Your heart will swell with pride when your grandchild rushes in and tells you they have graduated to chapter books. No longer will they be reading picture books or short stories.
This step up is a significant progress which should be celebrated and honored.
What happened to the illustrations?
Your grandchild will have used many word-attack skills to get this far. Some of these involve using the illustrations as a prompt.
Most middle grade chapter books don’t have illustrations, and if they do they are limited, only appearing at the beginning of each chapter.
So what can you do to help?
Here is a list of 10 ways you can help your grandchild read
- Blend the letter sounds together and try to say the word. Now, does the sentence make sense?
- Look for spelling chunks in the word. These are blended letters like ‘th’ or ‘st’ or ‘br’.
- Look for familiar letter chunks. They may be sounds or symbols, prefixes, suffixes, endings, whole words, or base words. Some examples are ‘ing’ or ‘ed’.
- Read each chunk by itself. Then blend the chunks together and sound out the word. Does that word make sense in the sentence?
- Connect to a word you know. Think of a word that looks like the unfamiliar word. ‘House’ and ‘Home’ are good examples here.
- Carrying on from step 5 compare the familiar word to the unfamiliar word. Decide if the familiar word is a form of ore related to the unfamiliar word.
- Use the known word in the sentence to see if it makes sense. If so, the meanings of the two words are close enough for understanding.
“The wolf blew down the first little pig’s home.”
“The wolf blew down the first little pig’s house.”
- Reread the sentence and think about what word might make sense in the sentence. Try the word and see if the sentence makes sense.
“The wolf blew down the first little pig’s … shop / bungalow / airport / house?”
- Keep reading – Read past the unfamiliar word and look for clues. Many children’s authors will repeat a complex word in the following paragraphs, but in a different context. This helps young readers learn, understand and recognise the new word.
- If the word is repeated, compare the second sentence to the first. What word might make sense in both?
Learning to read is one of the most difficult things our grandchildren face. We can help them by encouraging them to gain a love of books and helping them become great readers.