By Paula Dugger, M.Ed.
For young children, learning how to read can often be seen as an overwhelming task. Parents and teachers can help make the task easier by introducing children to "predictable text" or "repetitive text." Predictable texts contain phrases that appear in stories over and over again.
Reading aloud with children at a very early age will provide a foundation for helping them develop critical literacy skills and turn a seemingly overwhelming task into an enjoyable journey. Using books that contain predictable word patterns and simple sentence structure with familiar storylines are perfect for helping children learn how to read. Children are quick to hear and recognize repeated phrases and patterns in stories, and that's why they enjoy having the same stories read to them again and again. It allows them to anticipate words or phrases and say them aloud, giving them the excitement that accompanies learning how to read.
Almost everyone can relate to having a favorite childhood book that was requested to be read over and over again. After a while, we even began to "help" with the reading of the story. I remember listening over and over to The Gingerbread Man and getting to help "read" or say the repeated phrases, "Run, run, as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!" I felt the thrill of being able to read parts of a story even though I had not started school.
Repeating phrases and words in a text often simplify the decoding process for beginning readers, making it easier for them to start reading. This blog takes a look at books from Hameray's Zoozoo Into the Wild Series, that provide teachers or parents with a great source of low-level, repetitive texts.
The nonfiction books are characterized with simple sentence structures and strong text-pictures. Each story contains the phrases:
“I am a ___ ___.” (page 2)
“Here is my baby _____.” (page 7)
Seven of the eight books begin almost all pages with the phrase:
“I use my ___ ___ to ____.”
The eighth book (Hippo) has the repeated phrase:
"in the water," on multiple pages.
Using these patterned/repetitive sentences makes it easy for readers to read similar word patterns in subsequent books within the series. Keywords can be substituted within phrases to represent each story, such as:
"I use my strong legs to kick." (Zebra)
"I use my big ears to listen." (Elephant)
Readers also have the opportunity to reinforce several high-frequency sight words again and again in these engaging predictable texts.
Each of the eight fiction stories has a different repetitive language structure unique to each story and supported with strong picture cues, making each book easy to read. For instance, in the nonfiction text In the Tree, the phrase "I _ in the tree" is repeated in the book. These repeated, predictable patterns allow readers to be successful while reading page after page in the text.
Parents and teachers must realize that selecting and reading stories to children is critical to developing good readers. Predictable texts with rhyming or repetitive word patterns, familiar concepts, and simple storylines are essential in helping young children develop into successful lifelong readers.
For more in-depth information on using books from the Zoozoo Into the Wild Series, check out the free teacher resource guide on the Hameray website. The guide provides a wealth of ideas that will help guide and maximize student learning from each book in the series. Each series in the Hameray collection has a free teacher resource guide. View each of the guides here! Parents and teachers will benefit from the countless ideas provided in each guide, saving time in preparing lessons.
Don't forget to visit the Hameray's Literacy Blog to get more creative ideas and support for your readers.
Paula Dugger has a B.S, M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. A former first grade teacher, reading coordinator and Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Paula has served as an adjunct professor at Texas Woman’s University and Dallas Baptist University teaching reading classes for current and future teachers. She also does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC, in addition to writing blogs and early literacy books for Hameray. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paula and her husband Neil have two married daughters and are grandparents to Carter, Blake, and Faye. She raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. Her longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing group, Longhorns. She has authored six additional titles in the Kaleidoscope Collection—Ben & Ruby, Buttons, Cowboy, Dinner, Going Up and Down, and Round, Not Round.