Part Six of a 12-part video series showing the flaws of common word reading strategies taught in schools– Moral: Do not teach struggling readers to guess!
This strategy is similar to strategy #1: Chunky Monkey. This strategy teaches that when a child is faced with an unfamiliar word s/he should recognize that the word is connected to other structurally similar words they already know. For example, having prior knowledge of the word round would help a child read the word sound. The problem with teaching word connections as a strategy is that, unless the child has first been taught how to identify specific word structures, their attempts may be haphazard and confusing. For example, the <ou> letter sequence is not always associated with the same vowel sound (e.g., Compare <round>, <soul>, <young>).
It is important for readers to make connections between similar words, but they need to be taught how to make these connections. It is often not intuitive.
In 2004, Jennifer joined Teach for America as a special educator where she taught kindergarten through fifth grade. Her passion for reading instruction led her to be trained in a program based on the Orton-Gillingham method. After achieving significant results with her students, she began conducting trainings to help strengthen other teachers’ reading instruction. “My motivation as a teacher is to share my love of learning, and my gift has been working with struggling readers. There is no better feeling than to help someone become a strong reader and independent learner.” Jennifer earned a B.A. in Global studies University of California Santa Barbara and M.S. in Special Education from Lehman College.