“Does it look right?” is another important prompt or reading strategy that you can use to teach your child how to read.
What does it mean? Your child is reading a new sentence and comes to a word she doesn’t know. She makes an attempt and says a word that’s not quite right. With this prompt, what you’re asking is does the word on the page look like the word she just said or read? You’re teaching your child to check the word. Are all the letters there to make the sounds that just came out of her mouth?
Let’s look at this sentence:
“Mother baked a tart for Grandma.”
What if your child sayspie instead of tart because she looked at the picture for help which is a good thing to do?
You can say, yes, it could bepie, but what letter would you have to see at the beginning of the word if it were pie? (Make the ‘p’ sound.) It would have to be a ‘p’ but there’s a ‘t’ instead. (Point to the first letter of the word and make the ‘t’ sound.) What could it be instead ofpie? Could it be tart? Let’s check to see if the letters are there for the word tart. Say the sounds slowly, t-a-r-t, while checking by running your finger slowly under the word.
We do this all the time when reading. We check to see that all the sounds we’re saying are on the page. We’re checking if the word looks right. Your brain does this so quickly you don’t even know it’s happening. We have to show children how do this. Some children pick it up naturally, others don’t and we need to teach it.
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?