Learning to read is very challenging for first-grade students, it requires a great deal of concentration and patients. And many kids just get tired and bored with this activity. Luckily, these days there are many educational resources that offer a chance to play while learning to read. My son, a first-grade student, has additional challenge, he is a non-native American speaker, but he has mastered reading in a new language for him pretty fast due to the following educational resources I want to share with you.
1. Rhyming Sounds Phonetic Train by Lakeshore
When you practice reading it's essential to learn the reading patterns and Rhyming Sounds Phonetic Train helps young learners master various sounds and practice phonetics in a fun way. Ask the child to choose the sorting mat and then find three tiles with the same ending. The kit includes 20 activity mats and 60 illustrated tiles. The other side features just a picture without words, so it's up to the kid to decide whether to use picture-only-side of the tile or the one with the picture and the word.
2. Word Building Puzzles by Lakeshore
My son struggled with spelling and Word Building Puzzles helped him a lot to remember the correct spelling of the words. Kids in kindergarten and first grade students can use them to practice reading and spelling skills. I recommend beginning with the shortest 3 letter words and then continue with longer words. If you child loves puzzles, this activity will help associate letters with sounds and improve reading and spelling skills.
3. Letter Crayons Word Building Center by Lakeshore
Once your child has mastered Word Building Puzzles you can proceed to building the words on his or her own with Lakeshore. This kit consists of 4 crayon boxes, 32 letter crayons and 24 word-cards with pictures. Don't be mislead by the word crayon, as they are just made of plastic and can't be used to draw. The idea of the game is simple: a child picks a card and has to make a word that it depicts. The kid choses the appropriate letter to build the word and places it into a crayon box. This activity is very exciting and thanks to it my son got much better at writing dictations. The only downsize of this word building center is that the number of words you can make is limited to those on the card. At some point my son wanted to make the word “shark” and he was upset not to find letter H in the kit.
4. Melissa & Doug See & Spell Wooden Educational Toys
With this educational toys your child can make almost any word as they have all the letters on the alphabet. I love them very much because they are very multifunctional can be used in a number of ways. The most obvious way is to place the letters in the wooden boards in order to remember how the words are spelled. The more advanced practice includes making your own words using the letters from the set. When the child creates his or her own letters, he remembers reading rules and the sounds much better. Plus, it's so cute to hold the letters in the hands, they become real tangible things you can touch.
5. Road to Reading by Lakeshore
It your child finds it difficult to read the whole book this series of educational resources is of great help. The kit has a bunch of activities that prepare the child for reading the book. First step includes learning letters and sounds that the child will encounter in the book. Then he or she should build simple words using cards and letter tiles. Step 3 includes recognizing and practicing reading sight words and finally the child is able to read the whole story by himself. I have 3 such kits and they helped my child a lot.
6. Bob Books by Scholastic
After your child mastered all the activities mentioned above he or she should be ready to read simple stories by himself. I developed a habit of reading a book before going to sleep. First my child reads me a book of his choice and then I read one bed-time story about his favorite character Pete the Cat. We started with Bob Books Stage 3: Developing Reader. The set of books contains 9 books with illustrations offering fun short stories. The series of Bob Books has 4 levels: Reading Readiness, Starting to Read, Emerging Reader and Developing Reader. Begin with the first series of books at the age of 4 or five and move on to the next one, with the child adding new reading skills.
7. First Little Readers by Scholastic
Another series of book by Scholastic is designed for beginner readers. There are 3 kits with 25 interesting books in each. There is Level A, B and C. The books come with bright illustrations and a parent guide. They offer stories that children like, the stories are not long, and they serve as a drill, as there is a core phrase which is altered in every sentence so the child has a new word he has to read on every next page.
I want to say that once your child develops a habit of reading for at least 15 minutes a day he will make a great progress. And make sure you also read a little every day too to show by your own example that reading is an important skill and that it is actually fun.
Many libraries and book stores organize reading events. Story Time is one of the most important experiences any beginner reader can have. For list of events, check your local mall.