Pre K-2nd Grade

1st Grade Reading

How Can I Help My Child At Home?

Learning does not end in the classroom. Children who have supportive families who practice skills at home do better in school. These children also feel that school is important.

Foundational Skills

Ways to help your child with listening to sounds in words by blending sounds:

  • You say: "We’re going to play a say-the-word-game. I’ll say the sounds. You say the word."
  • "Listen, fffffiiiiiiiinnnnn."
  • "What word?" fin
  • Repeat with other words (man, sat, lip).

Or by breaking words into sounds:

  • You say: "We’re going to say the sounds in a word."
  • Raise your fist in the air and put up one finger for each sound.
  • "The word is sat. What word?" Child responds by saying "sat."
  • "First sound? /sss/. Next sound? /aaa/. Last sound? /t/." (Letters shown between lines, such as /m/, represent the sound that the letter makes).
  • Repeat with other words (fan, top, let).

The following are more advanced levels of manipulating sounds into words. When your child can easily blend sounds into words and break words into sounds, you could try the following:

  • You say, "Say the word eye. Now say it again with /s/ at the beginning." (sigh)
  • You say, "Say the word spark. Now say it again without the /s/." (park)
  • You say, "Say the word cat. Now change the c to h. What’s the new word?" (hat)


If your child has trouble applying phonics skills to words, try sound by sound blending:

  • Choose a three or four letter word with only one vowel. 

  • Write the first letter on a white board. Say, "What sound?"
  • Write the second letter on the board. Say, "What sound?"
  • Move your finger under the first two letters. Say, "Blend it."
  • Write the third letter. Say, "What sound?"
  • Move your finger under the letters. Say, "Blend the sounds."
  • Say, "What word?".

Now try blending simple two syllable words:

  • Choose a three to four letter word.
  • Write the first syllable on the white board. Say, "What part?"
  • Write the second syllable on the board. Say, "What part?"
  • Move your finger under the whole word. Say, "What word?"
  • Examples: rock-et, lum-ber, pan-ther, play-ing

Listening to long and short vowels:

  • Write the word pin on a white board. Say, "What word?"
  • Add an e to the end of the word. Say, “The new word is ‘pine.’”
  • Practice with other words listening to the short and long vowel sound.
  • Examples: pin/pine, hop/hope, tap/tape, not/note, cut/cute


Ask your child’s classroom teacher what level text is “just right” for your child (not too easy, not too hard, but “just right.”). Practice using the following strategies with “just right” text:

Choral Reading

  • Select a text to be read.

  • Read the text aloud to your child, emphasizing expression, pauses and voice changes indicated by the punctuation marks.
  • After reading to your child, ask her to read aloud with you.
  • Read the text together several times.

Repeated Reading
You will need a stop watch and a book at a “just right” level with about 100-200 words

1. Introduction

  • Introduce the book. Sit with your child in a quiet location. Position the book so the words are visible to both of you. The first time through, you will read the book to your child.

2. Reading and Error Correction

  • Tell your child to read the book. Start the timer after he has read the first word.
  • If your child misreads a word or hesitates for more than three seconds, read the word aloud and have your child repeat the word correctly before continuing the reading. Keep track of his errors. If he requests a word definition, give the definition.

3. Recording

  • Record the time it took your child to read the book.
  • Record the number of errors he made while reading the book.

4. End

  • When your child finishes the book, offer praise specific to his reading.

5. Repeat

  • Prompt your child to read the passage again, with error corrections. Record the time it took for the second reading, as well as the number of errors. Repeat three to five readings of the same book, recording the data each time.

6. Data Review

  • Review your child’s data (time it takes to read the passage and number of errors) with her after three to five readings. Celebrate the progress she has made

After reading with your child: 

  • Praise him for correcting words when reading. Point out specific examples.
  • Ask questions about the story (details, characters, setting).

Overall strategies for school success

  • Meet your child's teacher as soon as the new school year starts.

  • Ask the teacher about the process for regular communication between home and school.
  • Read what comes home from school and keep in touch with your child's teacher, especially when you have concerns.
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Establish a consistent routine to make sure your child gets homework done. Show an interest in your child's work.
  • Always talk about school and the teacher in a positive way, even if you have concerns. It is important for children to see home and school as united.
  • Establish regular routines for morning, after school, homework and bedtime.
  • Make sure your child is getting enough sleep, so he can focus at school.
  • Talk to your child daily about school and how she feels it is going. This shows the value of education.
  • Monitor and limit your child's use of technology (TV, computer, internet, video-games, phone and social media).
  • Encourage healthy eating and exercise habits.
  • Celebrate your child's school success at home.