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Don’t let this happen to your child….

  1. Be given reading material too difficult for their skills.

….it may do more harm than good.

This is a child reading an assigned story. The parent was concerned whether this was a ‘just right’ match for her child, so brought it to our tutoring session. I asked the young man to read it for me.

Practicing material beyond a child’s ability does not help and may do more harm than good.

Your child needs precisely what all other good readers experience – high-success reading which helps develop and solidify good reading skills.

What your child is given to read is an important part for success in reading growth. This child’s assigned reading, had too many words he did not know and he did not have the skills to successfully identify the words.

Since this text is ‘over his head’ he had to resort to ‘guessing’ and using only some letters. For example, ‘long’ became ‘lost’ and ‘moved’ became ‘more’. ‘Tabby’ became ‘baby’ and ‘last’ became ‘lost’. Those last 2 words share many similar letters – but we derive the correct word through processing all the letters. He is forming a habit of using a few letters and guessing the rest. 

The other errors seemed like desperate attempts to just get through this reading, which wasn’t even making sense with so many errors. And yes, typically I would have supported the child or given him a different text, but we wanted to see what he would do on his own.

Since he did not stop and ask for help, or attempt to fix errors that made no sense, I think this 2nd grader is so accustomed to not being able to read most text presented to him, that he doesn’t even expect reading to make all that much sense.

The next video shows the same student, who though significantly behind in grade-level reading, when given a ‘just right’ text reads well enough to support early developing skills.

Before even completing a misread of ‘bag’ as ‘big’ he was equipped to correct it confidently and automatically.

And don’t forget ALL struggling readers should be given audio books and other supports to allow them access to grade-and age- appropriate books while  building their decoding/word recognition skills.

Don’t let this happen to your child. Mismatched text does not help. Make sure your child has ‘just right’ reading at school and at home.