With the "at" family and a few sight words (in the first two months), the children are ready to begin reading our first two little color reader books. Add the word families "am" and "an" - and in those same two months the children can read our first FIVE color reader books.
Each of our 16 Color Readers are designed perfectly with:
- a personal timed reading that will increase both speed and accuracy in reading
- questions about the story to teach and develop comprehension
- a picture and a few words on each page for easy reading (and coloring)
Each child will feel successful, as he continues to beat his own time through this self-competitive reading experience.
HOW TO DO A TIMED READING: (See pg 2 of "The Cat and the Rat")
- Make sure the child knows the words he will be reading.
- Count the words on the page or in the short story and total the # at the end of that line.
- Using a watch or a clock, give the child one minute to read as far as he can.
- At the end of that minute, say stop.
- Count the number of words the child read in that minute. Keep written track with each attempt. (See "Timed Reading Chart".)
If there were a lot of mistakes made, review the words and try again. Each time you do a timed reading, start from the beginning.
- Do these timed readings a minimum of three times. (The child will likely want to do more than three, so allow him or her to do as many timed readings as he/she would like. However, we suggest no more than 10 at a time. Take a break and then come back later, if they want to do more that same day.)
Timed readings are meant to be FUN and self-challenging.
- WARNING - If they become forced or drill like, the desire to read will be negatively effected. After three attempts, let the children set their own goals and decide if they want to try again, or how fast or how many words they want to read in a minute. Do NOT encourage one child to beat another child's score. Timed readings should be self-competitive, self-improving.
Timed readings are specifically designed to build fluency (or increase speed) and accuracy in reading. By repeating the same words previously read (accuracy), the child will soon get the flow of reading (improved speed) and may soon have it memorized. If this happens and the stories start to become tongue twisters, you can have him read it backwards for fun (which is very difficult), or just move on to the next story. Either way, he'll be pleased with his reading abilities.
- WARNING - Do not encourage reading stories backwards too often or for too long of a period. (This really is so challenging that hesitations and blocks in reading can be created from this type of exercise. However, when the first story is "memorized" and starts to be a tongue twister, reading backwards one time lets the child see he really is reading that book and it's time to move on to the next.)
When a child makes a mistake in a timed reading, do not correct him/her while being timed. Allow them to complete their minute, then simply review or discuss the word(s) they are missing, and allow them to try the timed reading again.
- WARNING - Correcting a child during a timed reading can cause doubts, hesitations, and other reading blocks. (No matter how slow the child reads, do NOT stop the timed reading unless the child is getting frustrated or wants to stop and start over.)
The number of words read at the end is the reward. The child will WANT to beat his own score, if the timed reading is more like a game than a forced ritual. Take a minute to encourage and celebrate each time they beat their own score. Show them their written scores, then give them a "high five" or a "whahoooo" and let them feel your excitement that they beat their score!
Participate with them. YOU take a turn and do the timed reading and try to beat YOUR score. This allows them to see people really can get 300-400 words a minute. This will encourage them to aim for 100-150 words a minute, then 200-250 words a minute, until they, too, are reading 300-400 words a minute.
- WARNING - Whatever you do, do NOT try to combine comprehension or any other reading skill with timed readings. (Doing so may unintentionally cause walls to go up. The process of learning to read can literally be stopped or at the very least, be crippled by combining techniques.) Teach and work on one skill at a time. Comprehension should definitely be separate, so set a different time aside to ask questions or talk about their understanding of the story.