Reading Rule #1 – Focus On the Words
Reading plays an integral part in everyone’s life, whether you are 5 or 50. Some find reading easy, but some struggle with it. There can be many reasons that they struggle with it.
There could be a legitimate issue like dyslexia, but often, it is as simple as a major bad habit having been groomed during the learning process.
The most significant contributor to a person’s reading struggles is not paying attention to the words as they read. Things like looking up from the page before they can finish the sentence can make comprehension and the actual act of reading challenging.
Signs Of a Struggling Reader
How do you tell if your child or student is struggling when it comes to reading? The above example of not looking at the words as they finish the sentence is one sign.
Another sign is that the reader looks at the work and seemingly guesses the word, then looks to the teacher for approval.
Some readers may do this same thing but take a little more care to look at the word. Maybe the reader looks at the word and then stares blankly at a different location as they try to determine what the word is. These are all signs of a struggling reader.
Positive Feedback Could Be Detrimental
Positive feedback is not bad, as it helps build self-confidence. There is no way that it can be entirely detrimental. However, using it nonstop and letting the student feel like they can always fall back on you for the answer will not help them become better readers.
The use of only positive feedback can reduce the student’s confidence in their own skills and keep them from exploring their new emerging skills. Instead, there should be a level of constructive feedback and positive feedback to help instill better reading skills.
Focus On the Words
There are many rules when teaching reading, but the first and most important is to make sure that the reader focuses on the words they are reading. Take the time to encourage the student to keep their eyes on the word as they sound them out.
It may take patience and time to break the habit of looking away or looking to you for help, but by making them work it out, they will become a better reader. This will help them with comprehension and retention, as well.
By focusing on the #1 rule of reading – focus on the words – you will help struggling readers of any age overcome their problems. Who knows, by the end of the process, maybe they will love reading!