Teaching Reading Level 1
Children can begin learning pre-reading skills as young as two years old. If your child is learning at home, by starting early, you can go at whatever pace works for them, rather than teaching a letter a week. Focus on one letter at a time, and once each letter is regularly recognized, move on to the next.
Use I’s (and 1’s) with lines at the top and bottom to avoid confusion with lowercase L.
The goals at this first level are for your child to be able to:
❖Name the capital letters when pointed to
❖Locate a named letter within a group of capital letters on paper or with toy letters (Where is W?)
❖Sing the Alphabet Song
❖Recognize their own first name when written with capital letters
❖Recognize and read the words “A” and “I” in texts
Here are some helpful resources:
❖ Use Dot Paint sticks to paint in each circle
❖ Fill each circle with plastic counters, pennies or cereal
❖ Use finger paint to put a thumbprint in each circle
❖ Paint inside the letter (you can use hand-over-hand
method, glue around the lines and let dry to give
your child borders, or just let them have fun and see
❖ Place letter in plastic sleeve and form modeling
dough into the shape of the letter
❖ Glue pinched tissue paper inside
❖ Glue 3D objects inside
❖ Fill it with stickers
A is for Aaron
Create a personalized alphabet book for your child entitled “(First Letter of Your Child’s Name) Is for (Child’s Name).” “M is for Mary,” “B is for Ben,” etc. Print the Capital Letter Outlines and fill each one with pictures of something personal for your child. Fill the letter of their name with pictures of them. Do the same for members of the family and a pet. Get creative with the other letters, based on your child’s interests. To make this book last longer, put the pages into plastic sleeves in a three-ring binder.
Create a tactile alphabet pages for your child. Print the Capital Letter Outlines onto cardstock (preferably color) and have your child glue 3D objects onto each one (some letters are harder so may require multiple pictures of an object to glue on). Tape the pages onto your child’s bedroom or playroom wall as they are completed (masking tape generally holds well without ruining walls). Or, hang several sturdy strings with knots tied in them approximately every 10 inches and place clothespins on them.
Each day, point to the letters as you say, “A, A, A, Acorns!” as well as when you sing the alphabet song. Hold your child up so they can gently touch the item as they say the letter sound (you may want to keep these high enough that your child cannot touch them when you are not there, as “gentle touches” need a parent’s assistance.
❖ Children can hunt for their letter of the week, by circling or coloring over it with a crayon, or by placing marker chips or stickers on top of the letter.
Explain that “A” means 1. “A dog” means one dog. “A cat” means one cat. Play a game of finding all the things that are one and can be called “A…” (don’t worry if it starts with a vowel and should use “an.” That lesson can come later).
Explain that “I” is how we talk about ourselves. Encourage children to create sentences out loud that begin with “I” (“I am big.” “I am Tom.” “I like to play.”) If a child says something like, “Give the book to I,” don’t directly correct them. Rather, redirect with, “Great sentence! ‘I want the book. Give the book to me.'”
“You are a reader now!“
Once your child has learned to recognize all the letters, it is time to start reading. This might sound intimidating, but starting early means going slow. Very slow! Together, hunt for the word “A” in your child’s books and highlight it. When you read to your child, point to the words and each time you reach “A”, say, “Look, it’s yellow. That means this is a word you know. You can read this word.” After your child successfully says, “A,” give lots of praise and say how proud you are. “You are a reader now! What a big kid!” Once your child begins to recognize lowercase a, highlight this as well. After A has been mastered, add the word “I.”