Reading Resources » PreK - 1st Grade: Early Readers Suggestions and Tips

PreK - 1st Grade: Early Readers Suggestions and Tips


If your child needs help identifying letters and letter sounds:

  • Practice only 3 unknown letters/sounds at a time. Have your child say the letter and sound out loud while tracing or writing the letter. Practicing both the letter and sounds together help with memorization. They should do this at least three times when practicing each letter.

If you are looking for ways to practice this skill at home:

  • Cut the letters apart. Can your child identify all the letters and tell their sound? The vowel sounds can be tricky. SES uses universal key words to help students recall the sounds. Our keywords are: a - apple, e - Ed, i= itch, o=octopus, u=up.



If your child needs help blending/reading letters to make a word:

  1. Start by having your child sound out the word by connecting all of the sounds together. This is called continuous blending. Students should not pause in between the sounds. This technique will help them link the sounds together. After they have completed sounding out the word, have them reread it.

  2. Once they have mastered the continuous blending, have them start to subvocalize the sounds. They should utter the sounds with their lips silently or with barely audible sound. Once they have done this, have them reread it.

  3. Once they have mastered the subvocalizing step, you can move to point to the spelling focused step. Point to the vowel letter in the sound (a,e,i,o,u) because this is usually the trickiest part of the word. Have your child say the vowel sound out loud as you tap under the vowel. Then have them read the entire word. If your child still needs to sound out the word, move back to the previous step.

  4. The final practice step is to have your child sound out the entire word in their head without sub-vocalizing. They should be able to do this and then say the word in 3 seconds or less. Eventually with lots of practice, your child will be able to look at the word and read it with automaticity.

If you are looking for a way to practice this skill at home:

  • Start by making 3 letter words using the alphabet letters at the end of the packet. Use the alphabet letters to make words, putting the vowel in the middle. The letters y and w need to be at the beginning. Letters g,c and x are better at the end. Mix real words and nonsense words. If your child struggles with this, make a word family. The students love this. For example, make “en” with the cards. Add different first sounds. This creates rhymes. Continue to practice by switching the vowel sounds. Once a word family is complete, switch the end sounds to create a new word family (ex ot, it, at, etc). The goal of this activity is to have the student see the word, blend it in their head and just say the word. This activity can be quick and fun for your child.



(The words that your child should just be able to read, without sounding them out.)

If your child needs help reading these words with automaticity:

  • Practice these words using the sandwich drill. This activity in the packet. Many of these words do not follow phonics patterns (though some do). Can your child read these words as they are introduced in the Journeys curriculum? If they can’t, practice these often using the drill.



The best way to build comprehension in Kindergarten is through reading aloud.

If you would like to practice comprehension skills at home:

  • Read a short story or beginning chapter books aloud to your child. As you are reading, stop and ask questions about what is happening in the story. Some examples are listed below.

    • Talk about the setting - For example, Madeline is set in Paris.

    • Vocabulary- Stop to discuss new words. Try to give a child friendly definition. Think of other examples and non-examples of the word.

    • Character Traits - Describe the character. Does this character remind you of anyone?

    • Retell - Can your child retell the story? How does the story begin? Who are the characters? What was the problem? How was it solved? How did the story end? If your child is struggling to retell the story, stop more often and have him/her retell the story in smaller chunks.