It is very important here that children are saying the letters – not sounding out the word by saying individual sounds. English is not a sound-it-out-letter-by-letter language and the struggling readers are the ones who try to do it letter by letter. We want them to say all the letters so that we know that they have indeed looked at them all in the right order and having them say them is the only way to know for sure. We also want them to say the letters because there is strong evidence that retrieval from your brain’s memory store is auditory. If you are just looking at letters and searching in your brain for that word or a rhyming word, it is apt to be harder to find than if you say the letters out loud so your brain can “hear” them. When your child says all the letters and then successfully pronounces the word, cheer! “See it was there. You just had to say it so that your brain could find it!” 1/3 to 2/3 of the time, children will get the word at this stage. If not, proceed to step two. Check out the beginning post of Word Coaching Steps For Parents.

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Word Coaching Steps For Parents

I don’t know that word.

  1. […] Children should know that just guessing based on pictures or just on letters will not get them very far, but the two together are a powerful team. The child who sees the word raccoon and says all the letters and then glances at the picture may indeed see a picture of a raccoon. The picture, along with saying the letters out loud, will often allow your child to decode the word. So, once your child has said all the letters aloud, cue him/her by saying something like,  “Will the picture help?” “What is that animal called?” If the child gets the word correct now, cheer! If not, proceed to step three. Did you miss put your finger on the word? […]

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