This is one of the many ways I teach print concepts in my Pre-K classroom. I use these charts to teach left-to-right progression of print, as well as top-to-bottom progression to children who are pre-readers.
Emergent reader books and other shared reading activities work well for this also.
I make each chart by writing simple, repetitive sentences. The sentences are rebus sentences, made by drawing very simple pictures in place of some words. Below the first word of each sentence, I draw a green dot, and below the period at the end of the sentence, I draw a red dot. The green dot shows children where we start when we read the sentence, and the red dot shows them where to stop. The black dotted line between the two dots is the “road” children follow as they “read”.
To make it extra fun, we use a small toy of some kind to move across the sentence. For our Bug chart, I have a small plastic ladybug. I show the children how the ladybug starts at the green dot and moves along the road as I read the sentence.
It’s important that the sentences are short, simple, and repetitive, so children can quickly memorize what they are supposed to say. Memorization is not actual reading, of course, but the purpose of this activity is to practice left-to-right, top-to-bottom progression with children who don’t yet have the skills to read sentences.
With our fish chart, I use a small toy fish which moves across the sentence as we read. I also point out to the children how I start with the sentence at the top and move down. After I have demonstrated each sentence to the children, I have the class read along with me as I move the fish. Then I give each child an opportunity to move the fish as they “read” the sentences.
We read until we stop at the red dot.
I use these simple charts throughout the year with different themes. The mini toy used for our chart stories coordinates with the theme we are doing that month. In the Winter, we had a bear; during our Bug theme, we had the ladybug; during our Transportation theme, we had a car; and for our Water Animals theme, we are using the fish.
Each time we used these charts, I followed this same procedure:
- I read the sentences to the class (while moving the toy across).
- We read the sentences together (while I moved the toy across).
- Each child had a turn to come up and read a sentence while they moved the toy across.
Every child I’ve had in my class so far has been successful because the sentences are easy to read. We clap for each child when they finish. I think it’s a great way to encourage reading and to help them feel like they are capable of learning to read.
Here are more examples of the charts I’ve made: