Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Not To Say

Please check out this website: The title tells you  what it's all about, but the common-sense advice is surprisingly insightful. This short article will become required reading for all basic literacy tutors at Literacy Network. It outlines a humane approach to helping someone who struggles with reading.

What not to say to an emerging (i.e. beginning) reader:  The sign at right is one of the first things not to say.  The article succinctly tells you why not to say it and suggests  alternatives. The quotation below suggests something much more positive and productive to say. 
INSTEAD: If the mistake didn’t interfere with the meaning of the text (like if it was ‘a’ for ‘the’ or ‘fine’ for ‘fun’) let it go.

Do. Not. Interrupt. Your. Child’s. Reading. Period.
How would you feel if you were putting your heart out on the line, trying something you weren’t totally comfortable with, in front of someone who you were afraid would challenge you, only to have that person stop you, interrupt your flow, and make you start over before you even finished?  Over and over and over again?
 The other things to avoid saying or doing: 
  • "Speed up/Slow down"
  • Laughing (the bad kind)
  • "You know this!"
  • "You're wrong. That says _______."
This website is designed, as are many sites for emergent readers, for children. But the advice it gives here is even more important for the adult emergent reader, because they have a longer history of humiliation  from their reading. Let's all remember to respect the learners who have asked us for help. Teaching people and learning to read are positive, life-affirming experiences if we remember these things.

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