The power of self corrections

 A self correction is when the child reads a word (or part of a sentence) incorrectly and then fixes it without help.

Sometimes adults give too much attention to the mistakes that children make which can be rather discouraging, especially during the early stages of reading. But when we give attention to the self corrections we are emphasising what the child is doing well, i.e. the solution rather than the problem.

You might ask “Why did you stop and change that word?” and you might get a reply such as-
It’s a d so it’s a dog, not a puppy.
Checking the 1st letter really helped you didn’t it!”

Because Little Chimp is asleep in the picture. (Not awake.)
It was good to think about what was happening in the story.”

I saw ‘to’ and I knew it was ‘today’. (Not they.)
That was clever. Sometimes you can see a part you know.”

When you bring the child’s attention back to a self correction by saying something like “You did a good job of fixing this word. What you were thinking?” you are not just focussing on the child recognising more words, you are encouraging the process of word solving. The blue teacher comments above are reinforcing the process. By doing this you may encourage him / her to think-

Yeah, you’re right, I really did do that and it worked for me. Maybe I’ll try that same thing again sometime.…..That wasn’t so hard. I did it all by myself. I’m getting pretty good at this stuff.
From One Child At A time by Pat Johnson

By focussing on what the child did to help himself or herself, the child may be more willing to take risks and try again on another day, on another book. (And not just wait for help.)
Feeling good about yourself is the best way of learning and strengthening skills such as reading.

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