Traditional Tales: Learning How to Read for Beginning Readers in Elementary English

Reading Recovery Levels to Help Beginning Readers

Reading recovery levels are used for younger beginning readers (often in the first few years of school) who are first learning how to read, to help provide structured and systematic reading materials that are designed to help with learning how to read. Stories written for beginning readers are designed to have many easily decoded words along with words that are from a basic sight vocabulary list. The books are organised into reading recovery levels, so that beginning readers can be given books that are suited to their sigh vocabualry knowledge and decoding skills. Reading recovery levels are helpful for teachers and parents as they give specific information about which books are likely to be able to be successfully read by beginning readers at the various reading recovery levels. For example a story written to suit reading recovery levels of up to 5 will have less than about 100 words and a short list of high frequency sight vocabulary words included. Stories for reading recovery levels of 5-10 will probably have about 200 words and a slightly longer sight vocabulary list of high frequency words.

Traditional tales for Beginning Readers

Traditional tales are great for beginning readers who are learning how to read, as they are familiar stories which are generally known to students. This means your English lesson plan can include activities such as:

  • asking students to tell you the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’
  • making up a play using puppets or toys to tell the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ – try extending this with a narrator and characters to act out or read pages from the text
  • asking students to predict what might happen on a particular page of ‘The Gingerbread man’ – most students will know the familiar line from the story, although to suit a lower reading level, this Wings publication uses ‘No one can get me’ rather than the ‘run, run, run as fast as you can’ line known by many beginning readers
  • brainstorming words that may be found in the text of a story such as ‘The Three Little Pigs’ (wolf, pig, house, sticks, straw, bricks) and then finding these words in the text, or practising the decoding skills and phonological skills needed to read them aloud
  • drawing pictures to illustrate the story – or try drawing a picture of the pigs and the wolf and then pasting these onto paddle pop sticks to use as characters to tell the story

Traditional tales Wings series from ERA publications is well suited to beginning readers with lower reading recovery levels. There are books written to suit various levels – the ones listed above are:

The Gingerbread Man – Reading recovery level 5, with a word count of 111

The Three Little Pigs – Reading recover level , with a word count of 223

The books contain a high frequency word list on the inside back cover, so teachers can use these words to do some pre-reading activities to help ensure students are able to successfully read most of the text. Activities such as matching endings and beginnings or using phonics skills to sound out word beginnings can be helpful at this level.

This post is part of the series: Beginning Readers – Ideas for Elementary English

There are lots of great activities to boost the skills of beginning readers in elementary school. Getting a good start on reading skills puts learners on the right pathway throughout their schooling. Phonics, decoding, sight vocabulary, rhyme and oral storytelling all build beginning reader skills.
  1. Traditional Tales with Beginning Readers
  2. Teaching Comprehension and Fluency to Beginning Readers