Many of us are homeschooling our kids part time or full time, and it’s becoming more apparent when they struggle to read. So we have a great opportunity to help them when they get stuck on a word and become frustrated with reading.
I’ve tutored children for several years, and there are several prompts you can offer to help a child figure out a word. Let’s discuss them, so you can learn how to help your child read. And I have two great bookmarks (one for younger children, one for teens and up) you can download and print for free to help your child remember what to do when you’re not around.
Say the First Letter
One letter. We can all do one letter. That’s a beginning and a great first attempt to try the word. Helping children try something that’s hard helps them accomplish a step so they’ll continue.
Break It Down
Is there any part of the word that your child recognizes? For instance, see if they can spot -ing or -ed or the root word. That also chips away at the goal to try the word. Now we know the first letter and another part.
Is There a Picture?
I read picture books with struggling readers for as long as possible. The pictures provide so many clues and are interesting for someone who’s is confused by a bunch of letters. Take several minutes just to look at the picture and talk about what’s going on.
Skip the Word
It’s ok to skip the word for now. Finish the rest of the sentence, and then go back. More information in the sentence will help to decode the word.
What Makes Sense?
Based on what you’ve been reading, is there a word that makes sense for the word you’re stuck on? Does it happen to start with the beginning letter. It’s like a word puzzle. These are clues.
Ask for Help
Help your child understand that, with practice, they’ll soon learn how to sound out and figure out these tough words. But they can always ask for help. For teachers who have a whole classroom of students, it’s really important that the student try first to figure out the word before asking for help. But help is available.
Free Downloadable Bookmarks
I’ve created two bookmarks that list these steps for decoding a tough word. One is for younger readers. The second is for older students and adults and is offered in black and white for personal coloring or easier printing. Four bookmarks print per 8.5 x 11.
Coloring the Bookmark
Thanks to my cute neighbor girls for coloring their bookmarks so well. It’s a quick, fun project to do any day or especially when homeschooling.
Save for Future Reference
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