How to Teach Word Tracking Skills

There are several skills that must be in place before a child is ready to ready. They include the following:
   Identifying the cover, back, & title page of a book
   Identifying where to read
   Identifying the pictures and the words
   Pointing to where to begin reading and tracking the words across a page
   Knowing the difference between a letter and a word
   One-to-one word correspondence, touching each word as it is read

All of these skills are taught during read alouds and often taught indirectly. But the last one, word tracking, needs a little more direct instruction.

Big books and pointers are great for this. As I read the book I touch each word with a pointer. After rereading the book, I let a student be my helper; they point to the words as I read them. After spending a week with the same book, I put it into my reading center, with the pointers. Students will have learned the book and can practice reading and tracking the words themselves. Repeated readings of the same book are important for beginning readers.

I also use simple text to teach word tracking skills. My Concepts of Print Booklets are perfect for this. The set is new and I will be adding to it throughout the year. Right now it contains booklets with a fall theme. Topics include: At School with common school items, Apples with number words to five, Fall Leaves with color words, and Halloween with common Halloween items.

The booklets are easy to assemble. Print the pages, stack them, staple them, and cut them apart.


Each booklet has one sentence per page and a simple illustration. The booklet is a pattern book which helps the students learn and remember the words. There is a dot under each word for word tracking. I use echo reading to teach Word Tracking with these books. I display my copy of the book and touch each dot as I read the words. The students echo the words back to me and they touch the dots as well. 

We will read each page a couple of times on the first day. The booklet is kept and reread throughout the week, maybe not everyday, and that is okay. The students will color the illustrations and on Friday they take the book home. I remind them that they now have a book that they CAN READ! That is powerful in September when many are still mastering letter sounds. 

I have a Promethean Board and an ActivSlate. The slate allows me to walk around the room and still move things on the board. That means I can still touch the dots without being at the board. 

Once the students have mastered word tracking skills these books can be used as simple take home readers, to practice the sight words, or find capital letters and punctuation. 

Click the image below to check the set out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Thanks for stopping by today! 

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