Reading Assessment: Examples of Strategies for Correcting Errors
Doesn't know sight words:
- trace words in a colored chalk sand tray, instant pudding, fingerpaints,
shaving cream, oobleck, macaroni, rice, dried beans, pipe cleaners, play
dough, clay, alphabet pretzels, magnetic letters for kinesthetic learners
- play games: sight words on
dice, grab bag game, vocabulary sewing cards, sight word tic tac toe, sight
- Search for and circle a designated phonic
element or elements in a school newspaper, local newspaper, or magazine.
- Place large letters on the floor and have the child "skate" from one to
another while saying the letter sounds aloud, or have the child stretch a
rubber band between words.
- Have the child sort small objects by placing
each object into a correct box according to the initial sound (middle,
ending) of that object.
Structural Analysis (using word structure or word parts to determine the
pronunciation and meaning of unknown words)
- Make three columns on a
sheet of paper and label them prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Have
children cut words from the newspaper and paste them into the correct
- Select ten one-syllable words and write the words in a column
down the left side of the paper. Have the child think of two-three-and four
syllable words that have the same meaning or nearly the same meaning as the
one syllable root. Have the child work with a partner on this activity.
join, unite, congregate, affiliate.
Semantic Analysis (using context):
- Print a number of sentences on the
board. Each sentence should have an omitted word that could reasonably be
replaced by a number of different alternatives. Have a child read the
sentence, completing it with one option. Other children in the group can
suggest alternative options.
- Place a sentence on the board containing a
nonsense word. "I saw a vrtom on the way to school today. Have the child suggest a word that could be used in the
sentence. This activity helps the child use both semantic cues and syntactic
the student to think while reading so that he will stop and reread the
material if it is not making sense. This student may view reading as a "word
calling" process. Ask questions during the reading to check for
- Give the student oral exercises in which he identifies
words that do not make sense in the context of the sentence. Discuss why the
word does not make sense. Do similar written exercises. I like to drink
apples. He set his calendar so he would wake up on time.
- Use small group
activities where certain key words are covered. Elicit responses from the
group and have children evaluate the responses. The ultimate criterion is "Does the word you suggest make sense in the sentence/paragraph?"
Demonstrate how the flow of the story helps the reader to predict certain
words. Think aloud so students can "see" you model the process.
record and listen for meaning noting substitutions that resulted in partial
or total loss of meaning.
Rationale: The student needs to see reading as a process of reconstructing
meaning. The student needs to be taught to use semantic cues.
Improving ability in oral reading
- Have the child tape his own reading and
listen to the tape, monitoring as he follows along with the print.
- Practice reading in groups.
- Read aloud often.
appropriate expression in reading.
Repeats words, phrases, or sentences
- Sometimes repetitions are
because the reading is too difficult. Repetitions may provide additional
time to think, but if the repetitions seem to be a habit, have him tape
himself and discuss in conference. The student should realize the majority
of the repetitions are a habit that generally detracts from effective
- Encourage the student not to repeat or break up the flow when
the miscue doesn't significantly alter the meaning (a for the). Have the
student follow along as you model the process.
Waits to be told unknown words:
- use context
- look for root
words, prefixes, suffixes
Produces a nonword or omits unknown words
- Provide oral and
written examples where the student attempts to predict the appropriate word
that has been omitted. I will mail the _________.
- Place opaque tape
over certain words in the student's reading material that can easily be
predicted. Encourage the student to supply a real word that makes sense.
Then compare the student's word with the word in the reading material. If
the words are different, encourage the student to evaluate his choice in
light of the actual word. Help the student transfer this prediction strategy
to identifying unknown words when reading by asking questions during the
reading, "Does this makes sense? Does that sound like language to you? Why
do you think so? What word do you know that begins like ____ and would make
- Rationale: The student must be helped to realize that reading is a
meaningful process and words pronounced should make sense. In short, reading
should sound like oral language. The goal is to have the reader produce a
word that makes sense rather than to omit the word.
Substitutes words that make sense
Provide exercises that contain substitutions two different
readers made in the same sentence. Discuss which substitution appears to be
closer to the author's intended meaning.
Develop lessons where students
can discuss the subtle differences in words even though such differences are
unlikely to be significant in comprehension. For example the difference
between street and road, house and home, little and small.
Habitually tries to sound out unknown words
words in the student's meaning vocabulary that he is unable to pronounce.
Such words can then be put into a context that builds the meaning for the
words. Through such exercises the student should realize that meaning can be
achieved without always sounding out the words.
Teach the student a set
of strategies for word identification. A book mark could be adapted from the
What makes sense here?
What sound does it start with?
root words, prefixes, or suffixes?
Keep reading, try to figure it out.
Use these last: dictionary, someone's help, skip it
Show the student that a
word in oral language can often be predicted correctly before it is heard.
Use this same knowledge in reading. Give examples of sentences with the last
word left out. He gave the kitten some _____. Five ______ make a dime.
Rationale: Some students may have been taught that the only appropriate
strategy is to sound out words when they are unknown. They may not have been
taught strategies that can be applied in such a situation. Needs to learn to
use their knowledge of language (syntax) and the value of context (semantic)
Ignores or adds punctuation or uses inappropriate intonation
student examples where punctuation is ignored or substituted. In some cases,
meaning may not be disturbed; in other cases a change in meaning may occur.
Discuss whether or not the reader should have paid attention to the
Use slash marks to indicate appropriate phrasing (for
instance, Bill,/my brother,/has gone away.) Reduce the number of slash marks
as the student's phrasing and attention to punctuation improve.
Overrelies on context
Tape record the student's reading, listen
to it, and mark miscues. Then review the selected miscues with the student
and discuss how meaning is changed even though the miscue may make sense in
the sentence. Model how graphic cues can be used along with the context to
determine the actual word used by the author.
Present sentences where the student can make initial predictions of a
missing word. Then provide a series of graphic cues to help the student
correctly identify the missing word.
I must put the ______ away.
I must put
the d_____ away.
I must put the de_______ away.
I must put the decor____ away.
- I must put the decorations away.
Oral reading lacks fluency (reads word for word)
students in reader's theatre and echo reading, have the student echo your
phrasing and expression from a book.
Older students read "easy" books to
younger children. Practice sessions can include taping and evaluating the
fluency and expression.
Thanks to all the great teachers on the MC-GEN-NBC yahoo group
for these great suggestions!