Your child is reading along and gets one of the words wrong. It doesn’t fit. It’s the wrong part of speech. Do you ask him to try again and sound it out? No. You can teach him something more useful. You can ask: Does that sound right? Do we talk that way?
This is the reading strategy I discussed in a previous post. Your child will be using her knowledge of her oral language, of how language “works” to figure out a word while reading a story.
The word she ultimately choses has to, not only make sense given what the story is about, but it also must sound right. As adults, we do this without thinking when we’re reading, but when a child is learning to read, it must be taught.
How do you do that? Basically, you’ll be asking your child if her choice of word sounds right? Is that how we talk? Can we say it like that?
Hi, there. I’ve been busy doing illustrations for a new Super Hammy project,
but one dark and rainy night this past week I had the pleasure of participating in an Open Mic session at the beautiful Mill Street Library in Orangeville.
I read three books to the enthralled audience – the sublime Here Comes Super Hammy, Super Hammy and Little Mouse Go, and Super Hammy Goes for a Drive! It was my first Open Mic and the first time I have shared the books with an audience so there was some nail-biting on my part. All went well!
I enjoyed listening to other local, talented authors, young and not so young, including Diane Bator who is a USA Today best-selling author of at least 7 novels, poets, and a hilarious performance artist from Collingwood! Thank you to Nancy Rorke of the Headwaters Writers’ Guild for inviting me.
“Super Hammy – My First Reading Series” is aimed children who are just beginning to read and can be purchased individually or as a set from DC Canada Education Publishing. and beginning April 30th, 2017 through Chapters/Indigo.ca. The books feature a super hero hamster, his friend, Little Mouse, and bad guy, Bad Cat.
Does it sound right? This is another very important reading strategy that piggy-backs on a child’s knowledge of oral language – of how language works.
For example, when a child is reading a sentence and comes to a word he or she doesn’t know, the brain is searching for suitable possibilities. We ask not only what word would make sense here, as discussed in my previous post, but also what word would fit here? What word would sound right?
Reading has to make sense to your child. When choosing books to use as you begin to teach reading, make sure there are complete sentences – one simple sentence per page. And that there is a very simple story line. This helps make the reading meaningful.
There isn’t much meaning in a bunch of letters and sounds so if you’re teaching your child to read only through phonics, that is, by sounding out the letters, the reading will not be meaningful. And you’ll be severely limiting your child’s reading tool box.
Phonics is just one of the tools, but the “mega-power tool” is the meaning strategy. Reading for meaning is the most powerful reading strategy that we use. When your child is attempting to read a sentence and comes to a word she doesn’t know, the most powerful thing you can ask is: What word would make sense here? You can also add: Look at the picture.
If your child says a word that doesn’t fit, you can say: You said________. That doesn’t make sense. You could add: What would make sense? Look at the picture. Or, think about the story.
With all of these prompts, you’re appealing to meaning. You’re teaching your child to think for herself. You’re not asking your child to “sound it out”. When a child tries to only say the sounds, meaning is lost.
So, how do you teach your child to use this strategy while reading a book? It’s really quite simple and flows naturally.
One of the most obvious ways to teach the meaning strategy is through the use of pictures.
It’s a good idea to use flashcards to help your child learn sight words which are the building blocks of reading (and writing). However –
Use flashcards in addition to teaching sight words by using books you’re already reading with your child. Why?
We want the words to be meaningful to your child. When you point out a sight word such as “I” in a story you’re reading, your child sees how the word is used. It’s part of a story and has more meaning than if it’s isolated on a card.
When your child is about 4 years old, you can start introducing sight words, but it really depends on the child. Some children might be ready at 3 years, some at 5.