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kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent asks:
Q:

How should new independent readers handle words they don't know?

My soon to be second grader has fallen in love with reading this summer (hurray!) and has suddenly started devouring books that are much more advanced than what he was reading in school at the end of the last school year. He pretty frequently comes across words in these chapter books that he doesn't know and can't sound out ("cautiously"). Right now he's stopping and coming to ask me for help. I'm afraid that's going to get tiresome for him before long.

Should I encourage him to just skip the words he doesn't know? Should I have him mark them in the book or write them down so we can go over them in batches? Or should I just have him keep doing what he's doing and climbing out of bed every couple of pages to ask for help?

Would love any advice! Thanks!
In Topics: Helping my child with reading
> 60 days ago

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areadingcoach
Aug 14, 2009
Level

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
I think that it is wonderful that your child has developed a love of reading!  In order to foster that love of reading, you need to make sure that when he is reading independently, he is choosing "just right books."  Just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears - not too hard, and not too soft (easy).  When your child is reading in small group time with his teacher, his teacher should be using text on his instructional reading level. This text will be a little challenging for him and will give his teacher data to use to plan the most appropriate instruction for him.  When you said that "he pretty frequently" comes across words that he doesn't know, that raised a red flag to me that perhaps the books he is choosing are more instructional level and not independent level.  A quick rule of thumb is the five finger rule (not scientific by any means).  Have your son to hold up a finger every time he comes to a word that he doesn't know.  If he gets to 5 pretty quickly (especially within a couple of pages), then that book is probably a little too challenging for him.  This would probably be a book that you should read aloud to him, modeling fluent reading.  You can help him to choose a similar type of book with similar plots, themes, and characters, but on a lower level.  The whole goal of reading is to comprehend - to learn new things or simply for enjoyment.  If children cannot read the words enough to comprehend, then they reach frustration level.  Too long at this level will cause children to hate to read.

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Additional Answers (4)

Ms.Clark
Ms.Clark writes:
When your child is reading and he finds a word that he isn't familiar with. You should teach him to simply read the sentence over and look for clue words.

For ex. (Let's say he doesn't know what the word panel means) Sen.-One morning I looked outside my bedroom *window*. I saw that it was raining which made me very sad because I wanted to play *outside*. But then I thought it was for the best! When *I looked through the glass of my window*, out on the panel I realized that my flowers can grow to be more beautiful by getting water from the rain.

If he still has trouble finding clue words or a sentence that can best describe the word he is having trouble with. You can teach him how to use the dictionary.
> 60 days ago

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Laws
Laws writes:
It is very common that as a child's reading material becomes more advanced that he will often come across words that stumble him.  Therefore I strongly recommend that you simply tell him the word or ask him to try to help him to sound it out.  If you keep telling him to just leave it out then the meaning of the story may be lost and his interest in the storyline will also be lost.

But monitor your son's interest in his books.  If you find that he is starting to show signs of frustration then it might be that the books are way above his reading level and may actually be at a 'frustrational level' for him.  In that case I suggest that you get other books with similar themes but with slightly easier vocabulary.  If you son continues to show no frustration then just keep on telling him the words as requested.

Nonetheless, I have found that when you tell a blossoming reader what the word is a couple of times they tend to remember it whenever it reoccurs in the story, since the context often reminds them.  Therefore you often don't need to make it a huge project of creating a list of the unfamiliar words.  Such an approach may begin to make the child associate reading with a vocabulary or spelling lesson instead of a form of pleasure.

I hope that this is helpful.
> 60 days ago

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BruceDeitrickPrice
BruceDeitri... , Teacher writes:
1) He'll rarely see a word he can't sound out. 2) If he's that smart, he can use a dictionary. 3) The nice thing about his asking you for help is that you get to tap into his development and thinking. 4) I think we're all able to decide when we've reached our frustration level. If he's not complaining, what's the problem? 5) Solving from context is good; skipping is not; going over in batches is going to be most practical sometimes....
Devouring books in the second grade? Sounds like heaven. You might want to read the linked article so you can keep this little whiz kid engaged.

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beem80
beem80 writes:
Hello,

I like to share this with you.  You can go www.readingeggs.com.  They have everything that your child needs.  He will love it.  please try this reading program.  Hope this will help you.

Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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