Just as children are able to understand words spoken orally with different accents, when they are reading they are able to understand words which are decoded correctly but may lead to an incorrect pronunciation. For example, if children are taught that the letter combination ‘ea’ represents the sound ‘/ee/ (i)’ as in ‘see’, they will pronounce the word ‘break’, as ‘breek’. Research indicates that children are able to self-correct and articulate the correct pronunciation (‘break’) when the word in question is in their vocabulary. So if children read a sentence like ‘I had been working all morning and didn’t even have time for a break’, the context and knowing the meaning of ‘break’ would enable them to self-correct an incorrect pronunciation (i.e. ‘breek’ instead of ‘break’) and then read the sentence correctly. The way in which children self-correct indicates that comprehension is a major factor in determining whether or not they ultimately read accurately.

Solity, J.E., Carver, C. and McNab, E. (article in preparation) Phonic Self-Correction: Using Phonic Knowledge to Decode Phonically Irregular Words.

Research into Core Instructional Principles Study 5