Q:

My son is 5 1/2 years old and will be going into first grade in the fall. His kindergarten teacher was concerned with his reading readiness skills. He is able to recognize the letters of the alphabet and knows the sound for each letter; however, he is not very good at blending the letter sounds into words. And he does not instantly recognize the kindergarten sight words like other children in the class did. What is he expected to know by the time he has completed kindergarten? -- Behind the Other Children

A:

Your school district should have a list of the things that your son needs to have mastered in kindergarten. Get this information now. Then work on making sure that he has mastered this curriculum during the summer.

Be sure to get a list of the sight words your son needs to know. Make flashcards for drill exercises. Play games with these words, and have your son identify them when you are reading to him. Work with only a few words at a time. Sight words are difficult for children to learn because most cannot be sounded out. They must be memorized.

Find materials, such as Set 1 of the Bob Books (www.bobbooks.com), that will give your son practice in blending sounds. Work on the child's blending skills for a few minutes each day. By working with your child during the summer, you should be able to help him acquire the skills needed for first grade.