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A "Typical" Scope and Sequence for Learning to Read

by Stephanie Ward

The beauty of home education is that we do not have to be bound to a rigid timetable. Children vary widely in the age they learn to read, which involves a complicated assortment of developmental skills. While traditional schools in our society try to teach reading and writing around age 6, many educators and cultures believe children are more developmentally ready for this milestone around age 8-10. On the other hand, some young children are eager to learn to read, and develop this skill around age 4 or 5. While there are many good reasons not to rush academics, there are several reasons why a home educating parent might want a general idea of when children typically learn certain skills in school. Some families are considering the possibility of sending their child to a public or private school in the future, and want the transition to be seamless. Many families live in states, such as ours, which tie our right to home school to performance on age-normed standardized tests. Some families, on the other hand, may simply be interested in "touchpoints" to get a sense of how their child's learning compares to a "typical" timetable.

This offers a general idea of what a "typical" school program might offer, and the skills that children usually acquire on the path to independent reading.

Reading Readiness refers to various skills which lay the foundation for reading. These are things children begin learning during the preschool years. Reading readiness includes the following:
  • Developing a basic sense of direction about reading: words and sentences are read from left to right; pages are read from top to bottom.
  • Developing eye-hand coordination through drawing, manipulating objects, and other fine-motor activities, needed for reading and writing.
  • Learning to identify the letters of the alphabet Many children learn to identify capital letters first, then lower-case letters. Alphabet books, singing the Alphabet Song, puzzles and toys, games and flash cards, and educational shows such as Sesame Street can help your child learn the alphabet.
  • Understanding that words are comprised of letters, and sentences of words. This skill is best taught by faithfully reading to your child. Sometimes run your finger under the words as you read. This helps your child understand these basic concepts, and will eventually reinforce word recognition.
  • Recognizing rhyming words is a cornerstone of reading readiness. The best thing you can do is inudate your child with nursery rhymes, songs, and rhyming stories, beginning at birth!
  • Visual Discrimination: identifying colors and shapes; being able to match and sort objects by color, shape and size.
  • Auditory Discrimination: Discriminating initial sounds of words. As your child learns to identify her letters, you can begin gently coaching her on recognizing constant sounds. Eventually, she can hear the "b" sound in word "boy" and the "k" sound in "kangaroo." These basic phonics skills will eventually help her read and write fluently.
  • Discriminating ending sounds of words such as the "b" at the end of "rub" and the "k" in "think."
  • Discriminating letter sounds. After learning to discriminate sounds, she learns that the beginning LETTER in "boy" is "b" and the last letter in "think" is "k."
  • Recognizing short vowel sounds in short, simple words.

Kindergarten Reading Skills

What A Child May Be Learning:
  • strengthening her speaking and listening skills
  • identifying and naming letters
  • learning letter sounds
  • understanding phonemes (the basic sounds that comprise words)
  • comparing words (understanding which words rhyme (cap, map)
    and which begin with the same letter (cap, cat)
  • beginning to write letters
  • possibly -some word recognition
What A Child May Be Doing:
  • hearing and reciting poems, rhymes, and songs
  • learning the alphabet
  • hearing simple, classic stories, such as Aesop's fables
    or simple myths (the tale of King Midas)
  • practicing writing the alphabet
  • working on recognizing familar patterns in words (cap/map)
    such as by comparing rhyming words
  • word play (knock-knock jokes, riddles, tongue twisters)
    For the master of word play, check out some Dr. Seuss books.

First Grade Reading Skills

What A Child May Be Learning:
  • easily identifying all letters of the alphabet
  • associating sounds with letters
  • printing upper- and lower-case letters.
  • beginning to write by spelling words phonetically
    (e.g. "bot" for "boat")
  • word recognition
What A Child May Be Doing:
  • the same things he did in Kindergarden, plus
  • plenty of reading and writing practice
  • learning some classic folk tales

Second Grade Reading Skills
What A Child May Be Learning:
  • increasing reading skills
  • becoming able to sound out words phonetically
  • beginning to read simple books independently
  • learning to identify the main idea in a story,
    predict outcomes, and draw conclusions.
  • learning simple grammar concepts:
    recognizing nouns and verbs and understanding
    that a sentence is comprised of these.
  • recognizing syllables
  • understanding prefixes and suffixes (prefix, biggest)
  • understanding possessives (Laura's book)
  • understanding synonyms (words with like meaning)
  • understanding antonyms (words with opposite meaning)
  • understanding multiple meanings of words.
  • understanding contractions (cannot ---> can't)
  • recognizing common abbreviations
  • alphabetizing
What A Child May Be Doing:
  • the same things as before, plus
  • working on basic grammar
  • beginning some independent reading
  • learning about folk tales, tall tales,
    comedy and limericks.

copyright 1999 Stephanie Ward

Growing Together Family Learning Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 2, page 12

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