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Beacon Media Supporting Christian schooling worldwide. stories. Children need to hear 100 stories before they are ready to read. Why stories?. They develop a wide vocabulary through listening to others. They develop an interest in books. They develop their powers of imagination.

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Beacon Media Supporting Christian schooling worldwide

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Beacon MediaSupporting Christian schooling worldwide


Children need to hear 100 stories before they are ready to read.

Why stories?

  • They develop a wide vocabulary through listening to others.

  • They develop an interest in books.

  • They develop their powers of imagination.

    Many people in the community have stories to tell. Involve them!

Other ways to develop vocabulary

  • Play situations, e.g. shops, restaurants, home corner, building together

  • Play involved experimenting with language, making up scripts, using imagination

  • Creating together

  • Puppets

  • Dramatizing stories

  • Show and tell

Beginning to gain an interest in print

  • Children will experiment with ‘pretending’ to write.

  • Provide plenty of writing materials and let them experiment.

  • Point out signs and place them around the classroom.

  • Children can be shown that words can be written down and there are spaces in-between, by pointing to words in ‘Big Books’.

Parents can help to get children interested in print

  • Make a photo album and add captions.

  • Make shopping lists.

  • Point out signs while shopping.

  • Never make reading a negative experience.

Word shapes

  • Words have shapes

  • Children start by identifying shapes around them – circles, triangles, squares

  • Teachers can help develop this ability by providing jig saw puzzles, toys of different shapes and ‘which is different’ activities.


  • Listening and speaking go together.

  • Encourage children to identify sounds in the environment, near/far sounds; high/low sounds in music

  • Play listening games

  • Begin teaching the sounds of the alphabet using pictures first, not alphabet symbols.

Phonics or “look and say”

  • These are like two wings of an aeroplane.

  • They are equally important.

  • Visual or auditory learners?

Beacon Media Phonics resources

  • Bible Land Phonics

  • Progressive Phonics

Bible Land Phonics

Uses Bible stories and characters to teach the first sounds.

Every sound has a catchy rhyme to learn.


d is for donkey

“Hosanna,” the people sing.

The rider is Jesus,

Jesus the King.

Progressive Phonics

  • Progresses gradually from simple to complex

  • Initial sounds

  • 3-letter words

  • Digraphs, trigraphs

  • Word families based on vowel groups

Language experience

  • Make your own classroom books by asking children to draw pictures on a topic of interest, an interesting activity done in class or an excursion.

  • “Our nature walk”; “Making popcorn”

  • Children can then think of a sentence to go with their drawing.

  • Drawings are compiled into a book, big enough to be read at group time.

Re-telling stories

  • e.g. Bible stories; traditional tales; stories that community members have shared

  • The teacher can help the children sequence the events – what happened first? What happened next?

  • This simplified version of the story can be written on the board, transferred to individual pages for children to illustrate, then stapled together as a book.

Guided reading

  • Small groups of about 6 children working with the teacher.

  • The children will all be at a similar reading level.

  • Other children in the class are working quietly and independently on other activities such as writing, puzzles, drawing.

  • Each child in the group has a copy of the same text.

Format for guided reading

  • Select a book at the right level for the group.

  • Look at the front cover and look at the pictures in book. Ask the children to predict what the book might be about.

  • Allow the children to read individually.

  • The teacher moves around the group, hearing each child read a few sentences.

Phases of reading

Level 1 –

  • Direct match between text and illustrations

  • One line of text per page plus a picture.

  • Word count between 0 and 50 words

    Level 5 –

  • 1-5 lines of text per page

  • Direct speech used – “said” and “asked”

Phases of reading

Levels 6-12

  • Sentences may contain more than one idea.

  • A full range of punctuation used.

    Level 18 up

  • The story may be in episodes.

  • Several ideas in the plot.

Running Records

  • Choose a book that you THINK might be at the child’s level. Make sure that the subject matter is meaningful to the child.

  • Choose 25, 50 or 100 words from the text and photocopy it.

  • Teacher sits next to the child in order to view the book.

  • Teacher marks the text with a tick for each word the child reads correctly, and an underline for each word unknown or incorrect. Symbols are placed above the word to denote the kind of error.

  • At the end of the passage, the teacher either asks the child to retell the story, or asks some comprehension questions.

Types of errors

  • M = meaning

  • S = structure

  • V = visual

  • Meaning

  • This would be where the child’s words do not relate to the meaning of the story and its illustrations.

  • Structure

  • Example: a child misreads “He walk to the shop” instead of “He walks to the shop”. This is a grammatical error.

  • Visual

  • Example: a child misread the word “Dad” for “father”. The word “Dad” doesn’t look like “father”, although it does make sense.

How to use the test results

  • Independent level – 100% accuracy. A good level to use for take-home books.

  • Instructional level – 95% accuracy with 80% comprehension. Use these books in guided reading sessions.

  • Frustration level - less than 95% accuracy and 70% or lower in comprehension. This book is too hard for the child.

How often to test

  • More often for younger children

  • At least of 3 times a term


  • Re-reading familiar texts

  • Echo reading – rhymes or traditional tales with repeated lines.

  • Listening while reading (audio books, or following the text while the teacher reads).

  • Practicing a known text for expression.

  • Class-wide tutoring – students of different levels are paired to help one another

  • Sight word flashcard games


  • Sight word lists for memorization

  • Reading one-on-one with a reading helper

  • Following words to songs and rhymes (made by teacher as ‘Big Books’)

  • Sentence flashcards (made by teacher)

  • Reading classroom books that you have made.

  • Cloze procedure – every 7th word deleted.

Special assistance for the under-achiever

Format for on-on-one sessions:

1. Vocabulary – 5 minutes

  • Child reads 5 and 10 high frequency words on small individual pieces of paper.

  • Each time the word is said correctly, the helper places a tick on the back of the paper.

  • When there are 5 ticks on the back, then word is replaced.

2. Familiar Reading – 5 minutes

  • The child reads aloud a familiar short story or rhyme at the independent level.

  • The aim is for fluency and enjoyment.

3. Reading Together – 5 minutes

  • This is a book at instructional level.

  • It should be read by child to the assistant but if the child is finding difficulty, then assistant may read with the child.

  • It is not necessary to read the whole book – just a few pages. Use sticky notes to mark the place.

4. Writing a response – 5 minutes

  • This is an opportunity for the child to enjoy a story read by an adult.

  • The story must be short.

  • Instead of a story you could use a picture for discussion.

Thinking hats for writing a response

  • Red (Emotions) - How did you feel when…? or How do you think X felt when…

  • Blue (Thinking) - What did you learn from…?

  • Green (Creativity) - What else could have been done? What would you have done?

  • White (Information) - What was …? Who was…? How many? Where?

  • Yellow – good points

  • Black – bad points

  • Gold – what would Jesus do?

Reading buddies

  • The whole school can spent half and hour a day working together on reading.

  • Pair younger children with older children.

More Beacon Media resources

I can read Bible stories for reading ages 6-8

God is love

The Good Shepherd

John 10

What is a shepherd?

A shepherd looks after sheep.

A shepherd loves his sheep

very much.

He looks to see if they have

food and water.

Kanga Joe

  • Eight stories about the fruit of the spirit

  • Includes audio play and script

  • for reading ages 9-12

On Safari

  • Nine stories featuring the adventures of two children, as they encounter the wonderful animals of Africa.

  • These stories teach about the motivational gifts of giving, serving, encouraging, leadership, compassion, teaching and insight.

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