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Break the “Word Guessing” Habit

Little girl word guessing

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. In this post, you’ll 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 was.

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 multisyllabic words.

The 4 Types of Word Guessers

What type of guesser is your child?

  1. “First Letter” Guesser: This child looks at the first letter and guesses what the word is. For example, if the word is heart, the child looks at the H and says horse.
  2. “Word Shape” Guesser: This child looks at the first and last letters of the word and at the basic shape in the middle of the word, and takes a wild guess. For example, if the word is maple, the child says maybe. Both words begin with M and end with E, and the words have a similar shape in the middle.
  3. “Picture Clue” Guesser: This child looks at the pictures to help him guess the word. For example, the child may come across a sentence like The scary dog barked at the cat. The child doesn’t know the word scary, so he looks at the picture of the angry-looking dog and guesses the word angry.
  4. “Context Clue” Guesser: This child uses context clues to guess the missing word. For example, the child may come across a sentence like The farmer bought grain for his cattle. The child doesn’t know the word cattle, but the first letter is C, and based on the context she guesses the word chickens.

What’s the Solution for Word Guessing?

The All About Reading blending procedure is the best solution that I have found for word guessing.

I’m a strong believer in figuring out the simplest solution for solving reading problems, including word guessing. The method I’m about to share with you is highly effective, and it has worked for every child I’ve used it with. This free download provides an illustrated summary of the blending technique.

word guessing graphic showing the blending procedure download

Here are the basic steps:

With this method, your child will develop the good habit of looking at each phonogram, starting at the beginning of the word, and then progressing through each phonogram in sequence. It won’t take long before your student will transfer this blending skill to printed words and you won’t need the letter tiles.

Practice this blending procedure for a few minutes a day, five days a week, and soon you’ll be able to say adios to the word guessing habit!

Do you have a child who is a word guesser, or did you manage to escape this bad habit?

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Leave a Comment

Linda

says:

Hi. Got an 8 year old who likes guessing words alot. For example the word there he will read it has they until you ask him to read again. His spelling are not good as well. Just wondering if this app can help in both reading and spelling.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linda,
Asking your student to reread what he misread is a good strategy. Consider asking him if what he read made sense before you ask him to reread, however. You want him to notice that what he read didn’t make sense so he can decide himself if he needs to reread.

Our Letter Tiles, either the physical tiles or the app, are a tool to be used in conjunction with our All About Reading and All About Spelling products. Here are some ways that All About Reading and All About Spelling (AAR and AAS) can help kids that struggle with reading and spelling:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit and will include 3 simple steps: the review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR and AAS break every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teach the lessons in a logical order, carrying students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on what the student has already mastered.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR and AAS use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR and AAS are scripted so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR and AAS have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– All About Reading has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie, the author, noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

– All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through Level 3, the Writing Station activity is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

All About Reading and All About Spelling have a one-year guarantee. You can try them, and if for any reason you feel that they aren’t the right match for your child, return them for a full refund.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Kelly Landon

says:

My child is both a first letter and word shape guesser. It is a skill we are starting to tackle this summer with AAR! I am so excited to see where this journey takes us!

Brigitte

says:

I have a 6 year old word guesser right now. Thanks so much for this info!

Vita

says:

Thank you for sharing this, I have noticed that my kids guess on words often while reading!

Julie

says:

Thank you for this info. I appreciate your tips to help us help our kids!

Kendra

says:

The process of using those fingers on the board or iPad to move tiles just can’t be overlooked as core to this program.

Sheila

says:

Our daughter knows the sounds letters make, but struggles to blend and read. She gravitates toward sight words and yes, she guesses at unfamiliar words instead of sounding them out. I’m encouraged that you say your approach has been helpful to all the children with whom you’ve tried it, so I’ll try it too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sheila,
If the word guessing habit is well established, it can take a lot of gently reminding your student to use the blending procedure before it finally replaces the habit of guessing. However, with patience, it will work.

Please let me know if you have any questions as you work with your student to change this habit.

Nicole

says:

Soo happy to see my son leaving this habit behind!

Georgia Stapleton

says:

My granddaughter is a guesser and I am going to try this technique on her.

Julie

says:

I have a word guesser, thank you for the tips.

Andrea

says:

Very interesting. We did public school for 3 years prior to homeschooling. Wishing we could go ack in time and start with homeschooling. So many issues we are having to “fix” which takes away from continuing. But, progress is progress.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
Great attitude! You can’t change the past, but making progress from here on out is what is important.

Nicole Rauch

says:

Great tips! Thank you!

Leah

says:

Love this! I have a “word guesser!!”
I’m excited this program teaches her to sound out each word properly!

Therese Janoch

says:

I have been my daughter’s only reading teacher, but she prefers to be a type 2 reader with longer words. I have always used the method of sounding out the phonograms or syllables as I cover other parts of the word. Often, I will simply prompt a slow reading of a word with a phonogram or syllable and then she gets the rest easily. I can’t seem to break her first instinct of guessing no matter how hard I try.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Therese,
I’m sorry your daughter is having trouble with the word guessing habit. It seems that some children get a taste of how easy it is to read a word when they just know it, so they try to “know” words that they really don’t know. When she first does it, let it go until the end of the sentence. Ask her if the sentence makes sense. Encourage her to think about what she is reading in an attempt to get her to catch her own errors. Keep requiring her to reread words she guesses at and then reread the sentence so she can get an understanding of it.

It can be a very slow process to break the word guessing habit, but hopefully stressing the reading for meaning will help her to start to catch her own misreadings. Please let me know how it goes or if you need further help.

Tara M

says:

This is a great reminder- I’m noticing that my daughter is doing it more now than she used to as her words get bigger (Level 4). I think it is a bit of laziness on both our parts- sometimes I don’t make her break it into syllables if she guesses it right the second time around which has caused her to forget the syllable breaking rules :) Good reminder to stick with the strategy that worked so well before.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tara,
It is understandable that children may try guessing once they are reading well. They have found how easy it is to read words they know so they try to “know” words they really don’t know. It is great reinforcement to require her to use the syllable division rules as you work through All About Reading 4. You could spend a minute or two a day having her do it with the tiles and a word or two she found tricky recently. Also, All About Spelling’s work with syllable division reinforces the skills needed to sound out harder words as well.

Let me know how it goes or if you need help as you review this skill.

Renae B

says:

This article was very enlightening. Thank you

Sarah

says:

This is a definite thing we need to work on. I’ve noticed that my daughter will frequently either guess at a word or just skip right over some words in order to get to bigger words. I’m strongly considering the “All About…” products to assist us in our homeschooling adventures!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
All About Reading can definitely help with word guessing problems! Our blog post Help! My Child Skips Small Words When Reading may be helpful to you as well.

Please let me know if you have any questions, need help with placement, or anything else.

Liesa

says:

My daughter’s word guessing really affected her spelling. All About Spelling really helped her overcome her guessing habit by equipping her with the rules she needed to recognize and decode words and in turn, to spell them correctly, too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Liesa,
My son had a similar experience with All About Spelling and his guessing at longer words while reading. He told me he was surprised to have to use spelling when he is reading but it really helped! :D

Amber A

says:

Interesting – I have a context guesser currently. I’ll be trying this strategy with him.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amber,
Let me know how it goes or if you need anything. It can take time to kick the word guessing habit, but it can be kicked!

Emily

says:

My daughter was a word guesser and this has helped us so much. She still does it occasionally but it’s no where near as much as it was.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Emily,
It’s exciting to hear that your daughter was a word guesser but this has helped her to overcome it so much! Thank you for sharing this.

Sonja

says:

I still have a guesser, so this is helpful. Thank you.

Katie Bodkin

says:

The guessing thing drove me crazy. After a few lessons using AAR the guessing stopped and she is actually sounding the words out. So much better!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

That’s so great, Katie! It’s wonderful to hear that AAR helped her in just a few lessons.

April

says:

Good to know.

Pauline

says:

My daughter likes to guess based on the first letter and also what she anticipates the word should say. I’ll just remind her to read and not guess and then she will sound it out.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Pauline,
Hopefully, the reminders should become less and less needed until the habit is kicked!

Shelly

says:

Being a sight-reader myself, phonics is not my best subject. Thank you for tips & tools.

Jamie

says:

Helpful suggestions! Thanks!

Noemi

says:

Yes! My daughters kindergarten teacher encourages her to look at the picture for ‘picture power’ to figure out the word! We are using AAR 1 right now at home and I have to preface every reading activity with ‘all the words can be sounded out, you don’t need to guess.’

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Noemi,
Wow! I’m sorry to hear your daughter is being encouraged to guess like that. However, reminding her that in All About Reading no guessing is needed is a great way to approach it!

Chris

says:

My daughter guesses her words and I am so glad for this great advice!

Kristin

says:

Very helpful. Thank you!

Lou

says:

I read with children regularly who are `first letter` guessers. It does not surprise me as they have learned to read via the the whole word method. It is really difficult to break this habit if they don`t have a phonological background.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lou,
Great observation. Yes, it can be difficult to break the word guessing habit if a child doesn’t have a strong phonological foundation because they do not have the skills to try anything other than guessing. Teaching phonograms must go along with teaching the blending procedure for the best success.

Katherine Brubaker

says:

My daughter (8) is not only a word guesser but we’ve begun to discover that she has been “guessing” a lot of things, like her piano music, for a long time. Now, we have her in vision therapy (for convergence and focus trouble and astigmatism – Hold your two wide open hands, one in front of the other, and move them side to side in opposite directions. This is what our daughter sees.). All About Spelling, in conjunction with therapy, has helped her soooooo much. She’s feeling so much more confident, pen pals with at least four friends – OFTEN, and our whole family (5, 10, 46, and 52) is learning “rules” and spelling “steps” we never learned before! Though she’s a pretty good reader, we still started with Level 1 so we wouldn’t miss any steps. She’s zipped through that and will likely finish Level 2 before the end of this school year. So thankful!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katherine,
What a great turn around for your daughter! I’m happy to hear that vision therapy is helping her, along with All About Spelling. I know what you mean about learning all the rules and things about spelling that I never knew before!

Keep up the amazing work!

Andrea

says:

Great strategy! Thank you!

Carrie l

says:

Thank you! This is such a problem in my house!

Jenny

says:

My oldest son has always been a word-guesser, and I never knew how to help him. He’s a lot better now and doesn’t do this often–only when he encounters a big word that he hasn’t seen before. Just reading this gives me the confidence to know how to continue to help him!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jenny,
Those big, unfamiliar words can be scary for readers, even adults! Just the other day I stumbled over the name of a foreign city while reading aloud to my children. The blending procedure download here does cover multisyllable words on the second page. With practice, even big scary words can become no-big-deal to sound out!

Ginger G

says:

This article is so,helpful. One of my children is a word guesser and I wasn’t sure how to approach it.

Saph

says:

My youngest was a constant guess but now has stopped that and will sound out each word. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Saph,
How wonderful that your child has broken the guessing habit!

Kathy

says:

My eleven-year-old has a really strange guessing problem. (She has been very slow to learn to read because of some learning disabilities.) When she sees a longer word in a sentence, I think she is concerned about that so she may read the tiny words that come before it wrong. For example, if the sentence were, “It is a different idea.” She might read it, ” I am a different idea.” She often gets the first simple word incorrect, and then proceeds to correct the tenses of verbs to fit what she read, rather than what is written–even adding -ing s, etc. Then she will get the difficult word correct. It really has me confused on how to help her. This is my 9th child to teach to read, and I have never seen anything like it. Anyone have any ideas?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kathy,
Poor girl, so focused on the hard words she misses the easy ones!

This is very similar to another kind of problem, skipping small words. You are right; whether the small words are skipped or misread, it is because the reader’s eyes jump forward and the longer or harder words catch attention. Even though your daughter doesn’t skip the words altogether, the information and many of the tips and ideas on our Help! My Child Skips Small Words When Reading blog post will be helpful.

By the way, the fact that she changes the tenses and such to fit the word she misread tells me she has a great ear for language!

Having her run her finger under each word as she reads it may help her to draw her attention back to each word. Also, after she reads a sentence like, “I am a different idea,” ask her if it makes sense. If a sentence doesn’t make sense there is a good chance she misread it.

Discuss with her what the purpose of reading is. It is not just to read. It is to understand and learn what the writer wants you to understand and learn. In order to accomplish the purpose of reading, we have to read what the writer wanted us to read. Sometimes children that struggle develop a “just get it done” mentality to hard tasks like reading, so discussing the purpose of what you are doing may help her.

During her daily reading lesson time, require her to read every word as written. This can be frustrating and is definitely hard work for a child that struggles with learning disabilities. So keep the time short. We typically recommend 20 minutes a day, but stop even before 20 minutes if she seems to be getting frustrated. More progress is made in the daily short lesson time than in longer but less frequent lesson times.

I hope this helps, but let me know if you have questions or need further help. Also, I’m interested to hear how things are going after a few weeks.

Becky

says:

My middle child does this and I’ve never understood why. She has been homeschooled the entire time. We have never sight words with the exception of a few basic ones that don’t sound out. We used a reading program that taught sounding out the words. I say to her constantly when reading, “sound it out” and she will do it if I stop her and make her. We also used a strong and popular phonics program. I think some kids just attempt the short cut.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Becky,
You are correct, some kids seem to be inclined to guess even when they have the skills to sound words out. I think it’s because they see how easy it is to read words they already know, so they try to “know” words they haven’t yet learned. Keep up gently reminding her to “sound it out”. Let me know if you have questions or need anything.

Dandi D

says:

My son is more of a “context” guesser, so this is helpful!

Tauni

says:

Thanks! This is really helpful! I’ve been telling my word guesser to look at the sounds, and say them in order…it helps us to slow down :)

Jess

says:

Yes! I have a word guesser. Thanks for posting this.

Ashley Hall

says:

I’m SO glad to have found this article! I have used AAR with my first child with no road blocks. My second has been guessing and I’ve been baffled. I will be re-reading this article with pen in hand, taking notes. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ashley,
Some children, even if taught blending from the beginning, will guess. Blending words is work, so it is understandable that children will want to avoid it if they can. The problem seems to be that some children are unsure of when it’s okay not to blend (when they have mastered the word and just know it) and when they need to blend (when they are unsure of the word).

Let me know if you have questions or need any help. However, usually what it takes is gentle reminders to read each word and lots of practice.

Christiana Dahlberg

says:

My daughter still struggles with guessing the word and needs gentle reminders to try to sound out and blend the word instead – then she gets it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christiana,
It sounds like your daughter doing well! We all could use gentle reminders in areas we have struggled with. :D

Jennifer Hubbard

says:

Yes!

Christy

says:

Really like AAR!!!!!

Katie Rodriguez

says:

My son is a word guesser. I can’t wait to try this technique.

Liz

says:

My 7 year old is a context guesser. We are loving Level 1. She is definitely improving.

Alisha

says:

My child is definitely a word guesser. He uses context clues and “first letter” depending on the situation. Even using the letter tiles he’ll commonly guess and I’ll have to remind him to slow down and sound out each letter to blend the sounds. It’s certainly a process some days. Thanks for the ideas and tips.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alisha,
Yes, it can be a process to overcome the tendency to want to guess at words. Keep reminding him and he’ll slowly start to do it without reminding. You’re welcome for the ideas and tips, but let me know if you need help or have questions.

Amity

says:

Have had some do this

Lyndsay

says:

Thanks for the ideas. I have one that guesses all the time.

Amanda

says:

My son is doing this. Thanks for the tips.

Gen

says:

I’m definitely going to use this technique. Mine is #1, but bc he’s in too much of a hurry to look at each sound/letter. Thank you for this article and tip.

Mary Schuh

says:

My oldest is a word guesser! We are trying to break this habit!

I wish I had heard about this curriculum sooner.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Patricia,
It isn’t too late! While it can be more difficult to break the word guessing habit if a student has been guessing for a long time, it can still be broken.

Kenda

says:

Wow! What a great article. I’m going to start using this immediately for my own “Guesser”.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kenda,
Let me know if you have any questions or need help as you begin helping your student break the word guessing habit!

Jenn Khurshid

says:

Thank you for the information!

anapaula

says:

thank you for all the valuable information

Tonya

says:

My youngest is a 1st letter guesser.

Jessica

says:

All 3 of my dyslexic children tend to go with #1 First letter guesser.

Sherry

says:

My oldest has never really struggled with reading or spelling and she has really enjoyed AAS. She has flown through the first five levels. Now at the age of 7 she is ready to start level 6. Her favorite part is the sentence dictation! But… my youngest, that is a different story. She is slowly working her way through AAR 1. And we definitely have a word guesser on our hands. I am suspecting dyslexia, but she is still pretty young to test her. I don’t think that I would be doing anything that much different with her just because she was diagnosed. I am just so grateful for a curriculum that can be so helpful for either side of the spectrum in reading! We love AALP at our house!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sherry,
Wow, your oldest is doing so well!

I’m sorry to hear your youngest is having more trouble. It isn’t necessarily too early to start looking at dyslexia, although some testers do want children to be older. Take a look at our Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist and see how she measures up. You are probably right that having an official diagnosis might not change how you work with her, especially at this young age.

Did you use our Pre-reading level with her? One thing that is common for dyslexic students to struggle with is phonological awareness, the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in language. If she has trouble with these skills, it will make learning to read much harder. Our blog post Fun Ways to Develop Phonological Awareness discusses what these skills are and has downloadable games and activities for practicing them.

Please let me know if you need any help as you work with your youngest.

Brie

says:

Good information!

Jessi Palmer

says:

I love getting your e-mails and teaching aids. I have diagnosed two of my daughters with learning curves through your site. My eldest is dyslexic/audio processing and is the “First letter” guesser. She was taught in public school the guessing technique. We are now homeschooling and I enjoy getting your newsletters with different tips on how to teach her to read better. Thanks for sharing this!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jessi. It can take a while to break a habit that was taught when children are first learning to read, but it is possible! Please let me know if you need any help as you set out to help your daughters.

Megan

says:

My 4 year old guesses a lot trying to “keep up” with our year old. This could help@

Amber

says:

Great article! My daughter uses all 4 forms of guessing. All About Reading has helped a lot. Thank you!

Wren

says:

I have 2 kids using AAR and AAS, and we love it! We’re on our 4th year with the program. My oldest (age 7) just started level 4. I’ve noticed that she’s swapping a few words when she reads. For example, she reads “where” in place of “there” and vice versa. Other words that she does this with are or/on/of, into/onto, in/on, the/they/then, and isn’t/is. It seems like a form of guessing, but I’m not sure how to correct it. She’s doing a lot more independent reading, and swapping some of these words can change the meaning of the sentence. She does very well with decoding longer, more complex words thanks to all the decoding practice in AAR, but these basic swaps give her trouble. Any tips for mastering these words that get swapped?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wren,
This is a slightly different problem than word guessing. Misreading these small function words is common enough that we have a blog post about it. Help! My Child Skips Small Words When Reading The post focuses on skipping these words, but misreading them is much the same issue.

I suspect, since this seems to be a new problem, that she is transitioning into a more advanced stage of reading. During reading lesson time, call her attention to the words she is misreading and have her read each sentence accurately. You can ask her to follow each sentence with her finger to help with this. I would expect her misreading of these words to improve before too long.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions or if she doesn’t improve.

Diana N

says:

A good reminder to revisit that skill… my first grader has gotten a bit lazy. Thanks.

Loves to guess from picture clues.

Gale

says:

What has helped my child guess less is to practice with nonsense words related to the phonetic rules we’re learning. Since the words are not real words, there’s no way to guess, and practicing with these both helps me to understand what phonetic rules he really understands and which ones he needs work on, and it gets him in the practice of not guessing.

Gale

says:

Just wanted to add that I think the way you show is excellent…I was just suggesting the nonsense words as a supplement to help break the guessing habit, cause it worked so well with my kiddo.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Gale,
Reading nonsense words can be a help for some children with practicing their decoding skills. Thanks for pointing this out.

chris wol

says:

Thanks

Katherine

says:

This is exactly the issue we’re dealing with at home. I’ll let you know how it goes once we implement your steps.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katherine,
Yes, please do let me know! I’d love to hear how things go and I am available if you need any further help.

Pam

says:

We have experienced all forms of guessing with our daughter. Good article.

Kristi

says:

My child is definitely a picture guesser. It is nice to know these different types, it makes a lot of sense!

Christelle

says:

This article is very helpful! Now I know how to help my guesser!

Layne R.

says:

So thankful for All About Reading! It’s an amazing program!

Sheresa Lacey

says:

Thanks for sharing this!

Anne Hatke

says:

Thanks for an amazing program!

Yuna

says:

My 9yo is a voracious reader but also a word guesser. The part of the problem is that he’s reading much too quickly. He wants to zoom through it because he can’t wait to find out what happens next so he guesses at words. Speed reading has become a habit and sadly, that’s just how he reads everything, even math problems. Naturally, he gets problems wrong because he had guessed at words and made up a couple in the process. Do you have any suggestions on how I can slow him down?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yuna,
Yes, reading quickly can lead to increased guessing at words. It’s great that he is so into reading that he can’t wait to find out what happens next, but as you have found it can be a problem for understanding what was read.

Our blog post 10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast will help you.

Discuss with him that the purpose is reading is not to just get through the reading, but to fully understand what is being read. In order to fully understand, he has to read each word correctly as misreading a word can completely change the meaning of a sentence. You can show him math word problems he got wrong because of misreading as an example.

Try having him read aloud to you for about 20 minutes a day so that you can require him to slow down and read each word as it is written. In my experience, it can take a while, maybe even a few months of working on it 4 or 5 days a week, to break this habit. Also, consider having him read all of his math instructions and word problems aloud. He may be more receptive to working on improving his reading if he sees he is getting more correct on the first try just be reading slower and more accurately.

I hope this helps give you some direction to begin. While it can take a while, you can help your son overcome this habit! My son was 11 when I undertook to help him and it paid off. His enjoyment of reading has even grown since then, as he is comprehending more deeply. Please let me know if you have questions or need further help.

Farah

says:

Interested in learning more about the program, for advanced readers and for struggling readers.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Farah,
Your student can move through All About Reading as fast as he can but as slow as he must because it is mastery-based and is designed to be used at each child’s unique pace. Our blog post Reading: how much time should I spend? discusses how All About Reading can work equally well with advanced students and struggling learners.

Please let me know if there are other aspects of our programs that you have interest in or questions about.

Farah

says:

Looks very hand-on, good for kinesthetic learners.

Suzanne

says:

Thank you for this post! My oldest son is in first grade and we struggle with word guessing all the time ! Even though I taught him originally with the blending method , It seems that as he has learned more words he defaults to word guessing .( I think it’s because he wants to get through it quickly ) I will re enforce this skill moving forward . Thanks again!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Suzanne,
It’s could be a good sign that your son has learned so many words that he is willing to try guessing now. It suggests that he has noticed how easy reading is when you know the words, so he is trying to “know” words he doesn’t know. Reinforcing the blending procedure will help to break the habit, and then he can truly know those words as well!

Sara

says:

We love AAR ! We are currently using levels 2 & 4 with great success–our readers are well above grade level and love to read. We also don’t fight about spelling, because by the time we get to apply a spelling rule, we have already practiced it for quite some time in reading.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great point, Sara! It is beneficial for students to move ahead in reading as it allows them to be familiar with words and concepts before attempting to spell them. It’s great to hear that your students are reading so well too!

Donovan

says:

#3 has always been a concern of mine. They guess when there’s a corresponding picture which allows them to make a better guess at the word.

Letisha

says:

Great ideas. Thanks!

Rachel Hansen

says:

Great ideas- thanks!

Beth

says:

Oh we have a word guesser in our home! I would love to see him develop some stronger word decoding techniques so that he can enjoy the books he so much wants to read! Thank you for the dowloadable resource! We will be using this to assist him.

Kim

says:

I have a word guesser! Thank you for the tips!

Mandy Smith

says:

This sounds just like two of my girls! Thanks for the advice

Kevin

says:

Thanks so much for this. Very helpful.

Tracy Brecheen

says:

question: I’m about to start lesson 8 (level one) with my son. He has not mastered any of the word cards yet. He has mastered the phonograms though. We continue to sound out with the letter tiles and the blends. I’m at a loss if I should continue to progress to the next chapter if he hasn’t even mastered the previous words?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tracy,
It sounds like you and your son are doing well. He does not have to master all the words before moving on. Reaching the goal of fluent reading will be a gradual process over many lessons. Students may need to read a word thirty times before they can read it fluently without having to sound it out! So, just know that it’s fairly normal to need a lot of practice and review. Here’s an article on How to Develop Reading Fluency that can help you understand the overall scope of achieving fluency. Some kids really need a lot of extra practice in the decoding stage though, so spend as much time as needed in that stage and try not to worry if your student isn’t ready to move on to fluent reading just yet.

Here are some ideas that can help:

The Change-the-Word activities are especially helpful for working on blending and paying attention to ALL sounds in a word. Change one letter at a time, starting with simple 3-sound words like: bat-sat-sit-sip-tip-top…and so on. They are also really helpful for working on consonant blends when you get to those lessons.

The Word Cards allow you to track what has been mastered and what still needs work. Keep word cards in daily review until your son can read them easily, without needing to sound them out. The Word cards will stack up as you go so just rotate through a portion for 2-3 minutes each day and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. Here are some fun review ideas for word cards and you could even spend a day each week just playing review games.

The fluency pages can be re-used as well. You might enjoy our “Top Tips” for using the fluency practice sheets. (And check out the comments as well–lots of fun suggestions in there!)

The appendices in the level 1 teacher’s manual have lots of ideas for reviewing word cards and fluency pages–be sure to check these for more ideas.

Students who struggle with fluency will also benefit from rereading the same story two or three days in a row to gain fluency and confidence. Buddy Reading can be very powerful in helping students who are in this stage of struggling with fluency. (Buddy reading made a huge difference for my daughter who struggled with fluency!)

Rereading the stories will help accomplish these goals:
– Increase word rate
– Improve prosody. Prosody is “expressive reading.” It involves phrasing (grouping words into meaningful phrases), emphasis, and intonation (raising pitch at the end of questions, lowering pitch at the end of sentences)
– Improve automaticity (be able to recognize most words automatically without having to sound them out each time)

Here’s more help with Overcoming Obstacles when Reading AAR Stories.

You can also do a variation of buddy reading called “echo reading.” You read a few sentences with full expression, and then your child reads the same sentences, matching your expression as closely as possible. Do this for approximately five minutes a day, or whatever is a comfortable length of time for your child. Add in lots of praise when your son shows even a bit of improvement.

So, to recap, it is fine to move on to the next lesson even if he still needs to sound out each word but do provide him with plenty of opportunities to practice the words.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.

Lizett

says:

Definitely have a child that is a guesser. Looking forward to trying All about reading.

Denise

says:

Thank you for your program! It is absolutely the best I’ve ever used.

Rebecca

says:

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this… I just realized that my oldest child was doing this, and I wasn’t sure how to proceed. This really helps.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this blog post was helpful for you, Rebecca! Let me know if you need further help or have any questions as you begin to help your child break this habit.

Fran ONeill

says:

The children I tutor start out strong with the word,and then guess or mumble their way through the rest of the word. Teaching them the habit of looking at each phonogram at the beginning and then progressing through each phonogram in sequence will be a great help to them.

Elisabeth

says:

Thank you for you generous downloads and super encouraging e-mails!

Michelle

says:

My son is a word shape guesser. Didn’t know it had a name or a label. I just know it baffles me because he’ll say a word that doesn’t make sense at all within the sentence. Sometimes he realizes his mistake, but most of the time he just keeps on going. I think he reads to fast, encouraging him to slow down seems to reduce these errors.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Yes, reading too fast can encourage guessing or lead to other reading mistakes. I think our blog post, 10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast, will help you. Let me know if you have any questions or need anything as you help your son.

Heather

says:

I have a context clue guesser. She sometimes doesn’t slow down enough to pay attention to the words on the page

Jade

says:

I have a picture guesser. He can give you a completely different story then the written one. Glad to know I’m not alone.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are soooo not the alone, Jade! Most kids will at least try word guessing while they are learning, and it is a common habit for many learners. Two of my kids were particularly stubborn about word guessing, but the blending procedure and consistent work broke the habit for both.

Leilani

says:

Excellent advice! Thank you.

Shauna

says:

I am so excited to have this resource. I have a guesser so I am looking forward to trying this method.

Jennifer S

says:

My kids are older now (8), and we use the syllable division rules in AAS to break things down now. They still have a tendency to guess sometimes though!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Using All About Spelling’s syllable division rules for reading difficult words is great! One of my kids told me one day that he had to use spelling when he was reading and I had no idea what he meant, but then he explained about the AAS syllable division rules. It worked very well for him and he became confident to read anything.

Janelle

says:

I do small group reading and too often the students make guesses at the words that they don’t know. I have tried the method identified and have seen progress with some of my students.

Dawn Reitz

says:

My son still will guess at words, but more and more he is remembering the rules at bkending.

Lianne

says:

At times my son is a guesser, so this was very helpful. We started AAR this year and have been loving it!

Karen

says:

As a reading intervention teacher, I found this post very informative. I, too, get frustrated when children have developed a habit of “guessing”. It’s a tough habit to break too. This post shed some light on the situation, so thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karen,
I’m glad this post will help you in your reading intervention work! You’re welcome.

Hannah

says:

Just entered the giveaway, and found this post. Thank you for the information.

Heather

says:

My oldest is a guesser too, thank you for this informative post!

Patricia Miller

says:

Orton-Gillingham is time-tested and the best approach around for those with reading difficulties.

Lori

says:

This process has helped our child SO much. Thank you!

Rhiannon

says:

Man, my kid is the queen word guesser! I’m definitely gonna check out the all about reading method.

Angela

says:

One of my children did do some word guessing, even though I taught a similar blending process to yours (this was before we knew about AAS & AAR). I suspect she may have had some slight dyslexia issues, we kept blending and her reading has improved now. I think she would have been a first letter guesser.

Amelia

says:

So helpful, thank you. I look forward to trying out the free resource.

Britney

says:

My daughter definitely tries to use picture clues to guess words!

Lynda

says:

Very helpful information! I am excited to try this! Thank you!

Kerry

says:

This is helpful information. I believe I have a Word Shape Guesser.

Lissy

says:

I use this method to help my student who has a problem of first adding a letter that is not in the word then try’s to guess what the word is by the sound made to the length off the word.

Catrina

says:

Sounds really interesting! Gotta try it and see if it helps my struggling reader

Mandie

says:

My first grader is slowly growing out of the guessing habit as we move through the AAR program with him. This program has done wónders for him!

Chris

says:

It seems the young readers coming up are word guessers. It helps to have different ideas to help with the different kind of learners.

Jane C.

says:

“Word shape” guessing is a new idea for me. Thanks for giving me a new strategy to correct.

Lauren

says:

My daughter is a context word guesser because she’s like to read fast. Often I have to remind her that she knows how to read unknown words using the blending techniques if she slows down to try. She will read it correctly every time! Love using this program!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Lauren! You might be interested in the blog post called “10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast.” It has helpful tips for helping kids like your daughter! https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/child-reads-too-fast/

steph

says:

Thank you for the info

Laura Roberts

says:

My child is a #3 for sure. I have a degree to teach English, and I really like the method AAR uses. Another fun way to teach reading is to use Scrabble tiles to build the words and make it sort of a game. The kids I have taught seem to really enjoy this, as it is easier for them to look at the lesson as a game. Using the Scrabble tiles with this method sounds like great fun! I’m definitely going to try this!

Sara

says:

Using AAR has helped my oldest be such a strong reader! I’m thankful guessing is not much of an issue.

Belia

says:

My son just started with his first sight words: a, I, and, is, in and be. I tried to let him sound out words, but for some reason he would know the words on some days and other days he guesses. If the word is “is” he would guess “t” or “m”. He knows the word when it is in a sentence, but on its own he just guesses . How do I fix this?

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Belia! Here is a blog post that will help you teach your son how to consistently sound out words: https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/sound-out-words/ . Be sure to see the part on Cumulative Blending!

Sierra Ulseth

says:

Ah, it makes sense why I’m having to reteach my daughter.

Pat

says:

I work in a school where students are taught to guess words. I spend a lot of time undoing what students are taught in the lower levels. Thanks for the guide to help students become confident in their reading!

Jillian

says:

Thank you for this blog post! My son is a word guesser and now I know how to help him break the habit!

Kevin

says:

We simply love AAR and AAS. These programs have revolutionized our home school experience!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Wahoo! It’s so great when you find the right curriculum for your kids!

Erin

says:

I have a child who word guesses. I am excited to try this!

Chelsie

says:

My oldest is a great reader. Basically taught himself. But he will guess a lot on some of the longer words. It has taken time to break him out of that habit.

Myneko Broadhurst

says:

IMy son is a word guesser and you can tell as soon as he looks away and says any word that begins with the same letter. Thank you for this post. I was exactly what I needed.

RaeLena

says:

Yes my daughter does this a lot. I get frustrated at this but after reading this post I’m not as much anymore. Thanks!

Amanda

says:

My girls love their program so far but they both tend to guess when they are reading.

sonja

says:

I think my son does this, especially with pictures.

Fiona

says:

I can’t wait to start AAR Level 1 with my 2 kiddos!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Have fun with Level 1, Fiona!

Sarah

says:

I have loved the All About Spelling program. I would really like to try the All About Reading program with my four-year-old!

Steph

says:

I just started homeschooling my first grader after he struggled through most of the school year. He was taught word guessing in school. I’m so excited to use these strategies and hope they help this frustrated reader!

Kim L

says:

Using your technique has helped us overcome much of the guessing. Thank you for helping us enjoy our reading.

Connie

says:

Thank you! I am passing this on to my daughter who has just started homeschooling.

Carrie

says:

Reading the word guessing habit my dyslexic 11 yr old developed thanks to her 1st grade teacher has been an absolute struggle. But the blending technique has helped dramatically. I was so excited to find this program to help her and my 7 yr old. It has been a relief to find a simple way to teach them properly!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carrie,
I love that AAR’s blending procedure has helped your daughter conquer her word guessing habit! Thanks for sharing this.

Laurie

says:

Word guessing has been the most frustrating habit to break for my two. It used to be 30% of words were guessed, and now it’s down to maybe once per reading lesson.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

This is a huge improvement, Laurie! Great job!

Jessica

says:

All my kids have been early readers (according to the public school’s benchmarks), but they all have been guessers at some point. My oldest was actually taught to guess in school. When we began homeschooling, I knew I wanted to give the younger ones a better way. AAR is my choice!

Lilliah

says:

So excited to start teaching my little one to read! And grateful to have found a great resource to help!

What happens if they are a word guesser based on the letters as a whole but can’t remember what they read in a sentence?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
I’m sorry you student is having trouble with both word guessing and comprehension. It can definitely make things difficult.

Does your student always have trouble remembering what he or she read in a sentence, or only when he or she guessed at one or more words? If it’s only when he or she guesses, it may be that the guesses don’t make enough sense to be able to understand the sentence. If he or she always has trouble remembering what was read, it may be that he or she is working so hard to read the sentence that there is no focus left over to understand it.

What level is the student working on? How old is he or she? Is this a recent problem or has it been going on for a long time? It may be that the student needs to go back and fill in a foundational gap that is hindering his or her ability to read and comprehend a sentence well.

I’d love to help further.

Jenn Mitroff

says:

Four out of my five kids have been word guessers at one point or another. Glad to know we’re in good company.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Definitely good company, Jenn! Most children will try their hand at guessing at one point or another.

Jemma Seekings

says:

These are perfect & should really help my daughter, thank you.

Lori

says:

Thank you for this post! Very helpful:)

Kristin

says:

My five year old is struggling with this, thanks for the tips!

Amy

says:

This was helpful, thanks!

Moye

says:

Thank you! My 5 year old is more of a first letter guesser. Excited to try this!

Cathy Johnson

says:

Great approach

Sara Martin

says:

My 7 year old is a ‘picture clue’ guesser. I am so happy to have found this program. I see great improvement in his reading.

Beth Keen

says:

Thanks! I am a resource teacher and have several guessers.

Yasuko Takahashi

says:

Thank for the great resource! I figured out which one is the main cause of my daughter’s guessing.

Magela

says:

My daughter is finally moving away from this guessing words stage, and it is all thanks to All About Reading.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

This is great news, Magela! :)

Laura Gordon

says:

We use All About Spelling, my daughter struggles with reading, I have heard great things about All About Reading, I can’t wait to check it out!

Steve

says:

Good work!

Carin

says:

One of the most helpful articles I have read so far. It makesso much sense. Thank you very much.

ALISON

says:

Thank you for explaining the four types of guessers, and the blending technique to develop good reading habits. I now have another “tool” in my box if I encounter a student who is a guesser. Alison

Ada Geuze

says:

You have taught me a lot. I teach a child with down syndrome and he definitely is a picture guess reader.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Ada! You might be interested in this blog post, which features a mom who is teaching her son with Down syndrome how to read. It is very encouraging! https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading-down-syndrome/.

Tami

says:

This isn’t a great post and helps me understand the reasons for a “picture guesser”

Tami

says:

Sorry about the typo above – I can’t figure out how to edit my post to say it “is” a great post. I appreciated the blog post!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I understood from your tone what you meant, Tami. Typos happen to us all. :D

Чёрная Елена

says:

Picture guesser

Debbie

says:

My children have all gone through the guessing stage. I think for them they are trying to do it quicker than sounding out all the phonograms. Love this method with the tiles and sounding out the words.

Raena B

says:

I really appreciate this post because all of a sudden my daughter started guessing certain words and it was driving me crazy!

Sarah Bridwell

says:

My 7yo is a 1st word and picture guesser. Thank you for this post!!

Amy

says:

This was helpful to see the different ways that children guess at words instead of sounding them out. Although my son has learned phonics there are still times that he tries to just guess. Thanks for the additional information.

Kristen

says:

Great info!

Mikayla

says:

Thank you for this helpful information. My daughter guesses words quite often when she is reading. I’ve tried this method with her but she gets irritated with me taking the time to spell the word out with the tiles (I’ve tried it using the app and the actual letter tiles). She would rather just rush through it. She doesn’t enjoy reading at all. I feel like when we do the lessons she just wants to rush through and doesn’t retain much. Do you have any suggestions on how to help?

ALISON

says:

One concept that works for me is to let the child choose the next book {from several you have selected.} They may be bored with what they have been reading. [IE: the book may be about a family getting a new dog, and this may peek the child’s interest.]

Courtney

says:

My oldest daughter did the same thing with spelling (AAS), and the mistake I made was moving on to the next lesson simply because we had completed the previous one. What I wish I had done is repeated the lessons when I figured out she hadn’t absorbed the information adequately. She would rush through and I unintentionally let her determine that pace. What I do with my 2nd daughter (AAR) is split the lessons up into 2 or 3 days so we don’t rush through any of it. I also provide her with goals and rewards on the days that she’s not into it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mikayla,
I’m very sorry to hear your daughter isn’t enjoying reading much and I want to do all I can to help you help her enjoy it more.

First, I recommend setting a timer for 20 minutes at the beginning of each day’s reading time. When the timer goes off, stop for the day even if she is in the middle of a story. The next day set the timer again and start where she left off, although if it is in the middle of a story you might consider reading aloud to her what she read the day before to refresh the story for her. Children are often happy to take as much time as they need to do the work right when they know that when the timer goes off they can stop even if they aren’t finished. This will hopefully remove your daughter’s need to rush. I think our blog on Reading: how much time do I spend? may be helpful for you.

Since she isn’t enjoying interrupting her reading to use the app or tiles, see if she can do the blending procedure on the page. Have her run her finger under each phonogram as she says the sounds and then blends the word. That may be a compromise for the two of you. Then jot yourself a note to practice that word with the app or tiles at the beginning of the next day’s lesson. That way she isn’t interrupted and she ends up getting twice the practice on the word.

Discuss with your daughter that the goal of each lesson is the master the concepts and build her reading skills. The goal is not to just finish the lesson. Let her know that it is fine if she moves slowly through the book because that will help make her a better reader but if she rushes she will have to redo things so that she can master it.

Is there any part of reading she does like? Does she like All About Reading’s activities and games? Does she like reading the word cards? Whatever part she does like, make sure to spend a portion of each day’s 20 minutes doing that, even if it means redoing activities and games more than once. Here are some fun ideas for reviewing that she might enjoy.

I hope this gives you some ideas to start with. Please let me know how things go. I’m very interested in helping your daughter find enjoyment in reading.

Hanna Chang

says:

Several of my kids are doing this!

Hope

says:

This made me chuckle. I love the analysis.

Heather Greidanus

says:

Great info and tips, thanks!

Monica Bass

says:

Thank you for such great tips. Helping a child learn to read is so rewarding! This reading program and tips are helping to build a great foundation for my beginning reader!

Candace

says:

My daughter has used nothing but AAR to learn how to read. She usually reads too fast or guesses the wrong article (“the” instead of “a”), or she’ll get the context of the sentence and make a plural word singular. Any ideas for that?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Candace,
I’m sorry your daughter is having these problems. However, they are somewhat common ones for those learning to read to have. We have a blog post on reading too fast that I think you will find helpful. Basically, sometimes children get the idea that good readers read fast, so they read fast to be good readers. The article has tips and ideas on how to help your daughter understand that she needs to read at a medium pace that allows for expression and understanding.

As for using the wrong article or making plural words singular, our blog post on skipping small words may help. The root cause is pretty much the same, that larger words require more of our attention and those smaller words get skipped or misread. Having her point to each word as she reads it can help a lot with this.

Making a plural word singular is of a similar cause. It has to do with moving on to the next part of the sentence before fully finishing reading the word.

You can help your daughter by talking over the difference between “a dog” and “the dog”. These little words don’t seem like a big deal, but they do make important differences in meaning. You can do the same for the difference between “dog” and “dogs”. Then, during your daily reading lesson time, you can gently require her to read each sentence as it is written. That will likely mean she will have to reread sentences when she misreads words. Be encouraging and patient, as this can be frustrating. However, with practice, she should have fewer instances of misreading words.

I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes.

Rebecca

says:

My son is 8 years old and can read above grade level but he often guesses at words that are more difficult (for example “enthusiastic” might be read as “fantastic”) or exchanges words that have a similar meaning (for example, he might read “says” when the word is “asks”). Any hints for how to help the more advanced reader stop guessing at words?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
I went through this with one of my sons. I had to have him read aloud to me for 10 to 20 minutes a day 4 or 5 days a week for a couple of months before I was confident we had broken his habit of guessing at longer words. Every time he misread a word I had him sound the word out and then reread the sentence with the correct word. I made a point of often (but not for every word) pointing out how the word he guessed changed the meaning of the sentence compared the word that was written. He didn’t enjoy having to read aloud to me, as he felt he read fine, but even he noticed an improvement in his comprehension of what he was reading by learning to not guess at words.

I also worked with him with All About Spelling, spending a couple of minutes of each spelling lesson doing syllable division with words and going over the syllable division rules. Doing that helped make breaking multisyllable words down into little easy-to-read-chunks helped a lot with his willingness to not guess. He would joke that he had to use spelling in order to read, but the skills did transfer.

I hope this helps some. When kids read well they sometimes think they don’t need to sound words out ever again. It can be more difficult to work around that mentality than the habit itself. Let me know how it goes or if you have questions.

Visaliamom

says:

This procedure works!

Tracy

says:

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this. My child is the picture word guesser. I have to help him sound out each letter while reading the book. I will definitely be working with him more on the blends. Any recommendation for “activities” would be helpful to practice the blends as my boy is very active and tactile learner. Thanks again!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tracy,
Oh, I have lots of ideas for making blending active! First, our letter tiles are great for tactile learning and are a good place to start. Being able to touch each letter as he blends the sounds into words is very effective.

You can put words on the floor using index cards, one card per phonogram. Then have him slide from card to card as he blends the words (if he can jump and still blend that’s fine, but most kids do better with sliding). He could also drive a toy car along the cards and blend the word as he drives. This works with chalk on the sidewalk as well and then he could slowly ride past the word on a scooter or skateboard and blend and read it.

You can get alphabet cereal or Junior Scrabble Cheese-Its crackers and make words for him to blend, read, and then eat! My kids loved that.

You could make our tactile letter cards and use them for making words to blend and read. These are a big hit with kids that are especially tactile in nature.

You can get alphabet beads and string them on pipe cleaners to make words for him. Then he can pull each bead across has he blends the sounds and reads the word.

Salt trays are very tactile and lots of fun! You could write a word in the salt and he could trace each letter as he blends and reads it. Cheap shaving cream is also a lot of fun for this sort of practice too.

We have lots of ideas in this blog post, 11 Great Ways to Review Reading Word Cards. Our blog post on Kinesthetic Learning has good ideas too.

Hopefully this gets you a good start with ideas for your active boy. Let me know if you need more ideas though!

MARIA

says:

My 7yr old sounds each and every word out, it can be frustrating trying to get through an easy book. Any recommendations??????

Lori

says:

Maybe you need to slow down a little. Review learned concepts more before moving to new ones. Have him reread books/stories twonor more times to help him become fluent. I remember reading somewhere in Marie’s materials that they may need to read a word up to 30 times before they become fluent with it. So maybe practice more with the flash cards and practice pages provided in the AAR materials, and have him reread prior stories. Don’t go onto the next lesson until he’s fully grasped concepts from the current lesson and has several opportunities to practice.
Remember, the book or story may be easy to you, but that doesn’t mean it is to your child. I have to constantly remind myself of this, in reading and in math lessons. I hope this helps and wishe you the best as you help your child learn the wonderful skill of reading!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Maria,
I’m sorry your 7-year-old is struggling with fluency. I understand the frustration, as my youngest had the same problem.

Are you using All About Reading? AAR uses a number of strategies to help kids work on fluency, and you could try incorporating strategies like these in your child’s work or consider trying All About Reading if you aren’t using it.

All About Reading introduces students to the phonograms incrementally and provides practice using phonogram cards. A lesson or two later, after they’ve had opportunity to fully master the phonogram, they learn how the phonogram is used in a list of words. Students are shown the words first with the letter tiles. Along the way, students are taught decoding skills such as the blending procedure, how to chunk words into syllables, how syllable types affect pronunciation, and so on. You can see an example of the Blending Procedure in this article.

After the lesson, AAR has students practice reading words in various game-like activities. Word flippers is one sort of activity and our compound words blog post shows others.

Then the student practices with our with Practice Sheets. One of the included features in the fluency practice is reading in phrases, in addition to words and sentences. Phrasing is so important that Marie, the author of All About Reading and All About Spelling, included it in the Practice Sheets and the lower level readers so that students get into the habit of seeing words in phrases. Reading in phrases matches the way that we speak, it builds working memory, and it aids in fluency and comprehension. It’s a major contributor to reading proficiency. This blog post on developing fluency spends a good amount of time discussing phrasing.

All About Reading uses word cards to allow you to track how your student is doing with new words. The word cards are sorted into “Review” for words your student still needs to sound out and “Mastered” for words your student can read fluently. It’s an easy way to focus your review on just the words your student needs more work on.

With each story of AAR, Marie included comprehension activities. In the first level, there are sample discussions to have with your child before reading each story. These discussions cover vocabulary and questions designed to increase comprehension as your child reads. In Levels 2 and up when the stories get longer and a bit more involved, there are also questions for you and your child to discuss after reading the story and additional vocabulary learning.

Finally, the readers use the new words the student has been learning as well as previously learned words to continue building overall fluency so that the student can practice reading with meaningful expression.

You can see that Marie included lots of practice so that you can hear your child read aloud to you daily. Listening to your child read aloud is critical so that you can correct decoding mistakes, make sure she doesn’t develop the habit of skipping words, substituting words, or inserting words, and so that she develops appropriate phrasing. It also helps you to know when she doesn’t understand the vocabulary, whether she is ignoring punctuation, and whether she has an overall comprehension of what she’s reading.

In short, readers that have to sound out every word need lots and lots of reading practice to transition into smooth, fluent reading. I hope this helps some. Please let me know if you have questions or need more help.

Andrea

says:

Maria, one of my daughters did this as well when she was 6-7 and in the early stages of reading. It lasted for about 6 months. Her teacher at the time suggested that she read each book 5 times, which really helped with the fluency. Now she is 12 and when she reads out loud to me it is so fast there is no way I can decipher what she is saying! She reads on her own every spare minute of the day. I remember listening to her read when she was 7 and wondering if she would ever be fluent, so hang in there, it will come.

Julie

says:

Good reminder to stay consistent with blending especially when I notice the guessing starting to show up while reading.

J Smith

says:

This is great, but I think because we have used AAR from the start with our 4th child, she has not developed this habit. My child with dyslexia definitely did guess based on the first letter through.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m excited that your child that used AAR from the start never developed the word guessing habit! That’s wonderful!

Anissa

says:

This is a good reminder to keep up with the sounding out process as long as it is needed. Thank you for sharing the activity.

Sherene

says:

I have found context word guessing to be the most challenging tactic to overcome while teaching my child. He knows how to sound words out, but immediately guesses and feels frustrated at having to take the time to sound out words, though, when he does he often figures it out. He feels it just takes too much time. Guess we simply need to keep up the sounding out process until it becomes as fast as guessing, but with much better results.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sherene,
I had a context word guesser, and I know exactly what you mean! Every once in a while she would guess a word that made sense in context but totally changed the meaning, such as the “chicken” guess example in the video when the word was cattle. When my daughter did that, I would make a point of talking to her how important it is to read each word that is actually written and not guess because she might be getting the completely wrong meaning. We would talk about how the whole story could be changed by that one guessed at word.

It took a lot of me requiring her to go back and reread sentences when she guessed at a word for her to break the habit. It was slow, but it paid off. But yes, I agree that the context-based word guessing habit seems to be especially hard to break.

Let me know if you help or have questions.

Amy

says:

I think my oldest son does all 4 types of guessing! The tap the letter and say its sound blending procedure is really helpful!

Sarah

says:

We have been using AAR. It seems my son does more word guessing when a new concept is introduced.

Abigail

says:

I definitely have guessers at my house! My 9 year old still does it occasionally and my 6 year old struggling reader does it frequently. The different types of guessing are very interesting – I’m not entirely sure which ones my kids are

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Abigail,
I had one first letter guesser and the words he guessed often made no sense in the sentence but always started with the first few sounds of the word. My other word guesser was a context word guesser, so her words always made perfect sense in the sentence she was reading but they may have nothing in common with what the word ought to have been. But it doesn’t really matter which type of word guesser your children are; the remedy is the same for all four types. The blending procedure gave my students tools to attack words they don’t know and it will do the same for your students too.

Brittany

says:

My son is a word guesser, which can be very frustrating! We will certainly try the tips listed in this post!!

Dawn L

says:

I have a word guesser! I have been using AAR, blending really works! She’s now almost broken the habit but when she’s in a hurry that’s what she does. Thank you for helping me realize she’s not alone in this and for the wonderful tips.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
I’m happy to hear that your student has almost overcome this habit! And she is definitely not the only one for sure! :D

Mikaela

says:

Thanks for the activity idea on this!

Michelle

says:

Great strategy! In my experience once a child has been taught “guessing” it can be hard to break but this strategy works.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Oh, yes, I know how hard it can be to break the word guessing habit when it’s really set in. It took a couple of months of daily work for my son to break the habit.

auschick

says:

We are trying to work through the guessing! Sometimes her guesses are so left field!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, I can imagine. My kids have treated me to some really odd guesses too! :D

Katie Doub

says:

Fantastic information! So great to have practical help in overcoming hurdles

Melissa Wolfson

says:

This is our first time to use All About Reading. I have a number 2 guesser. She definitely looks at the end of a word. She also likes to add a /n/ sound where it isn’t such as “sad” being read as “sand.”

Beth Deichler

says:

My child adds the n sound as well. She reads ‘truck’ as ‘trunk’ or ‘bet’ as ‘bent’. Not consistently but noticeably.

RB

says:

My child adds letters to words too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
It’s hard when kids want to often add a sound or leave one out. My daughter did kind of the opposite of yours; she wanted to leave off final letters such as reading sand as san. The blending procedure outlined here works for both problems, however. Physically touching the tiles really helps kids to focus on each and every sound. Later, when my daughter had the problem mostly under control but it happened while reading on a page, I’d have her touch the letters as she read the word. Yes, her fingertip was as big as the whole word but the act of touching made her pay attention to each and every letter again.

Anyway, let me know if you need any help as you move forward in All About Reading or if you have questions about anything!

Michele Peyton

says:

We love All About Reading! We have seen such an improvement. We are looking forward to graduating to Level 4.

Zorayda F.

says:

Great tip! I have followed your blending procedure with my 5 year old and it really works!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Yay! Thanks for the feedback, Zorayda!

KG

says:

We love All About Reading.

Zorayda F.

says:

I have a 5-year old that I have started to go homeschool. I tried your blending procedure and it has worked wonders for my child!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Zorayada,
This is great! I’m super excited to know that our blending procedure worked for your child!

Kylah

says:

Thanks, this was very helpful!

Sylvia Johnson

says:

So grateful for this post. It was exactly what I needed to read and just at the right time – thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sylvia,
I love when our blog posts are timely for someone! :D

Christine

says:

Thanks for the tips! My five year old guesses occasionally when he’s too impatient to sound out the word ;)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christine,
Ah, yes, the impatient guesser. I’ve had a couple of them. :D

Bonnie

says:

Thank you
Instruction in reading is always valuable

I am a second grade teacher and guessing can be very frustrating. It usually means that although the students have been taught the phonics, they have not used the phonics to decode texts. They just need practice. The activity in this post is a great one. I use it all the time and it really works! So do decodable readers. I am very excited to see decodable readers like these. No more dry, boring decodables!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anne,
I really appreciate you sharing your experience as a teacher with us here! Yes, more practice decoding does make a great difference with word guessing and I love that you are excited to see our readers.

Sandra

says:

Thankyou for all the wonderful advice you provide in learning to read. I have really found this website a blessing. Thanks!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Sandra! I’m glad you joined us! :)

Rachel

says:

I will be trying this with my kindergartner who is doing great reading but guesses if it is too hard. Thank you!

Hollie

says:

My ten year old does this still! Though he’s really trying; I can’t wait to purchase AAR to see if I can’t prevent him from seeing a similar word and guessing.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rachel,
I’m happy to hear your kindergartner is reading great. It is those hard ones that are the most likely to be guessed at. The Blending Procedure does help! It gives kids tools so that they don’t have to guess anymore.

Rochelyn

says:

Hello!
Good day,

What approach im going to use / implement in correcting basic sight words deficits?

Thanks ..

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rochelyn,
I think you may find our article Sight Words: What You Need to Know helpful. After you have looked it over, please let us know if you have further questions.

Anna

says:

Hello!
My child is 5, in Pre-K (born too late in the year) and knows his letters and phonics, the sounds the letters make. He memorizes the books we read to him (he’s been read to since in tummy). So if we read him a book he tries to repeat it. He’ll read a few words, but it’s like pulling teeth. How can I get him to like reading, and actually start reading? He loves to be read to, but refuses to try reading himself.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anna,
You may find our blog post on Helping Kids Sound Sound Out Words helpful.

However, it is possible that a child can know all the letters and the sounds they make and still not be ready for reading. There are 5 skills necessary for Reading Readiness. It sounds like your son has most of those skills down, but nothing you mentioned tells me how strong his phonological awareness skills are. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in language and is important for reading success. This blog post has details on Fun Ways to Develop Phonological Awareness and includes free downloadable games.

Consider using All About Reading with him. AAR makes sure students are set up for success, having been taught and having practiced, before asking them to read a story. Many students find being asked to read a book full of words they don’t know how to read frustrating and too hard. AAR removes that by using 100% decodable books.

I hope this helps. However, please let us know if you have further questions.

Randy

says:

Good Evening
Our early reader and sometimes word guesser seems to make the last phonogram’s sound first. Using the example from the blending example, she will come across the word pan but just as easily say another word like nap or nose. She usually guesses a word that fits the part of speech needed in he sentence but wild guesses do happen. We try to get her to slow down and use a finger and make the sound of what she is pointing at.
Do you have any tools or suggestions to help us with this?
Is this a typical early reader hurtle?
Is there a term for this?
Thanks
Randy

I ended up here by googling “early reader making last sound of word before first sound” your’s was the 8th or 9th link on the first page

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Randy,
Reading is often the first experience young children have where directionality changes something so completely it becomes a whole new thing. A car is a car if it’s left first or right first or even upside down. Most everything in very little children’s worlds is like a car and directionality doesn’t matter. However, with reading (and numbers), if you change the direction of a word it forms a whole new word! It can take time for children to always remember without prompting that we (English speakers) always read left to right.

However, reading words in the wrong order and switching the order of letters in a word is one symptom of dyslexia. Note, it is just one symptom and if it is the only one your child has it is most likely not related to dyslexia. You may be interested Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist.

Have your child read aloud to you daily, and gently have her reread each word she guesses. Help her to sound the word out. Our blog post on Helping Kids Sound Words Out outlines how to do it. Word guessing is a habit, and like any habit it takes time to change.

Please let us know how it goes and if you need any further help.

Elaine H.

says:

I showed my 4 year old some DVDs with sight words and she did well with those except now she doesn’t want to read phonics! When I ask her to read a word she gets frustrated trying to read the word as a whole instead of trying to sound the letters and phonograms. So now I’m researching programs and curriculums to see if I can help her at home.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Elaine,
This is one of the drawbacks of teaching children sight words first. They assume that reading is memorizing every word. Well, English has far more words than can be memorized by most people, and if you rely on memorization you are left with no skills for reading a word you haven’t yet learned. Our blog post on Sight Words might be helpful for you.

Laurie

says:

Great info. As a first grade teacher I’m always looking for things to help my students who are struggling. I’m wondering if your programs are research based so I could possibly use them for RTI students?
Thanks so much :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Laurie,
We don’t have recorded data of how well the program works in an RTI framework, but we do have many schools reorder each year for use in their RTI programs.

Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are research-based programs that use the Orton-Gillingham approach. Marie Rippel, the author, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association, and has instructed graduate-level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Additionally, the programs incorporate the findings of the National Reading Panel (2000) (Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.)

All About Reading addresses the five components of reading as identified by the National Reading Panel, phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension.

In addition to the five components of reading, oral language and listening comprehension are addressed.

Instruction is explicit.
Teacher directives are highly detailed.
Instruction is systematic. There is a prescribed order of introducing specific skills within each component of reading.
There is cumulative review in all instructional areas.
Decodable texts are read before trade books.
There is explicit instruction in irregular words and decoding strategies.

Please see our blog article, 12 Reasons Teachers Love All About Reading and All About Spelling where you can read more about the researched-based methods that AAR and AAS incorporate. This post also includes some downloadable assessment forms.

Some schools use AAR and AAS for regular classroom instruction, while some choose to use it just for Tier 2 or Tier 3 Intervention.

I hope this helps, but please let us know if you have further questions.

Karen

says:

My 9-yr old was taught several of these in her previous private school…. Now she hates reading and spelling. We have been homeschooling for a year, so hopefully I can break these habits and show her how smart she is! AND get her to love reading.

Karen

says:

We did start All About Spelling this year and it is a tremendous help already!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karen,
Please let us know if you need anything or have questions. We would love to help you help your daughter find success and joy in reading!

Hollie

says:

My student is a word guesser and I have just shrugged his guessing off to shear laziness; maybe I’m not being fair and I don’t like that. I do appreciate the free download as I feel like this will really help my guesser. Having these tangibles will surely benefit him; he loves Legos and these letter tiles feel like Legos to me. As his teacher I feel like I’m to blame, everything always comes back to that one teacher, right?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hollie,
Not every problem with reading is caused by the teacher! Consider how many children learn to read, and read well, with little to no help. Please don’t take the blame upon yourself. It is not too late to help your student break the word guessing habit.

I see from another blog comment you made that your student is a 5th grader. Consider working with him with All About Spelling. With AAS he will learn syllable division rules that will give him reliable tools for decoding difficult words. Our blog post on Using All About Spelling with Older Students may be helpful for you.

ANNE JONES

says:

I’ve taught in the primary grades since 1994 and the constant shifts in focus within the vast curriculum is mind blowing and counterproductive. I remember a time when teachers would get reprimanded for using phonics or having any phonics displayed on the board for students. Guessing and inventive spelling were the norm and it got students nowhere. Segmenting and blending. With tiles, markers, letter cards, fun finger pointers etc all make sense and teach actual skills. Common core has expectations for 1st graders for writing that even most inner city 5th/6th graders couldn’t meet! Such as “TSW take notes and collaborate with their peers in their writing. Students will note details and write paragraph long essays …. meanwhile they are still struggling with basic phonics. If teachers could simply focus on phonics and basic math skills only at the grade level 1 so that reading is mastered and successful then writing could be grade 2 focus grade 3 would see higher test scores from a more fluent generation of readers etc etc.
Thank you for addressing this word guessing waste of time style of teaching reading. That’s a very relevant topic and I’m all for your suggestions – love your program and style!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anne,
Thank you for your insights. It is sad to see such standards that are beyond the scope of what is developmentally appropriate for most students.

Jennifer F

says:

This post was so helpful. I was feeling like I was doing something wrong, and I didn’t realize that word guessing was such a common problem. I’m going to try using some of the tips mentioned and I’m sure we’ll see a great improvement!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Word guessing can be a problem for many children. We’re happy to hear this blog post was helpful to you. Please let us know how things go and if you have any questions along the way.

Jennifer

says:

We just went for a dyslexia assessment which showed that my daughter does indeed have dyslexia. The teacher there recommended that I force her to guess words (which she doesn’t want to do!) and force her to do invented spelling (which she also doesn’t want to do!). Do you have any idea why? It seems to go against everything else that I have ever heard about dyslexia.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
I do not know why someone would recommend such strategies for a dyslexic student. More than ninety years of research shows that the Orton-Gillingham approach is highly effective for dyslexic students and it is the approach that the International Dyslexia Association recommends. The Orton-Gillingham approach is characterized by multisensory, explicit, incremental instruction that teaches definite skills to master reading and spelling. Guessing and inventive spelling is counter to that.

You might find our Dyslexia Resource Page helpful.

Please let us know if you have further questions or if we can help you in any way.

Deb

says:

My granddaughter will be reading a paragraph and substitute three or four words that make complete sense but are not even close to what is written on the page. Do you know what causes her to do this?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Deb,
Without knowing any other details about her reading, it is hard to say. If she reads well, smoothly and fluently, it might be that her mind is processing the content of the passage faster than her mouth, so that she isn’t always saying the exact words but the meaning is never changed. Reading aloud well and exactly as is written is a difficult skill to master all of the time. I read aloud to my students for as much as 2 hours a day and have for over a decade, and I know I switch out words or word order and other little changes at least a few times a day. Two things, however. I don’t change the meaning of the sentence or passage, and I’m always aware that it happened. Also, it tends to be close to what is written on the page.

On the other hand, if she isn’t reading easily and fluently, it may be that she is literally guessing words from the context of the sentence and putting words that make sense and not actually reading the words. This would be fairly obvious, as her guess would occasionally change the meaning of the sentence especially if the sentence ends in an unexpected way.

Is she aware that she is making these substitutions? If she reads a sentence and switches out a word, tell her, “You read a word wrong. Do you know which one?” If she can find it easily, that’s a good sign. However, you may need to start requiring her to reread every word she misreads every time for a long while to break the habit. If she doesn’t read the words that are actually on the page her comprehension of what she reads will suffer. When a child is young and in the “learn to read” stage, that isn’t such a big deal. However, before long she will be expected to progress to the “read to learn” stage and will be expected to comprehend what she reads well.

Does this help? Please let us know if you have further questions or need more help.

Bobby

says:

My son is starting Kindergarten in a few weeks and have been trying to help him with sight words, as they will teach him that and how to read in school. We’ve made flash cards and have the BOB books for pre-readers. He guesses a lot which unfortunately drains our patience. It seems on some days he really wants to learn and others he is very uninterested. At times, it seems he would just say random words, as if trying to appease us by saying something. I am not sure how to help him with that. We do try to get him to sound it out, or even say the letter, but I think the pressure gets to him. What do you think? I saw your reply below for 20 minute sessions, so I will keep that in mind. Thanks IA.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Bobby,
We would not recommend teaching sight words to a young child. Teaching sight words before a child has fully mastered how to sound words out easily encourages the word guessing you are experiencing. In addition, not-yet kindergarten is very young for reading and it is not surprising that he is uninterested at times.

Instead of sight words, we recommend teaching phonograms, so that children have the skills necessary to be able to sound out words confidently. All About Reading teaches 72 phonograms, although we introduce them a bit at a time so that children aren’t overwhelmed.

We do recommend keeping reading lessons to 20 minutes, but for such a young child 10 to 15 minutes might be even better. Reading, when you are first learning how, is hard mental work and very young children like your son tire quickly. Even more important than working on reading daily, be sure to read aloud to your son as well. The second half of this blog post discusses the benefits of reading aloud daily.

Instead of having him try to read, play games with letters and their sounds as your “reading” time each day. We have a number of blog posts, many including free printable activities and games, that can help you teach letters and their sounds to your son.

Only when he has all the letters and their most common sound down pat should you then attempt reading again. However, when you first begin having him read, don’t use a book. Start with letter tiles, or fridge magnets, or even slips of paper with letters on them. You want to start with something he can touch and move. Make just one word for him and model how to blend the sounds into a word. Then have him attempt it on the exact same word, following the full blending procedure. This video and blog post thoroughly discuss the full blending procedure and how to help kids sound words out.

Use the first BOB Book for ideas for the first words to build for him to sound out. After he has sounded out all the words from the book using letter tiles or some other moveable letters, then have him read the book. At that time all the words will be familiar so he will have much more success with reading the book. The success in reading the book will build his confidence, which in turn will make him much more receptive to further teaching and reading. Setting him up so that he only reads a book after he has mastered all the words in the story is a strategy that All About Reading employs with great results.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions.

Ingrid

says:

Thank you for the blog. I am going to give it s go with my son.

April

says:

My daughter is a word guesser. We are in the middle of Level 2 and AAR is the only phonics program we’ve used. It is what we used to teach her how to read. I don’t know if it matters, but English is her second language. I keep telling her to slow down and sound out all of the letters. To me it feels like it’s a pride thing. If she thinks she knows the word she believes she shouldn’t have to sound it out. When I make her slow down and sound out the letters she gets frustrated. She just wants to read. What can I do?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

April,
I’m sorry your daughter is struggling with this.

Discuss with her that it is important that during your daily reading lesson time that she read each word exactly as written. This means she needs to read more slowly and to sound out any word she is not sure of. If she misreads a word, you will ask her to sound it out. However, also promise her that each daily reading lesson will be short. We typically recommend just 20 minutes, but if she is frustrated or resistant it is better to do an even shorter amount of time to keep her motivation and willingness to work high. Set a timer.

If she misreads a lot of a story during a lesson, then have her reread the same story the next day. Stress to her that this isn’t punishment. The goal is that she can read the story very well, and rereading the next day is helpful to meet that goal. In fact, rereading the same material two or three days in a row is very helpful for some children to help them gain fluent, smooth, and accurate reading. I used buddy reading with my daughter and had her read each story three days in a row when she was in AAR 2.

Then, if your daughter wants to read at any other time of the day, let her do it without interference. You and she will work on reading with a high level of accuracy for the set reading lesson time each day, and how she reads otherwise is her business. She will find, with time, that learning to stop and sound out words when reading will increase her ability to read. She may not admit it, but you will likely see a gradual change in her willingness to stop guessing.

While you work on her ability to read accurately, you will need to slow down her forward progress. She will still move forward, but she will likely need to spend two to three days per lesson in order to make accuracy a priority. This is especially true if you need to do less than 20 minutes lesson times for a while. Slowing down can seem counterproductive, but breaking the word guessing habit will pay off in smoother progress later.

I hope this helps. Please let us know how it goes. We are very interested in helping you help your daughter overcome this.

Sarah W

says:

Please could you add me to your email list

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
I have added you to our email list. You should shortly receive a welcoming email with links to articles and downloads.

Judy Sollee

says:

Would you please ad me to your email list.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Judy,
I signed you up for our email list. You should receive a welcoming email with links to free downloads shorter. If you do not, please let me know.

Sarah W

says:

My daughter has developed this guessing habit and it is definitely holding her back…..all advice greatly accepted!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
My best advice is to require your daughter to read aloud to you for 10 to 20 minutes a day, and during that time require her to read each word as it is written. Anytime she guesses ask her to read the word and then reread the sentence.

You may find with this activity that she is missing some foundational skills that will help her to read and not guess. For example, if she doesn’t know syllable division rules it will be very difficult to correctly sound out multi-syllable words. By having her read aloud to you daily while you follow along, you will gain a better understand if it is truly just a habit of guessing, or if she needs her foundational skills built up.

Please let us know how it goes and let us know if you have questions or concerns. We are here to help you help your child.

Sarah Browne

says:

could you please add me to your e-mail newsletter list

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I added you, Sarah. You should have received a welcome email by now. If not, please let me know.

sarah browne

says:

hi Robin, I have a 10 year old daughter who has struggled with spelling and reading. She has very good comprehension, despite mis- reading the words. For years she would miss read all the small connecting words, such as, ‘the’ and ‘and’. We seem to have broken this habit but she still see’s the first letter of a longer word and guesses it without trying to sound it out. We have paid for a private tutor and I nagged the school into giving her extra help with phonemes. I feel that she missed something key in the first two years at school. When I said this to the school their response was that my husband and I were pushy parents and to accept that she’s not very good reader. I feel like we have a very bright girl, who is desperate to succeed but has a very low self belief and she just needs a key to unlock reading for her. I read through the “all about reading” free download, but I was concerned she was too old for this method? Would you use it with her school spelling words or pick words from her reading texts?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
I’m sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling in this way and you are not receiving the help you desire through her school.

10 years old is not too old for All About Reading or All About Spelling. These programs have been used with teens and even adults.

All About Reading and All About Spelling group words in a logical manner based on similar rules or patterns regardless of their supposed grade level, which allows students to progress quickly and confidently. However, because of this grouping, our programs won’t allow you to take another program’s spelling words or reading texts and teach to that. Rather, our programs would work to build up her foundation to get her to the point of not needing help with her school assignments as quickly as possible.

Considering your daughter’s age and that she seems to have a good start in reading, I would recommend starting her on All About Spelling alone, at least at first. You could reevaluate later. She will likely move through All About Spelling level 1 quickly, but that level will fill in any beginning level phonemes and anything she may have missed in the first two years of school.

Then, All About Spelling level 2 teaches students the first three syllable division rules, and the rest are taught in AAS 3 and up. This will have an impact on your daughter’s ability to read longer words without guessing, as it will give her rules and steps to follow to be able to sound them out. My 4th child loved to point out how he had to use spelling when he was reading. I wasn’t sure what he meant until he explained that he had to use what he learned about syllable division rules in order to read long, hard words.

We have a pdf document on afterschooling with our programs that we can email you if you are interested. We recommend working on All About Spelling just twenty minutes a day five days a week, so it is possible to add this onto a full school day. Another option would be to work on Saturday and Sunday and just every other day during the school week.

We do have a one-year “Go Ahead and Use It” money-back guarantee. So you could try AAS 1 and AAS 2 out and, if you don’t see the improvement you were hoping for, you could return them.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have further questions of any kind. We are here to help you help your child.

Jodi A

says:

Not to butt in, but your daughter might have dyslexia. My son has dyslexia and your daughter’s issues sound very similar to his. He always comprehends everything very well despite the skipping. Often that is a strength that comes with the struggles of dyslexia. My son was in public school through 4th grade and none of his teachers recognized his dyslexia. We only figured it out once we started homeschooling and then got him tested. Dyslexia can really do a number on self-esteem because the child doesn’t understand why the reading and spelling are so much harder for them than their classmates. Often dyslexic students are very bright, their brain just processes language differently so they need a structured multi sensory approach to reading like it sounds like is provided in AAR and AAS. Just my two cents. It was heartbreaking to see my son struggle and he is so much happier now that he know he has dyslexia and he is receiving tutoring regularly.

Melea

says:

Sarah, if I can be of some encouragement, my 10 year old son just finished the AAR program and we are still working through AAS. We just started it last year when he was 9 and I discovered AALP. He was really having a hard time with reading and spelling, and after discovering this program I started him in it even though he was “older”. I haven’t had him tested, but he does have dyslexic tendencies. AAR and AAS have helped him a lot.
I even started using AAS for my 12 year old twins because I like how it teaches spelling. It is way better than the list-of-words method. They are still working through AAS as well, and we will finish it up next year when they are in 7th grade.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melea,
Thank you for sharing how All About Reading and All About Spelling have worked for your family. I’m impressed by how quickly your twins have moved through All About Spelling. Great progress!

Christa

says:

Thank you for this post, my word guessed does phonograms fairly well. However if it is a new word she often guesses at the word starting with the ending sound. Like if the word is “sob” she will give me a list of words like bob, bat, etc.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christa,
Go back to the blending procedure in this blog post and really focus on the running her finger under the tiles from left to right. Placing her finger under the word before sounding it out is very successful reminding children to start with the first sound. Even if she starts to get words more easily, keep up her using her finger to read words with tiles for at least a few words each day. It sounds like she has developed a habit of looking at the end of the word first, and she needs that habit broke and replaced with the habit of looking at the beginning of the word first.

After she is doing pretty well with sounding words out with the tiles, you can have her read printed words but begin with her using her finger from left to right there too. After a while (a day or two, at least) you can allow her to try reading without her finger if she wants, but the first moment she goes to the last letter of a word have her use her finger again.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions, or if these steps don’t help her over the next week or so. Likely this habit will pop up occasionally for a while, but it should be less and less each day.

Carol Storms

says:

I have All About Spelling programs 1-4 and have been using them to develop reading skills and strategies. I would like to get the books that come with the All about Reading program. Is that possible?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carol,
Yes, we sell the books separately. Here are the links:
All About Reading 1
Run, Bug, Run
The Runt Pig
Cobweb the Cat
All About Reading 2
What Am I?
Queen Bee
All About Reading 3
Chasing Henry
Shipwreck!
All About Reading 4
Heirloom Antics
The Voyage

Please let us know if you need anything further.

Kelly Brantley

says:

This is very helpful! Thank you for all the free resources and helps.

Alura

says:

My son is having trouble with understanding blending period. He understands the concept and can tell me what blending is and what it’s purpose is but he cannot blend words on his own or even remember how to blend a word that we’ve blended together. Which can be frustrating for both of us. Any suggestions how to help him understand how to blend? He’s 7.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alura,
When you say he cannot “remember how to blend a word that we’ve blended together,” do you mean he can’t blend a word immediately after you blend it with him? Or, do you mean he can’t remember how to blend it at a later time?

Have you been over the placement test for All About Reading 1? Is there any portion of it that he struggled with?

Sometimes when a child struggles to understanding blending, it is because he needs more work with phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds of language. Blending is closely tied with these skills. Our Pre-reading level works on phonological awareness, but you can work on phonological awareness skills yourself as well. This page can give your ideas on how to do it.

Don’t rule out our Pre-reading level, however, just because of your son’s age. My son did that level when he was six and enjoyed it very much. Also, you could just use the portion of each Lesson that focuses on phonological awareness.

As for blending, work through the blending procedure outlined in the download in this blog post. Model the blending procedure for him, going through the entire thing while he watches. Be sure to stress step 3 of the blending procedure, where you blend the first two sounds before adding the third.

Then, after you go through the entire procedure with him watching, have him try it with the exact same word. If he can do it with the same word fairly easily, try changing just one letter and see if he can do it. If he cannot, model it for him again and then have him do it. He may need you to model it for him for every word for a number of days in a row before he has success. If he cannot get it, go back to a word you have already done, model it again, and then have him do it. Then end the day’s lesson. That way you are ending on a little success.

If this doesn’t help him to have more success with blending within a week or two, let us know.

The child will understand and will learn to read.

Becky Clemons

says:

My son is in third grade now and we are in our second year of homeschool. We have struggled with guessing (and skipping small words) since 1st grade when he was in public school and taught to use context clues and look at the picture to figure out the word. He was also given a list of 400 high frequency words that he had to basically memorize all throughout that 1st grade year. When volunteering in his class, I helped test the 26 kids on these 400 words throughout the year. His teacher did not give credit to students who had to stop and sound out these words. The teacher said the words had pop off their tongue like popcorn. Unfortunately, I have spent the last two years trying to reteach decoding because of this. Thank you for this article. I chose All About Spelling for my son this year to help him with his spelling and I am so glad I switched from what we used the first year! Little did I know that I would learn so much more than spelling. I love all the research this company puts into their products and I love that they continuously share it with us as parents. As a parent and teacher for my kids I am always learning and evolving. I appreciate the articles and support!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Becky,
I’m sorry to hear your son developed the word guessing habit in first grade; it is a hard one to break. I am happy to hear that we have been helpful to you in homeschooling. Keep up the great work!

Rebecca

says:

my son is in the 3rd grade this year. it’s our 1st year of homeschooling. he was also taught the whole word method and has no idea how to decode a word he doesn’t know. we’re also using all about spelling to help with this. glad to hear it’s helping your son

Juill

says:

I have a guesser. Still working on him.

Lynn

says:

I have also made funny reading passages with nonsense words of the shapes and syllable types the student is working on. The nonsense words force the to decode the words. An easy way to make these is to fill in the blanks in a mad-lib with nonsense words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lynn,
I like your idea to fill in the blanks of a Mad Lib with nonsense words for your student to read. That would work well, even for kids that tend to not like nonsense words. Thank you for the idea!

Jodi

says:

I love your program. I have one child who learned to read and spell as easy as breathing. Then my older son has had the opposite experience ;reading and spelling are the hardest for him. I am able to teach both with your program easily even though they are different learners. This helps as a homeschool mom!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jodi,
Thank you for mentioning this! Yes, because our programs are designed to be used at the individual student’s unique pace, it works equally well for advanced learners and struggling learners.

Katherine

says:

I’ve been wondering about this with my 7 year old. She has a great memory and seems to fall back on using it even when has sounded something out once and then goes back to read it again. I can see how your method could be so helpful at this stage!

Marcie

says:

I will be trying this with my daughter. She will be turning 6th next month and she resists sounding out new words most of the time. She can do it she just balks at doing so.

Jennifer Gacka

says:

Thank you for the clarity of your site and the logical breakdown of resources for helping struggling learners. I believe this program can help my son who has learning difficulties and often guesses words while reading. Thank you for offering a bridge into the world of literacy to help him succeed.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jennifer. We want to help parents and teachers like you help their their children to succeed!

Pauline

says:

Good to know! We are the beginning stages of learning to read, but my daughter already likes to look at the pictures and guess instead of looking at the words or letters!

Amy Cato

says:

This is very helpful. My 7 year old sometimes guesses, using all 4 techniques described above. I have done something similar with him as described above orally,but magnets might help.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
The letter tiles help because they provide a tactile, hands-on reinforcement. If you don’t have letter tiles, you can try simply touching the letters for each sound (Step 2 of the above blending procedure), then sweeping under the letters with your fingers for Steps 3 and 4.

Angie C.

says:

Now if I can just figure out why my 9 year old can read normal words but adds or skips words like on and the all the time or sees a two or three letter word and seems to pick his own.

Angie C.

says:

Never mind I answered my own question by coming across another post of AALP!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

I’m glad you found our other article, but I’ll leave the link here in case someone else reads this and has a similar problem.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Angie,
We have a blog article dedicated to exactly this problem. Help! My Child Skips Small Words.

MamaS

says:

My son is a young pre-reader and able to phonetically sound out a word, however, when he gets to the end he guesses. For instance CAT – he correctly sounds out the c/a/t and then guesses “bat”. Will simple practice decoding words improve this mix-up for him? Thanks!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

It sounds like your son may not have mastered phonological awareness skills yet. When a child still struggles to hear and manipulate the sounds in words, he may struggle to put sounds together to form a word.

Take a look a the placement test for All About Reading level 1. How would your son do with the phonological awareness portion of that placement test? If he would struggle with those items, you may consider going through our Pre-reading program or working on phonological awareness skills yourself.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any further questions.

JD

says:

Actually, I don’t see using word shapes or context/picture cues as a “problem/bad habit” to “fix”. For visual learners (and other young children), these are simply natural techniques that help them learn to read. I have used these methods on purpose, alongside phonetic methods with great success and my mom who was a schoolteacher did the same. Her classes read sooner with more fluency than her co-worker who just stuck to phonetic methods. I have homeschooled all my children and they all learned very easily to read well by grade 1. I would say that word shapes were the most help for my visual learners (2 girls) and context cues were very important for the boys as they appreciated real-life text (e.g. about tractors, etc.) in comparison to the girls who liked the pretend stories.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

JD,
I’m glad to hear your children have all learned to read very easily by grade 1. However, as a mother of a child who struggled to learn to read, even using pictures, real life context, and word shapes, I know first hand that pictures and such interfered with his early reading because his brain had to go through two steps: 1) recall the picture, and then 2) recall the sound. That’s why we encourage students to make a direct connection between the letter and the sound. It may take a bit longer to learn the flashcards, but in the long run, it is actually easier for the student.

Approximately 66% of children will learn to read and spell with little to no trouble. All About Reading and All About Spelling were designed with the other 34% in mind. However, because AAR and AAS are designed to be used at the individual child’s own pace, children that don’t struggle and even gifted children do well with them.

Katelyn Ericson

says:

Thank you for the idea! Two of my students that I tutor are word guessers. I will try this method next lesson time. Maybe seeing it in a different context, rather than on the book’s page, helps them to sound out their words better.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Katelyn,
You’re welcome. Let us know if the ideas here don’t work out.

Jennifer

says:

I work with a student who is a rising 3rd grader (just turned 8) and she regularly guesses words. I have bought AAR level 1 to try with her. It is a bit easy for her but with how badly she struggles I thought it would be best to go all the way back to the beginning. What I found works for her is using the blending procedure but instead of putting her finger under the word I have her use her finger to cover the word. She then slides her finger across the word showing only one phonogram at a time as she sounds out the word. Then I have her slide it over the word revealing the first two phonograms, etc. as with the procedure listed above. By covering the word with her finger and sliding rather than pointing to each sound she is unable to guess using the first and last sounds. I’ve also found that with the tiles she’s able to easily read words that she misses on the word cards and fluency sheets. I think the color differentiation really helps her.

Jennifer,
Thank you for your description of how you have modified our blending procedure for your student. Great idea.

Reading words built with tiles is easiest, both because of the color differences between the vowels and consonants and because each phonogram is represented by a single tile, even if it takes two or more letters to spell that phonogram (such as th and ch). The tiles serve as a scaffolding to progress the student to reading the word cards, then the readers, and then the fluency pages (which are the most difficult).

Thank you again for sharing. Keep up the great work with your student!

Amy

says:

My 10 yr old is definitely a shape guesser. He sees the beginning and the end and comes up with a word that matches those. He was Public School educated through 3rd grade. Now, we will be getting AAR to help him know how to tackle the longer words :-) Thanks for great advice and customer service!

Merry at AALP

says:

You’re welcome! Let us know if you have any questions along the way.

najla

says:

hi dear, thanks for th article. my son ( 9 years & 6 months) has dyselexia . i noticed that flash cards are useful. he sees words as pictures. so he guess them. that speeded his reading but in your article you don’t encourage this approach. please advise

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Najla,

There is a difference between being able to read a word quickly and guessing at the word. You do want your child to be able to read quickly, and AAR has many built-in features to help build fluency (activities, readers, fluency pages, word cards, tile demonstrations). With the word cards, you can track which words he reads fluently (can easily read it whenever you show him the word), and which words need more practice (he still needs to sound out the word).

If, instead of saying the word correctly or sounding it out, he is simply guessing based on the first or last letter, or the shape (house and horse are the same shape, and have the same beginning and ending letters, for example), you’ll know readily that he is just guessing. In this case, take him back through the blending procedure with the tiles and walk him through how to follow that. If he regularly guesses, you might start each day with several tile words, demonstrate the blending procedure, and then have him teach it back to you, until he can do this easily. For kids who have an ingrained habit of guessing, it can take a lot of reinforcement to break that habit. I hope this helps!

Stephanie

says:

My daughter is a “first letter” guesser. I thought she was being lazy or maybe just didn’t understand how to read (which made me feel terrible!). This is the reason we bought AAR, and so far we’ve seen wonderful improvement and she loves the program! This article helped explain the why of her guessing. Thank you so much!

Annie

says:

My dd2 just came out of a preschool where all she learned were sight words. Homeschooling her this year for Kindergarten began in tears. Trying to teach her to read was so frustrating b/c she was a word guesser, using ALL of the methods you mentioned. Two weeks into our school year, I decided to ditch the reading/phonics program that I originally had started her on and I cold turkey bought All About Reading Level 1 for her. We are now on Lesson 26 and she has made a complete 180! She rarely ever guesses at the words and she absolutely LOVES learning to read!! Thank you SO much for blessing us with this wonderful curriculum!!

Jan

says:

My son is a first letter guesser. We’ve been using AAR level one now for close to a month. He has gotten proficient at sounding out the letters, but after sounding out the word he still guesses. For example, he will sound out b a g correctly, then say big (with a question in his voice). I’m really not sure how to help him on this.

Christie Wendt

says:

How were you able to work through this? My 5 year old son does this exact thing and I am at a loss as to how to help him. If you have any advise, please share.

Thanks

Jennifer

says:

My daughter did this too and what AAR suggested (and it did work) was to have her point to the vowel and say it again before she said the word.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

What Jennifer said is what we recommend. Sounding the word out and then touching and saying the vowel sound again helps children to really focus on those pesky vowels.

Getting the wrong vowel sound in a word is a fairly common problem for early readers. The good news is that with gentle correction, most kids do it less and less until it isn’t a problem any more. My youngest had this problem, and after a while it grew less and less until it was a rare occurrence.

Julie

says:

These children that are calling each letter sound correctly and then saying a completely different word need to put the blending tiles aside for a moment and do phonemic awareness activities. Once they have a stronger phonemic awareness, they will be able to blend with these tiles, and the tiles will prove to be a very effective blending tool.

Asenath

says:

My soon to be 5th grader still is a first letter word guesser. Reading has been such a struggle and it is painful to watch him read. He clearly is trying so hard and is very much aware of his errors. He does have eye issues on top of that which makes reading hard for him. He still has a willing spirit to try but I’m afraid if something doesn’t click soon he is going to really start to “hate” reading time since he has already expressed that sentiment during yesterdays reading time. He originally learned the sight word method but after second grade and he wasn’t showing much improvement I decided to home school him. Through the home school program they endorsed learning to read by using Phonics. Huge difference! There were so many reading gaps and no solid foundation it was like building your house out of cards. Now, he is a reader. A slow reader but a reader who still needs to tweek certain areas. I am hopeful this program will fill those gaps and make reading a joy for him.

Kate C.

says:

Ah! My daughter is a context guesser and it drives me nuts, because she will just keep going if I say “no,” instead of listening to me try to get her to break the word down into the blend sounds. We are starting AAR level 1 in the fall and I am very excited!

Audrey

says:

My son is an occasional shape guesser. He gets to reading so fast he forgets to sound them out.

Nate Evans

says:

Our son is a mixture of these. We definitely need to work on this.

Lalea Evans

says:

Our son is a first letter and picture clue guess. Urg! Looking forward to using these tips.

Joni

says:

My boy uses all these to guess!

Grace

says:

Mine is a first-letter guesser, but only when he’s tired or distracted. Thanks for doing this great giveaway!

Cassandra

says:

My son is a “word shape” guesser. I have him “tap” the sounds on his fingers.

Danielle

says:

My son is a context clue guesser.

Jennifer C.

says:

My son is a picture guesser – he adds “the” to a lot of the sentences in the BOB books!

Julie

says:

We will be looking for these as our beginning reader gets older

kathy

says:

I have a letter guessed.

Heather

says:

so excited!

Lydia

says:

context guesser

Emma

says:

My son was a first letter guesser and then a context guesser. Now he is pretty fluent and doesn’t need to guess so much. My daughter is just starting learning letter sounds- so we’ll see what happens with her!!

Winnie

says:

I would say that my little one reads pretty well at her age with an occasional word/picture guesser thrown in there.

Christine

says:

My boy is a first letter guesser. He knows all the sounds of the letters, but will not take the time to sound out the word, he feels like he has to race through the book to finish quickly. I’m hoping AAR will help him with blending and sounding out words.

Krishna Bolling

says:

My 5 yr old daughter became a word guesser on her own when she started reading because she had spent years before just memorizing stories. So she now just fills in an unknown word with a word that would fit the context. I am working on making her slow down and sound out the word.

Kristina

says:

My daughter is a picture guesser. She studies every page and every picture very carefully!

Jamie S.

says:

My boys have learner this method and reading much better!

Stephanie

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser. Though she gets better with each time she guesses and has started correcting herself and sounding out the sounds of each letter.

Kristi

says:

Mine is a picture guesser first and if no picture is a first letter guesser.

Rebecca W

says:

My almost seven-year-old daughter does a mixture of the Picture and Context guessing. She’s been taught phonics, but because she’s so smart she thinks she should just “know” the words, and not half to practice or sound them out.

Penny W

says:

Ours is a context guesser. My husband was a picture guesser when he was a child.

zekesmom10

says:

We have one word guesser, but as he learns more about reading, he is guessing less often. I’d say he is a picture clue guesser.

Sharon

says:

We just purchased AAL and haven’t started yet, but mine is a picture guesser.

Danielle

says:

My son is definitely a picture word guesser. :)

Danielle

says:

My son is definitely a picture word guesser.

Erin

says:

Both my daugthers are first word guessers!

kylie

says:

First letter guesser. :-)

Loretta

says:

I definetly have a word guesser. He is a combination of all the different types of guessers. I must say though that there is a definete improvement since we started using the above method on words he is struggling with!

Lisa Sexton

says:

Picture guesser…thanks for the chance!

Rhonda Moser

says:

Great information.

Kristi

says:

Picture guesser

Chad Hood

says:

WE have a mix of guessers over here!

Ashley

says:

My son does all of these at times. He’s pretty darn good at blending but sometimes wants to read too fast and will mix up a few letters so maybe more toward the word shape guesser

Crystal

says:

I have a “picture clue” guesser!

Christine

says:

My son exhibits the problem of guessing the ending or just leaving the ending off. This method would help him immensly

tara

says:

My Daughter Is A Word Shape GuesSer, We Can Not Wait To Start The AAR Program

Emily

says:

I have a “first letter” and “picture clue” guesser. But he is doing much better now that we have finished level 1 All About Reading!

rachel

says:

I have a combo of a first letter guesser and a picture guesser,

Anna w

says:

My oldest is a picture guesser

Courtney M

says:

My oldest is a picture/first letter guesser.

Robin

says:

My daughter used to be a combination of all of these at different times, but now she’s becoming much better about not guessing.

Jenny

says:

My child is a first letter guesser!

Carla

says:

My daughter is a picture guesser. Planning on using the next level of All About Reading to work on that! :-)

LJ

says:

My 6 yr old daughter has done some phonics (a-z, long and short vowels). She also guesses (usually correctly), but I don’t mind too much, as she can also sound out the word. I feel the context helps strengthen her phonics (sounding out). I love your method of blending, though, and I feel it will especially help her friend (who studies with her) for whom English is a foreign language.

Ashley

says:

My 2nd grader is a picture/word guesser. Both. Oh my, it’s been a challenge with him, but we’ve been doing something similar to the procedure here and it is definitely helping. I keep having to remind him not to add words though.

Jamie Eaton

says:

We are currently going through “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” (more than halfway through) and when my son guesses, I’d say he’s guessing based on either the first letter or the word shape.

He’s a picture guesser!

Chelsea Farnsworth

says:

Definitely a picture guesser being ‘pre-k’ age and all :)

lindsay lamb

says:

I think my son is a mixture of them all!

Kimberly

says:

My oldest was a word shape guesser. She read well overall, but she would definitely slip in the wrong words at times when she was reading quickly. I found out about AAR after she had progressed past level 2, but All About Spelling helped her develop the habit of slowing down and looking at each phonogram!

Becky Emter

says:

I have a word shape guesser!

tracey

says:

I have two 6-yr-olds who are pretty good at reading phonetically. They’re both on the same level (I would start with level 2) but if I had to pick one, I think they’d both be context guessers.

syeda

says:

My son is a picture clue guesser. Since he is a beginner reader and we mostly read picture books. I think he has developed this habit.

Trisha Berens

says:

I think my daughter is more a word shape guesser.

jacquie

says:

How about one that can sound out words that are smaller but doesn’t want to try longer words for fear of messing up? lol

Crystal

says:

Just started AAR level 1, hoping it will “cure” my sons guessing too! ;) so far extremely happy with this program! Excited to keep going!

Emily

says:

My daughter uses the first word and picture guesser techniques together…pretty effective!

Tonia P

says:

Definitely a first letter guesser!!!

Barbie

says:

My son is pretty much a picture guesser in the book and a word shape guesser on the fluency sheets. One of his problems is that he doesn’t tend to listen to himself read! So when he makes a guess, it doesn’t even have to make sense to him in the context.

carrie

says:

My son is a first letter guesser

Sharon

says:

My child is a ‘word shape’ guesser.

Bethany

says:

My daughter is a picture clue guesser…. she is still in the very beginning stages of reading and is really learning to sound out words, but has not quite learned all of the “special rules” yet and likes to try to read any book she has! She will sound out the letters and if she can’t figure it out, then she looks at the picures and guesses a word that fits!

RaSheena

says:

My son is a picture guesser, but my daughter is a first letter guesser.

Stephanie C

says:

My son’s only 5 but he just guesses random words, most of the time he doesn’t even pay attention to what letters are in the word or pictures that are on the page!

Heather Perry

says:

My daughter is definitely a word shape guesser!

Stephanie G.

says:

My child is a picture clue guesser!

Katie Yaeger

says:

My second child was a picture clue guesser.

Becki

says:

My oldest was a context guesser and my second child seems to be a picture guesser.

Grace

says:

Am Hoping To Use All About Reading With My Youngest So We Dont Have The Word Guessing Problem :)

Madonna

says:

We’ve lucked out and not had to any word guessing.

Susana Brzenski

says:

My 6 year old is struggling with reading that sometimes he gets so frustrated and he start guessing then he doesn’t want to read. However , i trust that he will be able to read , I am working on making see that read is a lot of fun. Thanks for this article is helping me a lot.

Tyra

says:

My daughter used to be a guesser (probably a mixture of a couple of those) but in the past year has really gotten better at sounding out words. I think her biggest problem was just not taking time to blend the letters together like she needed to. I would love to try the AAR to give her even more help with that!

Robyn

says:

Another picture guesser here too. I’ll also cover the picture at times just to encourage him to figure out a word based on other methods. First letters also sometimes come into play for guessing with him. Thanks for the tips!

Amanda Felton

says:

My son is definitely a picture guesser. Pictures are his favourite part of stories

Heather Picone

says:

We are just starting down the reading road, my son finds the phonograms he already knows with in the word and tries to guess from there. He uses picture clues as well.

Kerrie

says:

My youngest is a first letter guesser.

simplytodelight

says:

I have a first letter guesser and a picture guesser! Thanks for the tips!

cynthia

says:

My daughter is a picture guesser. Sometimes i have to cover the picture first so she doesn’t guess all the time.

Rebecca

says:

I have a first letter guesser

Amy

says:

My daughter is a context guesser.

Ellie

says:

I don’t mind picture guessing especially for emergent readers. I always tell my kidslook at the word and if you need help, look to the picture for clues.

Tessa

says:

My son is a combo. First he is a first letter guesser, then if I ask him to look again (meaning at the WORD) he is a picture guesser! Glad to know there are others out there and that I’m doing something right!

Tiffany

says:

My daughter is a “first letter “guesser…but she’ll also see the middle letters and, because she may be going to fast, assume because there’s an h and an r that the word is horse instead of heart, even if it doesn’t fit with he sentence topic.

Kim Chance

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser!

Marci

says:

When my daughter is too lazy she guesses using the first syllable of the word.

Lori J.

says:

I have picture guessers here! 2 of them :)

suzi

says:

My oldest son ecaped this habit. My younger son is a word shape guesser.

kerry

says:

My daughter has done really well learning letter blends!

Marci

says:

Picture guesser

Deborah

says:

My son is a “first letter guesser,” unless there are pictures, then he becomes a “picture guesser.”

Joanne Miller

says:

I’m having the word guessing problem! Need all the help we can get!

Ule Logue

says:

My son is a first letter/picture guesser. He is struggling to read and I think this program would truly help him….

Nicole H

says:

My child has mastered blends.

carla newsom

says:

My child is a picture clue guesser. Always looking at the pictures.

Julie K.

says:

We managed to skip the word guessing…

Christine

says:

My daughter is a picture guesser – for sure. She tries to put the sentence into context with the picture if she doesn’t know the word. She’s improving with practice!

Jaime S

says:

My son is a picture guesser.

Katie Salvador

says:

I know for sure one of my children is a picture guesser. I would imagine I have some of each type! Thanks for the giveaway!

Jessica Gregory

says:

I would say my DS is a “word shape” guesser. He’s 11 and struggles with spelling. This program sounds wonderful and we will definitely be giving it a try this fall!

Carlin

says:

My 6 year old son is a picture guesser. I would love to try All About Reading with him.

Valerie

says:

My son is a word shape guesser.

Laura Kulp

says:

I tutor a girl who is a picture guesser. She has improved a lot since we have been using this blending procedure. I am hoping to add all of the All About Reading series to my collection of tutoring books.

Laurie Cassano

says:

First Letter Guesser :)

Christine H

says:

My son has always been taught using phonics but could not blend until we used the AAR method. He will occasionally guess however!

Brandi Osborn

says:

My seven year old son is a “first letter guesser.”

Sarah Sandiford

says:

My oldest son is a picture guesser, but he also has dyslexia/sensory processing problems. :)

Renatta Welsh

says:

My son, who is currently using AAR 2 and has been diagnosed with a reading disability as well as a short memory deficit, is definitely a “first letter” guesser, who mixes it up occasionally by being a “word shape” guesser! However, after using AAR 2 for about 4 months, this habit is being broken and his skills are improving tremendously!!! And for that I could not be more thankful! We are not ready for AAR 3 yet, but will be by the time it gets here, and I’m also wanting to get the PreReading for my daugter who is 3.5 and has LOTS of similarities to her older brother. Looking forward to how her mind will unfold as she begins to read. :)

Misty R.

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser.

Dana

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser.

jill

says:

I love the new look of the pages. I’m excited to actually see one in person. :)

Christina purington.

says:

My daughter is a word shape guesser but also was told by her teacher to look at pictures and guess.

Kim

says:

Word shape guesser. Mainly he is trying to read quickly so just working to slow him down and look at each letter helps a great deal.

Sam

says:

My son is a picture guesser :)

Kim

says:

This is a habit that we are starting to break thanks to AAS and AAR. Thanks!

Pam

says:

I think my daughter is a word shape guesser.

Deborah

says:

My kiddo is a “Picture Clue” Guesser

Rosa

says:

My son is mix of both I think.. My son is 5y/o and I’m looking for something that works for him…
Thank you!!

Mindy

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser.

Samantha

says:

My six year old is a context clue guesser although he doesn’t do it that often. He is pretty good at sounding out word.

April

says:

My son is having such a hard time learning to read aloud with his top 4 teeth missing for almost 2 years. It would be really neat to get him to read better.

jaen

says:

My son is a word shape guesser

Stacy

says:

We are still in the pretend reading stage at our house. I’m hoping to start some more formal instruction in the fall.

Samantha

says:

My son is a mix of picture guesser and first letter guesser.

Angela

says:

My daughter is a context clues guesser.

Shanna

says:

I definitely have a first letter guesser.

Sandra Mills

says:

My daughter is a combination of picture guesser and first letter guesser. Working on breaking up the words :)

Jennifer

says:

My first son’s guesses turned into more and more accurate guesses. I think he ended up learning some “whole language” along with all the phonics I was trying to teach him. Now my second son doesn’t remember the same as his older brother and even after reading the same word twice or three times in the same sentence he might still have to sound it out and guess. Whereas I think his older brother was more clever and quickly memorized or the words or something—my oldest just magically got it. But my second son now seems to be in a hurry to catch up, if he knows the general context he will try and guess every word without trying. His birthday card he kept guess every word was “Happy Birthday”. Mostly he is a first letter guesser. But slowly he is getting there, we are reading about Little Bear and he is enjoying it. Every kid is different!

Megan

says:

My child is a context guesser.

Julie

says:

My DD was a first letter guesser. Reading beyond 5th grade level now at age 5.5
My DS is just learning to read. He uses a combination of guessing strategies.

Jenny

says:

I honestly feel like my daughter uses all four of these techniques either together or apart. I also think she throws in a fifth one. When I work on the word flashcards with us I feel like to sometimes assigns mnemonic devices to the cards. For instance, the word is “branch” and she will say “twig”. I have demonstrated how to sound out with the blending method but she reverts back to these other way regardless.

Kelly E

says:

My daughter would be a context clue or picture clue guesser. We have been working on sounding out words though and she is getting a little better :)

Camille K.

says:

My son is a “picture guesser”. I hope we win as we LOVE AAS and would love to add AAR to our curricula! Thanks for the giveaway!

Jonana

says:

My daughter doesn’t do this too badly but when she does, she’s a first letter guesser.

Kristi Jo

says:

my son is a first letter guesser. Still trying to stop that habit :)

Katie Q

says:

My daughter is a “first letter” and “picture” guesser.

Suzanne Delgadillo

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser.

Shannon P

says:

Mine are both first letter guessers

Christa

says:

My son is a struggling reader and he is always guessing at words. I really didn’t realize what a bad habit this was. Thanks for the article.

Michele G.

says:

Two of the kids are Picture Clue guessers, my son is a First-Letter guesser :)

Melanie Nicklin

says:

My son does not guess really.

Heather Y

says:

My oldest (6) rarely guesses, unless it’s a long word he’s never seen; my youngest (4.5) is a first letter and picture guesser – those middle vowels tend to be “irrelevant” to him at this age! No sweat – he’s young and he’ll learn!

Gina Zapata

says:

Both of my kids do a good job of using the sounds of phonograms when reading. They do not guess very often.

Amber

says:

My daughter is a picture guesser, though as she learns he phonograms better this is greatly improving. She has always been homeschooled and has learned with phonics the whole way, so I think it is more due to wanting to be quicker like her old siblings.

Leslie Dixon

says:

My daughter is definitely context clue guesser!

Kim

says:

My daughter skims the letters.

Deanna

says:

My daughter is a combo first letter and context guesser

Nicole

says:

My four-year-old is a Picture-Clue Guesser, for sure!!!

angie

says:

I have a first letter guesser, and one that is a combination of all the above!

cris

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser.

JC

says:

At this point my son is just a wild guesser. There is no rhyme or reason to what he will choose. We went back to pre-reading when I realized he really didn’t have a clue and he was getting frustrated in level 1.

Sonja

says:

I’d say my son is a combo of first letter guesser and picture guesser.

Lisa R

says:

Not sure yet because he is only 2!

Renee'

says:

My kid is a word guesser!

Camille

says:

I would say my beginning reader is a mix of picture clue and first letter guesser.

Dawn

says:

We have escaped the word guessing game with our youngest. Oh how I wish we’d had AAR for our first 3!

Caroline

says:

My daughter tries to sound out words first, then she goes to guessing if she can’t figure it out. She will usually use the first letter, and then context if she can’t sound it out.

Kristie S.

says:

My son can definitely sound out words, even words he doesn’t really know, thanks to AAR but he likes to rush sometimes and so he does sometimes like to be a first letter guesser or use the picture so he will say puppy instead of dog or something like that sometimes.

Kristen

says:

My son is a first letter, context guesser :-)

Cherie

says:

My son is a combination of first word and picture clue guesser. I’ve read that generally boys will memorize words and I think he does this some too.

Jess

says:

I have a “context clue” guesser. He can come up with some pretty interesting phrases::

jamie

says:

My son is a mixture of all guessing types….but mostly because he doesn’t take his time to read what is actually written!!! He knows a lot of the blends but sometimes has trouble paying deep enough attention to what he is reading.

Netesse

says:

I have a picture guesser.

Lisa Imerman

says:

My child is a picture guesser if there are pictures, otherwise he is a context clue guesser. I think he actually uses several strategies.

Angela Fraser

says:

I do, he does a little of each. Wondering about starting vision therapy, but will definitely try this first!

Marina Lewandowski

says:

Yup! I have a guesser!

CarmenG

says:

I’m not really sure yet about my son. We will start learning letters and sounds this year.

Meg

says:

My 6 yo uses a combination of picture and context guessing. He can sound words out, but it’s hard work, and he’d rather guess.

Stacy

says:

My children seem to do each of these guessing ways to read. I have never thought of that before. Thanks for the information!

Tasha G

says:

First letter guesser…and she will look at the pictures to figure it out too.

Tara Waller

says:

My son is a picture clue guesser.

Shannon

says:

My Little tends to guess at words with the assumption it’s a “memory word” or “rule breaker” as we call it. Ultimately, he doesn’t do it too often.

Kathy Schell

says:

Definitely does many of these things–uses context mostly and will say “I can’t read that” like the post above.

kira

says:

My did still tends to guess at some longer words–she just turned 9. She’s a word shape guesser and I think AAS would help that a lot.

Natasha

says:

Great tip! My early readers are a blend of context guessers and first letter guessers. They look at the first letter and then think of a word beginning with that letter that will fit the context.

Sherri Dickey

says:

My son is a picture and a first letter guesser!

Paige

says:

I have a child that does this. We need this program

Michelle W

says:

I think we may have escaped this habit – not positive but if my son doesn’t know a word he will just either try to sound it out or say “I can’t read that”.

Heather

says:

My daughter is a context guesser!!

Amanda

says:

I have a first letter guesser I think… He’s 4 and reading Cvc words. Sometimes we have to stop and look at the vowel again.

Cathy

says:

My daughter is a word shape guesser. If she doesn’t get it right she just keeps guessing until I prompt her to sound it out.

Shannon D

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser, all the time.

Michelle

says:

My child is a First Letter Guesser and Picture Guesser (depending if a picture is available that might be helpful for the word being attempted).

Megan

says:

I love that since teaching my kids the rules with AAS, there is no more guessing, just reminding them of the spelling/phonics rules!

Gina Humbel

says:

My daughter does all of the above on guessing.

Rachel P

says:

My daughter seems to be a word shape guesser. If she doesn’t get it right the first time she keeps looking at me and guessing instead of looking at the word and sounding it out.

Nikki

says:

We have a first letter guesser in our home but she has improved so much with this program!

Tracy Ripley

says:

My 6 year old is a word guesser. We just started AAR L1 today and I am hoping to break his habit! :)

Michelle

says:

My son wants to spell so bad he can hardly stand it. So he just puts letters together he thinks sound right for a word.

Tawnya Hood

says:

I would say my 3rd child is a first letter, followed by a picture guesser. She starts the word, realizes she doesn’t quite know it and looks around for clues. :)

Tara

says:

My daughter was a picture guesser.

Debbie

says:

My son is definitely the context guesser and learning to S.. L..O..W.. down to blend has really helped him become a better reader and speller. The tiles are one of the best features for him for learning to blend. Love this program and are almost ready to start the next.

B

says:

My almost 4 year old son is a picture guesser.

Shannon S

says:

My son is a first letter guesser. He sometimes guesses words that have nothing to do with what we are reading and that he has never been asked to read before, just because they start with the same letter!

Cheryl Ingersoll

says:

My son is a picture guesser and he will guess based on the first and last letter of the word

Laurie

says:

I think my daughter is a little bit of all for types of guesser. She has been teased because of her lack of reading skill and has totally shut down. I am hoping that this program will give her confidence to try again.

Stephanie

says:

My little girl is a “picture clue” guesser, but I think that’s natural at this stage, as she hasn’t learned to read yet. I love watching her “retell” stories with pictures. :)

Meredith Covert

says:

My son is a “first letter” guesser. Very interesting article! Thanks!

Amber

says:

My daughter is a “word shape” guesser

Julie

says:

My 4 yr old doesn’t do much guessing yet. Maybe too much of a perfectionist. He sounds everything out and is afraid to get a word wrong.

Jean

says:

My daughter is a picture clue guesser. We definitely need to change curriculum.

Karla

says:

My son’s not officially reading yet. He knows a couple words, like mom, my name, his dad’s name, dad, and of course his own. I’m sure there are more, but he doesn’t yet officially qualify as word guessing I guess.

Michele Rezewski

says:

We are just starting to teach our son to read so I am not sure if he is a guesser or not. This is good information to know.

April

says:

My 5 year old daughter is a picture guesser.

Tiffany S.

says:

Great article. Luckily my sons didn’t do that, they slowly tried to sound them out but never really heard them trying to “guess” a word.

Shar W

says:

Most of my kids are “first word” guessers. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win!
Shar W

Karyn

says:

I think my daughter is a picture clue guesser. She does this a lot as we are reading!

Andre

says:

My son is a first letter and picture guesser.

Jenny K

says:

My daughter will be learning to read this coming school year. It will be interesting to see how she does. I think All About Reading will make the whole process much easier.

Jeanee

says:

My dd has just started reading, within the last few weeks. It’s hard to say which type of guesser she is, though I’ve noticed she does try to guess words. Instead of sounding them out she kind of just makes up a word she thinks will come next! Excited about using a more formal program with her to nip this in the bud while she is still early in the process.

Emily

says:

My almost 5 yr old has been reading since 2,but still uses all three strategies when confronted with s large or odd word. I hope AAS and AAR will help him grasp the whys behind words. My almost 3 guesseryold is a pictures guesser just learning.his letters. Prereading for him.

Lacey

says:

My 4 yr old refuses to guess. If he doesn’t know he asks & asks & asks until someone tells him.

Christy K.

says:

My youngest is usually a first letter guesser but sometimes she uses pictures for help too.

Nicole

says:

I think my 4th grader combines first letter and word shape for guessing big words. She is just too busy and impatient to sound them out. Eventually she recognizes the word after seeing and hearing on several different pages of a book, but if I try to stop her reading outloud and make her sound it out it’s like torture to her. Sounding out letter tiles is very painful to her because it requires her to slow down and she hates doing anything slow. But we’re working on it.
Would love to win the give-a-way!

Amanda

says:

My son is still a pre-reader so he is definitely a picture guesser at this point!

Mary K

says:

picture guesser

Rk

says:

My daughter guesses sometimes. I think that’s easy for her to do then figuring sounds.

Alicia J

says:

My 1st grader could really use this program! She is a picture and first letter guesser and I am really struggling trying to get her to sound out the words! This program would be a blessing to us!

Alicia

says:

My oldest was a word guesser until we started AAS. My middle daughter is a picture/context guesser.

Georgette

says:

When my son reads things that are at or close to his reading level/abilities, he tries to sound the word out with what rules he already knows and remembers. As he attempts more and more things that are quite a bit above his reading level, he tends to mix his guessing methods – sometimes first letter or context or picture, while other times multiple guessing strategies at once. I’m not too concerned yet, since he is still in the early stages of reading. I’m thinking (hoping) that he will stop guessing as he progresses through the levels and learns to read even better.

Michelle

says:

My daughter is doing great!! No guessing, but we started a little later than most would!!

Kaya

says:

I have both a word shape guesser and a picture clue guesser. I have tried so much for my picture clue guesser. I have covered the pictures, had him repeat it without giving any clues, trying to get him to sound out the word no matter what. My daughter, the word shape guesser, gets frustrated after her second guess. I have encouraged her to use her finger and go down the word. Put her finger over the last part of the word, then sound them out one at a time. She just gets frustrated and shuts down. That’s not the way I want her to enter the beautiful journey of reading for enjoyment…

Evelyn

says:

My son was always a word guesser.

Blair

says:

I have a context clue guesser!

Luann

says:

My child is definitely a context and picture guesser. :)

Jennifer

says:

My daughter is still learning her blends. However, that being said, she does very good looking at pictures to determine what is happening in that particular scene of the story. I have been wanting this curriculum for so long. Still hoping we can purchase it for school this year, but if not, we will definitely get it next year.

Emily R.

says:

My daughter is definitely a picture guesser!

Heather

says:

My child is a first-letter guesser, or should I say she WAS. She has become such a more fluent reader and now has gained the tools she has needed to become better at blending and decoding words in general, all thanks to AAR and AAS! Thank you!

Amy Calton

says:

My daughter is a word shape guesser. This information is very helpful! We will be starting All About Spelling soon. We have heard so many great things about this program!

Jacque

says:

My little one is a 1st letter guesser. She does it all the time.

Sara

says:

My daughter guesses the rear half of long words, giving up on the sounding the word out after the first or second syllable. Thank you for your helpful article. I have been trying to break this habit for the entire 2 1/2 years we have been homeschooling.

Haley Aldrich

says:

My 5-year-old is a first letter and a picture guesser.

Rachel C

says:

My son uses the first letter to guess the word.

MamaGames

says:

My daughter is a picture-clue guesser, although she also uses the first letter of the word to try and make her guess. Would love to try All About Reading for her!

Casandra

says:

My son is a picture clue guesser.

Peiyin Hiew

says:

Even at age 10, my son still guesses the more complex, multiple syllable words! I think its because he never had a solid phonics foundation. After discovering AAR and AAS, I’m so thrilled that I can have a right start with my 5-year old. Thank you so much!

Kensey

says:

My son is a context guesser. But I love your solution!

Leslie

says:

It would be great if our children could avoid becoming word guessers. My husband does that.

Clio

says:

Thank you for this. My son is definitely a first letter guesser. Sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I will laugh because he will look at a very short word and guess a very long word. I like the idea of going to the letter tiles.

Winnie

says:

My little one I believe gets excited and reads the word too fast having her sometimes “guessing” the word.

Jenny

says:

My son is a context guesser, sometimes doesn’t even look at the word!

Mike

says:

Context clues guesser :)

Cyndi N

says:

My dd mastered the AAR blending after finishing level 1.

Melanie

says:

My son is a first letter guesser…hoping to remedy that with your great program!

Kd Blackburn

says:

My last child is “finishing up” learning to read and he is definitely a picture word guesser! haha

Dawn

says:

I generally remind my son to just sound it out – “try again…”

Angela

says:

My daughter is a first letter guesser.

Jill

says:

My daughter is definately a picture guesser!!

Tara G.

says:

My child is a first letter guesser!

Heather

says:

My son is a combination first letter and shape guesser.

Cyndi

says:

My children tend to be first letter and context guessers.

Sarah E

says:

Out of three, I have one that I’m not sure how he arrives at his word! I suppose sometimes it’s the leading letter, but other times a context guess. I didnt teach sight words, but he has always wanted to read fast. I’ve avoided the picture clues because I cover the picture until after they read the sentence(s). I’ve got two more to teach coming up! Great give away!

Clarissa

says:

After reading this article, I watch how my second child read, and think she is “all 4” in one sentence. I consider her to lead with a Picture Clues Guesser. She doesn’t like to be rushed into reading, until she has studied the picture.

Jennifer S

says:

my 7 year old is a very good reader, but when she sees long words, she will sometimes guess based on word shape of a familiar word – continent for confident, etc. So we are working on sounding out multisyllable words just like she used to do for every one-syllable word. I have to remind her that blending is not just for short words.