Visual errors are errors regarding what the student sees. Sounds, symbols, print conventions, and analogies are part of regarded as visual cues.
This is the second in the series. As I stated before, I believe in analyzing your reading records. We can only help students move forward when we know what they need. In 2018, I re-posted a blog about just that (Be a Reading Detective). Once you have analyzed the running record, then what? You have to use that analysis to make lessons for your students.
Students who have visual errors are using what they see (obviously). This can include letters (horse for house), word length (hat for hit), analogies (car looks a bit like cat). Here are 6 ideas for lessons when students are making meaning errors.
1. Frame it
I love this one. I use this one a lot…I mean, A LOT.
One of the most powerful things I was ever told happened to me a few years ago at the Virginia State Reading Association.
Listening to a presenter say this simple sentence: “Keep your hands out of their book.”
Think about that. “Keep your hands out of their book.”
Don’t point to something FOR them. Don’t find something FOR them. Don’t show them. Keep your hands out of their book.
This is one of those lessons.
If you teach the students to frame a word they don’t know or aren’t sure of, they will isolate the letters in the words and can make good decisions about decoding. I actually teach this strategy during new vocabulary introduction in small group instruction. Students frame the new word to isolate it. It helps them focus on the word.
2. What would you expect?
The is an activity uses pictures to make the students think about what they should see BEFORE they see it. Show them a picture and ask what they should EXPECT to see in the words when they see it in their book. The lessons can be changed to include the beginning, middle, and end of the word. Once students can predict what letters they will find in the text, they are more likely to use the letters (and avoid visual errors) to make meaning.
3. Same Beginning Sound
Teaching students to listen for the beginning sound can help them look for the beginning sound, as well. Practicing with a target word and a variety of pictures, students can find the picture with the same beginning sound. This will help them make good choices when using letters and sounds. Automaticity with letters and sounds can be the most valuable strategy for all readers. Practicing in small group or in peer partners can help with the automaticity.
4. Flip the Vowel
This is another exercise I use when teaching decoding strategies, as well. This is a “double your pleasure, double your fun” activity. Students who aren’t attending to the ending vowel, should practice flipping the vowel.
Using both the long and short sound for the vowel can help the student determine the correct word needed for a sentence. When students start making connections about vowels, they can start to apply vowel strategies to their reading. Most of the time, one vowel is short. Most of the time, two vowels are long.
5. Rime Cards (or using Word Families)
Using the chunking strategies is another decoding strategy. We call it “look for pieces you know” in decoding.
We look for the part of the word they know and build the word from there. The activity to the left is “If you know…then you know.”
I first heard about this from Irene Fountas at a workshop years ago. I was a little awestruck at being in a room with her, but I thought her “If you know…then you know” chart was powerful.
If helps them hang an unknown on a known.
6. Confused Words
This is actually one of my favorite games to play with readers. Visual errors are frequent with easily confused words. You know the students who say “was” or “saw” or “had” for “has.” This game is a fun practice.
Using the sheet and a die, students roll the die and read down the column as quickly as they can. It helps them quickly decode the words that are tricky. Last year, a second grade teacher used this strategy with two of her students who were continually struggling with sight words and those words who were easily confused. They would read a column and time themselves. If they made a mistake had to start over.
Each time they read the list, they would record their time and try to be quicker and quicker. This will also help with a quick recall of words. Check out Sight Word Dice…Rolling into Sight Words.
Don’t be fooled
There is a bit of a trick, though…using the picture in book is NOT a visual error. The picture provides meaning…so we have to remember that. Don’t be fooled by the picture.
Once again, we must do what is best for students. We need to see where their errors are and how we can help them.
If you would like a sample set VISUAL ERROR ACTIVITIES, click the link or click the picture below.