Every year I always have students who tell me that their parents cover up the pictures when the kids are just learning how to read. At the beginning of each year I really try to find ways to let the kiddos know that the pictures are important and will help them learn how to read.
One lesson that I do is with the book Frog Food. This is a big book (and little ones for the kids) from Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) by Fountas and Pinnell. I love the books for LLI. Fountas and Pinnell worked with authors and illustrators to make wonderful leveled books for beginning readers. If you are looking for an intervention program- I highly recommend it:) You can check it out here. (They have kits for K-4)
Anyway, when I introduce the book Frog Food I first show them the word "pancakes" and ask them if they know that word- they of course say no and I let them know that I don't expect them to know that word because it is a hard word.
Then I tell them that they will be able to figure it out. I then open up the book so that they can see the picture and we read together. "I like bugs on pancakes." Of course they get it every time. We talk about how the pictures can help up figure out new words.
Once they grasp this concept I then talk about how our "pictures" must match the word. We look at the first letter to see if it matches what we say. I of course make a couple of errors as we are reading along. For example, I read "I like bugs on toast." and it says, "I like bugs on bread." They pick up on this quickly. We also use highlighter tape to highlight the first letter of the words to make sure that they match what we think the picture is. This visual gets them checking their own reading.
Boy do they feel successful right from the start with their reading. I LOVE IT!!
One of my goals this year to have more communication with parents and how they can help their child at home. I have started a newsletter called Parent Tips and Tricks. I plan to send these home throughout the school year. I have only made one so far and plan to make more every couple of weeks or so to help parents learn what we are teaching at school. I plan to offer these for free throughout the year as I make them. If you subscribe by e-mail to the blog you will be notified when I make any new posts and you will be sure not to miss them. Here is the first one- and my focus is about pictures being important as well as finding a place and time to read at home.