Knowing and understanding temporal words are key factors in helping young children sequence events in stories. Temporal words are words that relate to time. Twelve examples for young readers to know and practice are:
Recognizing these important words helps a young reader begin to mentally “organize” events in the story. This organization can clarify story sequence, improving overall reading comprehension.
You can help your child become familiar with these words and practice them while reading together. Here are two simple ways to do this:
Point out these words when reading together, and reinforce their importance. If you’re reading The Three Little Pigs together, for example, you can clearly help her understand first (house of straw), next (house of sticks), and last (house of bricks).
Stop and ask simple questions after reading. If you’re reading the rhyme “Jack and Jill” together, ask your child “What’s the first thing Jack and Jill wanted to do?” (Run up the hill to get water.) “What happened next?” (Jack fell down.) “Then what happened?” (Jill came tumbling after.) “Finally, what do you think happened to the water?”
When reading together, always emphasize temporal words. Let this become a good reading habit. Before you know it, your child will be recognizing these important words on her own!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.