Reading Recovery Community Originally posted December 16, 2019 by Jamie Lipp, PH.D
The bottom line is this: The idea that teachers are simply telling students to “guess” at a word is a blatant attempt to negatively simplify the careful work we do with students to support them in becoming strategic, active problem solvers. This oversimplification is an attack on our experience, expertise, and understanding of the reading process. Guessing at words is not part of Clay’s research and work, Reading Recovery or reading instruction as we know it. Teaching reading is NO guessing game. Reading is, however, a “message-getting, problem-solving activity that increases in power and flexibility the more it is practiced” (Clay, 1991, p. 6). Skilled word identification is important, but some critics tend to ignore the change over time that occurs as beginning readers evolve into more skilled readers. However, at no point would guessing be an acceptable option to support students in learning to read.