20 Strategies to Help Learners Distinguish Between Comparable Letters and Words

Are you looking for strategies to help students distinguish comparable letters and words? If so, keep reading.

1. Get the student’s hearing reviewed if it has not been recently reviewed.

2. Every day, have the student practice those letters and words they cannot discriminate.

3. Take every chance throughout the day to emphasize a designated letter or word the student cannot distinguish (e.g., find the sound when speaking, writing, reading, etc.).

4. Make sure the student looks closely at word endings and beginnings to discriminate similar words (e.g., cap and cat).

5. Create a list of words the student cannot discriminate. Get the student and a peer to work together with flash cards to create the student’s capacity and ability to recognize the differences in the letters and words.

6. Record stories and paragraphs the student can listen to while reading along.

7. Get the student to read aloud to the teacher each day. Give evaluative feedback relative to their capacity and ability to discriminate letters and words.

8. Orally, correct the student as often as possible when they do not distinguish between letters and words, so they hear the correct version of the reading content.

9. Get the student to write those letters and words they have trouble distinguishing so they have a greater chance to discover the correct version.

10. Teach the student to use context clues in reading. These skills will be particularly helpful when they are unable to discriminate between letters and words.

11. Find a letter or word each day that the student has difficulty discriminating. Get the student to underline or highlight that letter or word every time they read it that day.

12. Utilize highlight markers (e.g., pink, and yellow) to have the student mark the letters and words in a passage they do not discriminate (e.g., all “m’s marked with the pink marker and all “n’s marked with the yellow tag).

13. Give the student an alphabet strip at their desk to use as a reference when reading or performing tasks.

14. Minimize the emphasis on competition. Competitive learning activities may cause the student to hurry and not discriminate between similar letters and words.

15. Get the student to cut letters out of publications and glue the letters in sequence to make words, sentences, etc.

16. Make sure that the student’s knowledge of a particular skill is being assessed rather than the student’s capacity and ability to read instructions.

17. Make sure that the reading requirements of all subjects and tasks are within the capacity and ability level of the student. If they are not, adjust the reading content to the student’s capacity and ability level.

18. Consider using AI to teach reading comprehension.

19. Consider using Alexa to teach reading skills.

20. Try using one of our many apps designed to teach literacy skills and help students with reading issues:

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