Building Confidence in Little Readers

Confidence is something that I am trying to instill in Presley…. the confidence to learn, to read, to play with others, and to take chances.  When I taught first grade, the number one goal and skill I focused on when teaching a child to read was instilling confidence into their little minds and hearts. Confidence gives little ones the courage to take chances, and taking chances is vital for learning to read. I also found that building a child’s confidence in reading gave them a love for reading….something I did not have growing up.

I hated reading when I was little. I couldn’t concentrate or focus long enough to get through an entire book, and if I did, I would get lost in my many daydreams. 🙂 I don’t know when it changed for me, but I gradually became a lover of books…children books.  Teaching children to read is my passion and the main reason I chose to teach First Grade. It is amazing to watch a little 6 year old enter your classroom reading simple texts and then reading chapter books by the time the year is over. I often get the question, “how do you teach a child to read?” Not an easy question to answer. It is all based on the child and how they learn. Most children learn through hands-on learning and the integration of a variety of techniques.

When Presley was born I was so excited about being a mom and about being my little girl’s first teacher. I couldn’t wait to get her reading….not because I wanted her to read, but because I wanted to teach her. 🙂  I think I started reading with her the day she came home from the hospital….wish I could say the same for Hope, but she usually gets a reading from her big sister. I knew very early on, just from watching and observing Presley, that she was probably going to need a lot of opportunities to explore the world around her to build her confidence. She is a bit like me and quite timid at times. She is all about positive reinforcement and loves to be praised. She loves to learn and has a natural desire to do good.

Presley has been showing signs of reading readiness…..she loves to pretend she is reading books; she makes up stories,songs and chants; she knows her alphabet and their sounds; she recognizes when words rhyme;  she is beginning to blend words verbally; and just recently she asked if I could teach her to read. However, even with all of these early reading skills and her desire to read, she is not ready. She lacks the confidence which would send her into extreme frustration, resentment, and a non-lover of books. So, while she has expressed the desire to read, I have decided to start building up her confidence first. Little kids are great at memorizing, so I have built on that. Of course relying on this for too long isn’t good, but it’s a great skill for learning sight words and building confidence in little readers.

Some of the things I have started doing with Presley…

letter formation

blending phonemes to create words verbally (s-at = “sat” when blended together)

introducing easy predictable texts that are easy to memorize (books that have repeatable patterns and great picture clues)

introducing sight word books and books that focus on high frequency words (songs, chants, and nursery rhymes)

introducing reading and comprehension strategies

Here are some of the things I am using…

highlighter tape, pointers and fingers for tracking, highlighter frame, phonics phone, reading strategies, easy predictable books.

Everything here is from my guided reading box from when I taught, but I have seen similar items all over pinterest. ;o)


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