Reflect a moment on why we ask kids to ‘point as they read’…..
We know that one-to-one correspondence (voice/print match) must be firmly established in order for young readers to read with meaning and accuracy. Without the physical act of pointing to each word, they will often insert words, skip words, change words, miss multi-syllabic words, skip lines, etc. So….we ask children to ‘point as they read’ in order to establish one-to-one match between the voice and the word. However, we don’t want this to go on forever!
By the middle of first grade, most students are ready to ‘read with their eyes’ and to only use their pointer finger for breaking up hard words or for getting on track with ‘tricky’ lines. If children are encouraged to ‘point and read’ for several years, their eyes become accustomed to ‘pointing’ to each and every word. They become dependent on their finger to point to each word and their head begins to ‘bob’ as they read. These behaviors affect decoding and fluency skills and ultimately, comprehension. Hmmm….