Reading is a skill that does not come naturally to the brain (unlike speech), and it takes years to master. The latest research shows that intelligence is not the main factor in whether (and when) a child will learn to read; indeed, children with higher IQs often take longer to learn this multi-faceted task! (How the Brain Learns to Read, David A. Sousa)
One of the real keys to becoming a fluent reader is developing the capacity to “parallel process,” and this isn’t something you can rush the brain into. While you’re waiting for this capability to solidify, of course it helps to strengthen the separate brain regions that will eventually work in concert to create the illusion of fluent reading as a straightforward process.
Understanding this, educators use a variety of ways to teach reading. Some of these methods strengthen a child’s ability to process sound. Others develop a deeper working vocabulary. Still others focus on developing the visual lexicon. Developing the visual lexicon is where phonics plays an important part.
Some people think of phonics as a dry, rote activity, but it needn’t be! You can use beautiful alphabet books like A Is for Azure, which is color-keyed to help children recognize letter differences. You can also use a variety of activities that tap a child’s interest in his friends and relate directly to himself, such as predictable sentence charts that feature their preferences for foods, colors, sports, music, etc.
To help educators and parents create an “I Like Colors” predictable sentence chart, we’ve included instructions in A Is for Azure and are providing miniature reproductions of the brilliant color illustrations, which you can download to print and add to the chart. If you don’t yet own A Is for Azure, no worries. Here’s a quick explanation of how to create the chart.
How to Create an “I Like Colors” Predictable Sentence Chart
You can help children learn to read and write important high-frequency words by creating “predictable sentence” charts that are personalized for them and their friends. Just write the predictable sentences, one to a line, on a large poster board and put on the wall, for easy spelling reference, warm feelings, and smiles.
An A Is for Azure predictable sentence chart that strengthens visual recognition of the high-frequency words I and like, plus color names (new poetic ones and old favorites), could read as follows:
Mrs. Leonard’s Class “I Like Colors” Chart
I like azure. (plus child’s name & azure illustration card)
I like brass. (plus child’s name & brass illustration card)
I like cranberry. (plus child’s name & cranberry illustration card)
I like emerald. (plus child’s name & emerald illustration card)
I like purple. (plus child’s name & purple illustration card)
I like yellow. (plus child’s name & yellow illustration card)
…and so on, for the whole class!
The Printable Illustration Cards
Print these miniature reproductions of the illustrations in A Is for Azure, and add them to the chart near the child’s name and color preference.
Brilliant ink-on-tile illustrations created with a secret process bring the alphabet to colorful life. Children will delight in the rich, poetic language of colors like emerald, jasmine, and quartz—while also meeting old favorites like yellow, orange and purple.
Related Article at Huffington Post: 5 Picture Books to Make the School Year Beautiful—And Why Beauty Even Matters for Kids