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It is all coming back

March 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Ella and I were on the deck a few days ago enjoying the beautiful weather.  I was working and Ella was looking at a beginning reader book.  One of the neighbor children came over to play with Ella but instead got interested in the book Ella had and wanted to start reading it.  She is in Kindergarten and knows many of the alphabet sounds, although not all the sounds as taught using the phonograms.  She is very good at blending so if she knew all the phonograms she would be awesome.

We spent about 30 minutes working our way through the book and this little girl loved it.  As I worked with her she was experiencing much success reading, and just as I remembered from teaching my first two children and from teaching first grade, children love to experience success.  And when they get that, they want to keep getting it.  This was proven when about 25 minutes later, she came back up on the deck and asked if she could read some more!

Here are some of the strategies I used during this reading:

  • I list this one first because I believe it is the most important one of all.  Every time she did something well, I praised her for it.  She knew she was doing well and soaked up the praise.
  • I fed her the phonograms since she didn’t know all of them.  For instance, the word found was common in the book.  I had to give her the ‘ou’ sound and then she could get the word.  There were other words where I had to do the same thing.
  • I encouraged her to begin sounding out words, especially the longer ones.  Once a child starts sounding out a word, more often than not, they complete it successfully.
  • I had her skip an unknown word and complete the sentence.  She was then able to use context to get the word.
  • She was using picture clues for some words, but that was her own strategy.
  • I shared with her the rule where two-letter words ending in a vowel usually use the long vowel sound.
  • We also discussed trying each of the phonogram sounds when a phonogram had multiple sounds until the word made sense.
  • We used proximity on a few words.  Proximity is when the child sounds out the word using a phonogram, but the result isn’t quite how we say the word, but it is close enough for to figure it out.  In this book, the prime example was the word ‘said’ where she sounded the ‘ai’ out using the long a sound.  After doing that three or four times, I could see her thinking about it and instead of using the long a sound she read it correctly.

I titled this post “It is all coming back” because I have such fond memories of doing these same things with my first two children.  Ella is getting closer, but watching a Kindergartner reading like this and easily understanding the strategies I discussed with her helps to make me understand that maturity is very important in reading.  I will have to continue to be patient.

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