by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady
In part 2, I will focus on some more fix-it strategies for students who are neglecting structure/syntax when reading. Last week were fix-it strategies regarding meaning. Next week will feature strategies for visual errors.
Let’s say this is the text: She looked in her desk to find a pencil.
Let’s say this is how he/she read it (and did not fix it): She look in her desk to find a pencil.
This child is making a structural / syntax error. Most of these types of errors occur with verbs in which children use the wrong tense or leave off/add endings. This should cause the child to stop and fix it because it doesn’t sound quite right. But that doesn’t always happen. Why?
- The child is so focused on the base or root word, they don’t notice that endings have been added.
- The child is not listening to them self.
- The child can not always distinguish between proper and improper speech – perhaps because they don’t hear correct English at home, or they may be an English language learner and haven’t had a lot of exposure to correct grammar.
- The child is making generalizations regarding verb tense and doesn’t know all of the variations. The child doesn’t honestly know to make something “sound right.”
- For example: Most often the child knows to add -ed when speaking about a past time event (jump / jumped). But what about run or write? It’s not runned or writed.
- Or while they might see the -ed ending, they don’t always know which is the correct pronunciation (is it /ed/, /t/, or /d/??).
- The child does not yet know all of the grammar rules regarding participles and irregular verbs – perhaps due to developmental level or hearing incorrect language use among peers or family.
No matter the cause, it is our job as the teacher to try to help a child self-monitor and fix these types of errors. So there are prompts that are often effective to help a child recognize and correct their reading when it doesn’t sound right.
Prompts to help a student monitor for (S) Structure / Grammar:
- Did that sound right?
- Does that sound the way writers talk?
- Check the ending to make it sound right.
- Is there a better way to say it?
- What word would sound right there?
- Can you say it another way?
- Try ______. Would that sound right?Listen as I read it. Now you try.
- Listen to these (give 2 choices). Which sounds better?
Remember: Let the child finish the sentence before attempting to jump in and fix it for them. The hope is that the student will notice their error (listen to them self) and fix it on their own (self-monitor). The time for your prompt is after the child has finished the sentence and does not make a correction.
See the previous post for 3 FREE items related to this post: Fix-it reading strategies card and bookmark, and Strategy Prompting Guide. You can also grab them by going above to the link to free downloads.