My 6yo DD reads rather well, but I'm unsure whether I need to address something in regards to phonics vs sight reading. She did a lot of learning to read on her own I think. My mom & I did spend some time with her on this but a lot she just figured out of her own. She knows her phonics pretty well other than sometimes being unsure on some of the more "advanced" blends like ou, au, etc. She can phonetically sound out a word but gives me a hard time when I tell her she read a word wrong & needs to sound it out. When she reads a word wrong, it is almost always b/c she reads so much by sight that she will see some letters for a word she knows & say that word without fully looking at the word (ex. says 'castle' when sees care). She reads big words better than small words a lot of the time...she can read all the small words just fine when you make her stop, look at it & read it or sound it out. I was trying to assess where she is with reading & she kept doing this...saying words without fully looking at the word then would refuse to sound it out. Now, I did realize that part of the sounding it out was that she's decided to be embarrassed about certain things so would only do it if I covered my ears (problem somewhat solved there). I started thinking I need to make her do more phonics work to get her out of the mind set of just reading quickly & as if she already knows what something is going to say...she also decides what a sentence is going to say & will argue me about it until I get her to stop & really look to see that it doesn't say that. I then thought maybe I need to make her read a bunch of non-sense words so that she has to pay attention to the words not just say what she wants it to be (for ex. on a DIBELS test for her current school the non-sense word was 'mip' & she had not grasped that the words were going to be made up words so she kept trying to make it say 'milk'. You could see the confusion on her face as she tried to make that work out.). Then I started thinking maybe I just need to work with her on more sight words so that she just knows a ton of words without having to worry much about needing to sound things out. I know this post is a bit convoluted but hope you are able to make sense of it & give me some direction about the path to take & how to proceed on that path. Thanks : )
6yo Reading question(4 posts) (3 voices)
I like the nonsense words idea. It would get her into the habit of looking at words closely. But the truth is, we as adults ususally don't look at words closely. We just know most of the words so well that our brains process them from just looking at a few letters. So I am not sure that what she is doing is inherently wrong. At our state homeschool conference I listend to a talk on Understanding the Logic of English and bought the book by that name. It has a lot to say on different English phonemes. I think it is worth picking up and reading so you can understand how English works and pass that knowledge onto her.
I wrote a little about it here:
Check out this thread from a couple of days ago. Some good advice there.
I taught reading, including phonics at the Sylvan Learning Centre for many years. We used the imaginary words activity to identify phonics skills that a student might be lacking (they have to understand that they are not reading real words though.) When it comes to instruction, however, I don't think it's as useful. There are many skills that must be used together. Phonics is one. Sight words is another. So is the skill of stopping to think "Did that make sense?" and thinking about contextual clues to figure it out. This is the habit that it sounds like your daughter needs to develop.
Often if we misread a word, it becomes obvious a few words later that what we read simply didn't fit. So we have to go back and try again. I would practice that. If you hear her misread a word, wait until she gets to the end of the phrase or sentence. Then just ask "Did that make sense?" Often we think about a word one way, but say it differently (ie. her lips might say 'castle', but her brain registered 'care'.) I do this myself when reading aloud, and it's great fun that my kids can now read and are always correcting ME. So, if she doesn't notice that something was wrong, read it back the way she said it. She may correct it right away. "Oh, I meant to say 'care'." If she doesn't, then go back and talk about the word and have her reread or decode, etc.
Phonics is a great and important tool, but it's all the other skills that put everything together that make us fluent readers.
Thanks for that info Nebby! Joanne, I agree about the stopping to think. You voiced it more articulately than me but that's what I was trying to say lol. I'll have to try it the way you said b/c I've said things similarly but not done in the way you describe so maybe that would help. She very much doesn't bother to stop even when I can tell she's thinking that it doesn't make sense. She just keeps trying to make it make sense without considering she misread the word (guess she doesn't like to be wrong just like her mommy lol). Sometimes I'm so clueless about educational development & get really frustrated when it seems like she suddenly doesn't know something that I was certain she knew. I got really upset b/c I had been thinking she was reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level then was giving her this assessment mentioned in another thread just to get a picture of where she was & what to work on (I should've known better as I get freaked out by these things anyway) when she was doing the reading without bothering to pay attention to the actual word. She wasn't even getting through what a 1st grader "should" be able to do b/c she wouldn't stop to sound out without a battle. We battled (again my fault as I should've let it go & moved on) & that's when I realized she didn't want me to watch/hear her sound it out so started covering my ears & she did fine. She easily sounds the words out (again, there are a few more advanced sounds that we need to solidify but overall no problems with phonics) once she stops to do so, but it is the getting to that point that makes things so negative. She can read 2nd & 3rd grade level books with comprehension shown but so much of that is sight reading I think b/c she doesn't often have to bother with the phonics since she knows so many words. I really appreciate the ideas y'all have given, & anything else that pops into your heads later feel free to share : )
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