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Things to say to a Novice Reader

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

Knowing what to say to a Novice Reader can be so tricky, especially if you’re like most people who have no idea how they learned to read.

Here are five easy and effective statements you can share with a budding reader that will honor their hard-work and reinforce appropriate reading behaviors.

1. I LOVE the way you tapped the sounds in that word.

When we say this, we are telling our reader exactly what we want to see more of when they

get to a word they are stuck on. This shows us that our reader is internalizing effective word

attack strategies (tapping).

2. Let’s take a look at this word and say the sounds we know.

When it comes to reading unknown words, we want our reader to avoid guessing.

Sometimes they need to be reminded that they are word readers, not word guessers, and this

statement is a good example of that.

3. I notice you’re having a hard time here (point). What’s the keyword and sound for this letter?

If your reader is stuck, directing their attention to the hard part is a huge time saver and way

more effective in the long run. The more times we read something incorrectly, the farther

away we are from our goal, which is mastery of sounds. So let’s increase the chances of

success by offering readers this type of targeted support!

4. Now when you read this for a second time, try to make your reading sound like talking.

Whenever possible, encourage your reader to read a sentence twice. The first time we read,

sometimes we sound like robots - this is okay as we work hard to sound out (or decode) the

words. The second time we read the same sentence, we should try to sound more fluent. We

can do this by making our reading sound smoother, like we’re talking.

5. Great job fixing that word! You knew when you read it the first time, it was a nonsense word.

This is an example of positive feedback that is specific and reinforces effective reading

behaviors that support the overall purpose of reading... comprehension. Not to mention it

begins with the words “great job.” Who doesn’t love to hear “great job,” when you’re working

so hard at something?

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