Making connections

connectionsOne of the ways that students  understand / comprehend their books is to make connections between what they are reading with their own lives / experiences, and to make connections / comparisons with other books / media that they have read / seen.
Making connections to your own life: text to self (examples)

That dog reminds me of Uncle Ben’s dog.
This reminds me of the time we made a snowman.
This girl is good at skipping like me.

Making connections to other books: text to text (examples)

In  Come To Bed Jack he is playing with the red car that he got in Jack’s Birthday.
The Big Bad Wolf book and The Three Little Pigs  have the same characters.
Baby Bear was clever in this book and the penguins were clever in the Clever Penguins book.

Making connections to the world / media: (examples)

This book is about swimming and there is swimming at the Commonwealth Games.
This book about Chinese kites reminds me of the ones we saw on Youtube.

To find out more about making connections click on the picture to view a Youtube clip from Into the Book | Making Connections. making con into book

You can help your child by modelling / telling  the connections that you are making as you are listening to your child read.

You can also ask your child what connections he / she is thinking about, before, during, or after reading.


Reading levels

kids-readingWhen she first began Reading Recovery, Dame Marie Clay organised the take-home books into levels that were based on how difficult or supportive the books were in relation to picture support (either the pictures on every page show exactly what is happening, or they only represent a small part of what is happening on the page), vocabulary (easy or hard words),  sentence structure (simple sentences or longer sentences with varying punctuation and detail) and ideas (i.e. is it likely the child will understand / identify with the content / topic?). The purpose of leveling books was to better match the students to books that would be just-right for them.

The levels for our SAEPS students to achieve are :
End of Prep: Level 5. (Focus is on learning the basics about handling and reading a book including learning letters, simple words, direction of print, and matching 1 written word with 1 spoken word.)
End of Year 1: Level 15. (Focus is on decoding / learning reading strategies, i.e. ways of solving words.)
End of Year 2: Level 20. (Focus is on gaining and maintaining meaning / comprehension.) Of course, decoding and comprehension happens across all of the levels.

You may notice that there is a difference between the book levels that your child brings home from Reading Recovery, and the books he or she brings home from the classroom. The Reading Recovery books will usually be the harder levels. This is because the Reading Recovery student has had an individual book introduction and is very familiar with the book. Your child is able to boy and bookread harder books under these conditions. I would not expect the student to read the same level of book without the one to one support received during the first readings within Reading Recovery. For this reason, the books that are read within the classroom will usually be several levels behind the books that are read during the Reading Recovery lesson.

Sounding out or Chunking?

differenceHere is an excellent example of the difference between ‘sounding out’ and thinking / chunking groups of letters in order to solve words. (Found at

Whilst it is often possible to sound out simple words, e.g. c-a-t, it would be impossible to sound out the words, letter by letter, contained in the sentence The other night l drove to school.

By thinking about the message (what would make sense) and grouping letters together, the teacher who created the poster demonstrates how the words might be solved- The  other  night  l  drove  to  school.

It is much more useful for new readers to be shown that some letters often go together in words to make a new sound, e.g. sh, the, ch, ow, oo, ew, ai, aw, wh, igh. Simply telling the child to ‘sound it out’ is only effective for a small number of words and it is not a useful habit to develop.

Flip the vowel

vowelsVowels (a e i o u) can be said different ways, e.g. a can have the short sound like it has in catch or it can have a long sound like it has in made. Sometimes the student will need to try more than one way of saying the vowel within a word, before he or she can hear something that would make sense, e.g. The boy was on a bike. At first the student might say bik. If you ask what other sound i can have, your child is prompted to try something else that can lead to successful word solving.

Here’s a YouTube video called The Long and Short Vowels Song.vowel song
flip the vYou may like to download this poster from First Grade Wow.

apple – ape,  elephant – eagle
(the e in egg is easier to hear than elephant)

igloo – icecream,  octopus – oval

umbrella- unicorn