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Reading Woes - Sloppy Reader


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My dd is just starting 3rd grade. She has been slow to take off with reading. She can read and has a pretty good knowledge of phonics. At times, she can read fluently and easily but the next minute, she is guessing at words and what she is reading makes no sense because she is reading tons of words that aren't there.


It's starting to drive me nuts. She is in 3rd grade! I need her to be able to work more independently. I have a 1st grader, who reads almost as well as she does, and a K-4, who is just learning to read, plus an almost 2 yo. I don't have time to sit and read everything with her! If I don't sit and listen to her read and stop her when she makes a mistake, she will just plow on and have no comprehension of what she just read. I don't know what to do!


I feel like I need to make it "painful" for her to read sloppily but not so much that she dreads school work and reading. Maybe if I made her wait for "intensive" help (more than just a word or two) until after I'm done with everyone else. She would miss a lot of play time with her siblings and that might motivate her but oh, would it be painful for me.


She is a very hysterical child in general. Any ideas? Is this just a phase of learning to read that will pass?

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DD is similar, and sometimes I think "where in the world did you pull that from - this reads nothing like what you just said." Here are some things that worked for us.


I would have her practice reading more below her reading level. The more success she experiences, and practice she does correctly, the more confidence and proficiency she'll gain. This is especially true when reading for a content area (like history or science) where she is not only decoding, verbalizing, and making meaning, but she is also trying to fit the information into context with the subject she's studying.


It isn't a sin to guess, either. Most people use a variety of reading strategies to read (decode, verbalize, make meaning). If she chooses to guess at a word, pick up on where she's right ("yes, it starts with an 's'" or "the word does end in -ing") and then ask her if her guess makes any sense. If no, then suggest she try another word that makes more sense.


I tried really hard to keep reading enjoyable. When it became too difficult or there was too much pressure it became a chore, not a challenge.

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I agree with having her reading below her level, for now whatever level she can do easliy and enjoy. Even if that is Dr. Seuss. (Besides it sounds like you might have several other children who would like to listen to books at that level ;)).


Get a stack of readers at the level that is easy and increase the time she is required to read everyday. Once she can easily read 30-45 min, then start to increase the reading level. Try not to get so far ahead that she is guessing so much it doesn't make sense.


I also think that by making reading a special time for the two of you, she might be more inspired. Could she stay up after all the others and you two could popcorn read (she reads a page, then you do)? Or maybe it could be something she could do with Dad or a nieghbor?

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students (I'm a tutor now) have this problem and what I do is give them a pencil where they use the eraser to tap on the words as she reads them so that she is keeping her place. I'll frequently give them an index card so as to help figure out exactly where they are.


Repetition helps a lot and agreeing with the other posters, reading slightly below level will help.


I do think it is very important to set aside time where you sit with her daily to increase her consistency, fluency and decoding ability.


I'm noticing my own daughter who has read very well up until recently is struggling with this and Ive noticed just an extra 20 minutes per day of focus reading time is helping a lot.


In order to increase comprehension work on trying to see if your daughter is creating a picture on her head as she is reading (visualization). Stop her periodically and have her draw a pretend picture on a piece of paper (don't give her a writing implement) with her finger and have her tell you about it. This should help increase her visualization which should help increase her comprehension.

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Thanks for all your replies. I guess I'm on the right track. She does go to bed last and we have been reading together almost every night. We were reading books like Sarah Noble and Sarah Plain and Tall. She did pretty well. Somewhere in the past month, we have moved to reading easier books with her younger sister. I've discovered they are good reading companions. She really wants to help her little sister, who is reading just about as well as she, is so she follows along and "has her brain turned on". It's funny to see her little sister help her, too. We read books like Nate the Great and Amelia Bedelia. The three of us take turns reading a page. It's been fun so I guess we'll keep doing that.


I still think I need to motivate her a little more. Maybe I need to go back to the M&M reading method. I used to put out 3 M&M's for a page of her reading book. If she needed help as she read the page, I would take away one of the M&M's. If she had any left when she finished the page, she got to eat all 3. If I had to help her again after taking all 3, I ate them. We'd start all over with 3 more M&M's for the next page. It worked pretty well. Unfortunately, with 3 other children I would then have to figure out how to make it fair so that everyone else can have M&M's.


Today was a great day. She brought her "reading" brain to school. YEAH!!! Am I the only one who has kids that just seem to leave their brain in bed somedays?

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