The books should be challenging, but not so challenging that trying to read them is frustrating to your child. Early reader books must offer a lot of support for your beginning reader, which means that they have a repetitive language structure from page to page ("pigeon plays drums, cat plays trumpet"), the pictures match the text very closely, and the text is clear and in the same place on every page.
Home Grown Books' book sets are made specifically for the emergent reader. We believe that children love playing in their imaginations and learning new, interesting words, so we have expanded on the early reader book to take them places they may not have been before!
As adult readers we take for granted how all the parts of written language inform our ability to read fluently. For instance, we know to start on the left and read to the right, and we know to pause when we see a comma. All of the conventions that help us to read fluently and understand what the author is trying to convey are called concepts of print. Pointing these concepts out to children when they are learning to read helps them understand how to read a book, too.
Examples of concepts of print include knowing to read left to right, knowing that words are made of letters, and knowing that spaces between words let us know when a word is beginning and ending.
We believe in supporting children to learn phonics in a natural way. Watch our video, Using a Phonics Cue, to see some of the ways you can integrate phonics in a meaningful way with your beginning reader. While phonics is important, the most emergent reader's ability to play with language (such as rhyming, separating sounds, and using alliteration) is a much better indicator of future reading skills than knowing the sound a "b" makes.
Reading is a language-based activity, so playing with verbal language will support your beginning reader. Children who are good at playing with rhymes and hearing beginning and ending sounds in words have what teachers call phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is being able to hear individual phonemes or sounds in the context of a whole word, like being able to hear the “c” in “cat”. Research shows that children who had good phonemic awareness were naturally better readers. Activities like making up rhymes and playing with sounds help develop your child’s phonemic awareness, which will strengthen their reading skills.
One of our favorite ways to support a beginning reader is the Language Experience Approach. This is a method of teaching reading by using the reader's own dictated language. For instance, if a child takes a trip, take lots of pictures (or have them draw pictures). Back at home, make a book of the pictures. Have the child tell you about each picture and write down what they say using their phrasing and language. Then they can reread the book over and over (and they usually love to revisit their experience). This is an extremely supportive text for a beginning reader because they are connected to the experience and it uses their own natural language. Now, with digital printing you can even have your child’s words made into books that look professional!
Choosing books that are interesting for your child, encouraging their efforts, and being an enthusiastic reader yourself are all crucial to supporting your child’s love of reading. Don’t separate literacy from life, make reading and writing an integral part of everyday. Make grocery lists together, read signs aloud, keep lots of newspapers, magazines and books around, and share wonderful things you have read, like poems or a favorite paragraph.
If you are interested and having fun, learning something new can be effortless. Having expectations about what your child’s development should look like is a recipe for disaster. It is important to follow the child’s lead. Just be present and sincerely excited to be sharing the journey together, whether you're playing rhyming games, reading a book, riding bikes, or enjoying a beautiful view.