Teaching Pre-Reading Skills

I had helped teach my daughter how to read and a friend of mine knew this. She approached me about helping her daughter, who had already been told by her teacher that she would not pass the first grade because her reading skills weren't where they should be to pass. The school gave the mother the summer to get those reading skills up-to-speed. This is where I stepped in.

I did not know the daughter so I started out just being a friend. She and I started to hang out together and I would sit there and read to her. Occasionally, she would say one of the words as she followed along with my reading to her. She did not even understand that she was being taught.

We set up different games with "phonics" and "whole word" where you recognize the complete word and match that with something in your head. Phonics is where you sound out the word. The whole concept was that she had a new friend who sat down with her and developed different games and she was the one who helped create different ideas. At the end of the summer she did move on to the second grade.

She had really needed motivation and we turned what had been a tremendous struggle throughout first grade into a fun time.