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Whole-word reading ideas?

July 29, 2011

We’re easing into our home school routine again. I happy to see that compared to a year ago, Hope’s ability to phonetically sound out words is coming along. But I also see that she is memorizing words based (I think) on what they look like. That makes sense. Her FASD evaluation shows she has great long-term memory (sight words) but struggles with short-term memory (phonics decoding).

Hope’s single wish for our home school year is that, “I really learn to read.” To her, that means being able to sit down with a book and no grown-up and be able to understand the words on the page. While I want to continue working on phonics (using All About Spelling), I think she may make faster progress if we work on whole-word reading at the same time because the latter builds on a strength area.

Any advice on how to approach it? I have sight-words flash cards for all the typical words kids learn to sight-read. But all of our beginning and easy-reader books are phonics-based. Do I just make flash cards for the high-frequency words and teach her “cat” as a whole word not “c-a-t”? We could easily make word-labels for  common objects around the house like “chair,” “table” etc. But she won’t encounter those words as often in books she might be able to read on her own early on –unless I get some different books.

Ideas? Thanks!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2011 11:42 am

    I’ve seen classrooms where each wordwall word has a red box outlining the shape of that word. (Hard to describe verbally, but think about how the word “happy” (all lowercase) goes up a little higher towards the left (because of the “h”) and then extends farther down for the whole right half (because of the “ppy”). It’s not a magic bullet, but it does give the students an extra cue. Being a tactile learner myself, I bet if I could trace the outline of even of foreign word with my finger, it would help sear it into my mind. (Especially if there was something sensory like sand or glitter glued on the outline for good measure.)

    I don’t know anything more formal than that though. I’ll be interested to hear what more experienced folks have to say.

  2. July 29, 2011 11:44 am

    Kind of like this:

  3. Joan permalink
    July 30, 2011 10:31 am

    If she’s musical, you might want to look at Sing, Say and Spell (I think it’s called). Ask Sally M. She used it with her oldest and it was a tremendous help.

  4. August 5, 2011 5:06 pm

    I think I learned to read this way, though I don’t really recall. I was quite young – my Mom must have known what she was doing.

    She would point to words when she read them to me (she says it’s important to put your finger UNDER the word, not beside or above it (?). She put words on index cards and taped them to ojects all over the house (wall, sofa, lamp, etc.).

    This was definitely “whole word” learning and though it did NOT work for my sister, it worked very well for me. I was reading in kindergarten but I did not know the alphabet until the 3rd grade! I was SO sad when I realized “elemenopee” was not a letter.

    Good luck to your daughter in achieving her goal!

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