Tuesday Tip - The Role of Set for Variability

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In today's Tuesday Tip, I discuss building up your students' set for variability.

Video Transcript

One of the key milestones in learning to read is developing a set for variability. That means that you can sound out an unknown word, pronounce it a little incorrectly, and then tidy it up based on your knowledge of oral language. It looks a little bit like this. He has a, has, has a dog. The child didn't guess then, they sounded out, used their phonics knowledge and tidied up the pronunciation.

For older children it might look like, She reined for 24 years. Well that doesn't make sense. She reined, reined. for 24 years. What we're not looking for is this. She resigned for 24 years. She renewed for 24 years. That is guessing, but she reined, reined. That is putting your set for variability to work.

Lots of children will just come to this on their own over time, but children who struggle may not, and they might need you to demonstrate it. So today's tip is to model what to do when you come across an unknown word. Now you'll be pretending of course, but that's going to help make that process really explicit and visible to the students, and it will help them keep their focus on the structure of the word, which is exactly where it's supposed to be.

Want to know more?

Click here to find out more about word structure.

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