One of the most popular questions I get from parents is, "What do I tell my child when s/he asks me what a word says?" Often teachers realize "Sound it out!" does not make much sense...especially for the many "rule-breakers" in text. You can't sound out words with silent letters for example--they don't make a "sound!"
My advice to this common concern is to explicitly teach and model for readers strategies they can pull from their Good Reader's Toolbox--one at a time of course! It's not good enough to expect them to remember these strategies (chunking, skipping and rereading, getting your mouth ready, etc.) at first. Here's where my tool comes in handy. With these visual reminders, student will not only be able to recall strategies they can use, but will become skilled at articulating their thinking.
Click here to get your copy of my Stuck on an Unfamiliar Word cards and template. They are appropriate for teachers, interventionists, tutors, after school homework helpers and parents.
Oh, and as you have probably noticed, my blog is sporting a new look by Emily White Designs. Grab my new button from the right hand sidebar. Let me know what you think!