Word Attack

  • In a balanced literacy approach, some time is spent teaching children how to go about decoding unknown words and phrases. Over recent years we have seen an incredible amount research come out that shows that simply telling kids to "sound it out" is not an effective way to help children figure out how to read words. Now, that isn't to say that knowledge of phonics (letters and sounds) isn't important...it definitely is. However having children try to read a word by looking at each letter in the words takes a long time and is not an efficient use of time during reading. Below are some prompts you can use to help your child figure out an unknown word that will help them build the ability to problem solve quickly and efficiently in the future.

    • Think about the story and what would make sense
    • Can the picture help you?
    • Get your mouth ready for the first sound
    • Say it slowly from beginning to end
    • Say the first part, then say the next part
    • Does this help (as your cover up a part, or show a part that you think they know)
    • Look at the first syllable
    • Cover up the last part
    • You know a word like that
    • Use your finger to break the word into parts
    • Look for a part that can help