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Reading Tools That Don’t Work: Guessing

Helpful Tips for Homework Time (13)

 Blog Bites


  • Public schools teach guessing which is an ineffective way to learn
  • There are four different categories of guessing for reading comprehension
  • If your child is a guesser, there are techniques to reverse their ways of thinking


Guessing instead of learning is a problem that a lot of young students struggle with. Unfortunately, some teachers actually teach students to guess at a word’s identity based on context, the visual appearance of the word, or even pictures on the page. Some professors of education even advocate for this ineffective teaching approach. Almost forty percent of our nation’s fourth graders are not on reading level, and a good portion of these students were likely taught the guessing method.

So, how do we break this habit in our children?

First, you need to identify if your child is indeed a guesser. There are four main types of guessers.

  • bookshelf-32811_960_720First Letter Guesser: They look at the first letter and guess after that. They often mistake words like happy for words like healthy.
  • Word Shape Guesser: They look at the first and last letters of a word in addition to the shape in the middle. They often mistake words like crow for words like crew.
  • Picture Clue Guesser: They look at the pictures near the word in question. They are simply using the words they know from the sentence to fill in the blanks according to what’s happening in the picture.
  • Context Clue Guesser: They will use the words they know in the sentence and their previous knowledge of the situation to fill in the blank. If they came across a sentence like “The cat chases the money” they might guess “mouse” instead of “money” because it makes sense in that context.

If your child fits one of those descriptions, you can try using the blending method at home. All you need is letter tiles (or small pieces of paper with a separate letter on each). Pick a word and separate each letter it uses. Ask your child to sound out each letter individually, and when they have done that, tell them to blend the sounds together. This will act as practice for your child to get used to sounding the letters out without having them physically separated.

This is a multi-sensory technique. Lexercise’s Structured Literacy Curriculum uses research-backed, multi-sensory methods to teach your child how to read, write and spell confidently and independently. Please watch this video to learn how we partner with you to teach your child.

5 Incorrect Labels for Dyslexia

Helpful Tips for Homework Time (10)If your child is diagnosed or shows signs of dyslexia, there is a huge possibility that you will hear terms that are completely incorrect to describe your child’s disorder. You may even be confused by round-about diagnostic terms given to hide a diagnosis of dyslexia like a Specific Learning Disorder. If you are misinformed, it could affect the kind of treatment he or she receives in school– which could be detrimental to early intervention.  Though there is research being done looking into subtypes of dyslexia, there is only one official form.

Directional dyslexia/ spacial dyslexia/ geographic dyslexia: This refers to the issue some dyslexics experience with telling left from right. Though, this is simply something that comes along with dyslexia and is not a separate condition.

Visual Dyslexia: This term suggests that dyslexia is a visual problem, which is completely incorrect. This theory suggests that dyslexia can be improved through eye exercises or tinted lenses– and the only thing that helps dyslexia is structured literacy therapy. Countless neuroscience studies have proven dyslexia is not a vision condition. Experts do not endorse vision therapy as a treatment for dyslexia and never use this term to describe dyslexia.

13584535514_c2bb726231Math Dyslexia: This is an inaccurate name for dyscalculia– which is a brain-based math learning issue. Dyscalculia is not a form of dyslexia, but it isn’t unusual for kids to have both dyscalculia and dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a widespread issue with many nuances, but there is only one official type. If you see your child is showing any symptoms of dyslexia, take our free online screener. Early intervention is crucial to your child’s success.