How should I support my beginning reader at home?

This early stage of reading is so important and so exciting! Reading opens so many avenues of adventures and learning that your child will cherish for years to come!  

But, it is important that your child is able to practice and apply their new reading skills at home. Reading is not a natural (or often easy) skill to learn so it is important that your child is able to frequently practice the skills they are learning in the classroom. 

Decodables and read alouds are two different ways you can practice reading at home! Both are very important for developing readers, but both serve very different purposes. 

Decodables are books that allow your student to practice the phonics skills they are learning in the classroom. Your child’s teacher will share the different sounds that your child is learning each week, and the decodables provide that extra practice.  

Decodables are specifically written to support new readers and allow them to apply their newly learned phonics skills (Five From Five, n.d.). These short reads provide multiple opportunities for students to build automaticity and fluency with the new phonics skills (Five From Five, n.d.). This automaticity will eventually allow students to move from focusing on the letters in the text to focusing on the meaning. 

Your child’s teacher might provide paper copies of decodables in their homework folder for the week. But, there are also plenty of other decodables that are available for free for your child to use. UFLI and Flyleaf are both great free options to provide your student with the extra practice that your child needs! 

My favorite decodables for purchase are the Whole Phonics decodables. Your child will fall in love with the adorable characters and the fun storylines! These books are exciting and engaging, but still allow for multiple opportunities to practice those important phonics skills. 



Whole Phonics: 

Reading aloud with your child is also important for your student that supports a wide variety of other skills! Reading aloud to your child is an important part of their early literacy journey. It helps them develop oral language, text structure, build vocabulary, and build comprehension skills (Reading Rockets, n.d.).  

Read alouds also support building relationships too! It can help students develop social-emotional skills like empathy (Reading Rockets, n.d.). But it can also encourage skills like problem solving, handling big emotions, and friendships (Reading Rockets, n.d.). Most importantly, read alouds can help strengthen family bonds (Reading Rockets, n.d.). 

Here are some helpful hints for selecting and using read alouds!

  1. Choose books that are age appropriate.
  2. Choose books based on what your child is interested in.
  3. Make the read alouds fun and interactive (like character voices).
  4. Build vocabulary while you read.
  5. Connect the story to your child’s previous experiences or things that your child already knows.
  6. Ask questions about the text.
  7. Do it often.

(Reading Rockets, n.d.). 

 Reading is such an important skill and a necessary skill to be able to survive and thrive in our current society. Read alouds and decodables are both fun and exciting ways to help turn your beginning reader into a master reader! 


Five From Five. (n.d.). Decodable books. Multilit.

Reading Rockets. (n.d.). Reading with your child. 

Multi-Sensory Tools – Spice up your teaching!

1. Phonics Pipes

Phonics Pipes allows students to practice phonics skills and spelling rules using a hands on approach. The pieces come apart to allow students to build a wide range of words from CVC to multi-syllabic! Students are able to practice skills like syllable types, 1-1-1 Doubling Rule, the FLSZ rule, and a wide variety of phonics rules!

2. Heart Word Pipes

Following Really Great Reading’s Heart Word Magic strategy, students are able to practice their sight words. Students sound out the parts of the words that are decodable and then learn “by heart” the parts that are not.

3. Math Pipes

Math Pipes allow students to practice math skills using a hands on approach! Students are able to practice count bys, addition/subtraction math facts, multiplication/division math facts, math properties, and a wide variety of other math skills!

4. Writing Pipes

Writing Pipes allow students to practice building strong sentences and paragraphs. Writing Pipes is aligned with Framing Your Thoughts by Project Read.

5. Joan Gerken’s Literacy Star

Joan Gerken is a Fellow in the Orton Gillingham Academy. I have had the privilege to be under her training and leadership during my journey in Orton Gillingham. She is amazing and I soak everything in that she teaches! This was a favorite tool of hers that I learned how to use during my training!

6. Tacscreen

Tacscreen provides students a multi-sensory opportunity while using a touchscreen! I love that this allows my students to use a device and not lose that tactile experience! Definitely one that I reach for again and again!

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7. Keynote and Stylus

I used Keynote daily during remote learning! It allowed me to interact live with my student and provide immediate feedback during my lessons! The stylus let my student write directly on the iPad. Keynote has a variety of tools to spice up your lesson from animation, pictures, media, and sound. Definitely one I use over and over again!

8. Poppers

I love using poppers to allow my students to count sounds and syllables in words! I also have them use it to count words in sentences during dictation practice!

9. Sensational Sand

10. Apps

Art of Glow, Sand Draw, Explain Everything, Chatterpix, GooseChase, Popplet, and Nearpod are just a few of my favorite apps!