Learning to read: The classic mistakes

It’s something that most of us take for granted. After all, learning to read is embedded in the school syllabus and most of us have mastered it from a young age.

Of course, not everyone is so lucky. In fact, in the US alone there are understood to be around 32 million adults who can’t read.

In truth, it doesn’t matter how old you are, very similar principles exist. There are specially designed books for kids who are learning to read, but the approaches for adults can be the same. The classic mistakes tend to stick through generations as well, and this is what the remainder of today’s post will now focus on.

Mistake #1 – You guess words

This first mistake usually occurs when a person has started to grasp reading – and can sometimes occur completely naturally. In other words, you don’t even realise you are doing it.

Particularly if a topic is quite familiar to you, you can start to find that you guess the words. It means that you’re not actually reading the word, and had it been on a standalone page there’s every chance that you wouldn’t recognize it. This is something that can usually be identified quite early on as naturally, not all guesses when read aloud are correct.

Mistake #2 – Letter confusion

Like a lot of mistakes, this is something that a lot of people won’t appreciate. However, for someone who is just learning how to read, it can become very easy to confuse letters between each other.

In other words, words beginning with one letter are pronounced like they start with another. “B” and “D”, in lower-case form, often fall into this category.

This is something that tends to affect children more, and it’s completely normal. After all, they have a lot of information to remember, and small slips like this are almost to be expected.

Mistake #3 – Memorizing text

This next mistake is actually very similar to the first one we touched upon. However, instead of guessing text, you are simply remembering it.

Ultimately, this isn’t going to occur frequently, but it highlights the importance of trying to only read new books and not simply repeat the same one over and over again. Otherwise, it’s almost like memorising song lyrics – and this is something that anyone can do.

Mistake #4 – Not reading from left to right

Finally, this is another mistake which might sound utterly simple. As it turns out, a lot of people who have not learned to read can slip into the habit of reading words from right to left. It means that they are tracking the word incorrectly – and fall into the trap of sounding out a letter that’s towards the end of said word.

So, how do you combat such a problem? It’s simply about tracking the words with your finger. Over time, some young readers start to do this themselves, so the process of reading words from left to right just becomes completely normal.