Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Using Level A Books to Teach Children How to Read, Part 2

This post is the second in a series that documents guest blogger Paula Dugger's experience of teaching her grandson how to read with Level A books. To read the first post,   click here

In my previous post, I prepared my grandson, Carter, with literacy exercises in preparation for his first Level A book. After using the Letter Buddies Magnetic Letters to teach Carter about the words “me” and “my,” it was time for me to introduce the Guided Reading Level A book,   Cowboy .  

3) I explained that both the words “ me”   and “ my”   are used in the book. I asked Carter to show me the word “ my”   on the first six pages of text and “ me”   on the last page. We also went back and looked at the pictures to see if he could tell me what he saw in each of those photos. This exercise encouraged him to use the pictures for textual meaning. 

4) Now, it was time to model reading the book. Using my fingers, I matched each printed word with the word I said aloud to show one-to-one matching (“ My hat ,” ” My boots ,” etc.). Next, I asked Carter to help me by pointing to the words while we read together. Finally, I asked him to read the book by himself, making sure he was matching one-to-one by pointing. The first six pages of text are patterned, but the text changes on page 8 and there are two lines (“ Me! I am a cowboy ”). 

In the following days, I asked Carter to read the book, but he sometimes would not use his finger to match one-to-one and would insert words that weren’t in the text. I repeated many of the steps listed on the first day to provide support, eventually dropping some of the activities until Carter was able to pick up the book and read independently.

The scaffolding and procedures set up on the first day can be used to introduce any book. A great follow up book to   Cowboy   is another level A book in the   Kaleidoscope Collection   called   My Birthday . It is also structured and patterned much like   Cowboy . The first two pages are “My friends” and “My present.” I would introduce the book and ask, “What would you have at your birthday party?” and then have the child look at the pictures and tell me what s/he sees to confirm meaning. Then I would say that there is a word on the pages that he (Carter) already knows from his last book,   Cowboy . I would ask him to find it by framing it with his fingers or sliding his finger under it and reading it slowly. The word “ my”   should be a known anchor word that can be recognized and read, which provides confidence when reading a new book.

Some very important things to remember when teaching a child to read include the following:

  • Reading is a skill that takes time to develop.
  • A child should spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day reading or having books read to them.
  • Allow the reader to read the same books over and over to increase fluency and quick recognition of familiar words. Re-reading also provides confidence.

Hameray Publishing provides a wide variety of titles written for the beginning reader, many of which are found in their   Kaleidoscope Collection . Thirty new titles have recently been added at levels A and B, providing a great selection of titles for aspiring 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   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, titled Longhorns. She has authored six additional titles in the Kaleidoscope Collection—Ben & Ruby, Buttons, Cowboy, Dinner, Going Up & Down, and Round, Not Round.


For more information about the   Kaleidoscope Collection , which features many Guided Reading Level A books, click hte image below.