My 8 year old daughter tries to "guess" the words while she tries to read. Any tip?

Sounds like she is anxious to read fast.

I would like to help to help her pointing where it is wrong, but i feel it is a tiring process for her and maybe she is not learning by herself.

What approach do you suggest?

  • 4
    As far as I remember, I once read that is what all our brains truly do while reading. Which is why we can read scrambled words in context just fine, especially if the first and last letter are correct.
    – skymningen
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 8:16
  • 1
    Check if she needs glasses. That might be all she needs.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 14:42
  • In her defense a large reason that I hate reading something outloud, especially if it rhymes, is that I keep 'guessing' words and finding out their wrong. When I read to myself that's part of speed reading and actually helps me read faster while retaining comprehension, it's just when reading out loud that I realize how much I'm skimming words because I'm 'caught' saying the wrong thing.
    – dsollen
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 15:58

4 Answers 4


When she runs into words that confuse her, just say the correct word quietly and in a neutral way. She needn't stop, but it's best that you get the sense that she registered the meaning even if it's just the tiniest pause that demonstrates it. As you go along, you will become better at knowing when she wants to work out a word on her own, but my experience has been that if they know it well, the reading will flow.

Most children will be very direct about wanting to puzzle a word out on their own, so don't worry too much about "giving away an answer." As you may know, solid reading comprehension depends on understanding the vast majority of the words in a given piece, so you are supporting that with friendly, helpful input.

I taught reading to deaf children, and I encouraged them to view me as their very own walking/signing/talking dictionary, and to think of us as partners enjoying the challenges of the text together. As the process becomes second nature for the two of you, there will be times when you will have a lot of fun discussing unique and unusual words and usage.

One last tip: a great way to help young readers catch on to the importance of meaning is to use things like shopping lists, directions and recipes to accomplish everyday tasks where it quickly becomes clear that word meanings are necessary to success.

Have fun!

  • 2
    This is a fine answer. +1 for shopping lists -- great idea. I'd add that a huge percentage of students learn to read using a combination of memorization and phonics. Play games like Scrabble or Boggle. "I spy with my little eye something that starts with wi". Read signs while you are driving give her points for finding 'bakery', 'pharmacy', 'street' and so on. Make it fun!
    – WRX
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 14:58

As a parent of 4 that has homeschooled all of them at one point or another, I could relate a lot to this with respect to my youngest, who is 6, and reading a year or two ahead of his age level (and who just achieved 3rd place in a state-wide young writers contest). He (a) storms ahead glossing over words sometimes making wrong guesses, and (b) resents it if fed answers two quickly when he does slow down to try to figure out a word.

I have a theory that he is a potential speed reader (which I am not). There are times when I just let him blaze ahead uninterrupted, and other times when I'll gently correct him, sometimes after he's completed the sentence. I'm afraid that knowing when to do which is partly a matter of intuition, but if he seems excited and anxious to see what comes next, that's a clue this isn't a good time to slow him down.

As for the times when he does slow down and try to figure out a word, I wait about 3 seconds or until he looks up or asks for help. If he's working on it, I find it's better to err in the direction of giving him plenty of time.

In my opinion, there are two modes of reading, speed reading to get the overall idea, and careful/analytical reading such as used for (a) learning a difficult subject, (b) reading aloud to others, or (c) proofreading. It is good to learn both. I am thinking an 8 year old can probably understand that sometimes it's ok to go fast, but sometimes you need to read carefully. If the two of you can agree on that, then you can decide together if a given time is a "fast" time or a "careful" time.

Again, I'm not a recognized expert, just the child of two teachers who has children who are now 32 (with Asperger Syndrome, still working his way through college), 30 (with ADD, just completed a 2 year degree after 3 years in the Army), 20 (home-schooled by me throughout high school, and now a 4th year art major), and 6 (home-schooled by me for the first 3 months of first grade after a disastrous beginning, followed by a successful reintegration). My wife and I also watch infants/preschoolers as a family child care home.


Both of my children have done that when they learned to read. It is perfectly normal.

I suggest handing text to her where she needs to understand the text. Something simple like lyrics of a song or a Donald Duck comic.

You could also read her a bedtime story but after she has read one page first etc.


They all do this; their sense of story and narrative is always more advanced than their ability to puzzle out the words. You just need to be patient. I run my finger under the words as they read them, and when they skip one I tap it a couple of times with my finger, and say, "Pay attention to the letters."

  • It's important to keep reading fun/interesting/exciting. Stopping a child every time a guess is made is important in some contexts but not in others. Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:44

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