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year 2 weird reading habits

(45 Posts)
escondida Tue 24-Feb-15 21:31:51

DS is 7 and reading okay or better, but he often misses out words, or inserts them. Sometimes his changes are the right meaning like maybe he read the line properly but rephrased it in his head according to other expectations. Other times he stumbles to continue the sentence because the word he missed out is essential for all the other words to make sense.

I know he reads by whole word so exactly becomes excellent etc. So I'm kind of used to it, but I thought by now he wouldn't add and take away so many words. It happens maybe once every 2 sentences, and he's good about taking correction. He still swaps 'and' for 'said' a lot, too.

Is this just something that some kids normally do? I try to get him to follow my finger so that he reads one word at a time (obv. not very effective). Is there some trick to help them stop the omissions & additions?

Ferguson Tue 24-Feb-15 22:32:35

Yes - some children, once they are past the 'sounding out' stage, and are confident on a lot of words, can get OVER-confident and careless in their reading. If they are just reading for pleasure, and the sense is there, you could say it doesn't matter too much.

But it WILL matter when their reading skills are being assessed, which I guess will be for Yr2 SATs.

At Yr2 I don't think he should be following YOUR finger, but pointing for himself, if he needs to.

Has he had his sight tested? If not, maybe get it checked as a precaution. Some children put a ruler under the line of text, so they don't lose their place. Others like to use a coloured filter, to reduce the contrast of stark print. Early reading books have larger print, and child-friendly fonts, but once they are on to more advanced books, or non-fiction, print is smaller and some letters, particularly 'a' and 'g' can be in a more ornate, adult style, which confuses some children.

The main thing is to encourage him to slow down, and take more care, to observe punctuation (which should help with his writing too), use relevant expression, and mention to him his weaker areas, so he can concentrate on those. If you watch the text as he reads, don't stop him and correct every slip, but if you can manage it, make a mental (or even written) note, and at the end, show him the problem words, and hopefully he will be able to correct most of them for himself.

InfantTeacher Tue 24-Feb-15 22:36:31

Yes, I would stop pointing yourself straight away, it sounds like he could be becoming dependent on your pointing rather than on listening to what he is reading. You don't say what level he is reading at, but most children in Y2 don't need to point to words at all, though some do if they are still at the early stages. Pointing, although helpful in the early stages, actually slows down the process of reading and prevents the eye from scanning ahead as fluent readers do. If he reads something that doesn't make sense, let him continue to the end of the sentence and then say "Did that make sense?" "Read that again and see if you can make it make sense". Remind him to listen to himself as he reads "Are you listening to what you are reading, are you making sure what you read makes sense?"

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 25-Feb-15 14:41:02

I think you might have hit the nail on the head with the whole word reader thing. I'm not sure I would use a finger to point either. I would use a piece of card to cover up the words and only show them as he needs to read them. I don't this is a tracking problem as much as it is a getting out of the bad habit of reading what you think is on the page rather than what is on the page problem. It might take a bit of in teaching.

If his phonics skills are weak, I would work on those too. Probably including some non-words so he doesn't end up sight reading the words and avoiding practising blending through the word.

escondida Wed 25-Feb-15 18:37:46

Ta, his sight was tested not long ago & is fine.
I point to try to get him to stop skipping or adding words, to try to get him to focus. He does catch most of his wrong inserted words, but not so many of the omitted words.
I guess I can try not pointing for a few weeks, maybe it won't make things any worse.
His phonics skills are good but his reading style is firmly whole word.
He's pretty amenable about taking correction but he would hate to be interfered with a lot more (coloured cards, blocking out etc)
I guess I'm doing what I can already.

Ferguson Wed 25-Feb-15 18:53:43

Yes, but long-term I'm afraid you pointing for him, really isn't helping him towards accurate independence.

Whole-word reading is fine for the words he knows, as long as he can also decode any new words he comes across.

This might help:

An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing, and really help them to understand Phonics, is reviewed in the MN Book Reviews section. Just search ‘Phonics’.

escondida Wed 25-Feb-15 20:12:34

I already said that I am going to stop pointing.
And his phonics skills are already excellent. confused

Are you saying that all kids should only read using phonics skills, never any other way, and that reading any other way is wrong & I should discourage it? At what age is it okay for kids to start reading in the whole word way like adults do?

Feenie Wed 25-Feb-15 20:46:08

How do you think he should tackle a word he doesn't know - what do you do when encountering an unfamiliar word?

ppolly Wed 25-Feb-15 20:48:02

You could let him use a ruler under the line he is reading to help him keep track of where he is. I tend to draw their attention to missed or substituted words at the end of each sentence and get them to reread correctly before carrying on. It is not an unusual problem at all.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 25-Feb-15 21:13:13

It's a little more complicated than that, OP. What you are describing sounds like a fairly textbook example of why we don't teach using whole word instruction or multicuing strategies anymore. It's not so much a case of moving him on from here as trying to unteach the bad habits he's learnt and getting him on the right path.

Children taught phonics only learn to read from left to right, through words then sentences looking only at the words on the page. They don't don't tend to make the sort of errors you are describing, even when fluent, because they've always been taught to read what's on the page and only look at the words while reading. OTOH if children are encouraged to use picture cues, word shapes and reading round the word to make a guess, this is exactly the sort of problem you can end up with. He might know his phonics well, but he obviously isn't using it in his reading.

escondida Wed 25-Feb-15 21:50:48

If DS reads a new word he often gets it perfect using phonics (got 'galaxy' tonite). Or he may guess (challenge looked like change).

He's making steady progress so I can't worry about whole word reading, tbh. I don't see what all this talk of phonics has to do with DS's random insertions and omissions, anyway. It's the random words skipped over (prepositions especially) or words he adds that are bad for his comprehension. Don't think a ruler would help with the randoms, but will maybe try that. He doesn't sound like he's reading too fast.

Feenie Wed 25-Feb-15 21:53:29

Guessing isn't the same as reading though - and will of course affect his comprehension.

escondida Wed 25-Feb-15 21:57:59

I'm not even sure if DS knows what a 'challenge' is, multiple comprehension issues.

Anyway, does anyone have ideas on the insertion/deletion problem?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 25-Feb-15 22:02:19

Other than using a card, I'm afraid not. Sorry. You might just have to keep going and hope he eventually stops doing it.

escondida Wed 25-Feb-15 22:06:17

Maybe DS would accept the card if I ask him about it first, get him to agree that he's missing and adding words and I have an idea to help him; I'm thinking maybe I could cut a little window out of the card and move it for each word -- but that's a lot like pointing which folk were telling me not to do!

Oh well, at least I got a few ideas there. Cheers.

ppolly Wed 25-Feb-15 22:28:03

Maybe he is processing too fast though. My experience is if they do not automatically self correct, then go back more slowly over the sentence. I do point to mispronounced or omitted words to draw their attention to them, get them to correct it and then reread the sentence.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 25-Feb-15 22:33:57

Someone else might come along with something more helpful, so don't give up. I appreciate that it's often much easier for a teacher to get a child to do something than it is for a parent.

Ferguson Wed 25-Feb-15 23:28:41

I think only taking more care as he reads, and pointing to words himself, will help him over the problem. But it's not a hugely important issue at the moment, as he is only 7. If it went on for years, and he is still doing it when he is, say, ten and preparing for secondary school, then it would be more serious.

We are only trying to help in our replies, and don't mean to be critical, or lay blame.

And what did you mean by 'multiple comprehension issues'? Is English his first language.

(Late now, but I'll look back tomorrow.)

maizieD Wed 25-Feb-15 23:34:33

Well, all I can suggest is the game I used to play with pupils who guessed/omitted words/put in extra words (and, incidentally, Rafa's earlier explanation was absolutely spot on and it has everything to do with inconsistent phonics teaching).

Anyway, make it a competition. He gets a point for every sentence he reads accurately, you get a point for every omitted, misread or extraneous word. Winner gets a prize. The winner was always the pupil!

If he argues robustly that he hasn't made whatever error you pick up on, record him!

It won't work if he's not competitive, but I never encountered a non-competitive child...

DancingDinosaur Wed 25-Feb-15 23:52:47

My dd recently was diagnosed with a visual processing disorder. She does what you describe, amongst other things as well. She's a bright individual who swaps , ignores or changes words, and generally makes an accurate guess at it. She's jumping across words as it hurts her eyes, but as she's quite bright, making an educated guess at what the sentence is saying. Which works for now, but won't be a good strategy when she's older.
The optician wasn't able to pick up on this, she needed to go to an optometrist. She now has eye exercises and colored overlays to put over her reading books. Its made a big difference. She's stopped losing her place in the book and started reading all the words without substitution. Just another possibility for you.

InfantTeacher Thu 26-Feb-15 07:05:06

I certainly wouldn't advise using a card to cover up words unless you are sliding a card strip from left to right over the words he has already read. This is usually a technique used to help children speed up their pace of reading, but could also be used in your case if it helps. If you only show him one word at a time then, as you rightly say, this is really just a different way of pointing.

To read successfully children need to train their brains to process print on the move, and the more we do for them, the less able their brains are to learn for themselves. If you've been pointing for him up to now, I would imagine that you have also paused your finger over a word he has misread to prompt him to have another go? We do this because we think we are helping (and it's hard not to do!) but actually, we are taking away from the child the need to really think about what is being read because the child knows that if s/he goes wrong, the finger will stop. This can then have a knock on effect on comprehension skills.

If DS is reading books in with words like 'challenge' and 'exactly' and his phonics skills are good then I wouldn't worry too much at this stage. I would suggest reminding him to listen to what he is reading and asking him if it makes sense (at the end of the sentence). I think you will find that he soon takes on more of the responsibility for checking and self-correcting with will iron out the insertions and deletions over time. Let us know how he gets on!

Camolips Thu 26-Feb-15 07:26:10

How about for a while he points to the words himself as he's reading? That should make him think when he tries to put any extra words in or leave any out. And agree, wait until the end of the sentence then talk about if it made sense of not and then re-read the whole thing. Good luck!

escondida Thu 26-Feb-15 08:59:18

I think the trick is definitely to persuade DS to just be more careful.

He's only 7yo. I don't think he knows what words like galaxy or challenge mean. He can say them ok using phonics, but he couldn't define them if you asked or use them correctly in a sentence. Can read, doesn't comprehend.

Killasandra Thu 26-Feb-15 10:11:15

Skipping words, random omissions and insertions etc are all signs of eye tracking problems. (Which your optician won't have checked for)

I'm not saying your DS does have eye tracking problems. I'm just saying from what you've said it can't be ruled out.

Opopanax Thu 26-Feb-15 22:05:50

Can't he do the pointing? At least then it's sort of a step towards independent reading. DD was a bit like this when younger (not looking properly and 'reading' what she thought it might say instead of what it really said). I just used to say 'are you really sure?' and make her read it again and that sorted it out fairly quickly.

Does a 7 yo honestly not know what galaxy or challenge mean? Especially challenge. He'll have encountered that word a lot at school if his is anything at all like DD's. I would be a bit worried about that in your shoes.

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