How do you teach beginning readers?

kid reading Teach Magically Teaching beginning readers
Teaching Beginning Readers

has proven that students who enter kindergarten not knowing their letters are
at risk. So if they learn their letters easily, the risk can be diminished. 

Jan Richardson collected data on students who enter kindergarten
knowing less than 40 letters. She concluded that two instructional procedures have quickly taught
letter names, letter sounds, and many concepts of print to students that did not know above 40 letters. They were:

  •  daily letter tracing practice
  • small group guided reading

pin Teach Magically teaching beginning readers


Students should daily trace an ABC book. The ABC book is designed
to teach letter names (upper and lower case).

Students should say the name of the letter twice as they trace the
letter in the ABC book because students with very limited letter knowledge are likely
to become overwhelmed if asked to learn the letter name and letter sound at the
same time (Lipson &
2010, Successful Approaches to RTI ). 

I do this to begin a guided reading lesson until I have volunteers.

Once a student know the name of the letters add a sticker to the page or let them color that clip art.

When they come to a letter that is known, the student then has to say the picture clue and say the beginning sounds.

How do you teach with the ABC book?

I have found that using arrows and starting dot point to help kiddos trace has made all the difference.

Teach Magically Helping Beginning Readers B Bus Picture
If students know the name of the letter it
will be easier for them to remember the sound of the letter 
since the sound for the letter is often embedded in the name of the letter (Lipson & Wixson,
2010, Successful Approaches to RTI, p. 42)
but add the sound and the picture helps.


Sitting next to the student, have
them trace each upper and lowercase letter with their finger and identify the
picture while saying the names (i.e. “A, a, apple /a/. B, b, ball /b/.”). It’s
important for the student to use their pointer finger (not a pencil or marker)
and trace from top to bottom because the tactile experience is essential for
sending it to long term memory.

If the student needs help
tracing, only help with the letters that are necessary with the hand-over-hand

Teach Magically Hand over Hand Helping Beginning Readers
If they can identify 10-40 letters, they will trace the
whole book daily.
ADAPTIf a student knows less than 10 letters, just have them only trace the letters in their name until they are mastered.

other fun things I do to Help

Other fun ways to work with other phonological awareness skills. Here are a few ideas:

These activities integrate a variety of skills including early print concepts (Click here for free concepts of print handout)phonemic awareness,
phonics, visual memory, visual scanning, letter formation, directionality, and using picture clues; students learn that
reading makes sense. 

Catching readers early means we can close the
achievement gap and prevent many of them from experiencing difficulty learning
to read. 

Once they know a few letters and a vowel (I teach /a/ first) you can start teaching them how to blend. Check out How To Teach Blending the Right Way

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Make everyday magical,


💖Debora from Teach Magically

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