Thursday, December 27, 2007

This Read Along Technique Increases Comprehension

Once your child can read most words at a reasonable pace, have her read to you in the following way:

  • Choose a book that is somewhat challenging, but not too difficult. One way to make this judgment is to have her read a page; if there are more than five words she does not know, the book may be too difficult. You want to challenge, not frustrate.
  • Now have her read a page. As she is reading, take a pencil or other pointer and point to each word as she reads. If she mispronounces a word, tap your pencil on the incorrect word. If she doesn't get the word on the second try, tell her the beginning sound of the word. If it is a multi-syllable word, break the word into syllables and sound out each syllable with her.

This technique allows you to give a gentle reminder when a word is not correct without interrupting her or breaking the continuity of the story. It is better than her reading on her own because she is corrected when she misses a word; otherwise she will just skip the word or think her incorrect pronunciation is correct.

For difficult words, consider making a word card. Just write the word on a 3x5 or other blank card. For young children it is important not to overwhelm with too many words, 7-12 words seems to be a good number, depending on the student.

Practice these words from the word cards for just a few minutes per day. A few minutes per day on a consistent basis is much better than longer sessions with less frequency. Remember not to study too many words at a time. When she knows a word right away without any help, toss the card.

Educator Don Jones has taught reading and math in a 1-to-1 environment for many years. He learned the methods from his father who started The Arcadia Reading Clinic in 1956. For more information, please visit



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