Lexical Cueing System
The lexical cueing system is one of three surface structure systems that permit readers to read fluently and writers to write fluently. This system relates to all the words a reader recognizes visually and can pronounce, which permits the reader to recognize features of words and whole words, morphemes, and bound morphemes. The lexical system permits children to recall and recognize high-frequency words and pronounce them no matter how they appear in print. It also permits writers to produce words on paper fluently.
“The lexical system has everything to do with reading fluency. Teachers must help students to build a large “lexicon” — a mental library of instantly recognized words. Our goal is for every child to sound out a word when necessary, but never to do so twice for the same word. The word is stored in visual memory and the child understands that no matter what form it takes, the word will always be read the same way” (Keene, 2008, p. 116).1
In the following video, we see first-grade students use the critical building of sight words by rereading familiar texts in the opening. The students collect sight words on their own individual cards that match the cards they are using with their teacher. These word collections and their repetitive use in guided reading texts further cement the words in long-term memory. (Note: The exercise presented in this video was designed specifically for first-grade students and is not intended for use with other grade levels.)
1Keene, E. (2008). To understand: New horizons in reading comprehension. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.