Strategies to Help When Children Make Reading Errors
This post follows on from the post A Guide to Reading with Children. You will find strategies on how you can positively support your children when they make reading errors.
Learning to read involves multiple skills that all need practice. This includes word recognition, fluency, comprehension and enthusiasm. A parent’s role is to support their child’s reading in a less pressurised environment and build their motivation and interest. If parents can practise reading at home, this gives the teacher more time to teach.
The risk of making an error is very difficult for some children. It is important they know it is more meaningful to work out the words than to read perfectly every time.
If a child can read words but lacks understanding there is little point in reading. These children will often answer “I don’t know” or “because” to comprehension questions. On the other hand, some children have amazing story recall but struggle to decode words. Their inexperience in either comprehension or reading will leave them feeling deflated and defeated.
How Can We Help When Children Make Reading Errors?
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Learning to read can be a slow and disjointed journey and a difficult experience for the adult and child alike. Be positive at all times.
When should you step in and help?
- If a child says ‘moose’ instead of ‘mouse’ you can ask “Does that look right?” They may think because it begins with a ‘m’ sound and it is about an animal it makes sense.
- Re-read the sentence to see if the child notices the mistake, alongside the illustrations. “Does that sound right? The moose lived in a tiny little space.” At this point, the child should realise that a moose cannot live in a tiny space!!
- Ask them to read the sentence again and problem solve. Help them figure out the word before you tell them.
This process is important to reinforce a child’s comprehension. They will also learn not to rely on you. You are there to support them not read for them.
Give a Little Guidance
Keep Building Confidence
Maintain focus on the understanding and enjoyment of the story. Remember the most important thing is to keep confidence high. Ask your child to read the story to you a second time. They will love the fact you want to hear them read again building their confidence. If your child is still feeling anxious about reading discuss this with your child’s teacher.
- Look through the illustrations before reading to familiarise them with the story.
- Read the sentence again if it doesn’t make sense
- Say the beginning sound of an unknown word
- Check the pictures for cues
- Guess a word that makes sense in the context of the sentence
- Skip the tricky part, read to the full stop/period and go back and try to fix it.