Say it like it is in boxes

One way of solving a word during reading is to think about how it could be broken down during the process of writing.

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 of 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. (See Slow check and sound boxes)

I have recently been making this task more explicit by actually using the magnetic letters and a magnetic board with sound boxes drawn on it.

The student had read ‘got’ instead of ‘get’. I placed the letters for ‘get’ under the sound boxes and asked him to push each letter up as he was saying the corresponding sound. This helped him to make a better connection between the look and sound of the word.

Some other words which were solved this way by various students were:



Some students worked out a word before pushing up all of the letters. Other students needed to push up the letters a number of times before being successful. We would not want to be doing this task very often as it takes the student away from the book, but it is a very useful scaffold when extra help is required.

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