October 6, 2017

The Reading Sequence—Where is My Child on the Road to Reading?

While teachers are amazing, so are parents!  I believe that any parent can help their child to read.  All you need is some tools and some time.  The mother of all tools in your toolbox is this:  ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILD IS IN THE READING SEQUENCE.  This is called the instructional level.

Reading is best taught in a sequence, and guess what, there isn't a universal sequence that everyone uses.  I've tried a few variations, but this is the order I like to use for teaching reading:

But what in the world does cvc stand for?!  And what is a consonant digraph?  Here's some definitions that might be helpful.

Cvc words:  Consonant, vowel, consonant words (pat, cup)  All vowels in cvc words make the short vowel sound. 

Beginning Blend:  two consonants that appear together at the beginning of a word, each retaining its sound when blended (pl, sn)

Ending Blend:  two consonants that appear together at the end of a word, each retaining its sound when blended (ng, sk)

Consonant Digraph:  two consonants that together stand for one sound (sh, ch, th, wh,)

Vowel Pattern:  patterns that occur in words to produce vowel sounds other than short vowel sounds (silent ‘e’ in bake, ‘ee’ in green, ‘aw’ in paw)

Life gets busy, and I don't always spend as much time working with Little Miss as I'd like to.  In fact, we had such a crazy summer, I really didn't work on reading at all!  But this fall, I was ready to get back to it, and I needed to know what her current instructional level was.    

I have a list of word pages I use to asses where a child is in the reading sequence.  I began by having Little Miss read the words on the first page.  It turns out she was blowing through those, so I went to the next page.  She flew through those as well, so I continued.  When I got to the ending blends page, I was all of a sudden hearing some funky words like "flist" and "tush".  I let her read a few more words and then I realized, bingo!  Little Miss needed to work on ending blends.  That was her current instructional level.

If your child has started learning how to read, but you're not sure what his current instructional level is, you can find out by having him read through some assessment pages found below.  

Reading Assessment Freebie

My next step was to get right in and work on ending blends with Little Miss.  Well, it can be super boring for a kid if you just give her a list of words to read!  And she gets frustrated if I try to just have her read book after book.  So instead I try using a variety of ways to have her read MANY words.

Today she did word puzzles.  I love these puzzles because they help her to segment each sound.  She loves the puzzles because, well she's doing puzzles.  Little Miss also pulled word strips out of a bowl to work on word power.  Learn more about building word power here.  After ending blends, she will move on to consonant digraphs.

I have created reading packets to go along with each step of this reading sequence.  Each packet includes parent instructions and definitions, and many activities for reading words in a variety of ways.  Click below to try my -ck and -ll endings sample packet for FREE.

-ck and -ll Endings FREEBIE

CVC Words Bundle

Beyond CVC Words Bundle

Other packets are available to buy in my TpT Store.  This series focuses on reading MANY words, several sentences, a few books, and sight word instruction.   

You may also enjoy these posts:
5 Things to Know as Your Child Begins to Sound out Words
What is Your Role as Your Child Reads Aloud?

Best of luck on the reading journey!



  1. Great tips, Elena! I’m going to figure out my new reader’s instructional level tomorrow! These are some great resources.