I had written in detail as to how to figure out new words in one of my lessons in File Den which is now missing. Anyway, let me briefly explain how I encourage my students to figure out words they have not learned.
There are many words that cannot be learned the following way but it is worth looking at as it will be very useful to teach kids how to figure out many new words they come across.
We can ask the kid to look at words and see which letter combinations they have already learned and move on from there.
After having taught them the sound of, say, ‘oo’ as in the word too we should be able to teach them to figure out many words.
Say, they come across the word ‘food’ ask them to close off the letter f and d and ask them what sound the remaining letters make and they will say ‘oo’. Now ask them to take off the finger that has closed the letter d and ask what sound the 3 letters make and they will say ‘ood’. Now ask them to take off the left finger and ask them the sound of the word and they will not only say food but get very excited about their new found method of reading out a new word. This is not guessing which I do not encourage. These kids are logical and will now learn to use this method to read new words and soon these new words will become part of their sight words.
Let us stick with the sound made by ‘oo’ and teach as many new words as possible. Keep in mind that this ‘oo’ has the short sound (good) as well as the long sound (food). As such only introduce the long ‘oo’ and do explain that it also has the short sound.
Tool, fool, cool, moon, noon, room, root, boot, root, soot, and many more.
Then you can even teach them to read words like spoon. Close off sp, ask them the sound of oon followed by poon and finally spoon. Of course we can later teach them that sp has a sound by itself.
Other words that can be taught in the same way are broom, spool and many more.
Add an s at the end of the above words and ask them what it sounds like now. The kids will enjoy this way of learning new words.