Recently I have been traveling to schools that are using our program and training teachers on how to help their students transfer the decoding skills they are learning to context reading. It is becoming more and more evident that students who go through a systematic phonics program may continue to have difficulty when they transfer to reading text. What is often happening, is that those with processing issues tend to handle the page the way they handle words, three-dimensionally. They look at the page as an overall picture and are unsure of how to process it. That is their initial issue with words--they do not recognize that it is made up of parts and patterns. When they gain skills to handle the word, they still will have issues when they transfer to the page.
Here are a couple of suggestions to help them transfer:
- Have them use their finger to help them track and work left to right.
- Have them sound out troublesome words left to right a couple of times without stopping or guessing.
- Have them look at the word to see if it follows one of the phonetic skills and/or decoding skills and apply those.
Children (and adults) need to be reminded that they have the skills to handle unfamiliar words. If they work on the word, left to right, and apply the framework of the phonetic skills, decoding skills, and 42 sounds, they will be able to handle the majority of the words they come across. They need to take it a word and sentence at a time. Their speed will increase as they learn to handle the page in a systematic fashion and they will be able to move away from using a finger for tracking and from sounding out the majority of the words. With time and practice it will become an automatic process for them.
Sign up for Reading Horizons Online Workshop for Parents to learn how to teach your child all of Reading Horizons decoding skills. The workshop is available for 30 days of free access to anyone that signs up! The workshop runs for about 5 hours and can be paused and reviewed at anytime.