The Literacy Nest

How to Improve Reading Fluency in Children

Here is a special guest post from Karina Richland of PRIDE Learning Center! I'm certain you will find these practical tips for improving reading fluency just as helpful as I have! 

fluency tips

How to Improve Reading Fluency in Children

How do you figure out your child’s reading level?

Do you watch your child struggle to read a book that you feel is just perfect for their age and reading level?  Is the reading choppy and slow?  I have some ideas and activities you can try out with your children at home to get those kiddos reading fluently and with expression. But first, let’s figure out what grade level he or she is reading comfortably at.  

How do you figure out your child’s reading level?

My favorite and probably the easiest ways to determine if a text  is at an appropriate reading level for a child is the Five Finger Rule.  Have the child begin reading a page, and put down one finger each time he or she struggles with a word. If they reach the end of the page before you get to five fingers, the text is written at a comfortable level for independent reading.  

How do you test your child’s reading fluency?

1.  Ask the child to read a grade level passage that they have never seen or read before.  (DIBELS has excellent grade level reading passage assessment you can use)

2.  Using a timer have the child read this text for one minute.
3.  While reading the passage, tally the errors the child makes while reading.
4.  Stop the child after one minute.  Count the number of words read in the minute and subtract any errors made by the child.  For example: if he or she read 120 words in a minute and made five errors then the child’s reading fluency rate is 115.
5.  Use the chart below to determine if your child’s reading rate is on target.

Fall Target
Winter Target
Spring Target

Not applicable
Johns, J. and Berglund, R. (2006). Fluency strategies and assessments. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishers.

How do you improve your student’s reading fluency?


Read it at least 3 times!

fluency tips

I always have my students read through a newly introduced text in sections.  I put a marker under the first paragraph and say, “read the first 4 sentences quietly in your mind and then look at me when you are finished.”  I then ask a question pertaining to what they just read to make sure that they understood what they just read.  I do this process for the rest of the text.  

After that, I ask them to read the text again but this time out loud.  During this time we also stop and discuss vocabulary and any words they are struggling with.  I also use this opportunity to help the student use expression by stopping at periods, pausing at commas, and raising their voices at a question mark.  
Then for the third time, the student reads the entire text out loud and with expression.  Rereading text gives the child multiple opportunities to read unfamiliar words.  After repeated reading, those words become familiar.  Usually by the second or third time, the student is reading the text quite fluently and with more expression than the first time.


Use Fluency Drills

I also use fluency drills with every new concept we learn.  In the below passage, my student is learning the ew in our Orton-Gillingham lesson. I put a marker across the first line and ask them to read the words as quickly as they can.  I do this with every line on the page.  I use this drill 3 times over 3 days.  By the third day the student is reading the words very fluently.  I am really careful though not to stress my students out.  I always tell them to read as fast as they feel comfortable doing.  It isn’t a race.  Accuracy is way more important than speed.
improving fluency

Read a lot!

Reading frequently will also improve reading fluency since reading is a skill that improves with practice.  Children can improve their reading fluency by reading independently each day for at least 20 minutes.  Again it is important that the child read a book or text that is at their grade level or slightly below their grade level.  Children should be encouraged and allowed to read a book of their choice – even if this doesn’t involve classic novels for their independent reading.  For gaining fluency, quantity is more important than quality.  Whenever possible, use their interests to guide their reading choices and give them some power in making decisions about what to read.  The internet is loaded with amazing online stories and I will blog about those another time.

Memorize those Dolch Sight Words!

Memorizing Dolch sight words is another activity I do with every Orton-Gillingham lesson to improve reading fluency in my students.  By memorizing common words like “the”, “said”, “what”, “you”, the student will read texts and stories more fluently.  Many of these words are in almost anything they read.  Readers will have more experiences of success if they know these words.  Dolch words are service words; they give meaning and direction, which are necessary for understanding sentences.  

Model Good Reading For Your Child!

Model good reading for your children.  Share what you read with them or read what they are reading.  Have discussions and talk to them about the things you find important in what you read and why.  Parents and teachers need to read themselves and read in front of their children and students.  Children will imitate you and will be more likely to read and read well in a house and classroom filled with all kinds of interesting books, magazines and texts.


Karina Richland, M.A., developed the PRIDE Reading Program, an Orton-Gillingham program for struggling readers, based on her extensive experience working with children with learning differences over the past 30 years.  She has been a teacher, educational consultant and the Executive Director of PRIDE Learning Centers in Southern California.  Visit the PRIDE Reading Program website at or you can email her at
For more fluency posts, you might enjoy reading, "When You're Stuck Trying To Find Appropriate Reading Passages."
PRIDE has partnered with The Literacy Nest LLC to include my reading passages in their leveled books! Find this best selling resource, Orton-Gillingham Decodable Stories, in my TpT store. It's available in a digital format or as an Orton-Gillingham bound book.

For a wide selection of decodable reading passages to improve fluency that your students or children are sure to enjoy, you can check in my TpT store!

fluency passages


6 More Picture Books (Plus some sequels) for Building Phonological Awareness

phonemic awareness activities

Not too long ago, I shared 6 of my favorite read aloud books to promote phonological awareness. I promised that there would be even more to come. Here they are! Not only are these great books for building phonemic awareness, but several of them have sequels that have similar structures and can be used to support similar skills. Since phonemic awareness is such a crucial skill, and is something striving readers often struggle with, it is wonderful to weave in stories and activities that build these skills at every opportunity. Bring along a couple of stories to explore next time you have to wait for an appointment and strengthen your child’s foundation of phonological awareness skills.

Here are some more favorite reads to add to your home or classroom library! 

(This list contains affiliate links.)

                     Mrs. McNosh Hangs up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks

This delightful story will appeal to all ages. Mrs. McNosh wakes up very early to get the washing done. What starts as a very ordinary list of laundry, quickly turns into a very silly tale, as Mrs. McNosh gets carried away putting everything, and I do mean everything, on the clothes line. This story lends itself to retelling and sequencing activities as well as phonemic awareness work. Since Mrs. McNosh always hangs up rhyming pairs, you could use those items for rhyme matching activities, or rhyme generation by finding more things that could be hung up with them. What if Mrs. McNosh hung things up by their first sound instead of rhyming? How would the object get hung up now? There are also several opportunities to look at how words that may sound the same aren’t always spelled the same way. If you enjoy this Mrs. McNosh book, you are in luck. The fun doesn’t end there. You can also check out Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash or Oh My Gosh, Mrs. McNosh for more silly rhyming fun.

            Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

The rhyming dust bunnies love to rhyme. Ned, Ed and Ted are demonstrating their rhyming skills, but Bob has an important message to share about approaching danger. His friends grow frustrated with him for not rhyming, but soon realize their error. This book is great for generating words from a specific word family. Students have an opportunity to make as many rhyming words as they want to or are able to before turning the page and seeing the dust bunnies answer. thereby providing good rhyme generating practice. Finding the word that doesn’t rhyme is pretty easy in this case, but it isn’t always so. Using this story as a jumping off place for finding the “odd one out” in a group of words such as mad, sad, and pat helps to develop the ear not only for finding obvious non-rhymes, but trickier ones as well. For even more rhyming fun with Ned, Ed, Ted and Bob, you might enjoy the sequel, The Big Mean Dust Bunny.

            Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman

Jillian Jiggs has a wonderful imagination but a very messy room. Her mother tries just about everything to get her to clean up her mess, but Jillian always has just one more thing to do. The longer format, rhyming couplets and delightfully detailed illustrations lend themselves to having students predict what the rhyming word is going to be at the end of each couplet. The repeated refrain of “Jillian Jillian Jillian Jiggs, your room looks as if it’s been lived in by pigs.” is perfect for having your student join in and read along. If you are delighted by Jillian’s imaginative play, there are more fun rhyming tales starring this messy fun loving girl.

                    Don’t Be Silly, Mrs. Millie by Judy Cox

Much like the beloved Amelia Bedelia, Mrs. Millie is always getting things mixed up. She frequently mixes up similar sounding words by changing a sound or syllable. In addition to being fun to predict what Mrs. Millie really means, this book makes a great introduction to advanced phonemic awareness skills like deleting a syllable, changing one of the syllables of a word or even changing the first phoneme. Having children figure out what Mrs. Millie mixed up about the word and what other words they could make using the same pattern is a great way to increase fluency and comfort with these tricky advanced phonemic awareness skills. This would be particularly suitable for older children or an overall review, because there are multiple types of phoneme and syllable manipulation within the story. There are several Mrs. Millie stories to enjoy as well, so the fun doesn’t stop here.  

 Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini

This book is quite a bit longer than many of the others on the list, but it is a fun read. Gritch the Witch is hungry for some Piggie Pie. All she needs are some plump piggies, but the pigs are far too clever for the witch. This book is full of delightful language that sets the mood and creates descriptive images. It is also full of alliteration and rhyme. This book naturally pairs with a writing activity that asks students to write their own rhyming or alliterative descriptions. For more delightful Gritch the Witch adventures, you may like the sequel Zoom Broom.

The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian and Ann G. Seidler

 The hungry thing speaks a language that most of the townspeople don’t understand and he is very hungry. Fortunately, a young boy understands the Hungry Thing’s word game and is able to solve their problem. This is a longer story and appealing for many ages. From predicting what the Hungry Thing is hungry for, to generating their own nonsense words, this book is full of examples and opportunities to practice manipulating the first phoneme in a word. Students could translate their lunch or snack into the Hungry Thing’s language. For even more word play fun, enjoy The Hungry Thing Returns.

phonemic awareness activities

Once you start looking for books to promote phonological and phonemic awareness, you will discover them everywhere. The dozen I have shared are far from the only books that use these skills. Since phonemic awareness develops along a fairly predictable continuum from basic to more advanced, read alouds make a fabulous introduction to new skills such as manipulating phonemes or a review of earlier skills such as rhyming. The same story can be used at a variety of levels of phonemic awareness work. In addition, the context of the story supports the students as they are learning new skills. Students can begin to refine their phonological awareness while using some of their strengths of comprehension, story telling and creativity.

Be sure to check out my other post on the first set of picture books for building phonological awareness. 

phonemic awareness activities

If you find yourself seeking more teaching ideas for building phonemic awareness, try out my email series called, "What's So Important About Phonemic Awareness?" 

teaching tips for building phonemic awareness

This series will give you a FREE download with some phonemic awareness sample games from my Phonological Awareness Bundle.  Read what some teachers have said about the Phonological Awareness Bundle already:

  • "Great resource for students who still need to work on phonemic awareness. Extremely thorough bundle!" -Nicole
  • "Wonderful resource! A well thought out progression, worth every penny." -Deborah
  • "Great resource to simplify the organization/presentation of phonemic awareness activities!"-Margaret
  • "Fantastic! Beautifully designed. Leads you through the levels so well. You only have to do the prep once and you've got a complete Phonological unit you can use for years. Love it!" -Katharine
  • "Wowzers, this product is AMAZING!!! Phonemic awareness is so important for reading success, and this product makes teaching and practicing PA skills fun!! I absolutely love everything about this product, and cannot wait to use it with my students this year!! If I could give this an A+, I would!!" -Erin
  • "Emily Gibbons never disappoints!" -Renie
  • "FULL of expert ideas! Thank you for this huge resource :)" -Positively Teaching
phonemic awareness lessons
Phonological Awareness Bundle

The Top Six Repurposed Games and Ideas For Literacy Practice

The Top 6 Types of Repurposed Games: From Precision to Super Silliness

No one knows quite how to breathe new life into something old quite like a teacher. Since Orton-Gillingham students require extensive practice to reach mastery of the concepts being taught, one of the best ways to practice is to incorporate lots of games into your lessons. While card games are easy to make and effective for practice, today I want to introduce you to some other options that you may not have thought of. Repurposing games you have lying around the house or that you find at yard sales or thrift stores can add some variety and humor to your Orton-Gillingham lessons or small group literacy intervention lessons.

These are some of my favorite games to repurpose. You DO NOT have to break the bank and buy them brand new. Here are a few ways to find them.

  • "Borrow" (ahem) steal them from your own kids. It's not really stealing if they aren't using them anymore. Much like the Halloween candy we "inspect," don't let them see you do it. 
  • Yard Sales: A gold mine of used goods or white elephant galore, you NEVER know when you might scarf up a game to use for a lesson. 
  • Online: You can score games online for a real steal if you time it right. I actually find them cheaper than the ones I see in the big box toy stores. 
  • Dollar Stores: Every teacher's not so dirty secret. You can score a knock off of Jenga pretty easily in a dollar store, and it works just fine. Trust me. Sets of checkers where you stick on circle dots written with words for kids to read or syllabicate. Lots of good games can be found here. You just have to put on your bargain hunter hat. 
  • Dollar Spot. WHY is the Target Dollar Spot right when you walk into the store? I come in for one thing, Target and bam... hundreds later! Anyway, the dollar spot can be an easy place to find game pieces or sets of small games like dry erase dice, (which was a total score for me by the way, Target) and so much more. So go there, too.

Games You Can Repurpose

1. Jenga  By writing words on the Jenga blocks, the game of balance and manual dexterity also becomes a chance to practice reading words of a certain syllable type or spelling pattern. You can use a fine point permanent marker, but if you would like to re-use the game for a variety of concepts, you may want to consider a less permanent option. Using dry erase tape on the side of the blocks and writing on them with wet-erase markers makes a temporary option that isn’t too easily erased accidentally. If you are really lucky, you might even happen to find a giant Jenga game to build a life size tower. To read more about how I just Jenga blocks, GO HERE

2. Interactive Games  Operation, Pop the Pig, Crocodile Dentist, Pop up Pirate, Connect 4 and Don’t Break the Ice are all fun for all ages games that are fairly quick to play and lend themselves to taking a turn for each task completed. Whether it is reading or spelling a word, or even completing a lesson component, taking a turn to feed the pig or put their finger in the crocodile’s mouth will add a little spice to your lessons. You can play for points from completed tasks until the crocodile chomps or the ice breaks and play as many rounds as time allows.   

3. Board Games  With the use of word cards, almost any board game (Checkers, Sorry, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders) can be turned into a learning game. For every roll of the dice or flick of the spinner, the student reads a word card or completes a spelling task. To incorporate a little movement break, I like to designate certain spots on the game board for doing a silly dance.

4. Gross Motor Games  Hopscotch, Lawn Darts, Twister, Nerf guns, bean bag toss, “Trashket”ball and hockey goals are all some fun ways to get kids moving while practicing phonemic awareness tasks or reading at the same time. Students can use the activity to discriminate between two sounds or a spelling rule. For example, if a word uses ch at the end, throw the beanbag in one hula hoop, if it uses tch at the end throw the beanbag in the other hula hoop. Generate words that rhyme or that use a specific phoneme in order to try to get a soft ball into a trashcan “basketball” hoop. Appeal to a student’s competitive nature by making multisyllabic words worth more points.

5. Vegas Style  You can bring a little luck and chance into the games too. Put letters on the back of simple poker chips and have students draw one each. The child with the letter closest to the beginning of the alphabet wins the chips for that round. This is a great way to reinforce letters and sounds and alphabetical order. 
Another fun casino style game is so simple you can play it anytime. All you need is a list of words to reinforce a specific spelling rule and dice. I ask students to pick a number. The more time we have to play or the more practice I want them to have, the larger the number range I ask for. The student will roll the dice and we keep a running tally of their total. For each roll of the dice, they spell a word that uses a particular spelling generalization. They try to get as close as they can to their target number without going over. As they approach their number, they need to decide whether to stop or roll again.

6. Even Sillier Games  If you think Crocodile Dentist is a silly game, get ready for extreme silliness. What’s in Ned’s Head is a plush head with holes in the ears and nostrils. You reach into the head and try to find a specific gross plastic object by feel alone. To add a learning component, add word cards to his head and have a student find one word card and one object for each turn. 
Headbandz is a guessing game. Each player wears a plastic headband with a card that everyone but them can see. They ask yes or no questions to try to determine what the object on their card is. Using phoneme cards instead, you can ask questions like whether a card is a vowel or consonant, voiced or unvoiced, a lip sound or tongue sound, whether it has more than one letter and even whether the grapheme has more than one possible sound. This is really great practice for students not only in asking the questions they need to ask in order to successfully guess their own card, but also in correctly answering your questions.

With a little creativity, almost ANY game can be repurposed into a learning game. Adding variety and fun helps to keep students engaged and happy even when they are working really hard. Showing your silly side also goes a long way to building a connection and trust with your students.  

If you need more games, my Multisensory Phonics Games Bundle in my TpT store might be just what you and your students need. There are over 75 original games and counting.

These games are all kid tested and teacher approved. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today!

12 Children's Books With Dyslexic Characters You Can't Miss

Children's Books With Dyslexic Characters

Books About Dyslexia

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Raise a hand if you know someone with dyslexia. You should have your hand up by now. It's Dyslexia Awareness Month and I am all about spreading awareness!

If you love children's book as much as I do, you know how important it is for kids to have books where they can identify with the characters. Dyslexia readers are no exception. They need to know they aren't the only ones having a hard time in school or other life circumstances.

If you are a parent or a teacher, it is CRITICAL for you to step into the shoes of a dyslexic reader to know what they experience. When we do, we build empathy for children, which we could all use a bit more of these days, am I right? SO... I have an amazing list of children's books which feature dyslexia characters or discuss learning differences.

NOTE: I'm listing them in order by picture book all the way up to more advanced text for older readers. Choose them at your own discretion. Let's begin!

1. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Kids will love reading about how their brain works in this fabulous picture book. This award winning book will give your kids plenty of food for thought! ;)

2. It's Called Dyslexia This a picture book from the Live and Learn series. It's a self help book for younger readers, filled with practical tips that kids can think about and actually USE right away. There's a nice information section at the end with tips for families.

3. Tom's Special Talent: People with dyslexia have tons of special talents. Kids need to know that there are real strengths to be found even though they may struggle with reading, etc. This book helps your child find their special talent, recognize it and see the beauty when you share it with others.

4. The Alphabet War:  The main character, Adam, struggles with reading. When he is finally diagnosed in third grade, things start to look up for him. Children will identify with Adam's inner struggles with learning things like the letter of the alphabet.

5. Thank You, Mr. Falker: Written by the beloved dyslexic author, Patricia Polacco, this autobiographical picture book narrative will tug at your heartstrings, but truly get children to see how how painful teasing and bullying can be for someone with any kind of a learning difference. Mr. Falker is a true hero in this book! As a side note, I read this book to my third graders within the first month of school every year. There are life lessons taught in this book that cannot be missed.

6. Hank Zipzer Series: Henry Winkler has created a series of hilarious chapter books featuring the dyslexic character, Hank Zipzer. Kids will love the many mishaps humorous Hank gets into while navigating childhood. Kids can REALLY relate to Hank. Trust me. For younger readers, Winkler has written an early reader series of Hank Zipzer books. I highly recommend both!

7. My Gift Of Difference: "It's a difference, not a disadvantage." 12 year old Jordan has written a self help book, fill with tips that will inspire and empower your child on their own journey. Jordan gives inspirational talks all over the country. Be sure to check out her Instagram page!

8.Two Minute Drill: Calling all sports fans! Mike Lupica has written some great sports fiction for kids over the years. Sixth grader, Scott is the new kid in school and faces a lot of challenges, including having to stand up to the team quarterback. Upper elementary and middle school, sports-minded kids will enjoy this one.

9. My Name is Brain Brian: The author takes time to explain what dyslexia is within the context of this upper elementary chapter book, which is so helpful. Kids will make deep connections with Brian. I would recommend siblings of kids with dyslexia read this one to develop their sense of empathy.

10. Fish In A Tree: This book became an instant hit with teachers and students everywhere. I read it with in an online book group with some other Orton-Gillingham teachers and tutors, and we fell in love with it. We feel every one of Ally's struggles right along with her, but you will triumph at her developing confidence. Keep the tissues handy. This could be a read aloud for kids probably as young as 4th grade.

11. Percy Jackson Series: Rick Riordan's series of books focused on mythical characters has exploded in children's literature. Start with The Lightning Thief, the first book if you are new to the series. Percy truly does find out he possesses some unique abilities in the first book. For your adventure seeking kids, this series fits the bill. And he added study of Greek mythology is a bonus.

12. Looking For Heroes: Aidan Colvin was on a mission. Write to 100 successful dyslexics and find out their secrets to success. You will be just as surprised as Aidan is at the amount of replies and the advice he receives! Aidan is sure to share classroom tips with kids as well. Great for middle schoolers, or high schoolers, or college students.

UPDATE! Here's one I just found. 
13. The Wild Book  by Margarita Engle. A page fan recommend this one to me recently. Written entirely in prose, this book set in turn of the century Cuba, features, Fefa. She was told she had "word blindness", a term used for dyslexia years ago, and that she would never learn to read. Read how Fefa beats the odds amidst a time in Cuba filled with trials and uncertainty. Through the use of a notebook, observant Fefa learns how to read. You HAVE to get this one!

And there you have it! What a list of truly inspiring books for children. 

(Giveaway over) I am so convinced that you and your children or students will enjoy them, that I am giving YOU a chance to win EVERY TITLE listed above. That's right! 12 children's books will be shipped to you if you are the big winner. In honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, I am giving them all away! All you have to do is enter in the Rafflecopter below. (Sorry, due to shipping costs, I am only accepting entries for US residents.) You'll see it below my name at the end of this post. I will announce the BIG WINNER on October 26, 2017! (Giveaway over)

Books About Dyslexia

Books About Dyslexia

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Top 6 Picture Books For Building Phonological Awareness

The Top 6 Picture Books For Building Phonological Awareness

 (This post contains affiliate links.)

Building phonological and phonemic awareness can happen anywhere at anytime. We know that beneath the umbrella term, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness is the most important skill to work on for early reading success.
Phonemic Awareness

Struggling readers may have poor phonological awareness; therefore, it is SO critical to work on that in the early grades. But guess what? Phonemic awareness activities don't have to be limited to the classroom!  In the car, in a waiting room, or waiting in the lunch line. You have the choice to make activities as simple or as elaborate as your energy and your student's or even your own child's needs dictate. One of the easiest and most natural ways to work on phonemic awareness is through read alouds.

Here are a few of my favorites!

  1.  The B Book by Stan & Jan Berenstain: This book is brought to us by the author of The Berenstain Bears. Although it is not about the Bear family, the illustrations nevertheless have a familiar quality. It is a cumulative story in which each word and phrase that is added begins with the letter b. Big brown bear, blue bull and beautiful baboon have all sorts of b adventures. The story becomes more and more zany as it goes on. In addition to providing a fun tongue twister, this story is wonderful for isolating the first sound in words, introducing alliteration and making predictions. One of the most powerful ways to use this book would be to have a student write and illustrate their own page with a character and descriptive words and actions that begin with b. A class project could be to make a similar story with another letter of the alphabet. 
  2.  Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw: When a bunch of sheep go on an adventure in a jeep, hilarity ensues. I’m sure your students will agree after reading this that Sheep are terrible drivers! This delightful favorite is wonderful because it lends itself to work across so many different levels and ages. From a preschool read aloud, to a first grade independent story, to an upper level examination of spelling patterns, there is more than meets the eye to this charming book. A simple rhyming structure with many rhyming pairs, this book also has a dizzying number of long e words. Because there are so many words with similar vowel sounds, this story lends itself to activities with auditory discrimination. What rhymes with sheep? Sheet, feet or heap? Are feed and feet the same? How are they different? We know that children need experience not only segmenting phonemes but manipulating them. Can your students identify the sound that has changed to make a word chain? Or build a word chain themselves using words from the story? The humorously illustrated sheep lend themselves to games and activities. 

  3.  Miss Mary Mack by Mary Ann Hoberman: You may remember the hand-clapping game that forms the basis of this story from your own elementary days. A little girl (Miss Mary Mack) befriends an elephant that jumped the fence in her backyard. This story is just waiting for some brave soul to sing it and play a hand-clapping game to go along. There is a reason that phonemic awareness and music go hand-in-hand. The rhythmic nature of the story lends itself to an exploration of syllabication. Playing a hand-clapping game allows the children to feel the beat of the words, something that can be particularly helpful for kids that struggle with hearing syllables. The repetition of the rhyme also provides an extra layer of support for struggling readers. With plenty of opportunities for alliteration, the short a sound, and the –ack rime, the story has a great deal of potential as a powerful phonological awareness read aloud. 
  4.  Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein: This book of poems is centered around the character of Runny Babbit, but each poem is able to stand alone. This is not a read aloud you want to attempt without practice! It is trickier than it looks and harder to read than it sounds. The poems in the book are made up of “spoonerisms.” This word trick swaps the onset of two different words. So, “silly book” becomes “Billy sook”. This book is a great jumping off point for a more detailed exploration of onset & rime and learning to manipulate phonemes. It lends itself to writing activities and extensions and also provides some really good decoding work to “solve” the mystery phrase. I find myself wondering if an OG student may actually have an advantage when playing with words in this way because of all of the decoding practice they get. Children without learning difficulties may experience frustration in trying to wrap their mouths around these silly poems that lends itself to a discussion of compassion and learning differences as well. As is sometimes the case with Shel Silverstein, there are a couple of incidents of mild potty humor. 
  5. The Cat Who Wore a Pot on Her Head by Jan Slepian and Ann Seidler: This vintage picture book may be hard to find, but it is worth the hunt. When Bendemolena finds a pot, she puts it on her head and finds the peace and quiet delightful. Her home is a busy and noisy place with all her brothers and sisters. However, when Mama cat goes to take care of a sick friend and Bendemolena finds herself in the role of messenger, listening takes on a new importance and things go hilariously amuck. This book is longer than many of the other phonemic awareness read alouds and also lends itself nicely to comprehension activities. What immediately resonates with me is that listening to, recalling and sequencing sounds is the foundation for all of the other phonemic awareness activities. This book so beautifully illustrates the importance of that. In addition, the nonsense words that Bendemolena thinks she hears are a great jumping off point for activities using rhyme, onset-rime and manipulating phonemes. Like the Runny Babbit, the use of nonsense words lays transparent the link between decoding and phonological awareness. 
  6.  Huck Runs Amuck by Sean Taylor: Huck the mountain goat LOVES flowers. The problem is that all the other goats like flowers too and there aren’t many left. But, Huck is determined to eat some delicious flowers. He goes to great lengths to try to get a mouthful of flowers. This book is full of rhythm, rhyme and repetition, all as part of a delightfully illustrated story with beautiful rich language. There are opportunities for working on alliteration, rhyme, syllables, descriptive writing and vocabulary. This book is meaty enough to use for multiple phonemic awareness activities as well as comprehension skills. Your students will be delighted as they follow along with Huck’s adventures. 

The possibilities are endless when thinking of new and exciting ways to use favorite stories. These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you have as much fun reading and learning with these books as I do.

Are you looking for more phonological awareness practice? Grab TONS of teaching tips and strategies in my email series. You'll receive a fun freebie when you do. SIGN UP HERE.

If you are seeking comprehensive phonological awareness curriculum for your reading intervention program, LOOK HERE for my Phonological Awareness Growing Bundle. 

Phonological Awareness Curriculum

Thanks for reading today! I will have more book suggestions soon. If you have any, feel free to add some titles in the comments. Have a great day!

Phonemic Awareness Books

GUESS WHAT?  I have EVEN MORE picture book ideas for you! Read, "6 More Picture Books for Building Phonological Awareness." You won't want to miss this one!

Until every child can read...

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top