What big ears you have! Super-listening skills with the Bat-Eared Fox.
Listening back to what you have just read is really powerful – not only is our own voice more stimulating than other people’s, but
reading back a sentence helps develop memory, semantic awareness, word recognition and fluency.
Semantic awareness is the ability to understand the meaning of a word from the rest of the sentence. For example, ‘Chip was hungry. He made a S——-.’ The unknown word starts with s, so it is likely to be sandwich, snack, sausage…something to eat beginning with s.
All of these thoughts happen so quickly we do not even register them. We are thinking of words within the semantic field of food because we know Chip was hungry.
However, an over reliance on decoding can sometimes slow down a young reader’s semantic awareness and decision making.
If we encourage both skills – at the same time – we increase fluency and reading speed considerably. Hearing grammatical patterns and the rhythm of words is so crucial in developing fluency. We can also understand the sentence from a grammatical point of view – some
types of words have to be used with other words and in a certain order. For example, we normally write an adjective before a noun,
‘the beautiful blow-fish’ and nouns often come before a verb, ‘the beautiful blow-fish bellowed.’
Simply asking your child, ‘did that sound right?’ or ’what do you think that word should be?’ encourages their memory
processes, their ability to evaluate grammatical patterns, and crucially, their confidence in themselves.
I often read aloud to children I am working with and leave out words at the end of the sentence to ask the children to ‘guess’ what the word would or could be.
I think it’s very powerful for children to know that they are not just ‘guessing’ when they make a prediction about a word within a
The more young children trust their voices, they can slow down, listen to them; have the confidence to re-read a word or phrase until it makes sense.
Watch the smile on their face as they learn to slow down and really listen to their own voice.