Growing Readers Together

April Tips for First Grade Parents

Word Families

Word families, sometimes called phonograms or chunks, can really help emergent readers begin to understand our language by providing some predictable patterns within words. As you and I learned to read, we picked up these patterns effortlessly, and they still help us when we try to decode new words. When we direct our child's attention to these same patterns, they too will be able to untangle the seemingly unrelated sounds of English.

When learning to read, patterns are important. Children recognize word patterns and this makes it easier when sounding out words. Have your child make words with playdough using these word parts to practice these patterns.

Silent Consonants /Ghost letter digraphs are two letters that make one sound. The first sound is silent (kn and wr). Brainstorm a list of words that begin with "kn" and "wr." Have your child practice these words by writing them on a cookie sheet filled with salt, whipped cream, pudding, or sand with their finger.


What Is a Contraction?

A contraction consists of two words that are combined to form one word. To “contract” means to “make smaller,” and that is what we do when we form contractions: we take two longer words and contract them into one shorter word.

When Do We Use Contractions?

Contractions are shortcuts that we often take in our everyday speech. Instead of saying “Do not tease the dog,” we shorten it to “Don’t tease the dog.” Instead of saying "I am going to the park today," we might say "I'm going to the park today."

Go to the following website for games to practice reading contractions:

Inferring and Drawing Conclusions

Inferences are what we figure out based on an experience. Helping your child understand when information is implied (or not directly stated) will improve his/her skills in drawing conclusions and making inferences. Wordless pictures and comics are a great way to practice inferencing and drawing conclusions skills.

For example, some questions to ask about the pictures below might be ... What do you know about the boy in the picture? What makes you think that? How is the boy feeling? How do you know?

The website below has more information regarding inferencing and drawing conclusions:

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