Ask Dr. Blank: Sounding It Out

”Sounding out” is probably the single most common piece of advice that adults offer to children to help them learn to read.

Unfortunately, for many children, it is not an effective strategy. What are some signs that “sounding out” may not be proving useful to your child?  One key sign is a failure to retain the word once it has been sounded out. In other words, if he or she has sounded out a word and then fails to recognize it when it re-appears later on –on the page or in the book, then it is a sign that the sounding out is not leading to visual recognition. Instant visual recognition is what is needed  for effective reading and if you do not see instant word recognition appearing after “sounding out,” then it is not a good technique to be using.

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