Concept of Word is an important pre-reading goal. It is the watershed event in the life of young children that must take place before they can begin to read. So, what is it??!
Concept of Word is quite simply the understanding that a word is a group of letters surrounded by white space on either side. That sounds easy enough, right? It is not easy for emergent readers (typically children ages 4-5). These children need lots of practice pointing to words as they read.
Best Practice for Concept of Word
The best way to practice is to allow emergent children to read and reread some familiar text. Yes, they are going to have the words memorized! Of course, the “answers” are all given away in the pictures! Definitely, they can read it with their eyes closed!
It is essential to recognize that the object of this activity is not to teach kids to sound out words. That comes later– after they understand what a word is!
What is the Goal?
The trick is to get the children to point to each word as they read and match their speech to print so that each word gets one touch. This is also known as tracking. An easy way to support children who are practicing tracking is to put touch dots under each word. Place the touch dots near the first letter of the word because we want to train our emergent readers to look at the first letter.
Check out this Resource from my Shop!
Color Sight Words Books Bundle$10.00
This bundle of “Color Sight Word Books” includes 10 Emergent Reader stories that are ideal for developing Concept of Word and teaching the Dolch Pre-Primer sight word vocabulary.
Each book includes an 11-page student text (choose between copier friendly blackline master or full-color version). There are 8 pages of text, with cover, a sight word practice page and an additional page for the students to collect autographs from their family and friends as they read the book to them.
Instructional ideas for teaching Concept of Word and a parent information sheet are attached.
The most important things to remember about working with emergent readers:
- Stories must be familiar and memorized.
- Encourage children to point to each word.
- Do not ask the child to “sound out” a word. If they are stuck on the word, tell them and then have them practice reading it. Remember, this is not a reading/phonics lesson. This is helping them to understand what a word is.
- Keep it fun! If the child is not engaged or the book is too difficult, stop.
- Praise your child’s reading and invite him to read their book to many people– mom, dad, grandma, little sister, etc.
- Continue to read aloud to your children every day. Reading aloud is the single most effective way to prepare a child to read.
Have fun playing and learning with your children today.