Reviewed by Savannah Aldridge for Readers’ Favorite
Dad Is My Best Friend by Kerice K. Robinson and illustrated by Kavion Robinson tells the story of the beautiful relationship between a father and daughter. Our narrator Andrea is a young girl who proudly proclaims that her dad is her best friend. She then takes us on an ordinary yet fun-filled day spent with her father. Together, they race and bike outside and then come indoors for some more exercise together. We get to count how many push-ups Andrea’s dad can do with her sitting on his back. Finally, at the end of a long day, he tucks her into bed with love.
After reading this book, the first word that came to my mind was “cozy.” Kerice K. Robinson notes in the beginning that some of the scenes were inspired by her early memories with her father, and the genuine love between dad and daughter is deeply evident throughout this book. The story feels gentle, safe, warm, and cozy! Another endearing part of Dad Is My Best Friend is its beautiful artwork. Each picture is bright, detailed, focused, and truly captures the love in Angela and her father’s relationship. The vocabulary sounds like the genuine narrative of a young girl, which makes the book perfect for early readers who need a book they can go through on their own. However, I believe the best way for a kid to enjoy this book is to snuggle up with their dad. A warning to fathers who plan to read it. Your kid will want you to do push-ups while they sit on your back because it looks like fun in the book. Get ready for a father-daughter bonding workout!
CVC stands forconsonant-vowel-consonant. CVC words are words like cat, zip, rug, and pen. The vowel sound is always short. These words can be read by simply blending the individual phoneme sounds together. A word family is a group of words that share a common root word with different prefixes and suffixes. I created 12 CVC word family classroom wall decorations. I originally got this idea for these posters from multiplication fact posters I saw on Pinterest. They were super colorful and featured adorable animals. It got my creative juices flowing and I decided to make similar phonics-themed posters. I hope all of the teachers, educators, and homeschool families enjoy these posters.
Decorate your classroom wall or use these posters to actively teach sound blending. Children love the bright colors and identifying the animals. They may even have a favorite animal or color and choose to read the poster because of the animal or color. Use these posters to get children engaged in phonics word building. Continue exploring the Unabashed Kids blog for more word-building activity ideas. Download these 12 sets of word family posters for FREE.
Below is a list of ideas for using the CVC word family classroom wall decorations.
Hang it up for decoration! Reminds students and visitors where the reading center is located.
Reading Center Activity – Have students trace the laminated boards at the reading center or have them choose a poster to copy that word family down on a piece of paper.
Spelling Word Wall Reference. Tired of being asked how to spell cat. Use these posters as a reference for spelling 3 letter words. Tell the students to find the correct word family and check if they spelled the word correctly.
Circle time games! Word family of the week – have students practice reading and spelling the CVC words as a group during circle time.
Group Work – pair students into groups of 2 or 3 and have them practice reading the words together.
Teaching your kid to read is one of the most satisfying things you can do as parents. There is nothing more exciting than watching our babies grow and learn.
We all know that reading is an important skill. Children tend to learn to read their first books between the ages of 3 and 7. The earlier he or she begins to discover the love of reading, the easier it will be for them to become confident and independent readers as they get older. There are many online resources you can use to develop your child’s reading skills. It is important that once a child gets a small grasp of phonics we encourage them to continue building their literacy skills. This can be done by choosing books that are on their reading level and of interest to them.
Keep in mind, that children will not master reading skills overnight. The process takes time, and you must be patient with your child. You must also be supportive of their needs as they learn. The best way for a parent to teach their child how to read is by choosing books that are at just the right level.
As a parent, it is important to choose books at your child’s reading level. By doing so, you are making the reading experience more comfortable for your child. Choosing books that are too easy will not challenge your child. He or she will not feel as if they are making any progress. On the other hand, choosing books that are too difficult can cause frustration for your child. It can lead to him losing interest in reading altogether.
The tips below will help you learn how to choose books at your child’s reading level. This article will make the process of choosing books easier for you.
5 Steps to Choosing Books for Your Child (On Their Reading Level)
The 5 steps below are super easy ways to choose interesting books that your kid can actually read (on their own).
1. Learn your kid’s measured reading level
The first step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is knowing your child’s reading level. For this to happen, you will need to administer a reading test.
The best way to do this is with the help of a professional. They can tell you what level your child is at in reading. Then they can recommend books that are at that same level. It will allow you to choose books that are fun and challenging for your kids. It also ensures that they are learning new things while they read each book.
You can also do a reading test at home. One ideal way is by using the San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability (SDQA). The SDQA measures a child’s recognition of words out of context. This means that the child will read the words independently, not in sentence or story format. Generally, proficient readers
read as accurately both in and out of context. This test consists of 8 graded word lists from Pre-K to 7th Grade. The words within each list are of about equal difficulty.
This test is very simple and easy to do. You can do it at home in just a few minutes.
A minor fault of the SDQA testing method is that it is not suitable for comprehension testing. So, if your child pronounces words correctly but has trouble understanding what they are reading then this test may place them at a higher level than what is best for their reading enjoyment. Who can enjoy a story that they do not understand?
There are a plethora of online tests that you can give your child, to test word pronunciation and comprehension. Most will only take 10 to 30 minutes.
2. Searching for books that match your child’s reading level
Once you know your child’s reading level, it’s time to go out and buy the books. Of course, it will help if you can find out what the level is ahead of time. You can always get help from a teacher or librarian for this purpose. It will help you avoid buying books that are too easy or too difficult for your child. Amazon’s children’s book section offers books for every age and stage.
3. The five-fingers spelling check and how to do it
The next step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is to do the five-fingered spelling check. It will tell you if you forgot any words to make sure that they are included in the words list. And it will prevent you from buying books that have words that your child can not pronounce.
You can do the five-fingers spelling check by asking your kid to hold up five fingers and read one page of a book. Put one finger down every time your kid doesn’t know a word. If all the five fingers end up down, the book is too difficult for your child.
This test can be done when buying a book in a store, at your local library, or while shopping online. If you are shopping for a book online, browse the look inside feature and ask your child to read one of the preview pages.
4. A Quick Comprehension Check for Kids
The next step to choosing books at your child’s reading level is to check their comprehension. I mentioned this earlier when discussing the reading test. Who can enjoy a book that they don’t understand? You can do this by asking your kids questions about what they have read. You can ask questions like “Who is the main character?”, “What happened in the story?” or “Why did that happen?”. Make sure that you do this as soon as your child finishes reading a book. If you wait too long after, they may have forgotten all about the story they read. So, it is best to do this right after they finish reading a book. If you notice a certain level of books or even books by a certain author are too difficult for your child to comprehend, try doing one of the following.
Re-read the book with your child.
Slow reading down and ask comprehension questions every page or every other page.
Go down a level and read books that are a tad bit similar. There is no shame in leveling down, your child will eventually be able to understand. We do not want to overwhelm children. We want them to develop a love for reading and acquiring knowledge.
5. Checking your child’s word pronounciation
The last step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is to do an audio check. It will help you find out if your child has any trouble pronouncing the words in the book. You can ask them to read short passages from the book. You can ask them to repeat words until they have them perfectly memorized. Make sure you provide the correct pronunciation before asking them to repeat words over and over. If you are unsure of how to pronounce a word, be open and honest with your child. Tell them “I am not sure about that one, but I will sound it out slowly so that I can say it correctly. Will you do it with me?”
8 Helpful Tips: Developing A Child’s Reading Skills Early
Start reading with your kid from a young age. It will give them the desire to learn how to read. Kids always want to do what they see mom or dad do.
Encourage them to read books that are appropriate for their age. For example, if a young child is going to read a book about dinosaurs, make sure that the book doesn’t have any scary images. We don’t want our kids to be afraid of opening a book because a big scary dinosaur is there.
Encourage your kid to engage in conversations using what they have read. Talk about the books we read. It will help them to expand their knowledge and get ideas from the books you are reading together.
Make sure that your child is always interested in what they are reading. “I can’t wait to read this book!” should be the feeling a child has when introduced to a book. Give your kids the opportunity to pick book topics that interest them. It will encourage them to keep reading.
Whenever possible, turn regular TV time into reading time; for example, you can read aloud while your kid follows along with his book. As your child’s reading ability improves, he or she can even take over when you need a break!
Give your kids multiple opportunities to read books based on their interests; this will help them develop their interests and differentiate between what they like and do not like, thus creating a more positive attitude towards learning. This will result in your child developing a love of reading.
We hope this article has helped you learn how to choose books at your child’s reading level. You can use the tips and strategies we have included in this article to make choosing books easier. Above all, the most essential thing you can do is to read with your children!
Learn About Our Guest Author
I’m Andrea Gibbs! Born, raised, and still living in New York. I’m a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I’m a blog contributor at Baby Steps Daycare in Rego Park, New York to motivate and educate other parents about how they can get their children ahead of the game in school.
Unabashed Kids Media is happy to announce the release of “I is for Imani!: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book” written by Kerice Robinson. Learn about the celebration of Kwanzaa with this brightly colored holiday letter book. Children will go through each letter in the alphabet and learn how it relates to the principles of Kwanzaa.
“I is for Imani” teaches kids about Kwanzaa in a fun and easy to digest way. Simple ABCs of Kwanzaa book. The book has a word for every letter in the alphabet and relates the words to Kwanzaa. The book also gives a simple and kid-friendly definition of each word. Purchase on Amazon or Google Play.
Take a Peek Inside: “I is for Imani!”
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Sight words are a collection of commonly used words that a child can learn to recognize by sight without decoding. A large amount of text is made up of 100 commonly used words. Most of these 100 words are small and easy to read (the, or, it, is, a, I, and, are, on). Some sight words are not easy to sound out by following the phonemic rules taught to early readers (from, what, there). This is why educators teach these words by sight. Memorizing sight words help children begin to read more fluently. There are 2 prominent lists of high-frequency words Dolch list and Fry list. Both lists include the same words but words on the list differ when it comes to frequency ranking. Using the top 100 words from either of these lists is sufficient for teaching sight words to early readers.
I was able to get my pre-kindergarten class to learn sight words by teaching them 1 word a day. During circle time, we would review about 10 to 15 words with flashcards but, 1 special sight word would be our word of the day. I would tape this word to my shirt and during snack, recess, and center time I asked the children to tell me what word I had on my shirt. This forced them to pay attention to our special word and learn it by sight.
After 80% of my class new 10 or more sight words, I began to have them read full sentences. This was introduced during circle time. I prepared about a dozen sentence strips that included phrases, questions, and statements. All words on the sentence strips were either 3 letter (CVC) words, student names, and sight words. I did not use any unfamiliar names on the sentence strips, as new names may be hard to read. My class constantly saw their names on cubbies, tables, cots, snacks, and other labels; they were familiar with the names of the children in the class. During circle time, I had the class read the sentences out load to me. I would add new sentences as they mastered new sight words, CVCe words, and other phonics sounds.
You remember how it was when you were in school. Popcorn reading is when a teacher asks the class to open a book, he or she starts to read then calls on a student to read next. Everyone must pay attention to the story and follow along in their books because we would never know who would be called next. We would try to learn the order the teacher used to call names. Were they going by the order of the desk or alphabetical order by last names? Was the teacher looking to see who wasn’t paying attention and then choosing students who looked lost or confused. This entire process was nerve-racking. So now that we are adults with our own children, how do we help our children learn to be confident readers?
It all starts at home. Have children practice reading aloud at home.
Encourage your children to read often. Reading fiction books aloud can help build reading confidence in younger children. Fiction for younger children often have familiar words and repetition.
Introduce your kids to new vocabulary words. Have them practice reading these new words out loud.
And as always, encourage and praise children for doing their best. We want our children to enjoy the experience of learning. Praise and encouragement can help them find joy in learning.
Teach Your Children How to Read
Want to learn how to teach your kids to read at home? Check out our blog series on learning to read. The steps are easy and any parent can do it.
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How to Teach Rhyming Words, Word Families and CVC Words
The word phonogram comes from Greek and is translated as the “written symbol for a sound.” Phonograms are the building block to almost all English words, the vast majority of words follow the regular phonogram sounds. You can introduce children to the majority of words that don’t follow regular phonogram sounds, by teaching sight words.
CVC stands for Consonant/Vowel/Consonant. These words will be super easy for kids to read once they have learned their letter sounds. You can even get a child who knows their CVC words to begin reading books. Check out the Unabashed List of Easy to Read Children’s books. Teach a child that the letters A, E, I, O, and U are vowels. Teach the short and long sounds of these letters. Children will learn to distinguish the long and short sounds with CVC and CVCe words in the next step of reading. CVC stands for Consonant/Vowel/Consonant and CVCe words are words where the letter ‘e’ at the end make the vowel in the middle make a long sound (say its name).The FREE CVC to CVCe packet aids in teaching children the long vowel sounds.
CVC Word Family Game
You can make your own cards (like I did in the image above), or print out our word family flash-cards. This game is easy to play, fun, and engaging for students. I had the children in my classroom work in groups of 2. One student will read the word outload and the other would match the words to the correct word family.
This game is fun for students who love to rhyme. It is also helpful to pair a stronger reading student with a less advanced reading students. They learn to work as a team and often children explain things to each other in a way that adults cannot. The less advanced reading student learns from the strong reader.
Word Family Truffula Trees – Inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
After reading the Lorax, the Pre-Kindergarten class created their own truffula trees. We turned our art project into a fun word family game.
Use these flashcards and worksheets to assist you while teaching reading lessons. Don’t forget to make it FUN!
Use these videos for CVC word family reading practice
Teach Children How to Identify the First, Middle, and Last Sounds in 3 Letter Words.
Blending may be the hardest step, but once we get over this hill, it will be much easier for children to learn how to read words. This is the step where you should introduce vowels and consonants, don’t worry too much if children don’t pick up on those 2 words (vowel/consonant matchups). This step will be repeated once a child has developed their reading skills a little more.
In the worksheets below children will be asked to identify the first sound in a word, the middle sound, and the last sound. These are great word decoding exercises and build confidence before students are asked to read CVC or CVCe words. We offer free interactive phonics videos at unabashedkids.com/videos.
For more phonics worksheets purchase a workbook from the Unabashed Kids Welcome to Elementary School series. Welcome to Elementary School series focuses on Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade level work. The books are split by grade and subject (math, phonics, science, and finance). These books include up to 200 pages of comprehensive worksheets.
Unabashed Kids offers FREE Alphabet Flashcards but please make it fun. Do not just drill letters into a child’s mind, this will just build resentment to written language. There are plenty ways to make learning letter sounds fun. Try playing sound games (with or without flashcards) and sing songs (ABC song, Apples and Bananas, BINGO) and teach a child to recognize their name. Children will love learning to recognize and spell their names. It is unique to them and will make them feel special. Most children may be familiar with the song “BINGO was his name-o”, changing this song a little can make it an engaging letter sound recognition game. Use consonant sounds to replace the B and have the children tell you the new dog’s name. The Unabashed Kids BINGO Song Board teaches letter recognition, letter sounds, rhyming, and most importantly it teaches children that words are different if letters change.
Letter Name and Sound Activities
There are plenty of fun ways to get children to learn their letters. The pre-kindergarten class enjoyed making playdoh letters, finding things around the room that start with specific letters, and Q-tip letter tracing with paint. The more a child is exposed to letters and letter sounds the more they will learn. Below is a short list of letter learning activities.
Playdoh Letter Molding
Q-tip letter tracing
I Spy – Beginning Sounds
I Spy – Ending Sounds
Name a Friend who begins with (Letter)
BINGO Song Letter Rhyming
Straight Forward Letter Sound Practice (Video)
You know a child has mastered their letter sounds if they can name each letter and give its sound (out of ABC order). To test if my preschoolers know their letters and sounds, I start from the letter Z go backward to B, saving the vowels for last. After mastering the letter sounds, introduce syllables. Continuously emphasize to children that letters stand alone but when put together, they make words.
Teach Syllables by Clapping
Build concepts of words and syllables. Try syllable games like clapping our syllables in words. This is a great activity to do with a class of students, by having them clap the syllables in their names. Clapping the syllables in the months of the year is also a fun circle time activity. Students will quickly begin to learn how to split words into syllables.
FREE Alphabet Flashcards, Letter Sound Game, & Letter Matching Worksheet.
Download our FREE letter learning materials. If you are interested in more fun learning materials like the ones below, consider purchasing Welcome to Kindergarten – an academic preparation workbook that covers beginning reading skills, counting, addition, math, pencil skills, matching and more.