~ Lots About Reading & Writing ~
"Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go
where they can find you."
The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne.
When Your Child Comes To An Unknown Word
Often adults tell a child to "sound out" an unknown word. Frequently that prompt is successful and the
word is decoded. When sounding out doesn't work, adults usually tell the word and reading continues.
However, our goal is to help children become independent readers. Here are some alternative
suggestions for parents or "homework helpers" to use when your child confronts an unknown word:
* Wait 5-10 seconds to see what attempts are made. Ask: "What would make sense there?"
* Use the picture to help figure out the word.
* Skip the word and continue reading to the end of line or sentence.
* Go back and read the sentence again.
* If the word was on a previous page, go back and try to find it.
* Look for a smaller word in a big one (and in sand).
* Cover the ending (-ed, -ing) with your finger and try the word.
* Look how the word begins. Let the sound "pop" right out.
* Help with blending (sounding it out).
* Tell the word and keep on reading.
* It is important that children learn to use these strategies independently. When your child figures out a
word, you might ask how he/she did it. Telling about their reading helps to reinforce learning.
* Just Right or Good Fit Books
In the classic tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks tried all of the bears' porridge, chairs,
and beds. Eventually, she found the ones that were "just right" for her. The books your child reads can
be thought of in the same way. A book that is "just right" is one that your child can read independently.
It is not too hard and it is not too easy. It's a good fit - it's "just right".
One way to help your child choose such a book is to use The Five Finger Rule. While reading the first
page of a book, count the unknown words (using fingers to keep track is fine). If there are five or more,
the book is too hard for now. Read that book together!