chapter  4
11 Pages

'Playing with words': word level work including phonics, vocabulary and spelling

ByMary Williams

Why could Andrew not decode the word 'cattle'? One reason could be that he was relying on his sight recognition of words, and confusing two visually similar words that he already knew as patt of his visual vocabulary: 'cattle' and 'kettle'. He might have been looking at the endings '-ettIe' and '-attIe', perceiving these incorrectly as the same. Or he may have been concentrating on the initial phonemes - 'k' and 'c' - knowing that these make the same sound in certain words, but choosing the wrong word. The syntax is unlikely to help as the two words are interchangeable, both being nouns. Reading involves a complicated range of decoding strategies, including sight, sound and context. What Andrew did not seem to be doing was using the context of the passage in order to help him confirm or confound his choice of word. So how could he be helped to read words correctly and with understanding?