There are many ways both to teach and learn to read, so when we talk about “beginning readers,” there is a huge spectrum of reading development to take into consideration. For some children, the transition from not-reading to reading seems to occur overnight; for most, learning how to read is a process of conscious effort, but with help and strategy, they can become very successful readers.
When I began to learn about how to teach reading and how readers develop, I realized how many facets there are to literacy, and how overwhelming it can seem at first for a child. There is actually an incredible neurological process that occurs when we read. It’s not just about decoding symbols, it’s about understanding what those symbols mean strung together or separated by space and how a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire story make sense. Making the connections between letters and sounds is just the first step, but a phonics-based approach can be a successful tool to help children begin to learn the mechanics of reading.
Enter: Brian P. Cleary’s wonderfully decodable and confidence-building series, Sounds Like Reading. Check out his website for more games which enhance the reading experience. We have books 1-4 in the series, which develops reading skills strategically and sequentially. The books introduce new words and spelling patterns through rhyme, rhythm, and visual cues. Funny, colorful illustrations by Jason Miskimins provide great context clues for a young reader, and on each page, the narrator–a bespectacled mouse–asks the reader to try to find words that sound (and look) alike. These beginning books don’t yet have a cohesive plot (that comes later), but for some kids, this series and books like it will create a great foundation for learning to read.
Here’s what we have at the library:
If you’re looking for a fun, phonetic approach to early reading, this may be your series.