My Nine Year Old Son Skips Over Difficult Words When Reading

My nine year old son loves to read. I make sure he has books at his level. He mostly reads independently. He wants to get to the action of the story and doesn't slow down to decode longer words or stop and think about the meaning of some of the words. I listen to him read outloud to me sometimes. I've been slacking lately. My mom listened to him read a few days ago, and she reminded me of his tendency to skip over words.
My son is reading Swindle by Gordon Korman. My plan is to help him figure out meanings of words and teach him to decode words with a few common phonics rules.

Here's a list of words and phrases I found while reading three chapters ahead in Swindle.
Chapter 17 - consulted, lethal, heist, hacking
Chapter 18 - glitch, consultation, financing, profit, foyer
Chapter 19 - trepidation, ample stomach, take the bait

Swindle is leveled 4.4 grade level at Scholastic Teacher Wizard. Scholastic Teacher Wizard is my favorite way to check the levels of books. My son is entering fourth grade next year and reads above this grade level according to DRA testing at his school. He mostly taught himself to read. He read at a second grade level by the end of kindergarten. My younger two children have been taught more phonics and are better at decoding longer words.

This morning I showed my son the list of words. I only chose a few words and phrases for each chapter. We had a casual conversation about the words. I asked him to read each word or phrase before we talked about it. I snuck in some phonics rules and discussed the meanings.

I'm hoping this relaxed pre-reading activity will help him read and understand the list of words correctly and pay more attention to other difficult words he encounters while reading. I'm researching and figuring out other ways to teach decoding longer words and vocabulary acquiring skills. I'll test out some teaching strategies on my son and share our results soon. Stay tuned.

Please share your own ideas to teach decoding and vocabulary acquistion in a comment.


Maria said...


I recently compiled a list of the Top 15 blogs on reading and literacy, and I
just wanted to let you know that you made the list! It
is published online at

Thanks so much, and if you think your audience would find useful
information in the list or on the site, please feel free to share the
link. The blog is just starting up, so we always appreciate a linkback
as we're trying to increase readership.

Thanks again, and have a great day!

Maria Magher

Michelle said...

Maria, thank you for adding me to your list. I'll be making a post with a link to this list and checking out the other blogs you've listed.