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Help! My Child Skips Small Words When Reading

Closeup of child reading a book

Does your child skip small words when he’s reading? Skipping small words is actually a very common problem that we usually notice when our children are reading aloud, but the truth is that many adults skip words as well.

Interestingly, the most commonly skipped words are small, high-frequency words such as the, in, on, a, and of. These are function words that a child cannot visualize, and since the sentence can still be comprehended without them, the words are easily skimmed over.

In addition, shorter words are much more likely to be skipped than longer words, and predictable words are more likely to be skipped than non-predictable words.

Why Do Readers Skip Small Words?

When I first explored the reasons for skipping small words while reading, I was surprised to find out how much research has been done on this topic. Generally, researchers wanted to study the way the eyes move during the process of reading: how they track, how they jump forward to the next word or phrase, and how much text is taken in at a single glance.

I’ve cited the research at the bottom of this post, but for our purposes, the main thing we need to know is this:

As a person reads, their eyes jump forward to the next word or phrase, and in this process, small words can be missed.

Longer words or unusual short words grab our attention, while smaller common words are more likely to go unnoticed.

An open book being read

In addition to the scientific explanation, there are several other reasons a child may skip words:

  • Your child may be reading too fast. Children who read too quickly tend to think that “good readers are really fast readers.” But skipping small words is just one of the many issues that can crop up if a child reads too fast.
  • Your child’s eyes are moving faster than he can say the words. If this is the case, he may have actually seen the word, but he didn’t actually speak it aloud. People speak at a rate of approximately 180 words per minute, while the average person can silently read 230 words per minute.
Child reading from an All About Reading Level 3 reader
  • Your child may have vision problems. There is a vision issue called convergence insufficiency disorder. With this vision disorder, the eyes have great difficulty focusing, and small words are often skipped.
  • Your child may have dyslexia. Skipping words can be a symptom of dyslexia. If you suspect dyslexia, this checklist may be helpful.
  • Your child may be unable to decode the words. If you point out the skipped word, is he able to read it? If not, the real problem may be that the reading material is above his comfortable reading level. He may need additional instruction in phonics and decoding.
  • Your child has suddenly begun to skip small words. Some children who were previously reading small words with no problem may suddenly begin skipping them. This can be a natural occurrence as your child is developing as a reader. He may be moving from the beginning stage of reading one word at a time to the more advanced stage of taking in a phrase at a time. This could solve itself in a few weeks as your child figures out the best speed for smooth reading.

How Can You Remedy This Problem?

If your child doesn’t have a vision or decoding problem, try some of the following tips to help your student pay attention to smaller words when reading.

  • Have your child point to each word as he reads it. He shouldn’t just slide his finger under the sentence—he should actually point to the word being read. After he stops skipping words, discontinue this practice.
Child pointing a word in a book
  • Record your child reading and play back the audio so he can recognize the fact that he skips words when reading.
  • When he skips a word, ask him if the sentence he just read makes sense, and to re-read it.

The Bottom Line on Skipping Small Words

  • Word skipping is a common scenario that happens to children and adults.
  • Children skip words for many reasons.
  • The solution will depend on the reason behind the word skipping, but there are many ways to remedy this issue.
Read Research on Word Skipping

Brysbaert M, Drieghe D, Vitu F. (2005). Word skipping: Implications for theories of eye movement control in reading. In: Underwood G, editor. Cognitive processes in eye guidance (pp. 53-77). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Choi, W., & Gordon, P. C. (2014). Word skipping during sentence reading: effects of lexicality on parafoveal processing. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 76(1).

Drieghe D., Rayner K., & Pollatsek A. (2005). Eye movements and word skipping during reading revisited. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31, 954–969.

Ehrlich, SF & Rayner K. (1981). Contextual effects on word recognition and eye movements during reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 20, 641–655.

Fitzsimmons, G. & Drieghe, D. (2011). The influence of number of syllables on word skipping during reading. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 736–741.

Hyönä J. (1995). Do irregular letter combinations attract readers’ attention? Evidence from fixation locations in words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 21, 68–81.

Rayner K., Slattery, T.J., Drieghe, D., & Liversedge, S.P. (2011). Eye movements and word skipping during reading: Effects of word length and predictability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37, 514–528.

Does your child skip words when he is reading? Have you discovered any helpful tips?

Photo credit: Rachel Neumann

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Leave a Comment

Michele

says:

My daughter skips small words too or changes words (like have to had). She is in 4th grade and this is our first year homeschooling. Her fluency seems poor to me, even though she has always done well in school and comprehension has always been good. We just started AAS Level and she flew through it. It has been a great to go over some phonics and learn spelling rules. I also noticed that when she did the dictation of sentences in AAS she would sometimes a change a word (in to on or have to had) just like she does when she reads. Any thoughts/tips? Is that common?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michele,
Changing a word, especially small words, in the dictation is somewhat common, especially if it happens only occasionally. Think of that old telephone game we used to play where a messaged was whispered to one person after another until after a number of people the message ended up remarkably changed from the beginning.

However, it is something to work on. “Things that are different are not the same.” This seems like an obvious statement, but it reminds my kids that there is a reason why we have different words for in and for on, for have and for had. The difference is subtle, but the meaning is changed when we read or write the wrong words.

When she first writes the dictation, ask her to read what she wrote exactly and decide if it was what you said exactly. She may be able to catch some of her own errors that way. If she doesn’t catch the error, call her attention to these errors and ask her how the meaning of the sentence was changed with what you said and what she wrote. Doing this may help her to pay more attention to such words in the future.

Just know that the occasional error in dictation is to be expected. It is a more difficult skill than just writing single words. Approach each error as a teaching or review opportunity, and if you notice similar errors happening regularly consider having a full lesson just to address them. This article on dictation may help.

As for her reading, have you see our blog article on How to Develop Reading Fluency? With a student in 4th grade, I recommend starting by listening to her read aloud to you. You may hear right away what the problem is. Once you know where her difficulties lie, we can provide specific help, although you might not need it. For example, I found that one of my kids was reading in an expressionless monotone that was impossible to comprehend. It was straight forward to work with him on reading with expression and it did wonders for his comprehension.

Let us know how it goes, or if you have any further questions.

Bethany Bechtold

says:

So glad to hear were it alone in this struggle!! I think my son is just reading too fast and needs to slow down (he’s always wanting to know how many pages left…yet enjoys reading the stories). He dies get frustrated when I tell him to reread because ges skipped a word or two (a, or, the) so recording him is a great idea!! And for him to listen how he doesn’t always stop at a period and continues. I love AAS/AAR and recommend it to every homeschooler I chat with.

Amanda Flick

says:

My daughter skips small words, or adds words in place of words like “the” “or” and “at” this was extremely helpful as I think she tries to read too fast. Telling her to slow down a bit helps tremendously.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We are happy to be helpful, Amanda!

Amy

says:

My 100% blind, braille reading sister skips small words!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
I find it interesting that this is a problem that extends beyond sight reading and includes braille. Makes me think that maybe it’s about how the mind processes the content.

Sarah

says:

I’m the one at our house who skips words when reading aloud; thank you for helping me understand why. I read much faster in my mind than I can speak the words so I struggle with being ahead of myself. If I’m reading aloud to my kids and they can see what I’m reading they will actually correct me when I miss a word. Lol

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Yes! Reading aloud is a skill all to it’s own. I, too, read much faster than I can comfortably speak, and it took a lot of practice to be able to slow my mind down to a comfortable speaking pace. Once I get in the groove, however, I can read aloud for an hour or more without a problem and not even notice the passage of time. It’s great. But some days the groove is elusive and it’s a struggle to read aloud for 15 minutes. Thankfully, as time goes on those days are less and less frequent.

Karli

says:

My daughter often doesn’t just skip words, she changes them. Instead of “They went down to the river” she might read “Then they went over to the river”. This happens with words she does know how to read. She has convergence insufficiency and some other vision problems, but those have gotten much better over the years with therapy so I’m not sure that’s the culprit. I usually have her re-read the sentence, but it becomes disruptive to the flow of the reading. Do you have any tips for me? By the way, we absolutely love AAR and my kids love the activities that are included.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Karli,
First, because she has convergence insufficiency and other vision problems, a check up is probably best to be sure she is still on track.

Does she occasionally misread a sentence like this, or is it frequent? If it is occasional, I wouldn’t worry at all. It is very normal for people to occasionally misread a sentence when reading aloud; I know I do it at least once an hour or more when I am reading aloud to my children. I think it is because I can read faster than I can speak. As long as it doesn’t change the meaning of the passage, let an occasional misreading to go by without comment.

However, if she is doing this frequently, it is possible that she has developed a sort of word guessing habit based on context. This changing small words is closely related or even the same as skipping small words, and pointing her finger to each word as she reads it is likely to help. In my experience, however, many children are resistant to doing this (maybe because it requires them to slow down and pay closer attention?). In this case, you can point your own finger to each word as she reads it for her.

It is probably best to go ahead and disrupt the flow of her reading repeatedly if this is happening often. Slowing her down and making her aware of what she is doing will help her to break the habit and become a better reader. However, you may need to balance having her reread sentences versus just letting it go based on her frustration level. If this frustrates her a lot, you may find it best to focus on the misreadings that change the meaning of the passage.

I hope this helps. Please let us know how it goes, or if you need further help.

Jennifer

says:

Very helpful! After reading this, I think my dd’s eyes are moving faster than she can say the words. She was in public school & they frown on using your finger to help. I might try the recording – she never believes me:).

Nicky

says:

Thank you so much for your helpful, informative blog! With the knowledge and advice from your posts, I know I need to get my son checked out for vision convergence problems and possibly dyslexia. This is such an answer to many prayers! Thank you!

Nicky,
You are welcome. I am very glad we could help you in this way. Please let us know if we can help in any further way too.

Michelle R

says:

My daughter is on level 2 AAReading and we are going to start AAS spelling next week. I like the idea about the reading game counting skipped words. She skips a lot of the small words but she does know the words when I point them out. She doesn’t always catch them the 2nd time she reads the scentance either and gets frustrated when I ask her to read it over again. Thanks for your advice and making these programs.

Michelle,
From what you described, I agree the game idea would be likely helpful to your daughter. It seems just becoming aware of the skipped words will make a large difference.

You are welcome, and I am very glad we can be of help to you and yours. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Hannah Day

says:

I find that my child will often read the word “the” as “a” and vice versus in addition to skipping small words.

Diana Gahm

says:

Love the idea of having the kids record themselves!!!

Karen

says:

Very helpful information. Thank you!!!

Heather

says:

My daughter does this too. That’s why it caught my eye.

Michelle Harding

says:

Thank you for posting such helpful information!!!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Michelle!

Hope

says:

Another fun way to bring awareness to children that skip small words is to read a passage yourself omitting words. Have the child listen to you read and then indicate which words were skipped when reading. You can turn this into a game by taking turns reading pages of a book aloud. While one person reads, the other person tallies the number of skipped words. The person with the least ‘points’ wins. Before commencing the ‘game’, go over strategies (finger tracking, slower speed, etc.) to keep in mind when reading, so as to decrease rates of omission.

Merry at AALP

says:

Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

Brenda

says:

My children do this as well. Thanks for the tips to isolate the issue.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Brenda!

Lacy

says:

I find having them point to the individual words helps slow them down and read each word.

Amy

says:

Great tips! Mine are not yet reading, but I can see this problem just in my own reading out to them, so this is a good heads-up!

Amy,
Reading aloud well is a skill that must be developed and practiced. Most adults read faster than they comfortable speak, so we do things like skip small words or our tongues stumble on longer ones because our minds are processing the words a sentence or two ahead. It takes a bit to find that mental groove of not reading ahead of your own mouth. I completely understand.

Anyway, thank you for posting. Have a great week.

Modern Mia

says:

Thank you for this! My 3rd child skips lots of words and it makes me a little anxious.

Mia,
I hope this blog post relieves some of your anxiety, and that you find it useful for helping your child.

I hope you have a lovely week. Let us know if we can help in any way.

Rebeca

says:

Would love to try with my granddaughter.

Laura

says:

Helpful information – thanks!

Patty

says:

What helpful ideas!

Debra Fitzgerald

says:

Word skipping was one of the things I noticed about my son who is dyslexic.

April Garcia

says:

Interesting thoughts. I have had some skip big words instead of sounding them out. I think they are just being lazy, but I think I will try out some of these suggestions.

April,
Skipping big words, or just guessing at them, instead of sounding them out may be laziness, but it may also be caused because they are unsure how to proceed. Help them think through the syllable division of long words, and sound them out one syllable at a time.

You can use the tiles to build the word, so that they can physically divide the syllables to sound out. Skipping words isn’t the same as guessing at them, but the procedure outlined in this blog post will go a long way to help cure this problem with just a few minutes a day. http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/break-the-word-guessing-habit/

I hope this helps. Let us know if we can help further.

Tammy

says:

My daughter attended vision therapy last year for 3 months and they found weaknesses in convergence and tracking. She made some progress, but we could not continue with further therapy/homework at that time. This year we began your All About Reading and Spelling program and I bumped her back to level 2 (she’s in 3rd gr.). She completed level 2 and we’re halfway through level 3 now. She is still a slower reader, but not struggling near as much and her confidence has greatly increased. Her biggest issue is that she consistently switches out the small words with other small words such as “to” for “it,” etc. Sometimes they look like they could be related words, other times, not! They don’t seem to make a big enough difference in the content for her to catch them. She only catches them if I repeat part of the sentence and stop before the word for her to “fix” it. Is this helpful? I feel like I am still enabling if I do this, but I want to help her awareness…Any further suggestions? Thank you so much!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Tammy,

First of all, congratulations to your daughter for completing Level 2! And just for future reference, the level numbers don’t correspond to grade levels. Just continue to take the lessons at her own individual pace.

I’m glad to hear that your daughter’s confidence in reading is growing. Your technique for helping her “fix” the misread words is a good one. Don’t feel like you have to catch every little mistake, especially if the sentence still makes sense, because you don’t want to hinder her motivation and enjoyment. But you do want to build awareness, as you pointed out. Monitor her progress over the next six months, and be aware that her convergence deficiency makes it more difficult to track, and that may be causing her to skip the small words. Most likely, she will continue to make progress in tracking, even though she isn’t continuing with the therapy.

You are doing a great job, Tammy!

Jessica Valind

says:

My daughter skips small words when reading. She also will not follow along with her finger.

Jessica,
For a child that is having trouble skipping small words, and will not follow along with her own finger, I recommend doing it for her. Run your finger along under the words, moving on only as she reads each word. If she skips one, do not move your finger along. Often the sentences will still make sense (although not always the same sense) if you skip the small words, so she may not be aware of how much her understanding is being affected.

You can also try simply recording her reading, so that she can hear that her sentences don’t sound quite right.

However, do consider possible causes, such a vision problems or other possibilities listed in this article.

Let us know if we can help.

Stacy

says:

I’ve had to use thing finger reading when my son does this. He didn’t even realize it sometimes. Also it’s been nice lately when he does read a sentence and it makes no sense I ask him why.

Nikki B

says:

My son has just started to do this. I thought he was being “lazy,” great info here to make me focus on fixing it instead of just thinking he’ll “grow out of it.”

Merry at AALP

says:

It’s easy for us to forget just how hard it is for kids to learn how to read. Hang in there, it can take time but these tools can really help as you work with him.

Karina Jay

says:

Following along with her finger. It is the only way my daughter can keep on track while reading.

Natalie Downey

says:

My son does this often. Great information, thank you.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Natalie!

Tracie Hodges

says:

Interesting! good to know!

Shannon

says:

I read too fast, so I think my daughter may too. She wants to get to the end as quickly as possible. I keep trying to slow her down.

Merry at AALP

says:

Marie has some great ideas to help with this in the article, My Child Reads Too Fast: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/my-child-reads-too-fast/

Becky M.

says:

This is a wonderful help! Thank you for the info!

Cindy N.

says:

I have noticed my son doing this at times. We are also working on fluency so I don’t always have him go back if it does not change the sentence. Thanks for the tips

Merry at AALP

says:

You’re welcome; I hope they help!

kristi thomas

says:

Interesting. Our problem is more smooshing big words, he skips syllables.

Kristi,
Skipping syllables in long words is why All About Reading and All About Spelling spend so much time on syllable division. A child needs to be able to identify each syllable in order to read each one. My boys try to get away with this sometimes, but when stopped and asked to reread the word they can get each syllable and read it correctly. Over time they miss syllables less and less in their reading.

If you have more concerns about this, or other things, let us know and we see what we can do to help.

Janna Young

says:

Thank you so much for addressing these problems. It helps a homeschool mama so much to hear how to handle the struggles!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I am glad this post has been helpful for you, Janna!

Melissa Ireland

says:

My daughter did this ALL of the time! We were worried about dyslexia, since she had other things going on too. But a reading specialist encourage us to get her eyes checked. So glad we did! She has a convergence disorder. Glasses have made a HUGE difference! And we might do vision therapy as well! So glad to see that you included vision problems in your article.

Melissa,
Thank you for sharing your experience. The possibilities of vision problems definitely need to be considered when a child struggles in this way. I’m happy that glasses were able to help your daughter so much.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Robyn Pacheco

says:

This post was so helpful and encouraging! I have a daughter that does this. When I ask her to go back, she can always read the word. I think her eyes are just moving faster than her brain. It helps to know that this is normal!

Robyn,
I’m glad our blog post could help relieve you of your concerns. Thank you for your comment, and I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Ivonne Bernabe

says:

We have been using All About Spelling for 2 years now and love it! My son does skip small words when he reads sometimes but I know its because he is reading too fast. I just ask him to slow down and show him words that he missed.

Ivonne,
Thank you for sharing your experiences with this reading issue, and how you have dealt with it. It’s good to know sometimes that your child isn’t the only one with such a problem.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Great tips! I really want this program for my kids!

Brittney M

says:

Great tips!

Rachel Eidson

says:

Thanks for this article. I think it will come in handy.

Sara K

says:

thanks for the helpful tips!

Amy T

says:

There are some ideas on here I’d never thought of testing my child for, thanks for the info.

You’re welcome, Amy!

bhuvana vasudevan

says:

Thoughtful interpretation

Melanie

says:

I love the idea about recording the reading. I will definitely try this!

Jennie

says:

I enjoyed reading this blog. I am printing it out, so I can refer to it. my child skips words. Hoping some of this helps.

Jennie,
I’m sorry to hear that your child is struggling with skipping small words in reading. Although, as Marie mentioned in the blog article, it is a common problem.

Do try out the suggestions given in the post, but if you find you need more help feel free to contact us. We can be reached at support@allaboutlearningpress.com or at 715-477-1976 (phone hours are Mon-Fri, 8am to 4pm CST, if you get the answering machine, leave a message and we’ll call you back).

Catherine Filip

says:

I have my son point to each word as he reads. This seems to help a bit.

Stepheny Seabolt

says:

My daughter does this sometimes, and it usually helps if I remind her to slow down while reading.

Laurel Tisler

says:

I have a granddaughter with reading difficulties and would like to help her. They have no computer in their home, so I try to help by finding material I think would help.

Alicia

says:

Thanks for this article. Very interesting!

Carrie R.

says:

I’ve noticed this from my seven yr old. I think it’s a combination of reading too fast and his eyes moving too fast. When I slow him down, he will say all the words correctly. I’m glad to know he isn’t the only one doing this. I was starting to wonder. lol

Carrie,
Have you seen our blog post on reading too fast? http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/my-child-reads-too-fast/ Sometimes kids get the idea that reading fast shows that they are good readers. The recordings in that blog post can show what a difference it makes to read at a comfortable pace.

Anyway, your son definitely isn’t the only one. Many of us have experienced the tendency to skip small words. Thank you for sharing on our blog. I hope you are having a great week.

Laurie

says:

Great ideas!

Adriana H.

says:

Great tip especially for early readers who get caught up decoding the more exciting words.

Bridget Carter

says:

Marie,

As a mother who homeschools, your instruction is priceless.

Thank you!

Sheri Dunaway

says:

My daughter did this as well. It was difficult to slow her down, but by having her hold her finger under every word, we were able to do it. In first grade, she was reading and understanding The Chronicles of Narnia.

Mandi Johnson

says:

The small card that came with our set helps us with not skipping words. It has the small hole in it that blocks out all other words around it. When my kids get older, they still use it as more of a ruler for smaller fonts in larger books. Thanks!

Rachelle Baumann

says:

Thank you for the post. So timely with where we are in our reading journey!

Carol

says:

My son an dI have a similar problem — we both skip words, or sometimes substitute a different word for the one that is there. The substitute word always makes sense and usual is a synonym that conveys the same meaning. In this case of substitution, the substitute word often comes from the line below the line of text that we are reading. My son usually reads correctly if I make him follow along with his finger. Does this sound like a case of reading too fast, or a vision problem?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Carol,

Sometimes we do these things naturally because our minds anticipate what’s coming before we read it. The words then get formed in our mind and we’ll often say them even as we read the actual word and realize we’re saying something different! Likely your son is strong in comprehension, and that’s why he does this. He may be reading too quickly–slowing down just a bit could help. If he’s reading faster than he can talk, or at a pace where it’s hard to take a breath or hard to read with inflection, have him slow down.

Carol

says:

Thank you for your thoughts. My son’s comprehension is very high, and he reads with good fluency and expression for his age (8), so probably it is, as you say, his mind thinking ahead. That’s certainly what it feels like when it happens to me!

Merry at AALP

says:

It’s a good sign that he reads with good fluency and expression. I think if there was a vision problem, you’d see more problems in his reading than an occasional substitution. I think you’re on the right track with encouraging him to track with his finger when you see that happening. Eventually he probably won’t need that extra “cue.” I find when I read out loud that I’m pre-reading the next phrase while I’m saying the current one–so I’m holding one phrase in my working memory while also speaking the previous phrase. There are times when I’m either very interested in the story, or I’m wondering where something is going that I find I scan ahead farther, and I tend to occasionally mix up a word if I’m reading that far ahead when I read out loud. So you might watch to see if this happens to him when a story is getting more exciting or engaging–perhaps he is scanning ahead when that happens.

Tracking issues can cause a person to pick up words from other lines, but as I said, I think you’d see more struggles in his reading if that were the case.

Nancy Rooker

says:

I’ve been taught to have the child pre-read a page of text to look for and circle the little words. Then ask for him/her to read the page. Practicing that exercise once a day for a few days could help. Do NOT make it seem punitive, obviously. PRIOR to doing this, it would be good to give some sentences where you demonstrate how leaving out one small word can change the meaning of the sentence entirely. These can be fun illustrations to lighten things for using the exercise.

Merry at AALP

says:

Great strategy, thanks for sharing this, Nancy!

Courtney Bock

says:

Personally I skip words and really skim through things as I read them. I have always been a quick reader but I don’t skip too many words when reading aloud. I wouldn’t be too worried unless my child was missing major words that add to the context of the story.

Merry at AALP

says:

Good point about how as adults, there are times when skimming is the right approach. For beginning readers or readers who are still working on fluency however, skipping can definitely be an issue. There is a difference between a reader who purposefully chooses to skip words in order to skim and gain information, versus one who skips because there is an underlying reading struggle. The skill of skimming should be learned after a student is a fluent reader.

Taina Matos

says:

Thank you for your article. I will further research convergence insufficiency. I used Diane Craft exercises with my older children with much success and planned to implement them with my seven year old twins because of low reading stamina. I had their vision checked and they currently have had corrective lenses for almost six months with slight improvement. I also emphasizes piano musical note reading to strengthen eye muscle which else images the negative association of strain related to reading because they enjoy playing. I now think that perhaps the exercises were a form of vision therapy that addressed a possible or insufficiency issue. Your articles are a source of inspiration and information even for an veteran Homeschooler. My eldest is headed to college in the fall.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Taina,

Great problem solving in coming up with different ways to help your kids. Hopefully the information on convergence insufficiency will prove helpful for your twins. I’m glad the articles are inspiring and informative for you!

Congratulations on your oldest heading to college in the fall, I hope it’s a great year for your student!

Shannon

says:

I tend to skip words and have to backtrack when reading out loud. My daughter has started and I think it’s because she is trying to read fast too.

Saph

says:

Yep, I do it a lot because I read to fast and my mouth can’t catch up with my eyes. :) My daughter hasn’t skipped words yet cause she still reads fairly slowly when reading aloud.

Kathrine K.

says:

That’s interesting. My daughter did that because she read way too quickly. I think my son’s eyes move faster than he reads the words. My other son is just moving past CVC words into sentences, and all of his words are small, so he doesn’t skip any words, but sometimes he forgets a word that he read two words prior!

Cassie DiStefano

says:

Great article!

Sarah Marie

says:

It really works to have kids go back and re-read sentences carefully if they skip a word. I found that when I am “lazy” and let little mistakes slide, it becomes a habit for the child. When I am diligent to hold them accountable for every word, they become more careful on their own.

Kathy

says:

Better to prevent a bad habit forming, than to work extra hard later correcting it! Makes sense, Sarah Marie!

Christina

says:

Websites like this make homeschooling so much easier and give me a sense of support.

Oh, perfect, because that’s what we were aiming for! We want to make your homeschooling life easier. Thanks for the kind words, Christina.

Jaime Schmidt

says:

I like the idea of recording my kids reading. this could be a fun opportunity to work on fluency and expression and playback for positive feedback and note improvement as well!

Janet

says:

I am looking forward to trying this with my son.

Cassandra Lacey

says:

Thanks for this. We just started AAR 1 and he has started skipping small words. After reading this, I think he may have already read the word in his head and is skipping ahead. Thanks for the suggestion on the remedy for it.

Christine

says:

I am so looking forward to try this program. My daughter is advanced in decoding but skips the small words when reading.

Dina LaVey

says:

Thank you for this article! I found also that Vision Therapy was extremely helpful!

Heather

says:

As I learn more and more about dyslexia, I see it in my husband! I added about 20 pages to my husband’s thesis by simply adding in the definite articles and other “small” words. It also allows him to read VERY quickly.

Clara

says:

Thanks for the informative post. I used level 1 AAS with my daughter and loved it!

Bette

says:

Thank you for such clear, helpful ideas. I think this is the route we need to consider for a variety of issues with each unique child.

Christie

says:

This article was very helpful. My son is doing well with his reading overall, he’s in first grade and we covered level 1 and 2 this year so far. I like to review each level after we’ve completed it…mostly the stories. My son doesn’t really skip words, but he likes to guess at times or pick a word that looks similar. He seems to do this when he’s trying to rush through the story to get to lunch faster. I’ll try the tip on pointing to each word and that should help him slow down and focus. Thanks for an AWESOME program that teaches us both to be better readers!!!!! :)

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Christie,

I’m glad the article was helpful! (Don’t get in the way of a hungry boy and lunch, right?!) Since your son seems to guess at words, you might find this article on how to Break the Word-Guessing Habit helpful as well: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/break-the-word-guessing-habit/

Cindy Orr

says:

Thanks for this:) I am looking forward to using your programs for my daughter!

Kelly Wise

says:

I ordered all about reading level one. So excited!

Jessica

says:

I hope to try all about reading one day with my kids!

Janie

says:

Planning on starting this in 2nd grade. Wish I had it for my older children!

Patty

says:

Thank you for all the information you provide.

Stephanie

says:

Looking forward to using this curriculum with my first grader next year!

Rebecca Ray

says:

We plan to start this curriculum with 1st grade this year and are really excited about it!

Marsha

says:

I notice my daughter skip some small and big words. We hope to work on more during the summer to get her caught up to her level for reading.

Merry at AALP

says:

That’s great, I hope your summer reading practice goes well. Let us know if you have questions along the way.

Krista

says:

We are going to be using your curriculum for the first time this coming year! YAY!

Julie

says:

I love this article and program.

Steph

says:

My son will regularly switch “a” and “the”, often in the same sentence. If the sentence has both words, he will almost always read them the other way. He wouldn’t catch it because it doesn’t really change the meaning of the sentence enough. Now we both think it is funny, and he is more apt to catch it. I have to be careful, because he will get angry and shut down if I correct him or ask him if the sentence made sense that way.

Merry at AALP

says:

Good comments, Steph! I found with my kids I had to pick and choose a bit–if I stopped and corrected for switching “a” and “the” too often, it also frustrated them. With one of mine, it helped if I just let her finish a paragraph, and then went back to point out a couple of words that were misread. Then the flow of a paragraph wasn’t interrupted. Sometimes she thought she had corrected it when she hadn’t–so the correction was happening internally, but wasn’t spoken–and I think that’s why waiting until the end of a paragraph helped lessen the frustration there.

Raelyn

says:

My daughter skipped the small words. She didn’t even write them down when copying things. Turns out, she has dyslexia. That was one of our first clues.

Terry

says:

Thank you for the tips on this important topic!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Terry!

Marci Wright

says:

This article really caught my eye because my son skips words frequently! He says he doesn’t notice he’s doing it unless I point it out. Our optometrist has suggested vision therapy for him, so now I’m wondering if the word skipping might be related to eye problems.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Marci,

Since your optometrist suggested it, it may be worth looking into. Vision therapy really helped one of mine.

Heidi

says:

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the tips!

Heather Stovold

says:

My son does this (dyslexia) – and I think the worst small word to skip (which he usually does) is the word ‘not’. That one word generally reverses the meaning of a sentence!

Heather

says:

The link for reads too fast doesn’t work. It has the word quickly in the link whereas when I searched for the actual page it has the word fast. http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/my-child-reads-too-fast/

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much for the heads-up on this, Heather. Scotty just fixed it!

Rhoda

says:

Thank you for these helpful hints!

Courtney

says:

My 8-year-old son (who is dyslexic) *hates* using his finger. We have a deal that he doesn’t have to use his finger…until the first time he skips a word. Then he has to use it for the rest of the session. I feel like that little bit of incentive encourages him to slow down and self-monitor. He almost always misses a word eventually, though, and the finger really does work like magic!

Merry at AALP

says:

Great idea! Sometimes we have to use incentives to get our kids to use the strategies that really help them! I love that your approach also encourages him to recognize and correct the problem. Well done!

Having to use his finger is a sign of a tracking problem. An evaluation from an optometrist trained in vision therapy might reveal additional visual problems that are frequently misdiagnosed as dyslexia. Treatment using vision therapy could make reading so much better, as well as learning.

Allison

says:

This blog is a great starting point for parents who just “know” something is off. After several months of reading together aloud, working to read each word as it is printed, we went through your suggested steps. We took our son for vision testing with a specialist. He was tested at school for dyslexia and was given an average rating of his knowledge of phoneme-grapheme (letters and their corresponding sounds) relationships. We did go to an Educational Diagnostician for a second opinion. We learned from her that there are 3 kinds of dyslexia: dysphonesia (the above mentioned “phoneme-grapheme”), dysnemkinesia (reversals, inversions, transposition of letters and words), and dyseidesia (sight word blindness). The schools in our state tests for dysphonesia only. Our son has a combination of dysnemkinesia and dyseidesia (aka. dysnemkineidesia), which is considered atypical dyslexia. I share this as an encouragement for parents to follow your instincts. Rule out what you can and press on. While the school can’t help in our situation, I have a better understanding of how I can help our son. He doesn’t have the voice at his age to advocate for himself, that is my job until he is old enough.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Allison,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It can be such a journey (and often a struggle!) to discover how to help a child who struggles. Reversals are so common, I’m surprised your school doesn’t test for those as well. Good for you for not giving up; your son is blessed to have you for an advocate!

Julie Rigby

says:

Thank you for posting this…these are really going to help!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Oh, good! I’m glad to hear that, Julie!

Dodi

says:

My child had convergence insufficiency and vision therapy through a developmental optometrist helped a lot! Also, when she skipped a small word or sometimes inserted the wrong small word, it completely changed the meaning of the sentence. After I pointed this out a number of times over many weeks, she seemed to pay more attention to the small words. Thanks for the helpful article!

Merry at AALP

says:

Vision therapy was helpful for my son as well. Good for you for continuing to work with her, it sounds like you’ve given her a solid foundation!

Amy Combs

says:

This was such a helpful post! My 2nd grader has been struggling with skipping small words… I plan to implement your tips ASAP! Thanks! :)

KC

says:

I keep up with my child’s ophthalmologist appointment. I make sure her glasses are clean. Books with medium/big letters. I will write out what’s hard to see. I let her use her finger to follow the sentence if necessary. Over time and the more she reads it’s not an issue.

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