Students who have visual errors are using what they see (obviously). This can include letters (horse for house), word length (hat for hit), analogies (car looks a bit like cat). Here are 6 ideas for lessons when students are making meaning errors.
I love this one. I use this one a lot...I mean, A LOT. One of the most powerful things I was ever told happened to me a few years ago at the Virginia State Reading Association. Jan Richardson was the speaker and, of course, she was amazing. She said this simple sentence, "Keep your hand out of their book." Think about that. "Keep your hands out of their book." This is one of those lessons. If you teach the students to frame a word they don't know or aren't sure of, they will isolate the letters in the words and can make good decisions about decoding. I actually teach this strategy during new vocabulary introduction in small group instruction. Students frame the new word to isolate it. It helps them focus on the word.
What would you expect?
The is an activity uses pictures to make the students think about what they should see BEFORE they see it. Show them a picture and ask what they should EXPECT to see in the words. The lessons can be changed to include the beginning, middle, and end of the word.
Same Beginning Sound
Teaching students to listen for the beginning sound can help them look for the beginning sound, as well. Practicing with a target word and a variety of pictures, students can find the picture with the same beginning sound. This will help them make good choices when using letters and sounds.
Flip the Vowel
This is another exercise I use when teaching decoding strategies, as well. This is a "double your pleasure, double your fun" activity. Students who aren't attending to the ending vowel, should practice flipping the vowel. Using both the long and short sound for the vowel can help the student determine the correct word needed for a sentence.
Chunking (or using Word Families)
Using the chunking strategies is another decoding strategy. We call it "look for pieces you know" in decoding. We look for the part of the word they know and build the word from there. The activity above is "If you know...then you know." I first heard about this from Irene Fountas at a workshop years ago. If helps them hang an unknown on a known.
This is actually one of my favorite games to play with readers. You know the students who say "was" or "saw" or "had" for "has." This game is a fun practice. Using the sheet and a die, students roll the die and read down the column as quickly as they can. It helps them quickly decode the words that are tricky.
Don't be fooled
There is a bit of a trick, though...using the picture in book is NOT a visual error. The picture provides meaning...so we have to remember that. Don't be fooled by the picture.
If you would like a sample set of these activities, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.