As a former first grade teacher there was nothing more rewarding then teaching someone how to read! It is an amazing experience to watch someone learn to read for the first time. It can also be challenging to teach someone to read. There are lots of reading activities and strategies that you can employ to help with this process though.
We all get stuck on words from time to time. This is especially true for beginning readers. Our first instinct is to tell a child the word when they get stuck. BUT, hold on. I have 10 strategies that you can use to encourage them to figure out the word on their own! I even have a handy free printable list for you to use too. You will truly be teaching your little one HOW to read.
10 Strategies to Teach Me How To Read
Good readers use lots of different strategies. Decoding words or figuring out the words is just one piece of the reading puzzle. Below are prompts that you can use to help a child apply strategies to figuring out unknown words.
1. Wait at least 5 seconds.
Before saying anything, quietly count to 5. Many times, if we just give the reader a moment to struggle and problem solve, he will be able to figure the word out on his own. But, if that doesn’t work, try some more of the strategies on the list.
2. Give it a try.
Many kids are in the habit of just waiting for someone to tell them the unknown word. Encourage them to try it on their own. This is a great confidence builder.
3. Do you see a part you know?
Bigger words can be daunting. Have the child look for a part they already recognize in the word.
For example, in the word hitting, the child might recognize the “ing” ending or the little word “it”. Knowing some word parts can help you figure out the word.
4. Look at the picture for a clue.
The pictures are meant to compliment the text and often can provide valuable clues to unknown words. Easy readers are purposefully designed to provide lots of text support through the illustrations.
5. Get your mouth ready for the first sound?
This one is similar to give it a try. I used to say, “Give it a try. The word might just pop out.” When a child attempts the first sound, sometimes the correct words just falls out. This prompt is great for those kids who just sit and stare into space waiting for someone to tell them the word.
6. Think about what word would make sense.
This is a strategy for decoding and comprehension. Thinking about the sentence, paragraph or story often provides clues to the unknown word.
7. Cover up part of the word and try again.
Covering the endings (suffixes) of words often helps young readers recognize words they may already know but don’t recognize with the suffix attached.
8. Skip the word. Keep reading and then come back.
Sometimes, when the other strategies aren’t working, it’s best to skip the word and read on to the end of the sentence. The rest of the words can be helpful in determining the unknown word. Just remember to remind the child to return to the unknown word after skipping it.
9. Go back to the beginning and try again.
When we are struggling with too many words in a sentence or a paragraph our reading fluency is greatly impacted. All this problem solving also impedes comprehension. Try telling the child to go back to the beginning of a sentence, a paragraph or a page and try starting again.
10. Does is sound right? Does it look right?
If a child mispronounces a word or says the wrong word, these two questions are very helpful. Thinking about what makes sense is critical in determining words and comprehension.
I created this free printable of the reading prompts for you to print out and keep handy as you are reading with a child. I hope you enjoy helping someone who says, “Teach me how to read!” as much as I do!
Click here to download 10 Ways to Help a Child Stuck on a Word
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