One of the trickiest things for young readers to learn is to self-monitor and notice their own reading errors. It’s hard for readers to master and coordinate all of the pieces of reading like concepts about print, phonics, reading strategies, sight words, and self-monitoring. So what do we do to help coach readers to notice their errors?
There are a few things we can do:
- Wait it out.
- Guide their thinking about the text.
- Point out reading errors.
When students don’t notice reading errors, they are not self-monitoring well. When they aren’t self-monitoring well, they may struggle with reading comprehension, too. Comprehension is the goal of reading because like I say often if kids aren’t understanding what they are reading, they are simple word calling. Let’s jump into a few ways we can support the readers in our classroom and help them develop a love for reading for enjoyment and to learn.
Even though you may want to quickly jump in when students don’t notice a reading mistake, let your reader finish the sentence or page and see what happens. The reader may realize they made a mistake once they get to the end of the sentence and think about it. Maybe they get to the end of a page and think, “Hey, that doesn’t quite make sense.” Give them the opportunity to self-correct before you jump in.
Guide students to thinking about their reading
To help get young readers to think about the text, you can help guide them through intentional questioning. Let’s give them the tools they need to learn how to figure it out on their own.
Did that make sense to you?
When the student doesn’t notice a reading mistake, ask them if the sentence they just read makes sense. This gives them the opportunity to recall what they said and see if it fits into the text. You are asking them to pause and reflect.
Then you can ask them to start with the letters and make every sound in the word.
We want them to FIRST attend to the text. We want visual to be the first cueing system they use. We want them to sound it out. We want them to decode the word the best that they can. Then, we want them to use meaning and syntax to cross-check.
Will you reread that?
Next, ask the student to reread the sentence (or page if it’s short) aloud and see if they notice the reading error this time. If they do, you can help them problem-solve to read the word. If not, dive into more questions to help them notice the mistake.
For example, if the text says “The dog jumped into the pool.” and the reader substitutes “pond” for “pool”, you might ask them to read all the way through the word to find the last sound they hear. They may sound it out, cross-check, go back to the word and sound it out, then cross-check again before they land on a word that is correct.
Point Out the Reading Errors
If the student doesn’t notice the reading errors, even after prompting, point it out to them. Then you can guide them toward solving the word. Have the reader reread the sentence again using the correct word to build comprehension.
If the reader is having reading errors and not noticing, but you think prompting them would disrupt reading comprehension, you may want to quickly point out the error and have them reread the sentence. This could be an uncommon name or place that will show up in the text multiple times.
A Few Quick Tips to Help Students Notice Reading Errors
I want to leave you with a few practical tips to help students monitor for reading errors while reading so that they can read more fluently and comprehend what they read.
- Use quality and engaging texts. Readers are more likely to pay attention to meaning when the book is interesting and engaging.
- Set a purpose for reading. Let students know they are reading for a purpose. For nonfiction, it might be to learn more about something. For fiction, it might be to find out how the problem you present is solved. Give them something to be searching for. This helps hold their attention.
- Use strategy groups in guided reading. This means that students are grouped together based on a phonics skill or reading strategy that they all need more practice with.
- Use bookmarks to help students self-monitor. I talked about that in detail HERE, but the idea is to create bookmarks in a text for students to stop at. If they can retell what they’ve read so far, they can keep reading. If not, they go back and read again.
Guiding students to self-monitor and notice their own reading errors takes time and practice. Remember to try out different strategies for each reader to see how they respond to the different options.
I think the biggest thing to remember is to make reading fun! We ultimately want our readers to feel confident and smart as they are learning to read and eventually reading to learn!
If you want to learn more about how to help your readers and implement guided reading, hop on my waitlist for Rethinking Guided Reading It’s the ultimate, all-inclusive professional development course that teaches you how to master reading instruction.