Reading doesn’t have to be “Puzzling”

Published November 6, 2015

I like to look at words like a puzzle. When you are putting a puzzle together you try to put all of the pieces facing up and start to make a plan in your head. When a child encounters an unknown word, this is exactly what they need to do.

FIRST: The child must find a pattern within the word, so they will know how to Stretch (or sound the word out) and then Catch the word (or pull it quickly back together). I find that the phrase Stretch & Catch works best when referring to reading words.

Let me give an example:

If a younger child comes across the following word: bad

  1. Ask your child, “What vowel do you see in this word?” You need your child to be able to distinguish which vowel is in the word in order to Stretch & Catch the word.
  2. If your child says, “short a” have them Stretch & Catch the word and move on.
  3. If your child is unable to identify the short vowel, you will tell them it is a short A word.
  4. Next, model how to Stretch & Catch the word for them.
  5. Finally, ask your child to Stretch & Catch the same word.

WHY? When a child is learning at their Instructional level, they need to LEAN on a teacher or parent to guide them, by modeling the skill, in a lesson. The more a skill is modeled for a child, the faster that child will LEARN that specific skill.

Now this skill we are discussing is READING, so it can be VERY OVERWHELMING to both the parent who is teaching and the child that is learning!

Reading doesn’t have to be such an overwhelming task for children. Let’s continue this idea that READING is like a PUZZLE and we just need to look at one piece of the puzzle at a time!

What happens when your child encounters the following word: PAIN

Now if your child is still reading simple texts, you will have to just tell them that word. If your child is reading more complex texts, you will need to help them solve this puzzle. Figuring out the puzzle of a higher leveled unknown word is NO different than figuring out a simple short vowel word. Does your method of figuring out a 24 piece puzzle differ from a 100 piece puzzle? No, you still need to put all of the pieces face up and figure out your plan. Most people when building a puzzle try to put the corners and edges together first. When looking at a word, you need to go right to the middle and figure out what type of vowel you are looking at. In this case, it is a long vowel.

  1. Ask your child, “What vowel do you see in this word?” You need your child to be able to distinguish which vowel is in the word in order to Stretch & Catch the word.
  2. If your child says, “long a” then they understand that the “a” next to the “i” makes the “a” say its name. Now have them Stretch & Catch the word and move on.
  3. If your child is unable to distinguish that this is a long A word, then explain the rule to them.
  4. Next, model for them how to Stretch & Catch the word.
  5. Finally, ask your child to Stretch & Catch the same word.

 

When we take the overwhelming piece of the PUZZLE out of reading, it makes it a lot easier to teach it!

More lessons in Teach Your Child To Read In Less Than 10 Minutes A Day! Stretch & Catch Words. By: Amanda McNamara Lowe

www.stretchandcatch.com