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Things to Know About 3-Year-Olds

My youngest is now three. That means I have done this "having a three-year-old thing" three times already! (No wonder I'm tired!) Three seems to be a magic age, because it is when a child is ready to learn a lot of new things. As I look forward to teaching my baby, I find myself reflecting on what I have observed about threes over the years of teaching preschool and teaching my own children. Whether you are a preschool teacher, or a parent, I hope you find something helpful in these Things to Know About Three-Year-Olds.

THEY CAN CUT
I have found 3 to be a good age to start working on scissor use. These are the procedures I use for scissor use:
Talk about safe scissor use. (Only cut paper with scissors. How to hold them when we are walking. Watch out for your fingers.) Demonstrate how to hold the scissors. (Thumb in the little hole, fingers in the big). Thumb points up to the ceiling. (If child is having a hard time with this, I put a smiley sticker on thumbnail and tell…

Listening to Your Child Read Aloud

Do you dread listening to your child read aloud? While listening to your child read a book can be a great experience, for many parent-child pairs, it can be the source of many fights.

To help you support your emerging reader, I've created two videos to demonstrate the cues I give as I listen to children read aloud. (This post may contain affiliate links).

Before you watch the videos, make sure you are familiar with the terms instructional level, and sight words. Refer to these posts to learn more: Learn About the Reading Sequence and Why do we Teach Sight Words?

Video #1: How to Help Your Child Read Aloud: BOB Books

When your child is reading BOB Books, you should have to give very little cues, because your child should only encounter words she can sound out or sight words she already knows. These books are set up to give your child success.

Some common phrases I say when helping a reader with BOB Books are:
"That's a sounding out word."
"That's a sigh…

Easy Readers--Why Choosing the Right One Isn't so Easy!

In the summer we enjoy many trips to the library. Today I want to talk about a section of the library that can be a little misleading--the Easy Reader Section.  (This post may contain affiliate links).  The first time I went to the library to pick out some “easy" readers for my oldest son, it was anything but easy!

I decided to go with Level 1 Books. I figured, he's just starting out, level one makes sense. Right? Wrong! The first level one book I picked up was way too easy. The next one I picked up was level one, but he could probably only read 5 words in the whole book! Another level one seemed to be pretty close to what he needed. I learned very quickly that all Level 1 "easy" readers are not created equal! Many different publishers create Easy Reader Books, but they do not follow the same criteria for what a Level 1 book is.

So what is a parent to do?! First, don't panic. Second, realize that there are not very many perfect fit easy reader books…

6 Simple Ways to Practice Sight Words

Pinterest is loaded with fun sight word activities! Today I'll share the 6 simple sight word activities that I use the most. I have a master set of laminated sight word cards that I use for these activities. You can download them here.

#1:  SIGHT WORD SLAP
You've probably seen this easy game before, I first learned of it when I was going to college. Start by laying out the sight words you are working on. Give your child something to slap with, such as a clean fly swatter or a spatula. Call out a sight word and have your child identify the word by slapping it! Who doesn't love a chance to whack things?



#2:  ROLL THE SIGHT WORD
Use a changeable die or a dry-erase dice (from the Dollar Tree).  Fill the die with 6 sight words, then take turns rolling the die and saying the sight word.  To make it a little more interesting, we put a star sticker on one of the words and choose an action.  Whenever we roll the start word, we read the word and do our chosen action.  Some silly …

3 Easy Games to Build Word Power

For some reason, we really want to have our child reading so many books right away! I get it, it is so exciting when a child starts to “get it” and instinctively we want to go right to books. While there is nothing wrong with reading books, I have noticed that I can build stronger readers through word power. I like to focus on having a child read MANY words, some sentences, and a few books. Try these three simple games to build word power.

Words in a Bowl
One day I was working with a child who was struggling with reading. In fact, he dreaded reading! I pulled out a BOB Book, and immediately he shut down. The task of reading a whole book seemed impossible to him. He thought it was going to take forever!  So I pulled out a simple game I call, "Words in a Bowl".  His instructional level was consonant digraphs, so I filled my bowl with consonant digraph word strips folded in half.  He rolled the die to see how many words he'd read on his turn.  Then I took a turn rollin…

Why do we Teach Sight Words?

Sight words.  You've probably heard of them.  But what is the purpose of sight words, and why do we have our kiddos memorize them?
Sight Wordsare words that occur most frequently in print.  Some examples are: 
the, said, here, for, are, of, was

We encourage readers to memorize sight words because they encounter them all the time!  When a reader can recognize and say a sight word upon seeing it, she will improve in fluency, and she will be less frustrated as an early reader.  

Let's say your new reader was reading these sentences:



The blue words are sight words.  If your new reader did not know the, is, and, upon seeing them, think how much longer it would take her to read these three sentences!
When I listen to children read aloud and they get stuck on a word, I make sure to differentiate between sight words and sounding out words.  If a child gets stuck on a sight word, I will use the cue, "That's a sight word."  Their brain can then think, "Oh!  I've memoriz…