How Should I Correct Children When They Make a Reading Error?

Tips & Strategies

I never like to give away a word to children unless I have to. It is so important for them to work through figuring out a word using what they know. The job of the adult is to lead them in the right direction.


WordScientists Team |


The best approach is to avoid giving them the words unless it is not within their reading capability. So encourage children to sound out the word and confirm if the word makes sense once they do so. Here are some ways to do this:


Cover the error.

  1. Cover the letter that is mispronounced and ask them if the word was pronounced like the way they said it and what letter would they expect to be there. After they respond, uncover the letter and say, “But look, the letter is ____. So try the word again with that sound.”
  2. Stretch out the sounds yourself and see if they can recognize and blend back the sounds.
  3. If the error is on the vowel sound, ask them if they recognize the vowel pattern and then have them blend the sounds with the sound of the vowel.


Use an analogy to another word.

If the error is on a word with a less common spelling pattern, you can use an analogy strategy. For example, if children come to the word dread, you might say, “If you can read bread, then you can read this word.”


Help divide longer, multisyllabic words.

Remind children of the syllable division strategies and help them figure out how to divide the long, multisyllabic words into syllables using one of the strategies. Remember, the key here is to be flexible: Help them try different strategies until they get the right pronunciation. If they are not familiar with the syllable patterns or syllable division strategies, review them as often as needed.


WordScientists translates scientific research on language and early literacy into pedagogical practice. Our mission is to ensure all children’s right to learn to read, by providing educators and families with the means to teach language & early reading.