+ What NOT To Say to a New Reader: Amy Mascott’s Tips

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Amy Mascott at http://www.teachmama.com has these five tips when you are reading with your students.  Here are my takeaways.

  • Don’t say “Stop. Reread this line correctly.”  Instead, if the mistake didn’t interfere with meaning, (e.g. ‘a’ for ‘the,’ or ‘fine’ for ‘fun’) let it go.  If it interferes with meaning, ask some leading questions (see the final tip below).
  • Don’t say “C’mon speed up; you have to read a little faster!”  OR “Slow down, you’re zipping through this!”  Instead, model appropriate pacing and fluency.  Switch gears.  After you do a model reading, the you and the student can echo-read or re-read the same book/text over a few days. “Echo reading”  is just like an echo; one person reads a portion and a second re-reads the same portion.  After doing this over a period of several days (the same portion of text), the student will discover he’s reading much more fluently. 
  • Don’t laugh! Instead, think about something serious and regain your composure.  If you can laugh together, that’s one thing; but if he’s working hard, concentrating and trying his best, just move on.
  • Don’t say “You know this!”  Instead say “What part of the word do you recognize?”  If you get no response say,”Do you recognize this part? (point to the beginning letter or chunk) — or this part? (point to the ending chunk or letter).”  Remember, if she knew the word, she’d have read it; also everyone hates to be reminded that they “know” something and forgot it. By picking out two parts of the word, you’re setting her up for success.
  • Don’t say “You’re wrong.  That says…”  Instead say nothing.  Really.  Remain silent. Let them read.  If  it is a mistake that interferes with meaning, at the end of the page go back and say “Are you correct?  If he says yes, say “Look again and check closely.”  Ask “Does that make sense?” “Does it sound right?” “Can you find the tricky part?”  Finally, you might lead him to “It’s in this line…”  Or “I’ll point, and help you find it. ” You might draw attention to a picture or chart that could help him.

You want your student to be comfortable reading with you.  Once you can see they trust you, you can begin asking, “Are you correct?” every so often on a page he did read correctly.  Your goal is to help them become better self-monitors, as all good readers are.


Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com 


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