What does the parent/teacher do when the reading selection requires the learner to use comprehension for homonyms? Learners with decoding problems may have difficulty with some/all of the following example words: two, to, too; new, knew; through, threw; and so, sew. The teacher/parent may wonder whether learning by writing helps with reading English in this area. Yes, The Sounds of Words learning strategy works here too.

The parent/teacher can select the words that will challenge the struggling learner. So, use the strategy to help the student with reading disabilities discover the sounds of each of the example words, showing which letters correspond to which sounds. The learner will discover this: two, to, and too; new and knew; through and threw; and so and sew; share the same "sound spelling" among the grouped words. The teacher/parent should have the learner look at each grouped word and practice reading it, discussing the idea of shared sounds. Locate each one in the text.

Once the learner shows comprehension for shared sounds, consider each word individually. What is the meaning of two? Of to? Of too? How are they used in the text? Here is where comprehension for context is important. Make sure that the learner understands the definition and usage of each word. Read the sentence for each word.

Finally, have the learner read the text aloud. Then discuss it together, asking and having the student answer comprehension questions. Once the student is able to answer correctly, the parent/teacher will be assured that the struggling learner has mastered comprehension for those homonyms. And, the learner also understands the meaning of homonym--words with different spellings and meanings, that share the same sounds!


Anita Landoll

Anita Landoll

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