Learning to step back

Today (Thursday) I saw this quote on Twitter:

Sometimes the one who needs to become less dependent is the teacher, not the student. Learning to step back is not easy.

This can be so true. Coincidently, just this week a student told me that the reason she worriedcould not ‘read good’ was because ‘you talk too much’. I was quite taken aback. Were my prompts really interfering with her own thought processes? I thought I was being supportive!

I asked her to further explain herself- “A word is coming in my head … and you say a word….. and stop it“.

Wow, what a challenge… prompting much self reflection. Needless to say I am now more mindful of giving this student even more time to work on her own problem solving.

You might like to ask yourself if you are being ‘too helpful’ too. Step back and see what happens.

E books

uniteOn the Fun Links page there are many links to online books. Here is another great site- Unite For Literacy.

The Unite for Literacy organization is run by educators and writers who want to bring the joy of reading to every home. They have published almost 200 digital books in the free library and have narrations available in multiple languages.

When you first go to the site, you’ll be asked to put in your location, e.g. Australia. There’s no sign-up or teacher login. (There will be advertising which is why they want your location.)

Scroll through the books to select the one that you want. The books are mostly targeted at pre school – Year 2 children.

There are many non-fiction books as well as stories. Use the icons to select books about animals, plants and food, Earth and sky, technology, health, family, friends, communities, art and play, and skills (e.g. math, colours, shapes, opposites, etc.).

Children can listen to the books in a variety of languages. (Choose the desired language from the menu next to the Narration icon.) After listening to the book, your child might like to try reading along with the narration or try reading it independently.

happy-kid-at-computerHAPPY READING

Promoting Independence

glassesLast Friday we had a Reading Recovery Ongoing Professional Learning session with our tutor and other Reading Recovery teachers. Part of our time is always spent revisiting our R.R. guide books.

Our aim is to produce independent readers.


We were reminded of ways that we can encourage our students to help themselves to learn:

1. Give the child ways to detect error for himself. Instead of correcting the child after an error has been made say ‘Something wasn’t quite right. Can you find it?’ Or read back the sentence including the error and ask ‘How did that sound?’ or ‘Did it match?

2. Encourage attempts to correct error. If the child stops reading after an error but does not attempt to fix it ask, ‘What else are YOU going to try?’ Praise all the attempts even if they do not lead to complete success.

3. Give him clues to aid self-correction. Prompts might be- Reread from ___. Check the first letter. Think about what Billy is doing / saying. Look for a part of the word you know.

4. Allow him to make checks or repetitions to confirm his first attempts. Give ‘wait time’ before help is given. The child needs to know that she is expected to do the work. If we jump in to take over she will not check her own reading or reread in order to confirm / self-correct herself.

5. When he works out a word or text for himself ask him ‘How did you know?’ (Do not overdo this.) This is a way of recalling what she can do for herself next time.

Text in bold taken from Literacy Lessons Designed For Individuals Part 1 (2005) by Marie M. Clay. 3537327425

You can help your child by trying this at home.

Beginning readers

file000513851818Each of my students has now begun the formal lessons of Reading Recovery.

They are all learning to read the little books that come home every day. Some students are very good at looking at the pictures to gain meaning and ‘read’ sentences that make sense. These students notice if an error does not make sense or sound right. They may have another go, or ask for help, or might just look puzzled at error. BUT some of the words being said do not match the look of the words on the page. These students need to learn to look more closely at the print and use it, rather than making up their own interpretations of the pictures.

Other students look very closely at the words. They are so busy thinking about what each individual word looks like that they forget to use the pictures and the meaning of the story to help them.

Therefore, all of my students are currently working on using the meaning of the story (look at the picture as you turn the page and think about what is happening, what has happened so far, and what is likely to come next) AND the look of the word (emphasis on using at least the 1st letter).

In an earlier post called Being Flexible I wrote about the need to support our students who rely on one strategy (e.g. only using meaning, or only using the look of the words). 

earIf your child reads a sentence that does not make sense you can stop him / her and ask- Did that sound right to you? You may have to read back the sentence so that he / she can hear the error.

If your child reads an error that does not look right you can say- eyesYou read here (home). Slide your finger under the word as you say it. Does it match? (no) Where are they going? (home) Slide your finger under the word and say home. Does it match? (yes) Which letter shows us there is an m sound?

If your child is stuck you might ask- What can you try? 
He / she might:

  • search the picture for clues,
  • reread to regather the meaning / structure / momentum,
  • think about what has happened so far to predict what may come next,
  • reread and get ready to say the beginning of the next word,
  • look for a part of the word he knows, (e.g. goes),
  • think of another word that looks a bit like that (e.g. can, cat),
  • look back to where she saw the word before.

At this point in time we are encouraging the child to use meaning and print. We prompthelp1 to use what is not already being used.

See an earlier post called Meaning, Structure, Visual Clues if you wish to know more.

New Running Records Page

running record pencilDuring the week I added a new page called Running Records. Our Intervention Team Meetings are revolving around recording and analysing running records this term. Classroom teachers are also spending time revisiting them so I thought it might be useful to put the earlier posts relating to running records on the one page.

I have also included some other resources that might be helpful.