How the cueing systems help students read

October 17, 2013

This semester, students in READ 3325.20B were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Gisela Rodriguez and Ana Alanis

When learning to read, children problem solve using the three cueing systems, which are the following: semantic, syntactic, and graph phonic. Semantic relates to the meaning while syntactic relates to the grammatical structure. Grapho- phonic is the letter sound patterns and the visual information of how words and letters look like.

Semantic is a division of linguistics concerned with the study of meaning. When a word is anonymous the known words around that word are the source of semantic cues. For example, in the following sentence “The children are playing _________ the gym.” You can insert either at, in, outside, or beyond which are all semantically suitable. The words that would not be suitable are between, on, and into. Children are often mislead by the idea that they should sound out a word first when coming across an unknown word. However, this causes students reading to become slow and strenuous which affects their comprehension. Another reason why this might not always help students reading comprehension is due to the fact that many of the English words are not spelled the way they sound or many words are homonyms. For this reason, it is preferably that students stop and think about the story when reading to see what would make sense instead of try to sound out words.

Syntax involves the reader’s knowledge of the grammar or structure of language. In other words syntax is the order or sequence of the words that affects the meaning and grammatical purpose of an unknown word. For example in the sentence “They painted the room purple” can also be said “They painted the purple room”. Although when the sequence is rearranged the meaning has completely changed. This cuing system is crucial for children to learn to formulate complete and complex sentences. Integration of the semantic and syntactic systems will help a reader interpret an unknown word by making sense using the meaning and by what would sound right using the structure.

Grapho- phonic (visual information) is using the letters in words and how words look like along with the letter sound patterns. In other words this cueing system helps readers combine phonic and graphic knowledge in reading a text. Students learn how to correspond a letter in any font to the sounds it pertains to. Teachers can support experimentation to teach letter sound patterns by spelling to sound out words, modeling how to pronounce words, and calling attention to rhyming words, and alliterations. This helps students in dividing words into syllables or chunks. For example a teacher can discuss the rhyme “Itsy Bitsy Spider” itsy and bitsy have the same ending sounds but different beginning sounds. The grapho- phonic system along with syntax and semantics make up the essence of a proficient reader.

In conclusion, good readers use the meaning of the text along with the structure of the English language and the letter-sound patterns to decode unknown words. By conducting a miscue analysis teachers can easily figure out which of the three cueing systems a child relies heavily on. It is important that a child integrates the three cueing systems to problem solve text so comprehension of what is being read is accomplished.

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