Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Using Level A Books to Teach Children How to Read, Part 1

This is a guest blog post series authored by Paula Dugger, M. Ed. Paula is an educational consultant who has previously served as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, and a Reading Coordinator. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend six days with my four year-old grandson, Carter. I thought that it was a great time for him to learn how to read. I was especially excited, as I had a copy of a brand new Guided Reading Level A book,   Cowboy , that I recently wrote for the Hameray Kaleidoscope Collection . Best of all, this book features Carter on the cover and throughout the book.

 Choosing the appropriate leveled book is critical when introducing a child to reading. Guided Reading Leveled books A -C (Intervention Levels 1-3) are called   early emergent readers . They are perfect for children who are learning the basic concepts of books and print awareness. Books at these levels contain the following features:
  • Controlled and limited text per page
  • Repetitive patterned vocabulary and text
  • Strong picture support for meaning
  • Familiar language and concepts
  • Large print and wide spacing

Before I outline my teaching procedures, let me provide some information about Carter’s literacy background. His parents, who appreciate the importance of reading, have read to Carter almost every day since birth, and he has an ever-expanding library of books. He attends a preschool and has learned letter names and most corresponding sounds. He is also aware that his cool name contains the words   car ,   cart,   and   art . All of the books read and re-read to him have helped build his speech, language and listening skills while expanding vocabulary, imagination, curiosity, and background knowledge. Carter is often seen picking up a book and “reading” based on what he has heard and remembers from being read to.

I felt that Carter was now ready for the next step in learning how to read. Here is how we first prepared to read  Cowboy :

1). I began by using magnetic letters from   Letter Buddies   to display the words   me   and   my . I took my finger and slid under each word and said slowly “ me   and then   “my   pointing out that they both started with the same sound and letter but ended with a different letter and sound. After my modeling, we did the task together and then Carter did this independently. I mixed up the letters and had him make each of the words, telling me what they said.


2) Next, I had Carter write the two words, using the model that the magnetic letters provided. Afterwards, I asked him to read the two words, sliding his fingers under each to make sure he was looking at all the letters and making the correct sounds.


Now, we were ready to start reading  Cowboy Next Tuesday, I'll share how to model reading with a Guided Reading Level A book. Make sure to subcribe to the Hameray blog in the right-hand bar to receive my next post in your inbox!


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   pdugger11@gmail.com

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.


For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection , which features many guided reading level A books, click the image below.