Each of my students has now begun the formal lessons of Reading Recovery.
They are all learning to read the little books that come home every day. Some students are very good at looking at the pictures to gain meaning and ‘read’ sentences that make sense. These students notice if an error does not make sense or sound right. They may have another go, or ask for help, or might just look puzzled at error. BUT some of the words being said do not match the look of the words on the page. These students need to learn to look more closely at the print and use it, rather than making up their own interpretations of the pictures.
Other students look very closely at the words. They are so busy thinking about what each individual word looks like that they forget to use the pictures and the meaning of the story to help them.
Therefore, all of my students are currently working on using the meaning of the story (look at the picture as you turn the page and think about what is happening, what has happened so far, and what is likely to come next) AND the look of the word (emphasis on using at least the 1st letter).
In an earlier post called Being Flexible I wrote about the need to support our students who rely on one strategy (e.g. only using meaning, or only using the look of the words).
If your child reads a sentence that does not make sense you can stop him / her and ask- Did that sound right to you? You may have to read back the sentence so that he / she can hear the error.
If your child reads an error that does not look right you can say- You read here (home). Slide your finger under the word as you say it. Does it match? (no) Where are they going? (home) Slide your finger under the word and say home. Does it match? (yes) Which letter shows us there is an m sound?
If your child is stuck you might ask- What can you try?
He / she might:
- search the picture for clues,
- reread to regather the meaning / structure / momentum,
- think about what has happened so far to predict what may come next,
- reread and get ready to say the beginning of the next word,
- look for a part of the word he knows, (e.g. goes),
- think of another word that looks a bit like that (e.g. can, cat),
- look back to where she saw the word before.
At this point in time we are encouraging the child to use meaning and print. We prompt to use what is not already being used.
See an earlier post called Meaning, Structure, Visual Clues if you wish to know more.