Please note: Do not overwhelm a child with prompts. Too many prompts get in the way of maintaining meaning.


Here are some prompts that you might use when your child is writing at home:

  • How do you think it will start? (e.g. t_____, tr____)
  • Can you write more? (e.g. tr-ee)
  • What could you try? Think about _______ (…how it sounds, / …another word like that you know, /  …how you wrote _____).
  • What do you know that might help? (e.g. a rhyming word- fall / ball)
  • If you can write ________, you can write _______. (e.g. day / way)
  • Do you know another word that sounds like that? (e.g. come / some)
  • Stretch it. (Say it slowly.) What can you hear? (e.g. t-ee-th)
  • Have you heard another word that starts that way? (e.g. stop / stay)
  • Have you heard another word that ends like that? (e.g. going / playing)
  • Remind your child of what is known when reading, to use when writing. (e.g. You read that word when __________ {Recently read book}.)
  • Can you see it in your mind / head? What does it look like? (e.g. very)


Reading Prompts Adapted from- woodbury1st/resources.cfm?subpage=1466117 Note:  These are possible prompts to be used when listening to a child read, side by side.  The prompts are meant to give the reader a structure or scaffold, toward independence. While listening to the child read, intervene when necessary and try not to “jump” into it right away…see what the child can do first before prompting (wait time of 5 seconds).

If the reader needs help with one-to-one matching (Leaves out or adds words):

  1. “Use your finger.”
  2. “Point under the word.”
  3. “Did it match?”
  4. “Try it again.  Read it with your finger and be sure it matches.”

If the reader stops, or asks for help or looks stuck:

  1. Wait, and wait some more for an attempt.
  2. “What could you try to help you? (Child responds with a strategy) Okay, try that strategy.” (e.g. reread, read on, take the word apart, check the picture)
  3. “You might try rereading from the beginning of the sentence (or paragraph).”

If the reader needs help in dealing with difficult words:

  1. “Why did you stop?”  (What is the problem?)
  2. “What can you do to work it out?”
  3. “Go back, try it again, and get your mouth ready.” (Say 1st part of the word.)
  4. “What would make sense there?”
  5. “Do you know any part of the word? Go back up and try it again.”
  6. “Does that sound (look) right?  What could that be? Does that make sense?”
  7. “Would __________ (give the child the word) make sense in this sentence?  Do the sounds in _______ match the letters and sounds in this word?  Check it.”
  8. Let’s think about the story.  (Talk about it with the child.)  Try it again.

If the reader isn’t self-correcting (continues to read when he/she has misread):

  1. “Can you go back and try this again?  You almost got it, but not quite.”
  2. “Does that make sense?  Does that sound/look right?”
  3. “I notice you seem unsure about this word.  What are you noticing about the word? (Child responds)  Good thinking. You could also ________!”

If the reader isn’t reading with fluency (smoothly):

  1. “Can you put your words together and say it quickly?”
  2. “Read it as if you are talking.”
  3. “Look at me.  Say it to me as if we’re talking.  (The reader does)  Try to read like that.”
  4. “Try it like this (I say it quickly and with fluency…model for child).”

If the reader isn’t thinking about the text/story:

  1. “Sometimes the picture can help us think about the story.”
  2. “Let’s stop to think about the story.  What’s happening right now?”
  3. “What do you think will happen next?”
  4. “Check the picture.  Does that make sense?”
  5. “If you wanted to tell your friend about the story, what would you say?  Don’t give away the whole thing.  Just tell what it was mostly about.”
  6. “Rereading is smart.  When you don’t understand what you’ve read, go back and read it again.”
Some more prompts for gaining meaning:
  • Can the picture help you think about this part of the story?
  • Think about what would make sense.
  • Try that again and think of what would make sense.
  • Try _____ ( correct word). Would that make sense?
  • Are you thinking about what will happen next?
  • Are you thinking about the story?
  • Think about the story.
  • Think about what you know about this character (this story, this topic).
  • Think about who is talking now.
  • Remind the child of what has happened so far, e.g., “And then what did he do?”
To encourage using meaning and the look of the word:
  • Do you know a word that would make sense and look like (start like, end like) _____?
  • Think of what would make sense and check with the letters.
  • Does that make sense and look right?
  • Does that make sense and sound right?
  • Does that sound right and look right?
  • Does that sound right and make sense?
  • Try that again and make it sound right and look right.
  • Try that again and make it make sense and look right.
  • What would make sense, sound right, and look like that?
  • Think of what would make sense, sound right, and look right.
  • Read from the beginning and try it again.
This bookmark has some prompts to improve fluency.

Helping Hand from –


If the child added or deleted words

  • Did you run out of words?
  • Did you have too many words?
  • Read it with your finger. Did it match?
  • Point to each word.
  • If the child is stuck on an unknown word
  • Look at the picture.
  • Can you find the tricky word?
  • Read it again and think about the story.
  • Look at the first letter(s).
  • Read that again and start the word. (Rereading the previous words and saying the first letter of the unknown word may be enough of a prompt to guess the word.)
  • Try __________. Would that make sense?
  • Try __________. Would that sound right?
  • Do you think it looks like _________?
  • Would ____ start like that?
  • Do you think it looks like ‘went’?
  • Do you know a word that ends / begins with those letters?
  • Do you know a word that looks like that?
  • Use your eyes and think about it.
  • Look for something that would help you.
  • What can you see that might help?
  • Do you know a word that looks like that?

If the child misreads a word and stops

  • What’s wrong?
  • Why did you stop?
  • Would __________ fit there?
  • Would _____________ make sense?
  • Do you think it looks like ________?
  • What could you try?
  • Check the picture.
  • Where is the hard bit?
  • What did you notice?
  • Run a finger under it while you say it slowly.

After an error that the child does not notice

  • It could be __________, but look at ________. (1st letter etc)
  • Check it. Does it look right and sound right to you?
  • You almost got that. See if you can find what is wrong.
  • Try that again.
  • Something wasn’t quite right.
  • What’s wrong with this? (Repeat what child said)
  • You said _________. Does that make sense?

To reinforce the recognition of words

  • Can you find _______? (A known or a new word)
  • Can you find the same word on this / a previous page?
  • To reinforce the child’s self-correction behaviour-
  • I liked the way you worked that out.
  • How did you know to change ________?
  • You made a mistake. Can you find it?
  • You’re nearly right. Try that again.

To sound like good reading-

  • Are you listening to yourself?
  • Did it sound good?
  • Let’s put ‘here comes’ together.
  • Can you read this quickly?
  • Put all the words together so that it sounds like talking.
  • How would you say that?
  • Make it sound like a favourite book.
  • Read it all smoothly.
  • Make your voice go down at the end of the sentence.
  • Change your voice when you see these marks on the page. (! ? “ “)
  • Can you talk like Baby Bear?


  • If stuck–  Read the story to me. (A copy will be written by the teacher on a sticky note at front of the scrapbook.)
  • If the child can’t remember the sentence at all say– It’s about ______, and / or, It begins ________________.
  • Fantastic, but there are 2 words in the wrong place. Check it again.
  • Two words began with the same letter. How did you know which one to put there?
  • Where is the full-stop?
  • Where is the capital letter?
  • How many words do you have?
  • How many letters are in the longest word? (Many children confuse letters and words.)
  • Can you see any words that begin / end the same?
  • Do you have any words that are the same?
  • Did you have any of these words in other stories?
  • Can you see a small word inside this word? E.g. going
  • Please note: Do not overwhelm a child with prompts. They are only included as some parents ask how they can help at home. Too many prompts get in the way of maintaining meaning.


  • Look at the picture. Can it help you? (e.g. What is the bird doing? Where is it?)
  • Get your mouth ready with the 1st sound in the word. (e.g. The bird is on the t____)
  • Think of what word would make sense that starts with that letter. (e.g. tiny?  tree?)
  • Still stuck? Look for chunks in the word that might help you read it. (e.g. tr-ee)
  • Try skipping over the hard word and reading to the end of the sentence. Now go back and reread. Keep thinking about what word would make sense in that sentence. (e.g. The bird is on the t___ in a nest.)
  • When you think you know what the tricky word is, crosscheck your reading by thinking: 1 Does it make sense? 2 Does it look right? 3 Does it sound right?

Tricky Words Bookmark  (From



Get your lips ready– e.g. Ben can cat__ the big red ball. (1st part of word and reading on. May then be enough information to predict the whole word.)

Stretch it out– e.g. r-e-d / red

Chunk the word– e.g. c-at-ch  /  cat-ch / catch

Skip it, hop back– e.g. Ben can ______ the big red ball. (Leave out the tricky word. Read on to end. Go back to the start of the sentence and try again with more meaning known.)

Flip the vowel– Vowels (a e i o u) can be said different ways. Sometimes the student will need to try more than one way of saying the vowel within a word, before he or she can hear a word that would make sense, e.g. a can have the short sound like it has in catch or it can have a long sound like it has in made.



owl reading Sometimes check that your child understands what he or she is reading. Questions can be asked before, during, and after reading. From   Capture Capture2 more comprehension questions Who is the main character? e.g. Baby Bear

List 3 words that describe the character. e.g. brown, little, scared

What is the setting? e.g In the forest.

Is there a problem? e.g. Baby Bear is lost.





This spinning wheel from has some questions that are mainly suitable for the students who are now reading longer books.

comprension spinner

  • Where does the story take place?
  • What is the story about?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • If you could ask the author something, what would you ask?
  • What was your favourite part?
  • Would you want to be the main character?
  • Can you think of another ending?
  • Would you read this story again?
MORE COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS that you could use sometimes to check that your child understands what he / she is reading.
Retelling bookmark
 At the the beginning of the story… (what happened?)

The characters in the story are … (e.g. names, what are they like?)
The setting of the story is …… (where is it happening?)
The problem in the story was …. (e.g. pet mouse got away.)
The character was feeling …… (e.g. surprised, angry, scared.)
The events in the story were …(What happened at the beginning, middle, end?).


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