Homework books

Term 4 is always so busy!  Many Reading Recovery students are coming to the end of their series of lessons, and others are busy learning many new skills.

Whilst it would be wonderful for each student to progress as quickly as possible, I would like to emphasise the following information from the Homework page:

Every day your child will choose to take home one of the books that has been read that day. Children have favourite books and sometimes he or she may bring the same book home more than once. Please do not insist that your child brings a different book home every day. When a book becomes too easy, and there is nothing more to learn from that book, I will remove it from his / her book box.

Reading is meant to be a pleasurable pastime. I can guarantee that students learn more from the books that they enjoy compared to books that are too challenging. It is tempting to want to extend our students too quickly, especially with the end of the year around the corner. Let’s be mindful that pushing students too hard does not benefit anyone.

Say it like it is in boxes

One way of solving a word during reading is to think about how it could be broken down during the process of writing.

During the writing component of the lesson, the student has been shown how to match sounds to (probable) letters through the use of sound boxes. The student pushes counters into boxes as he / she slowly says the word. This is repeated until all of the sounds are heard and represented.

During reading, this knowledge of sound boxes can be used to match letters to  (probable) sounds to solve a word. The student runs his / her finger underneath the unknown word to slowly look through the word as if it was in sound boxes, and chooses sounds that could match those letters, e.g. l-i-tt-le. (See Slow check and sound boxes)

I have recently been making this task more explicit by actually using the magnetic letters and a magnetic board with sound boxes drawn on it.

The student had read ‘got’ instead of ‘get’. I placed the letters for ‘get’ under the sound boxes and asked him to push each letter up as he was saying the corresponding sound. This helped him to make a better connection between the look and sound of the word.

Some other words which were solved this way by various students were:

     

  

Some students worked out a word before pushing up all of the letters. Other students needed to push up the letters a number of times before being successful. We would not want to be doing this task very often as it takes the student away from the book, but it is a very useful scaffold when extra help is required.

What can you say besides ‘sound it out’?

There is a handy resource that you may like to check out provided by the Reading Recovery Council Of North America, contributed by Cathy Duvall, (a Reading Recovery leader).

Reading and Writing with Your Child

On the left hand menu (of the site linked above) you will see What can you say besides ‘Sound it out?’ (PDF)
You may like to print a copy to keep with you as you hear your children read.

One of my students graduated at the end of last term and another one is close to being discontinued. For the remainder of the year I will be taking new students for ‘top up lessons’ i.e. I will not be taking any more students for Reading Recovery in 2017. I am currently seeing 2 ‘top up’ students. They just need an extra boost to progress further and faster. 1 of these students comes to me twice a week and the other will come 3 times per week. They are having Reading Intervention (not Reading Recovery) as they are not coming to me every day and I am adapting their lessons.

As you know, some of the students are attending swimming lessons during the next 2 weeks so we will all need to be flexible re the timetable. Do not be surprised if your RR child has 2 Reading Recovery lessons on 1 day, and none on another day.

 

What is a rocket card?

Sometimes students return to school after the holidays reading slower than they were before the missed lessons. If I think that a student is still capable of reading faster I might reach for a masking card.

I use a card that looks like a rocket.This card encourages the eyes to sweep ahead of the words being said out loud. As the student reads a known book, I move the card along the line of the print (just a little behind the student’s oral reading, but at a constant speed). If the student is reading too slowly the card will cover the words before he / she sees them, and therefore the student is greatly encouraged to look ahead as quickly as possible.

Some students (who are very familiar with the rocket card) pick up the pace of their reading when they see me reach for the card. They realise that they need to speed up, and they want to show they can do it without my interference!

I do not use a rocket card on the new book as the ‘reading work’ is understandably slower, and I want to promote problem solving over guessing. (If there is too much emphasis on reading quickly the student can treat it as a race and neglect the meaning or look of the words.)

A masking card can be a very useful tool but it should be used sparingly and l would not recommend that you use it at home as it can be a distraction or a hindrance if it is not used very carefully.