When I taught kindergarten, first and second grade, I taught my students this set of strategies for encountering new words. Volunteers had a list of strategies to coach emerging readers besides just giving them the word. Students reading as partners had ways to encourage each other. Students could also use the strategies independently.
These strategies work best with a book at the student’s instructional level. When a student is stumbling on every other word, the sense of story and the meaning of reading are lost. If the text is too easy, there is no opportunity to learn new words.
Read with your finger. Some students lose track of where they are at on the page. If a reader is skipping words or even whole lines, have them point to each word as it is read. Another related strategy is having the partner point and the reader read. I have also had students use bookmarks or small rulers to help students track what they read.
Look at the picture. Sometimes the illustration has a clue to the word the student is stuck on.
Does it make sense?There are beginning readers who are working so hard to figure out each word, that they miss the meaning and don’t realize when they are making mistakes. Point out that reading is supposed to make sense.
Get your mouth ready. This strategy is most appropriate for a child who is struggling with beginning sounds.
Does it look right? Does it sound right? These cues will help a child consider matching the sounds of the words with the letters on the page.
Try that again. This could be for a word or the entire sentence.
Skip the word and read to the end. Some students are able to figure out the new word from the context of the sentence.