Focus: tracking, concept of word, and one-to-one correspondence
What is 2 Yellow?
2 Yellow readers can point to each word as they say it.
At this level your child will need to master a complex skill that requires the integration of both motor (pointing) and conceptual outputs (remembering the sentence stem). This is a huge developmental step for all children. As they “read” the sentence aloud, they learn to use the spaces to point to one word at a time. We call this “tracking,” and it requires the child to use one-to-one correspondence between the spoken and written word. By understanding the concept of a word, and where words start and end, your child is moving one step closer to actually being able to read words.
I can point to each word as I say it.
I can use the spaces to separate words.
I can figure out the one new word that changes on each page by reading the main idea of the picture.
What Makes Yellow Books Unique?
In Yellow books, the sentence is the same on every page except for one word that changes to reflect the main idea of the picture. To support 2Y readers, the text appears on a single line across the bottom of each page to facilitate tracking. Children read the same Yellow books for each of the 1Y, 2Y, and 3Y levels but work on a new reading skill at each level.
- 1Y: Use the sentence pattern and pictures to “read” the book.
- 2Y: Point to each word as they say it.
- 3Y: Sound the first letter of the new word on each page.
Try reading this sample 2Y book
Read the title, the author’s name, and the first page or two to your child, pointing to each word as you say it.
Encourage him to read the rest of the book while pointing to each word as he says it.
Keep the focus on pointing to each word and do not correct the reader as long as what he says makes sense. Don’t expect him to actually read the word. He is looking at the spaces between the words, not the words themselves. This can be a very hard skill to master, and you don’t want the child to be overwhelmed or frustrated. There’s a lot happening here!
Do it together. Hold your child’s hand and help him to physically point to each word as he says it.
Take turns. Let your child read the words while you do the tracking. Then switch it up so you read the words while your child does the tracking.
Make the pointing at words more fun by exaggerating the motion to skip high up over the spaces (or “holes”) or by wearing a “magic pointer” on the tip of your finger (like a silly finger puppet or even a piece of tape).
Don’t require finger tracking every time. Take breaks so your child continues to read the Yellow books with fluency without having to think about pointing to the words.
Use the cover of the book to prompt a discussion of what the book might be about. Ask your child, “What do you see on this cover?”; “What do you think this book will be about?”; “Do you know anything about this subject?”
Praise, praise, and more praise. Just as you might cheer your child on to kick a soccer ball, pile on some praise for reading too. Be amazed. Be proud. And let your aspiring reader know it!
What Mistakes Should I Correct?
Make sure your child is saying the repeating sentence stem verbatim.
Make sure the one new word on each page makes sense, regardless of what the word actually is.
Make sure your child says one word for each word on the page.
When to Move to the Next Level
Once your child has mastered tracking and understands the concept of a word, he can begin to use letter sounds as clues to help figure out what a word says. This is a big deal, so congratulations! Your child is ready for 3 Yellow.
Watch these videos to see what successful reading practices look like and how to coach a child when they get stuck or make mistakes.
what if my child is struggling
Many children have trouble coordinating physical actions (pointing) with conceptual demands (remembering the sentence stem). Here are some activities that will help your child to practice the skills involved in reaching this complex developmental milestone:
Count steps when you walk up and down the stairs.
Count items you can physically move, such as blocks, spoons, and toys.
Sing the alphabet song while marching through the house, singing one letter on every step.
Make up a funny sentence and clap your hands on every word.
Write out a sentence on pieces of paper (one word per page) and step on each word as you say it.
Play games like Mother May I? and Duck, Duck, Goose.
Play board games like Chutes and Ladders and Candyland.
Revisit the coaching tips for 1Y and continue reading for at least 30 minutes per day. Remember that learning to read is not a substitute for the good bedtime story.
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