Busy times

busyIt’s that very busy time of the year. Some students are very close to finishing Reading Recovery and they are trying to do as well as they can before they are discontinued.

Some of the students will be not quite ready to finish their series of lessons so 1 or 2 may continue at the beginning of 2017.

The Reading Recovery students who finished earlier in the year are currently being tested so that this information can be added to their reports. Next week I will also be testing the current students for their reports. These students will continue with their lessons after this testing, and for as long as possible before they are given their final testing, and are either discontinued or carried over into next year.eyes

I have Zumba music playing in the background as I write the reports so I hope no lyrics get included! Oh my my…back it up…

Supported decision making

thinkingWe want our children to check their reading and make their own decisions.
Here is an example of supported decision making quite early in the series of lessons (2nd intake).


The sentence in the book was:bowl
Billy looked at the bowls.
The child read:
Billy looked at the bowls …. spoons.

Teacher: Is it bowls or spoons? What do you think?
Child: Mm
Teacher: (Covered the word.) What would you expect to see if it was spoons?
Child: s
Teacher: (Uncovered the 1st letter-b.) What is it?
Child: bowls
Teacher: You’re right. Billy looked at the bowls.

The sentence in the book was:
The fish are not coming today.fish
The child read:
The fish are not here … coming …today. (The student stopped reading and looked uncertain.)

Teacher: Which one is it? What do you think?
Child: coming
Teacher: Why?
Child: There’s a c.
Teacher: Read it again and check it sounds right.
Child: The fish are not coming today. It’s right!

It would be a lot quicker to just tell the child the correct word but we would not be giving her the opportunity to discover she could work it out herself.

See also an earlier post- Decision Making.

Reading fluently

Reading fluency is the ability to read quickly, accurately and with the right expression. Fluent readers understand what they read.  Ginny Osewalt

We do not want our students to sound like robots as they read. This is word by word reading, and it does not help the students to put the the words together in a meaningful way (like talking). I have written a previous post called Why do we want students to be fluent readers?

Here is a link to some strategies to improve the fluency of reading –

fluency7 Ways to Improve Reading Fluency

I think the following tips are the most valuable for our students and you might like to try them at home:

1 Model fluent reading

2 Try guided practice

3 Read together

4 Try repeated readings

7 Praise meaningfully

From the website: Understood for learning & attention issues

Solving words

rainbow-shoelacesStudents need to learn ways to help themselves to solve words as they are reading and writing. The aim is always for the student to use what is already known.

This student composed:
I’ve got new runners that are pink and silver with rainbow shoelaces.
The teacher decided the student could solve that.

Teacher: That… What do you know?
Student: No response.
Teacher: You know the… say the and then say that.
Student: thethat (No comment about the similarity.)
Teacher: They start the same
Student: T-H (Wrote these 2 letters.)
Teacher: What do you hear at the end of the word?
Student: tha – tat ! (Wrote a and t.)
Teacher: That’s right. You knew the 2 parts- th and at.

In this example the student was asked to think about how the beginning of one word (that) was like a well-known word (the), and then to notice the familiar word at to finish it. The aim was not just to learn how to write a new word. The aim was to learn some possible ways of solving words that the student would be able to use independently in the future. (e.g. Do I know another word that sounds a bit like that? Can I hear a part of the word that I can write?)

N.B. The teacher had decided that the student did not need the more supportive turned pencil bugprompts that she may have used earlier in the series of lessons, e.g. Say the word slowly. T and H make the th sound. You know how to write at. You wrote it here. You just read it here.

If we always give the student the most supportive prompts, we are not teaching him / her to become independent. By giving the open-ended question- What do you know?– the student was given the opportunity to search her own repertoire of strategies. In this instance she needed some support to trigger a response.