Many new skills

longer textBy the time the students are finished Reading Recovery they know a lot about reading:

I need to read smoothly, putting the words together like talking.

I need to read using the punctuation, ( e.g. by stopping at a comma, and a full stop. Sounding like it is a question, or changing my voice for an exclamation mark).
I need to read with expression, making it sound interesting.
What I read must make sense.
I need to stop if I’m not sure I understand what I am reading.
I might need to re-read to work out the meaning.
I need to think about the possible meaning of the word by using the surrounding pages / sentences / words.
I need to check that the words I say aloud match the words that I can see.
I create pictures in my mind as I read. It’s like a movie in my head.thinking
I feel what I read. (Little White Rabbit’s face is making me feel so sad.)
I need to look at the pictures. I need to think about what I know about that (topic, idea).
I need to think about similar experiences that I have had, or have read about, or have seen on T.V. or somewhere else.
It reminds me of when I read …because… (text to text).
It reminds me of the time I … because …. (text to self).
It reminds me of something I read because … (text to text, text to world).
It reminds me of something I heard about because … (text to world).
I ask questions and look for answers- before I read, as I read and after I read to help me to understand. (Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?)
Questioning will help me to make predictions (e.g. why did the magpie take Mother Bear’s vocabularywatch and will she get it back?), check and reflect on my reading. (I didn’t guess that Baby Bear would find it.)
When the author doesn’t tell me I must infer…. (Maybe…., I think…., It could be…, It’s because…., Perhaps…, I’m guessing….). (Maybe she wanted to make her nest look beautiful.)
I need to quickly recognise many most-used words.
I need to understand the words that are in this book, preferably before I first read it. (Talk about the book, look through the pictures before reading it to get the overall meaning.)IMGP1026
I can try different ways of taking a word apart, as I think about the meaning at the same time.
I search for more information that will help me. (The look of the whole word. Looking back to where I saw it before. Thinking about other words that are a bit the same. Checking pictures. Rereading. Looking ahead.)
It would be great if all the students kept reading for the remainder of the school year and during the holidays. We all begin to forget how to do something if we do not continue to use it, e.g. remembering passwords or a recipe. We do not want our children to forget their new skills over the long break.

End of year reading

lionEnd of year testing is well underway.

As is often the case, many students are able to ‘read’ levels that are beyond their understanding.

An example- a student read the story about the Great Lion and the Tiny Mouse. This story is about a lion who captures a mouse who promises to help the lion if he lets it go. The lion laughs at that idea but lets the mouse go anyway and later on the mouse helps the lion to escape a net by nibbling a hole in it.

According to the math formula this book was ‘Easy’. The reading was quite fluent (not slow or word by word). Self corrections were fast.

Most of the words were worked out, e.g. gr / gr-et / gret / great, h / hunt / hunting, t-in / tinny / tiny.

But when I asked this student to retell the story I was surprised to hear his interpretation:

The mouse told the man to get the lion and the mouse laughed.

He had totally misinterpreted the meaning of the story!

It would seem that ‘reading’ requires a lot more than ‘sounding out’. Breaking words into parts (e.g. phonemes and chunks) is a very useful strategy (skill to help reading) but without meaning it is just a lot of unconnected words running across the page.mouse

By the way, this student was able to answer most of the questions correctly.I suspect he used the pictures, his background knowledge and some understanding of the story.

Correct responses: How did the lion catch the mouse? ANSWER: With his paw.

Why did the lion laugh at the mouse? ANSWER: He was thinking the little mouse can’t help him.

crazy-timesIncorrect response: What did the mouse say when the lion caught her? ANSWER: Help! I can’t hear you!

(I have no idea where that came from. The lion actually said- Got you!)