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TnT Weekly Wrap: Teaching Through Errors

Welcome to this week’s wrap where I share some of the successes and challenges of being a specialist dyslexia teacher. Plus – Teaching through errors When you’re listening to a student read…

Welcome to this week’s wrap where I share some of the successes and challenges of being a specialist dyslexia teacher.

Plus – Teaching through errors

When you’re listening to a student read a book, and they make an error, do you know what to say to help them correct the error?

Before I completed my Sounds-Write training (and before I knew any better), my only advice to students would be, sound it out or look at the pictures….eeek!

One of the best parts of the training was learning how I can assist students to self correct when they make an error while reading. But, I haven’t been consistently doing this since I’ve implemented the program. I know….tut, tut, tut 🙂

So a few weeks ago, I got out my training manual and read through all the examples we practiced during the training. I familiarized myself with some possible types of errors, and the wording I would need to help students make their own correction.

Wow…I just didn’t realize how good this technique was…I’ve consistently been teaching through student errors and it’s fantastic. It really helps the students to see where they went wrong, but also gives them the information they need to be able to correct the error on their own.

Some possible errors that students make include:

  • Guessing: I have a few students that love this technique…they look at the first letter and then just use a word that they think works;
  • Leaves out a sound;
  • Adds in a sound;
  • Swaps a sound;
  • Phonic error; and
  • Visual error

Let me give you an example. The word in the book is ‘trunk’, but the student says ‘truck’. To help the student correct the error I would say,

If this was ‘truck’, then this /n/ (pointing to the letter) wouldn’t be there. Say the sounds and listen for the word. This error is the student leaving out a sound.

Another example, this time a student has a visual error. The word is ‘bog’, but the student says ‘dog’. I would say,

If this was dog, this (pointing to the b) would be a ‘d’, is it?

Using this technique is definitely helping my students to become better readers and learn how to correct their own errors.

Minus – Pointless homework

I’ve never been a big believer in setting homework for kids in primary school. Over the years at different times I have given homework and yes I was one of those teachers that didn’t check it all the time either. As I became more confident as a teacher I began to realise that there was no point setting homework if I wasn’t going to check it, or if it didn’t allow students to consolidate what we had learned in class.

When parents asked me what was for homework, the one thing that I did want their child to do, was to read. Read for enjoyment, read with a parent, read out loud and enjoy books.

I’ve worked in schools where there has been a homework policy and I’ve had to set homework. And the one thing that I would regularly do to fulfil this policy, was to set reading homework. Often I would find articles in the newspaper, and give these to students to read. Then the next day we would sit in a circle and discuss the article. I would allow time at the start of the discussion for students to re-read the article, so if they didn’t do it at home they would still be able to participate.

I know the pressures on teachers to set homework and I know that it’s not always possible to check it.

But, what has really peeved me this week is the pointless homework that has been set for one of my students, and the amount that this child is expected to do. This is a boy that finds reading extremely difficult and will not willingly read, yet none of the homework set for this child is to do with reading or letting him improve his skills so he will become a reader.

I send home activities for my tutoring students to complete, that will help them to practice the skills they’ve learned with me, but this boy does not do any of those activities. He always does the school work first, because “he doesn’t want to get in trouble.” And according to the Mum that’s more of an incentive…

As we’re heading to school holidays here I had a big chat with the boy and Mum and relayed the importance of at least doing 5 minutes of my activities each day. This boy has had very little improvement in the few months I’ve been working with him, and it is due to not completing the consolidation activities at home. There is only so much I can do in 50minutes one day a week. It’s up to the Mum to schedule in the time and to make sure that the practice happens, even if it’s playing a game for the day.

Free writing prompt printable | topnotchteaching.comInteresting – Free writing prompt

As it’s Wednesday, I’m linking up with the Teaching Tribune for their Worksheet Wednesday. Today I wanted to share with you a free writing prompt that you can use with your students. Writing prompts are a fantastic way for students to begin the writing process and in a structured way.

The writing prompt focuses on students including words that have the ‘ae’ sound. The page gives students a range of 1, 2, and 3 syllable words to include in their writing. This assists students with their vocabulary development. Click on the picture below to download the worksheet as a PDF.

Free writing prompt printable |

If you’d like more writing prompts, then check out my pack:

Writing Prompts with a Phonics Focus ‘ae’.

This pack provides 10 ready to go printables to help your students practice writing in different ways.

For More TnT Weekly Wrap’s, see these:

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  1. Pempi

    Yes, I think we see eye to eye on quite a few things in your blog post today, Melinda and it certainly made me stop and think about possibly giving a training session to parents who listen to children read in our school to help improve their correction techniques. I think sometimes as teachers we forget to pass on our knowledge that we take for granted. So please I followed the linky back from TTT – I got so much more than just a worksheet! Thank you 🙂
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    • Melinda

      Hey Pempi,

      Thanks for your lovely comment and I’m glad you found more than just a worksheet :-).

      It’s funny you mention about training the parents. That’s just what I’ve been doing in the last of couple of weeks. When I catch up with the parents at the end of the session I model some of the errors the student made while reading. I then show the parent how they can help the child make their own correction. The parents have relayed that this is helping them to feel more confident in being able to assist their child with reading.



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