Where do I start with reading groups?

Kindergarten reading groups often don’t involve any “reading” in the way that parents typically think.  Your students may not be able to “read” I see the fat cat until the spring. But don’t be fooled, the ground work that is laid in the first half of kindergarten is crucial to being a successful reader.  


But where do I start? In the words of Glenda the good witch “My dear, you start at the beginning.” Letter naming. Kindergarten students need to identify the letters out of order, in both upper and lowercase and in different fonts. A child’s ability to quickly name letters is an indicator of whether they will be a successful reader or one that struggles. Don’t race through this critical step, or even worse skip it all together.

We need to assess their letter knowledge and let that data drive our instruction. Use a data sheet to check for the number of letters a child can read in one minute. It literally takes 60 seconds. Just make it part of your routine. The first week of the month I monitor how quickly they can name letters. I assess the same 5 students on Monday, a new set of 5 on Tuesday etc. you get the idea. Don’t try to assess everyone on the same day or you’ll burn out. This simple little assessment gives you so much information about how fluent the kids will be when reading. The key is giving them only 1 minute. When you limit the time they have to respond you get a better picture of their fluency ability. Make sure you give those kiddos who struggle a double dose of letter practice.  

Grab these resources to increase letter naming fluency.

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