When helping a struggling reader improve reading skills, it is helpful not to encourage her/him to rely on context to figure out the word. The student is already having problems with decoding and comprehension, both of which are skills used in context reading. Therefore, it is unlikely that the learner will succeed in the effort, and attempting the skill will increase his/her frustration level. It is much better for the student if the teacher/parent pause, help the learner do the decoding to discover the "sound spelling", relocate the word in the text and say it, and then reread the phrase or sentence for comprehension. It is important to follow this procedure with every word that is causing problems for the learner. Or, if the parent teacher chooses, she/he can preview, select the problem words, preteach them, then locate them in the text and discuss and read them. Then read the text.

In order to best help the reader, it is important that the text be interesting to her/him, and that the instructional level be appropriate for him/her. A little challenge is positive; too much challenge is frustrating. Once the selection is appropriate, the reader should be taught to read and understand each word. When she/he is able to pronounce and understand every word of the text, he/she is finding reading success.


Anita Landoll

Anita Landoll

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