The Cueing System

Meaning, Structure, Visual

The Cueing System

Children use cues and strategies to help them unlock the concepts of print and the meaning of text.  The ways in which a child uses the cues and strategies can tell the teacher a great deal about what that child knows about reading

Meaning (Semantic)

Meaning is part of the cueing system in which the child takes her or his cue to make sense of text by thinking about the story background, information from pictures, or the meaning of a sentence. These cues assist in the reading of a word or phrase. The meaning or general context of the total story/sentence is reflected in the substitution if meaning cues are operating.  Example:  The Text says; I like to see horses at the farm.  The child read; I like to see ponies at the farm.  Analysis of this error: There were pictures of horses and colts on the page.  The intended message is almost the same.  There is often an overlap of meaning and structural cues.  Do not assume meaning cues were being used if the substitution results in an acceptable, meaningful English sentence.  Pictures, pervious text and/or genearl meaning of the story are sources of meaning cues. 

Structure (Syntactic)

Structure refers to the structure of language and is often referred to as syntax. Implicit knowledge of structure helps the reader know if what she or he reads sounds correct.The structure of the text (up to and including the substitution) should make an acceptable English language construction.  Would it sound right to say it that way?  Would it create an acceptable English language construction?  Example:  The text reads: I like to see horses at the farm.  The student read:  I like to fly horses at the farm.  Analysis: I like to fly... This is a good English language construction.  Analysis for use of structure cues should only take into account the text up to and including the error.  It is not visually similar and it does not fit the meaning of the total text. 

Visual (Graphophonic)

Visual information is related to the look of the letters in a word and the word itself. A reader uses visual information when she or he studies the beginning sound, word length, familiar word chunks, and so forth. The visual cues in the text are quite simply what the letters and words look like.  Does the substitution (error) look like the word in the text?  Some letters/words have very little differences; they have high visual similarity.  Examples: h/n/r, b/d/p, saw/was, but/put.

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