Pointing to words or not?

It can be confusing for parents because sometimes teachers tell students that they should be pointing to the words, and at other times we tell them to stop pointing with their fingers and just read with their eyes. Why the difference?

pointing to wordsPointing is one of the first strategies a beginning reader can use to check his/ her reading. Teachers sometimes use words like ‘self monitoring’ to refer to this strategy. This simply means that pointing helps to remind your child to look at each word. Some children do not realise that words give us the message. (They think reading is looking at the pictures.) Some children add or leave out words. (They are not matching one spoken word for one written word.)

Pointing helps a child to focus and to notice the details of our written language. As your child develops his / her reading skills and grows in confidence, you will see him / her pointing less frequently. He /she will be able to ‘point with the eyes’. Eventually his / her eyes will move quickly across the lines of print.

Pointing is just another tool to help your child read when he / she is beginning to read and at times of difficulty (when he / she needs to slow down and have a closer look).

We do not encourage our students to continue to point once they are doing the one-one matching of voice and print because pointing slows down the reading and gets in the way of maintaining meaning.

What Is Inferring?

yawnsmilingIf someone is yawning we can infer that he is tired. If someone is smiling we can infer that she is happy.

Inferring is one of the reading strategies that your children will be learning within their classrooms.

As we are reading we are getting meaning by thinking about the words that the author has chosen, and using our background knowledge (experiences / what we already know) in order to ‘read between the lines’. We are figuring out what clues the author is giving us that are not explicitly written down. If the author wrote ‘Jane was smiling as she left for school.’ we could infer that Jane is happy  because she has had a good morning and / or she likes going to school.

running dogInference is not just describing, e.g. Describing: The dog is running down the road. It is dragging a lead behind it. Inference: A dog has escaped from it’s owner and it is in danger of being hit by a car.


When inferring text, the student will be using: 1. picture clues including facial expressions (e.g. the dog looks happy to be running by itself), 2. his / her background knowledge (e.g. dogs shouldn’t be running down the road), 3.evidence from the text (e.g. the dog has an owner because it is wearing a lead) and putting it all together to make sense of what is happening.

inferring imageIf you would like to find out more about inferring click on the picture to watch an example from Into The Book.


Here is a YouTube video about inference.making inferences

Slow check and sound boxes

slow check

The aim is for the Reading Recovery student  to learn a variety of strategic actions (ways of working out words and meaning).

One of our new Reading Recovery goal strips is  ‘Slow check the word as if it is in boxes’.

During the writing component of the lesson, the student has been shown how to match sounds to (probable) letters through the use of sound boxes. The student pushes counters into boxes  as  he / she slowly says the word. This is repeated until all the sounds are heard and represented.

During reading, this knowledge of sound boxes can be used to match  letters to  (probable) sounds to solve a word. The student runs his / her finger underneath the unknown word to slowly look through the word as if it was in sound boxes, and chooses sounds that could match those letters, e.g. l-i-tt-le.

elkoninClick on the picture if you would like to learn more about (Elkonin) sound boxes.


Reading Aloud To Children 3