Encouraging the FLC with Your Kindergartner’s Reading Skills

This is Part 4 of the Family Literacy Circle’s Five ~ Part Kindergarten Series

This post’s main focus is on developing & engaging the Reading Skills of your 5-year-old, Part One of this Series ~ Your Kindergartner’s Language Skills ~  offers key content regarding the growth & development of your child’s Phonological Awareness Skills, which is a major component for pre-reading skills. You can read the Language post by clicking on the link below:


ACT FOUR : Encouraging Your Kindergartner’s Reading Skills

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. ~ Richard Steele

As I stated in the first few sentences, your child’s oral language FLC K Reading Skillsskills in both understanding, or receptive, and speaking, or expressive, is beginning to extend into the written language of reading. Rhyming words play a big part in this progression. I put together a 50-word rhyming list for you & yours. Click on the PDF link below:

50 Beginning Rhyming Words

Understanding a variety of  letters in words represent a variety of sounds helps your child comprehend the purpose of the written language in stories & books.

Environmental print has given her/him clues for several years now. Still working on matching uppercase letters to lowercase letters? Here’s a PDF Literacy Game for learning that skill. Click on the link below:

We Go Together

This specific understanding is how s/he learns how to “sound out” letters and “smush” them into printed words ~ READING!!!!! It is such an exciting accomplishment for your child and kudos to you, their First teacher, who has been the springboard of this New World!! 

WOW ! How Did I Do That?!?

Reading with your child since the beginning of his/her life ~ maybe in utero? ~ has provided a great many stepping-stones onto the path of learning how to be an independent reader. Here are just a few of the lessons taught by example that your child has  learned through your patient,  gentle, fun & interactive persistence:

  • Books have a title, author & illustrator.
  • Books are read from left to right & top to bottom.
  • Stories have a beginning, middle & ending.
  • Some stories are make-believe, or fiction & some stories are real-life, or non-fiction.
  • Words in stories are made up of letters & sounds, some of which your child may be able to identify.
  • S/he loves to retell some favorite stories.
  • S/he wants to “read” picture books from memory.
  • S/he might be able to recognize some words by sight.

However, learning to read is not a natural skill. Our five senses can help, but the brain does not have a “reading area”.

Reading & The Brain

Reading & The Brain-Public DomainPics
Reading & The Brain-Public DomainPics

Jan Bernard@dragonsdencurriculum.blogspot.com has some suggestions for brain-based reading instruction in her blog post:  “Seven Ways to Use the Brain to Make Reading Easier”.

National Reading Panel

Research supports that good phonics development is critical to effective reading. Playing with words, knowing the sounds of letters, and  manipulating these sounds are the foundation skills of understanding print.

Personal Connections

Using memories and personal life experiences to relate with the text increases the comprehension of the  text being read.

Reflection Connection

Engaging your reader in hands-on activities centered around the read gives him/her time to process  the content and discover meaning within it.


Teaching several points instead of many will ensure your reader is understanding the content s/he is reading.

Fun & Movement

Making the lesson entertaining and providing opportunities for physical change, such as group work, partner activities and/or games helps the brain retain information.


Turn & Talk, group discussions, and student-teaches are all  effective  ways to engage readers when learning the content.

These ideas, also, promote Critical Thinking skills.

What Are Critical Thinking Skills?

Asking “what if” & “why” questions are  great ways to encourage and inspire expansive, creative thinking. For example, what if you found a dragon’s egg? What if you found a genie in a lamp? What if a neighbor of the 3 Bears knocked on the door while Goldilocks was there? 

You may already ask “big thinking” questions during a read with your child. Heidi Butkus @ heidisongs does a nice job of presenting how to engage critical thinking in young children.

Some of the beginning interactive questions are:

  • Connecting Text to Self : Has anything like _________ ever happened to you or someone you know?
  • Compare & Contrast: How are _______&_______the same? How are they different?
  • Form an Opinion: How did you feel when________?
  • Evaluate: Do you think __________was a good or bad idea?
  • Prediction: What do you think will happen next?

The next set of questions are a bit more “thought-provoking”.

  • Cause & Effect: Because ________began, ___________is what happened next.
  • Hypothesize: Since__________is always happening, __________is probably why it happens.
  • Develop a Logical Argument: I think___________is true/not true, because_____________and____________.
  • Infer: What is happening and why?
  • Draw a Conclusion: What do you think about the WHOLE story?

How about using these questions with a story you’ve read to your child a few hundred times, like…….?

 Critically Thinking About Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes

This author & illustrator of numerous award-winning books has created many well-loved picture books as well as a “cast” of mice characters for his mouse stories collection. I’m sure you’ve heard of Owen, Julius, Chrysanthemum & Sheila Rae. Chester & Wilson,  two of the main mice in Chester’s Way, like to do things a certain way everyday, until Lily moves into the neighborhood with her own way of doing things every day…..

  • Connecting Text to Self : Do you like to do some things the same way every time you do it?
  • Compare & Contrast: How are Chester / Wilson & Lily the same? How are they different?
  • Form an Opinion: How did you feel when the older mouse boys circled Chester & Wilson ?
  • Evaluate: Do you think Lily squirting those boys away was a good or bad idea?
  • Prediction: What do you think will happen when Victor moves into the neighborhood?
  • Cause & Effect:  Because Lily “squirted” those big boy mice way,  ___________is what happened next.
  • Hypothesize: Since Chester & Wilson are  always playing together, __________is probably why it happens.
  • Develop a Logical Argument: I think Victor will/will not become friends with them  because_____________and____________.
  • Infer: Although Chester & Wilson enjoy doing things differently from Lily, they still enjoy her differences because____________? Will they feel the same way about Victor?
  • Draw a Conclusion: What do you think about the WHOLE story?

Are you and/or your child Visual Learners/Teachers? Check out your “Style” in the FLC post: Choosing A School for Your Kindergartner: Learning & Teaching Styles by clicking on the link below:


I have, also, included 3 beginning- to- read comprehension graphic organizers for you and yours to use on a BIG sheet of paper. Click on the PDF link below:

K Rdg Comp GOrgs

How Will I Know If My Child Is Ready To Read ?

Certain common concepts can be woven throughout a story. Does your 5-year-old understand near/far, same/different, through/over/under? Here’s a PDF checklist to help review positional & directional words.

 Beginning Directional & Positional Words

Understanding, using, and applying Time concepts  continues to be developmental since the  “language of time” is such an abstract idea.    Emphasizing words such as soon, later, early, yesterday, today, tomorrow, next week, morning, noon and evening when doing concrete activities will help to give meaning to these ideas.  Even my Third Graders struggled with defining “when” in the Setting story element.

BLB Shop has a Calendar Kit you can use as a daily activity lesson at home. You can view it by clicking on the link below:


The expectations for Kindergartners has changed A LOT within the last 15 years. Previously,  objectives revolved around interactive, hands-on learning centers, like blocks, kitchen, painting, etc. Currently, those are preK objectives with Kindergartners expected to be emerging readers, writers & math problem solvers. Here’s a list of pre-reading skills  your 5-year-old needs to know when ENTERING Kindergarten.

  Beginnings : A Book Tells A Story

Open A Book-Comfreak/CCOCreativeCommons
Open A Book-Comfreak/CCO

If you & yours are a family of readers, these book skills are already in place:

  • Books have parts: front & back covers with a title page.
  • Books are held safely & pages are turned from left to right.
  • Books’ words are read from left to right & top to bottom.
  • Groups of letters can make words.
  • There are spaces in between complete words.
  • A sentence is a group of words “strung” together with different ending marks that are not letters.
  • Letters & words on a book’s page are spoken with meaning & messages.

You have taught these skills by:

  • Making read-alouds a routine part of each day
  • Promoting the above skills & concepts each time a book is read
  • Finger-pointing the words as you read.
  • Helping your child become aware of environmental print, such as building & road signs, food labels, billboards, etc
  • Reading interactively with your child by asking questions, making connections, explaining unknown words, & having her/him retell the story
  • Identifying story elements, such as  beginning, middle & end; characters & setting; main idea & details; problems & solutions

During your child’s Kindergarten year, s/he will learn many more specifics about books being read.

Kindergarten & Book Growth

Your child’s “book knowledge” will include several new aspects as well as preferences.

As non-fiction books become a more important tool when teaching curriculum objectives, s/he will learn about the Table of Contents, a glossary & an index. Engaging in longer discussions as content is being shared will, also, be part of your child’s growing knowledge within books.

Having  extensive libraries in the classroom & as a media center available to your 5-year-old will provide opportunities for growing interests in specific authors, fiction verses non-fiction, and entertainment independence.

The attention span of your young listener will expand into chapter books, more in-depth discussions & responses, and greater  comprehension of specific content details.

You will notice your child pointing to words  as s/he “reads”. This strong characteristic shows a progression from his/her Phonological Awareness to Phonemic Awareness ~ yes, READING!!!!

What Are Phonemic Awareness Skills ?

S0, is your child ready to master the Phonemic Awareness Skills? This set of skills includes your child’s ability to hear, identify & manipulate the sounds letters make.

BLB Shop has two games ready to help your child learn these powerful reading skills. S Says SSSSSS has Beginning Letter & Sound Games. M Says MMMM has games for learning the Ending Letter & its Sound.  Just click on the links below to access a view:



Modeling As A Teaching Tool

Let us read and let us dance ~ two amusements that will never do any harm to the world. ~ Voltaire

Throughout the years you have read countless books countless times. Your little pupil wants to read how you have been reading to him/her for the past 5 years. You have probably noticed how dear this time is with your loved one, even if s/he is squirmy. Benefits of read-alouds are:  sharing quality time, especially at night; being a book resource for sharing different stories; thinking together; and getting an insider view into your child’s interests, humor & comprehension.

There are a few Read-Aloud Tips, courtesy of readingeggs.com, heatherhaupt.com & I to further your modeling/teaching tools when reading aloud to your young listener.

Kinder Listening-Anissa Thompson
Listening-Anissa Thompson
  • Make time to read interactively every day without distractions.
  • Choose well-written & beautifully illustrated books (not too easy/difficult) with your child’s interests in mind without a lot of dialogue.
  • Be ready to read favorite books again & again & again because your child is learning sounds and words through repetition.
  • Try to read using lots of expression & animation without imposing your own thoughts onto your child.
  • Opt for books related to your child’s current learning experiences.
  • Finish a book once you have started it unless you discover your child is not engaged in the story/subject.

The Complex Worth of Simple Wordless Picture Books

Wordless picture books are NOT just for toddlers & pre-schoolers. Some of those books you “read” to your “baby” might continue to be interesting, but in a very different way. (See    https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/blb-resource-library/wordless-picture-books/

Their amazing, detailed illustrations offer numerous opportunities for imaginative & creative thinking. Not only do they emphasize the power of illustration, but they, also, encourage verbal & vocabulary skills, promote point of view recognition, and develop your child’s confidence as s/he “tells” the story.

Spend some time asking comprehension questions about the Story Elements:

  • Setting – place, time, unusual/familiar, things to do
  • Characters – thinking, feelings, desires/needs
  • Plot – problems/solutions
  • Predictions – next, opinions, choices
  • Lessons – themes, if/then, symbols

As a Family Literacy Circle activity, have each family member and/or friend , choose a page to tell the story and, then, pass the book to the next person.

Need some Wordless Picture Book ideas for your older “reader”? Check out More Wonderful Wordless Picture Books for Readers, Ages 5-8   in BLB’s Resource Library. Just click on the link below:


“Just One More Chapter, PLEEEEEZE!!!”

Reading an interesting & entertaining chapter book aloud is one of the pleasures you can share in your Family’s Literacy Circle. It is SO MUCH FUN!!!

Whether it is part of your night-time ritual, a rainy afternoon past-time or a vacation ride diversion, your captive audience will usually want just one more chapter read.

Did you know there are benefits to reading aloud chapter books to your young and older one(s) ? Here are some of them shared by readingeggs.com:

  • Develops stronger vocabulary through listening & hearing new words in a new context
  • Builds connections between spoken & written words
  • Strengthens thinking by exposing your child to sophisticated language
  • Improves attention span & concentration through listening
  • Provides enjoyment &, then, views reading as a positive experience
  • Allows a safe way of exploring strong emotions of oneself & others
  • Promotes bonding & strengthens relationships
  • Helps your child develop his/her social, communication & interpersonal skills

I can tell you from my experiences as a parent & educator, all of the above are true. Plus as a lover of reading, it is FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Here is a list I compiled as a Resource in BLB’s Library of some captivating chapter books I have shared with children. Just click on the link below:


You Can Help Your Child Become A Reader

The greatest good you can do for another is not to share your riches, but to reveal to him/her his/her own. ~ Disraeli

I Can Read You A Story-Jill111
I Can Read You A Story-Jill111

Your 5-year-old is becoming aware of book type diversity. S/he knows the difference between real & make-believe stories. S/he realizes some  made-up stories that could really happen, or realistic fiction.  Some books are all about facts, or nonfiction. Some are ABC books & some are song books.

Making sure your child has immediate access to books -everywhere at home- s/he enjoys will encourage lots of reading. Bring books on car trips, the store & visits. Hand him/her a book instead of a device. Ask teachers, librarians & other parents for book suggestions.

Create an “I Am A Reader” poster together to hang up in his/her room. Or use the one I created  for you to make with your budding reader. Just click, download & print on the link below:

  I Am A Reader poster

The 5 Components of Reading

Before beginning to teach someone to read, it is important to administer a Reading Inventory. Throughout my decades as an educator, I have given a wide variety of assessments. Click on the Reading Rockets link below for an example:


My successful tried & true method of teaching a child -who wants to learn how to read- how to read consists of 5 major elements:

  • a solid Sight Words, or High Frequency Words base
  • a strong, developmental phonics program
  • an ongoing receptive & expressive vocabulary list
  • a reliable group of comprehension strategies for fiction & nonfiction reads
  • a daily opportunity for reading aloud to improve fluency

You can work with your child’s teacher to assist in your child’s reading  progression. S/he will know specifically in which of these 5 areas your beginning reader needs more practice. 

Otherwise, continue reading interactively with your child every day.

HELP!!!! My Child Is A NON-Reader!

If a child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in a way the child learns. ~ Rita Dunn

Lost in Kindergarten -Cole Stivers
Lost in Kindergarten -Cole Stivers

Your bright, energetic 5-year-old has waited all summer to enter the exciting new world of Kindergarten with all of his/her friends. New clothes, shoes &  a cheerful lunchbox have been carefully selected. Lots of colorful school supplies have been purchased & tucked away into his/her new, hand-picked backpack. The first few weeks of school, s/he comes home happy & exhausted. By week 3, s/he is not as thrilled with Kindergarten. S/he is becoming more confused & almost reluctant to go to school…..

During Meet the Teacher night, her/his teacher gently pulls you to the side and quietly urges you to schedule a conference as soon as possible. You swallow back some tears, replying, “Of course…” as the teacher reassures you, “We can work this out together.”

Do I Have a Resource for you!!!!

Just click on this link below for Guiding Your NonReader Into The Reader’s World:



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