How NOT to Teach Reading: Scanning

I Guess Not!

Part Two 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!


Scanning Words – The Eagle Eye Strategy

When coming to a long word, children may not want to attempt to read a word if it looks too difficult. This strategy encourages children to look over the entire word. A teacher may put a red dot under the middle of the word, with the hope that a child will look all the way through the word, at each and every letter sound. The problem with this strategy is that a child might scan a whole word and then guess, perhaps coming up with a visually similar word (e.g. “boarding” instead of “boring”). Scanning fails to provide a clear “series of maneuvers” so it is really a guessing strategy.

Watch the video below to see an example of this strategy compared to our approach, structured literacy.


How you can help your struggling reader

We want to give struggling readers specific, explicit, and systematic instruction so that they feel they can tackle unknown words. This is exactly how the Lexercise structured literacy approach works. Connect with one of our certified, structured literacy therapists here.

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Jennifer Salisbury

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.