Mnemonic Clue #53


The Problem: 

Two new readers who came to see me at the Center this week for reading instruction found the same words difficult to distinguish.  The words were broad and board.  Both of these individuals have had difficulty decoding words and find items that are similar confusing.  These words are difficult to distinguish for individuals who do not efficiently process the sounds in words.  When they look at the two words, the words are so similar that it sets up an either/or situation for the reader.  Broad is either broad (wide) or board (piece of wood) or board is either broad (wide) or board (piece of wood)


The Mnemonic Clue

The mnemonic clue for remembering which word is which is to see the small words in each word.  The word broad contains the word road which is wider than a path, alley, lane or street.  The word board contains the word oar, used for rowing a boat, is made out of wood, same material as a board.  Individuals who have difficulty with either/or situations see both words as similar enough as to not note the distinguishing characteristics.  Providing them with a technique for breaking the confusion enables them to not only distinguish between these two words but also realize that when they are confused by items that are similar, they may be able to find a clue to differentiate between them. 


Richard Cooper, Ph.D. 

Center for Alternative Learning

December, 2006

















Richard Cooper, Ph.D.

July 4, 2005