Sign Up For Our Newsletter


Internet4classrooms Blog

Top Reading Mistakes to Correct During Childhood

Research shows that up to 33% of the first fifty words learnt by children can be occasionally misused. What is interesting to note is that they do not realise many times when they mispronounce a word and in fact were surprised that they mispronounced the word they knew well. The most important thing here to make a child aware of the error, and bring his attention to it.

The most common developmental errors made by children are:

- Overgeneralization:
This mean assuming words by generalising grammar rules. For example, using tooths instead of teeth, foots instead of feet or comed instead of came.

- Overextension:
This means using the same word for multiple uses. A child might be taught their pet is a dog by his parents. Then when he sees any four legged animal, he might call it a dog. Similarly, he can call any vehicle a car. This can be corrected with regular feedback.

- Underextension:
Here a child will use the word only in that specific instance. If he thinks his vehicle is a car, he will call only his vehicle a car. He will not realize that other vehicles could be cars too. Underextension generally diminishes as a child grows and expands his vocabulary.

Here are some steps that literacy experts, teachers and student counselors follow to correct reading mistakes during childhood.

Jennifer from Iowa, implements the method of recording and listening. She makes children read out aloud and record their sentences. They then listen to their own recording and can instantly recognise when a word is mispronounced.

Cathy, a student mentor with an essay writing company has been working with children from kindergarten to sixth graders. She suggests the following methods to correct reading mistakes during childhood:

  1. Sometimes, when children don't understand a sentence, they go back to re-reading it multiple times. As a result, they end up getting stuck in the same paragraph. In such cases, tell your child to read the whole section first and then go back to the sentence which was difficult. Once your child has an idea about the meaning, it will be easier for him to understand difficult sentences.
  2. Teach your child to increase his reading speed. You can set timers or play games to see who reads and understands something faster. A fast reading speed is not a necessity, but it will help develop fluent reading in children and comprehension that will help them as adults too.
  3. Let your child anticipate the next parts when he is reading. Anticipation builds up excitement, making him look forward to what is coming up. A positive enthusiasm helps develop skills faster.

Allison, a teacher, parent and a pre-school curriculum developer finds it effective to develop her child's confidence by making him read to a different audience (his baby sister, in this case). When children see their audience is not judgemental, they are able to read more confidently. She also suggests let children see you make mistakes while reading and then see you put an effort to correct them.

Some teachers play games to improve childrens' reading habits. They make flash cards of mispronounced words, and give the card back to the child after he learns to pronounce it correctly. The aim of the game is for the child to take back all flash cards from the teacher.

Increasing awareness of words is another habit that must be inculcated in children from a young age. A tactic recommended by linguists, is to play around with phonetics of a word. When children start associating sounds to a word, they are able to relate it to better, understand the word more, and learn to spell and pronounce it correctly. This also helps in their cognitive development. However, we must remember that this method should be used only with small children. We must make sure that with time once they are aware of the words, they reduce their dependence on sounds, and start spelling it correctly. To give an example, some children spelt eagle as "egul" and come as "kom". Though they were able to relate to these words faster, but we must train them to stop relying on sound-spelling association only.

Experts at NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) recommend that as parents, you need to create a reading and writing friendly environment at home. If children see you read and write often, they will follow. Otherwise, they will think reading and writing are activities meant only for the school.

Another suggestion is to give children a variety of stationery such as colored pens and pencils, books, comics, and a dictionary. Inculcate the habit of reading, writing and drawing from a very young age.

Making children self sufficient goes a long way in improving their reading habits. Teach them to pay attention to mistakes. Let them edit and revise the errors themselves. This helps them learn the language faster, and they are able to pay attention to details.

Is a child's reading difficulty attributed to a disorder?

It is important to recognise the cause of errors made by a child. As parents or teachers, you need to keep a close watch for symptoms of learning disability. Dyslexic children have trouble recognising letters and may make mistakes such as pronouncing mawn lower instead of lawn mower, or reversing letters like d and b. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) can also affect reading abilities. Parents or teachers of such children will need to work harder to correct these reading mistakes in children. For example, you can read more on the topics he likes so that he is interested in reading it. Praise the child for every little effort. Work closely with him, and do not lose patience. There are many apps that help children with learning disorders. Some schools also offer IEP (Individualized Education Program) or a 504 plan for such children.

It is important to remember that you need to be gentle with children. Do not overreact or push them too hard. Do not punish children for mistakes, but do praise him for his improvements. Reading and writing correctly can be a nice learning and developmental experience if handled correctly.

Guest Author:

Garima is a freelancer and has interest in writing, photography, and cooking. She has been writing articles for the last couple of years and has a keen interest in exploring how the internet works. She wants to make the internet better for everyone through her writing.



Internet4classrooms is a collaborative effort by Susan Brooks and Bill Byles.




Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

1694708745119657 US 1 desktop not tablet not iPad device-width