Last week I wrote about students who are not using the look of the words as they are reading. The problem might be that they do not know where to look, or they might not know how to use the letters within words that they do see.
Other students spend a lot of time looking at the words. They are so busy thinking about what each individual word looks like that they forget to use the pictures and to think about what’s happening in the story. These students are likely to have poor comprehension (not understand) and will have much less chance of predicting and solving the words that will come next. The following example is one I have used in an earlier post-
Student: The like cat is it the big tree.
This student is using the general look of the words without checking that it makes sense and sounds right.
If your child reads something that does not make sense you can stop him / her at the end of the sentence and say – Did that make sense? or Did that sound right to you? You may have to read back the sentence so that he / she can hear the error. You could then suggest- Try that again and think about…. (the story or the picture).
In an earlier post called Being Flexible I wrote about the need to challenge our students who rely on just one strategy (e.g. only using meaning, or only using the look of the words).
My students are currently learning to use 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 at this early stage).
We are encouraging the child to use meaning and print. We prompt to use what is not already being used.