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Reading to my child

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Introduce the story by looking at the picture on the cover. Ask if they can guess what it is about. Ask, “Where are the words?”, and explain that the words are the title of the story.


  • Point to the words as you read. This highlights awareness of words and lets children know that words go from left to right.
  • Point to long words and short words. (“Look at this word ‘amazing.’ It’s a long word. Look at this word ‘by.’ It’s a short word.”)
  • Have the children help you count the words in a sentence as you point to each word.


  • If two words rhyme in a story, point this out to the children. (“Hey ‘show,’ ‘go,’ They sound the same. They rhyme.”)
  • Pick a word from the story. Tell the children, “I can think of a word that sounds a lot like it; a word that rhymes!” Tell them the word and ask if they can think of another word that rhymes. You can help by making up a rhyming phrase and asking the children to fill-in-the-blank. (“I see a red bird looking at ____.”)


  • Point to long words and short words. Tell the children that you know the word is long because it has so many beats or claps. (“Wow, ‘collection.’ That’s a long word. It has three beats. Col-lec-tion.”) Clap while you say each syllable.


  • Talk about the beginning sounds in words. (“Hey, ‘Silly Sara.’ They both start with the ‘sss.’”) Point to your mouth while you make the sound. Do this several times when you read the sound in the story. (“There’s that sound again!”)
  • Point to the letter that makes that target sound. Tell the children the letter name. (“The ‘s’ makes the ‘ssss’ sound.”)

Talking about the story

  • Don’t just read the story. Make comments about how a character feels. (“I bet Fanny feels sad. I bet her foot really hurts.”) Ask the children how a character might feel or how they would feel.
  • Relate the story to the children’s lives. (“Who has seen a real shell?”)
  • Help the children predict what might happen next. (“I wonder if the farmer will find Fanny.” “What do you think she should do about her sore foot?”)