Does your child guess at unknown words instead of sounding them out? The “word guessing” habit can stand in the way of learning to read. Learn why kids guess and how you can solve the problem.
Why do kids guess?
Kids don’t guess to annoy us or because they’re lazy; they may simply be using the process that seems most logical or intuitive to them.
Some kids guess because they have been taught to guess. Believe it or not, guessing is taught as a reading strategy in many schools, so previous teachers may have encouraged a student to look at the pictures or use context clues to see if he could figure out what the unknown word is.
Guessing is common among children who have been taught with the whole word or sight word method. They are accustomed to looking at the beginning letters and shapes of the words instead of paying attention to each phonogram in the word.
Some kids guess because they don’t know what else to do. They haven’t been taught phonics or strategies for breaking down multisyllable words.