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hjordan423

Child reads "forest" but it says "woods"

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My daughter is great with phonics and decoding as she's reading.  But the thing I have found that slows her down or trips her up is that she reads words that her brain assumes are going to be there, and doesn't see the actual word.  For example, she was reading aloud to me  and read "...bypassed the road to ride straight through the woods..." but instead of "woods" she read "forest."  I gently stopped her and asked her to read the sentence again.  She read it probably three times saying "forest" every time so I asked her to point to the word forest.  She was surprised to discover it was not there. 

 

This doesn't seem like that big of a deal, except that she does it with he/she, said/asked type words also that sometimes change the context and cause her to stop and go back a lot.  It's like her brain is trying to work ahead and fill in the words that it thinks will be there. 

 

Has anyone experienced this?  Any suggestions for correcting?  I would love to know the root cause of this issue and if it's even something to address at this point.  I think it's definitely hindering her from being a fluent, fast reader.

 

Thank you in advance!!

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How old is your dd? Sounds like she recognized and understood the word "forest" and substituted "woods" in her mind, and then said woods. Maybe she needs more whole word type of a reading mixed in rather than all phonics. Having to break down every single word visually only to build the letters back into a whole word may not be necessarily for her all the time, and is probably slower her down. 

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I think you are correct that she's seeing what she expects to see, that she's not paying enough attention to what's actually on the page to notice when it's contrary to expectations.  My experience is that making (usually accurate) predictions is overall helpful to fluency - so long as you are still paying enough attention to what's actually on the page to notice right off when your prediction is false and so quickly correct it - that what you expect to see doesn't override what is there to be seen. 

 

A common way to teach kids to slow down and really focus on what's on the page phonetically is to use a notched index card.  Cut a little rectangle out of a corner of the card, as tall as a single line of the book she's reading and about an inch wide. Have her slide it along as she reads, uncovering each word as she goes.  If she starts to get a word wrong, stop right there and have her start at the beginning of the word and uncover each individual phonogram one-by-one, sounding out as she goes.  It helps kids slow down and *pay attention* to each bit of each word, and to reinforce reading left-to-right and sounding out to decode (instead of guessing or filling in the blanks with what you expect to see).

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My daughter is great with phonics and decoding as she's reading.  But the thing I have found that slows her down or trips her up is that she reads words that her brain assumes are going to be there, and doesn't see the actual word.  For example, she was reading aloud to me  and read "...bypassed the road to ride straight through the woods..." but instead of "woods" she read "forest."  I gently stopped her and asked her to read the sentence again.  She read it probably three times saying "forest" every time so I asked her to point to the word forest.  She was surprised to discover it was not there. 

 

This doesn't seem like that big of a deal, except that she does it with he/she, said/asked type words also that sometimes change the context and cause her to stop and go back a lot.  It's like her brain is trying to work ahead and fill in the words that it thinks will be there. 

 

Has anyone experienced this?  Any suggestions for correcting?  I would love to know the root cause of this issue and if it's even something to address at this point.  I think it's definitely hindering her from being a fluent, fast reader.

 

Thank you in advance!!

 

Yes, it can be a big deal. As you said, it can change the whole context of what she's reading.

 

We need to know how old she is, and what you have been doing to teach her to read. :-)

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How old is your dd? Sounds like she recognized and understood the word "forest" and substituted "woods" in her mind, and then said woods. Maybe she needs more whole word type of a reading mixed in rather than all phonics. Having to break down every single word visually only to build the letters back into a whole word may not be necessarily for her all the time, and is probably slower her down. 

 

I agree that this kind of substitution is characteristic of a more visual, whole-word approach to reading, but I disagree that the answer to a student completely ignoring phonetic "clues" in favor of context "clues" is to de-emphasize phonics (the apparent weak area).  My experience is that visual kids who struggle in accurately seeing all the little bits on the page need *more* practice learning to see all the little bits, not less.

 

My oldest dd was like the whole language poster child - naturally used grammar clues and context clues to bolster her weak decoding skills.  I taught her 100% phonics, and she *still* ended up reading mostly by sight, with truly atrocious spelling.  If you don't/can't pay attention to the little inside bits of words visually, and you can't hear the inside bits auditorily, then you can't spell visually *or* phonetically.  So teaching her to spell (which is covertly remediating her reading) has involved teaching her to visually *pay attention* to *all* the little phonetic bits, as well as teaching her to be able to hear the sounds in words better.

 

Something that helped make the little phonetic bits of words noticeable and somewhat interesting to my dd was the Spelling You See color-coded marking system (SYS teaches spelling through copywork and dictation, and I use the marking for all our other copywork/dictation and spelling work, too).  The way they do it is to mark up the whole passage (yellow for vowel digraphs, green for y-as-a-vowel, purple for r-controlled vowels, blue for consonant digraphs, orange for silent letters, pink/red for prefixes/suffixes; we added brown for consonant blends, because my dds can't hear them well), then copy the passage (or part of the passage, if it's long) and mark up what you copied.  SYS stays on the same passage for a week, marking it up each day and copying some/all of it, and then on Friday they mark up the passage again, but instead of copying it, you write it from dictation.  So studied dictation, basically, with a nifty visual marking system as the base for the studying.

 

Edited by forty-two
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How old is she? DS does this sometimes - he changes things to how he would prefer they be written, which is sometimes amusing and sometimes annoying. 

 

Can she articulate why she's changing the words? DS will let me know that he thought the character was more annoyed than angry, so he decided to change that word or he thinks another character is really a girl, so he'll change "he" to "she". I tell him it's fine to do that when he's reading to himself, but if we're specifically reading aloud for some reason, that we need to keep the story as is and he is welcome to rewrite it later to his tastes. 

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Can't help you with why, but you could put out a number of M&Ms or the like, and tell her she can have them if she reads all the words on the page correctly. For each mistake, you take away one M&M.

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My kids have both done this. I simply double tap the word, silently, which is their cue to look and try again. I double tap for any reason... For example, sometimes they mumble or swallow their words. They need to say it clearly and correctly or they just can't move on. if they say it wrong thrive, I double tap it four times.

 

I don't think it's a problem at all.

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So my oldest used to do this, but he did it with completely random words too - like: he'd happen to see a word by itself, with no contextual sentence and no picture (think: someone else at co-op had a flashcard or something), and he "reads" aloud a synonym or would say it in a different language (we're a bilingual household). It was one of the strangest things I think my kids have done.

 

My second child still does is sometimes (just turned 5 yo) but is not reading well, so I don't even know how she gets from point A to point C. I mentioned it to a few friends when it first happened with my oldest and they looked at me like I was crazy and assumed there was some context that I just wasn't picking up on. But there really wasn't and it happened often enough that I'm convinced that it was no accident and I really wasn't just missing something. After a while of me pointing it out (just pointing to the word again until they said it correctly), the oldest started reading with a bit more care, even if he still tends to rush.

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Wow, this is so fascinating!  Thank you all for your input.  My daughter is 9 and she tested very well in reading comprehension and phonics when we tested last week.  I guess my main concern is that this hinders her fluency.  I am going to work with her on just paying attention to be sure she reads the words that are actually printed.  Thank you, friends!

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That is me! I remember a poster that I read everyday in the cafeteria, and then one day I noticed it said actually something different than I had always read previously. I don't know if it's related, but I also used to "transpose" words from other places on the page when reading a sentence. I guess, you know, because I love reading and learning and managed to get a degree and learn a foreign language, etc., it's not something debilitating. Other than that one time I misread that work email when I worked as a translator ;)

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If your DD is 9 and has good phonics understanding and comprehension, it is not a big deal.  Just point out the word, get her to fix it and move on.  

 

I have a child who does this A LOT and it was/is a problem.  

 

I have another child who does this sometimes - it is actually just an effect of fairly fluent reading when the child is far enough along/ good if they need to be.  It means they are reading along/ahead as they go, so they can have good intonation and anticipate where the sentences are going.  It's good to catch them when they are reading aloud, but not to make a big deal of it.  Just fix and move on.

Edited by Incognito
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Try making up some random sentences or paragraphs, all nonsense, and changing words like he/she randomly in other paragraphs and have her read them. something where the words aren't predictable. She may have scored well on reading comp because she tests well and the answers were obvious, even if she "read" a wrong word.

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