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Reading: Blocking and Isolating

Young students, especially those in elementary schools, tend to get overwhelmed with words when many words appear on a page. An easy way to solve this is to simply block out the rest of the paragraph.
I was recently tutoring a young girl with significant reading issues. Upon first meeting her mother informed me of not only her shyness, but how easy she gets frustrated when she misses or can’t sound out a word. So I grabbed a second grade literature book and went to work. She had improved after the hour of blocking and transferring the words. Let’s take a look at a sample text:
“The bunny ran to his father and offered him a carrot. The bunny’s father refused the carrot. “I’ve already had enough carrots for today, son. Can you put them in the cupboard for tomorrow?”
This text is similar in style and content to what my client was having issues with. The words “bunny,” “carrots,” and “cupboard” were of significant difficulty. However, after looking at her eyes while she was reading the passage, I noticed that she was looking below the sentence she was supposed to be reading. So we blocked out all the words but the first sentence to begin.
In the picture below, I’ve written the passage out on white paper and folded the paper over the rest of the paragraph to isolate the first sentence. Please excuse my handwriting, as I recently have injured my wrist.
If reading is computer based, all that has to be done is copying the text and whiting out out each line that is not currently being read.
“The bunny ran to his father and offered him a carrot. The bunny’s father refused the carrot. “I’ve already had enough carrots for today, son. Can you put them in the cupboard for tomorrow?”
When you run the cursor over the following words, you can read each sentence bit by bit. It’s best to copy the paragraph to a blank page.
The next strategy is to take the “hard words” and transfer them to a separate piece of paper.
Bunny
Carrots
Cupboard
Here, I’ll give the students about a minute to workout the pronunciation of the words. I’ll break the word into phonemes if need be, but most of the time the students benefit greatly from seeing the word isolated from other text.
The above are two simple strategies in developing and fostering the reading skills of students, especially those who are younger. I hope this helps.
Sincerely,
Michael P.