When children begin reading out loud, it is common for them to make mistakes and mispronounce words. Children who are just learning to read or are struggling readers often benefit from having a teacher or parent listen to their reading and correct reading mistakes immediately. In this article, we will discuss the most common reading mistakes children make and provide tips and suggestions on how you can help your child correct reading mistakes!

Why Is My Child Guessing A Word Based On The Beginning Letter?

Guessing a word based on the beginning letter means that the child is trying to visually recognize entire words as a unit, instead of decoding  or breaking the word down into its individual sounds. For example, the child might read the word “cat” for “cut.” 

Children that have not been taught decoding strategies explicitly through phonics instruction will continually guess at words based on the first letter. Phonics is the understanding of how letters are used to represent speech sounds (known as the alphabetic principle). It involves matching written letters with their corresponding sounds to read unfamiliar words. When students know the sounds of the letters that they see in print, they are able to read (decode) and spell (encode) these words. 

 How Do I Stop My Child From Guessing At Words While Reading?

To help correct word guessing, follow this process of error handling during aloud reading:

  • Emphasize the vowel sound. Underline the vowel in the word and tell your child that the u makes the /u/ sound.  
  • Ask your child to sound out each letter in the word. ( /c/ /u/ /t/ )
  • Have your child read the word again smoothly. (cut)
  • Have the child re-read the sentence that contains the reading error.

 Why Is My Child Reading the Letter-Sounds Out Of Order?

 When a child has difficulties tracking the word from left to right they will read the letter-sounds out of order. The words they say often contain the same sounds, but they are out of order. For example, your child might read “lots” as “lost.” 

How Do I Help My Child Read The Letter-Sounds In Order?

You will want to use a reading tracker or have your child point to each word as they read through a text. This helps keep your child focused on the line they are reading. To help correct reading the letter-sounds out of order, you can follow this process while your child is reading out loud:

  • Ask your child to point to the first letter and say each letter name in the word.  ( l o t s )
  • Ask your child to point again to the first letter and have them read all the way through the word from the first letter sound to the last letter sound.  ( /l/ /o/ /t/ /s/ )
  • Have your child re-read the sentence that contains the reading error.

Should I Teach My Child To Memorize Sight Words?

Sight words, sometimes referred to as high-frequency words, are common words that students need to read often in sentences and stories. These words do not fit standard phonetic patterns. These include words like who, does, said, come, etc. It makes sense to expose a child to these words as much as possible since these words make up more than 50% of the words in texts (Fry, 1980). 

Once a child learns to quickly recognize these sight words, it will facilitate reading fluency and allow the child to focus more attention to the rest of the words on the page. 

Children that are learning to read through a structured literacy program with systematic phonics instruction, will eventually learn how to read and spell most sight words at some point in their reading journey. At the beginning of a child’s journey, the focus should mostly be on exposure, practice, and recognizing the word.  

How Do I Help My Child Read Non-Phonetic Sight Words During Reading?

If your child is reading aloud and comes across a non-phonetic sight word, you can help your child by following this process:

Say, “That word is theWhat is that word?” (the)

“Say it again.” (the)

“Say it one more time.” (the)

“Good! Now let’s read the sentence again, from the beginning.” 

Thank you so much for reading this article on error handling today. If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading my previous articles:

How Children Learn to Read: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

My Favorite Sight Word Activities

To learn more about effective reading education, visit us at Pride Reading Program today! This Orton-GIllingham, structured literacy curriculum is aligned with the science of reading, and used by teachers and parents, worldwide with great success!

The PRIDE Reading Program 

How to Correct Reading Mistakes

Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridereadingprogram.com or visit the website at www.pridereadingprogram.com

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