Sleeping Bear Press proudly introduces

I Am A Reader!

three beginning reader series featuring Tugg and Teeny by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Christopher Denise, Frog and Friends written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Josée Masse, and Digger and Daisy written by Judy Young and illustrated by Dana Sullivan.

Although these books are beginning chapter books for newly independent readers, any child can enjoy the stories with the proper support. This website includes helpful information about beginning reading strategies, story introductions, activities, and tips to help children learn to read.

Strategies for Helping Beginning Readers

Introduce the Book:

  • Read the book ahead of time so that you are familiar with the story.
  • Choose a couple of words that your child will have trouble decoding.  Usually they are words that have odd spellings or won’t be easily decoded using context of the story.
  • Have your child hold the book and tell you about what is happening in the pictures on each page.  Look at the whole book before attempting to read it.  This will assist in comprehending the story during reading.  Specific story introductions for Tugg and Teeny books can be found in another page on this Web site.

Begin Reading:

  • Have your child begin reading the book.
  • This is the hardest part, but do not correct your child when a mistake is made.  Allow your child the chance to continue reading and possibly correct the mistake independently.
  • When your child gets stuck on a word, prompt using a strategy from the “Decoding Strategies” section below.
  • Refrain from asking your child to “sound out” the word.  When children “sound out” the words, they decrease their level of comprehension.  Instead, choose a strategy from the “Decoding Strategies” section below.
  • If your child is stuck and getting frustrated, tell your child the word.  If he/she is working too hard and getting frustrated, the book is probably too hard.  You may want to say, “I’ll take a turn reading now,” and give your child a break.
  • When your child is working on a word, ask, “Does it make sense?” or “Does it look right?”  Asking “Does it make sense?” directs your child to choose a word that fits with the meaning of the text.  Asking “Does it look right?” directs your child to choose a word that has sounds that match the letters in the printed word in the text.  These questions are crucial to understanding the text and reading fluently.
  • Save comments about correct and incorrect behaviors until after the book is finished.

After Reading:

  • Go back to one or two good reading behaviors your child exhibited.  Point them out and show your child how he/she made sure everything looked right and made sense.
  • Go back to one or two areas that your child left incorrect.  Offer a decoding strategy that might help and have your child try it again.  Remind your child that we always need to make the text look right and make sense.
  • Do not fix every mistake.  100% accuracy is not necessary.  Most adults do not read with 100% accuracy and still comprehend the material.
  • Discuss the story together.  Ask your child to retell the story or ask your child some questions about it.  Remember that the reason we read is to gain meaning from text.

 Decoding Strategies:

  • “Get Your Mouth Ready” – Go back to the beginning of the sentence and reread.  When you get to the unknown word, say the beginning sound.  Many times, the word will pop right out.
  • “Look at the Picture” – In beginning levels of books, pictures give meaning to the story.  By checking the picture, your child can gain comprehension and figure out the word due to the context in the picture.
  • “What Would Make Sense?” – Reread and think about the story.  Ask what would make sense in that place.  This strategy works especially well when combined with “Get Your Mouth Ready” or “Look at the Picture.”
  • “Find a Part You Know” – Look for a known part within the word.  For instance, if you know at, you can read flat by adding fl to the beginning.