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Put a Finger on It! How Finger-Tracking Can Help Improve Children’s Reading

There is, one simple and fairly reliable strategy for bringing all the pieces together, and that involves using the index finger to “track” each word as it read aloud.

The key pieces are that the finger must always be under the word being read, and that it must move smoothly—it should not lag a word or two behind and then suddenly jump ahead, or trail off as the line progresses. Otherwise, the effectiveness of the exercise is lost.

In addition, the finger should remain on the page until the child has completely finished the relevant section—that is, it should stay firmly on the last word until the child has stopped speaking. You should model the reading for the child first, pointing out how your finger moves with your voice and eye.


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