Are they really Reading?


This is a question I hear many parents of beginning readers ask when their child does not say the words as they are written on the page. Sometimes little readers will mimic what they remember from hearing someone else read the story. Another thing they may do is to look at the pictures and begin telling the story. So, my answer is “Yes they are Reading!!” They are beginning to use some of the strategies that strong readers use and should be encouraged to keep on reading. With the support of a loving more knowledgeable reader at their sides, these readers will become strong readers too.

Here are a few things to keep in mind: Learning to Read is hard work. The eyes must learn to not only recognize and distinguish between uppercase and lower case letters, but to work with the brain to remember the sounds these letters make when they’re combined with other letters. In addition, their knowledge of these letters must be solid and flexible enough to still know them when they’re presented in different fonts and styles.

Another thing, to be aware of is that beginning readers are expected to rely on the pictures to help them figure out unknown words. Some parents want to cover the pictures too soon, or say ” she’s not really reading, she’s just looking at the pictures,” But, before they can learn to make sense of the letter characters, their minds are already making sense by looking at the pictures. This my friends is the goal of reading: to understand the author’s message. If the child is able make sense of the text by looking at the pictures, applaud them believing that pretty soon the letters, words and pictures puzzles will become crystal clear. They will need this stategy of making sense of the pictures to read timelines, tables, maps and graphs.


Speaking of tables each Tay Reader includes a helpful child-friendly graphic table for beginning readers. Parents and tutors may use this graphic as a way to gently prompt the child when he’s stuck on a word, rather than jumping right in to give the correct answer right away. The child must gain independence. These images in the graphic, and the gentle voice prompts from an adult will support them. Starting with one strategy at a time, begin to give the child the directive when he’s stuck and wait for his response. Pretty soon, your voice won’t be needed; you can just point at the picture.

Finally, good picture books will support your reader with easy to read text and meaning loaded graphics. Most picture books will need to be read with an adult, but the shared reading is the perfect opportunity to practice using these strategies. Looking for easy reader  books with clean fonts, clear spacing and child friendly illustrations will really help your child grow as reader. Spend time getting to know your child and building their confidence while reading together.


I’m sending special shout outs to Marilyn and Kay who generously allowed me to share their image and video :). These two on the bottom are mine lol. 

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