Where are the eyes looking?

My new students will begin the formal lessons of Reading Recovery this week which includes doing homework each day.

You might notice that some children are very good at looking at the pictures to gain meaning and to ‘read’ sentences that make sense, but they do not notice that some (or all) 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 to use it, rather than making up their own stories based on the pictures.

Often these students look at print in the same way as they look at a picture, i.e. their eyes search randomly from 1 spot on the page to another in varying directions. This is OK for searching pictures, but not for writing as we need to look from left to right across a page (usually with a return sweep) in order to make sense of the print.

Students who do not pay much attention to the print also tend to add or leave out a word or two per page. I encourage these students to point to each word as they say it until they have the 1:1 matching of spoken and written words under control. For a very short time I might point to the words and read along with the student.

During the lessons the students are shown to look through print from left to right in a variety of ways, e.g.

  • Look across a row of magnetic letters and quickly say the letter names in order from left to right.
  • Make a known word with magnetic letters. (1 letter at a time is given to the child in the correct order.) After the word is made the student slides a finger from left to right under the word as it is said aloud.
  • Sweep a finger from left to right under a sentence as it is read aloud. (Or point to each word.)
  • Reassemble a cut-up version of the child’s writing. (Word cards are in a random order. The child searches for each word according to the order of the original sentence.)
  • Write known words on the whiteboard. Emphasize that letter order is important. ‘hte’ is not the same as ‘the’. See Direction Is Important.

  

If your child is looking at the picture while he / she is ‘reading’ remind the child to look at the print. You might say ‘Point to the 1st word. Get ready to say it’ . If a word is added or left out you might ask him / her to reread whilst pointing to each word and ask “Did you have enough / too many words?” If he / she reads an error that does not look right you might 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) How do you know? (There’s an m.)

I remind the students that they have to read the author’s words. They can compose their own stories during writing time.

 

The 1st word can be the hardest

There’s a song that says that ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word’. Well I think that the hardest word is often the first word of a sentence. Why? Because there is little or no context (meaning or structure) to support the look of the word.

If your child is stuck on the first word of a sentence don’t think that you’re doing the wrong thing if you just tell him / her what it is to move the reading along.

Sometimes I will tell the word. Sometimes I will give a prompt to action and if that does not work I will tell the word.

Here are some ways that I’ve helped students to get started :

Day after day “We’d probably say ‘every day’ but the author chose ‘day after day’. Say it with me. Day after day”. (‘Day’ might be a word that is usually recognized by this student, but it is not known in this context.)

Kieron “That boy is ‘Kieron'”. (Pointed to picture and pointed to 1st word.) “Can you say ‘Kieron’?” (To become familiar with the look and sound of the word.)

Matthew “Who is still making the card?” (A call to use some visual information and meaning (print and picture) to support a decision.)

They “Does it look like ‘They’ or ‘Then’?” (Reducing the choice to 2 words. Will need to look through the whole word.)

Then “What do you think happened then?” (Giving some context and putting the word ‘then’ into the student’s mix of possibilities.)

After “What do you think will happen after school?” (Context for the 1st word, and also a call to think about what might come next (structure and meaning).)

Thunder “Look at the black clouds in the sky. Look at the beginning of the word and think about what might happen”. (Giving some context and a call to crosscheck meaning with the look of the word.)

Everyone “Can you see a part you know? Can you say more?” (A call to take the word apart as I know he knows both ‘every’ and ‘one’.)

You have to know the reader well in order to choose an appropriate prompt. If in doubt- Tell.

 

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.

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.

 

Linking hearing words to reading ability

There was an interesting segment on Lateline (ABC 18/07/2017) about research proving what many of us have known for a long time; hearing words in context greatly assists us with identifying new words as we see them when we are reading.

To quote the corresponding article:

“The take-home message for parents is: ‘Talk to your kids. Try and use new and complex vocabulary. Take the opportunity to explain what that means during conversation or during shared storybook reading’.”

Click here to view the segment. The corresponding ABC News article can be read here.

I am currently on leave after a short stay in hospital. Hopefully I will be back after a couple of weeks.

Book orientation

A book orientation is the same as a book introduction. It happens before the student attempts to read a new book for the first time.

The following video was published on Mar 22, 2015 by UALRCenter4Literacy

The Reading Recovery teacher scaffolds (supports) the student during the book introduction and the first reading of a new L14  book called The Missing Necklace.

The Reading Recovery teacher provided her student with some information about the story and she asked him questions that prompted him to wonder about what was happening, and what may happen next. He was in control of the book. (He held the book and he turned the pages.) The student searched the pictures and he told the teacher what he observed.

Sometimes the teacher pointed out something in the picture in order to add to the meaning. She also asked him some questions to check that he understood the vocabulary (e.g. detective, chipmunk). He demonstrated a good understanding of the story when he reacted to the humour at the end of the book. The teacher responded to his enjoyment of the story, and she connected the story to his own experiences.

He is likely to read the book very well the next time he reads it as he understands it so well. Perhaps he will add some more expression to his voice to make it sound more interesting.

He is learning ways to orientate himself to a book when the teacher is not with him.

All of the teachers are currently very busy with writing reports. I am also gathering information in preparation for the mid year reports. I have been re administering parts of the Observation Survey in order to check for progress. It’s always interesting (and rewarding) to look back at what the student could do at the beginning of Reading Recovery, and to compare it with what is known now.

Reading together

Again, I am encouraging parents to read to their children because there are so many benefits.

This article (click on the picture) was written by Deborah Gough (Sydney Morning Herald, 2013) and quotes Bridie Raban (University of Melbourne’s Graduate School Of Education).

 Some quotes from the article:

Parents who stop reading to their children once they reach primary school are missing out on an emotionally rich time …

…a Galaxy poll of 1200 Australian parents found that just 23 per cent of parents read to their child every day… Just four per cent read daily to their child by the time they were aged 9 to 12 years.

Parents blamed making dinner and doing housework …, work … and tiredness… (for not reading to  / with their child).

Nine out of 10 parents encouraged their children to read… the most common incentive was giving children books as gifts…

Reading tips:

  1. Make a bedtime story something to look forward to (a treat).
  2. Be a good role model. Do your children see you reading?
  3. Join a local library.
  4. Read books on different topics that interest your children.
  5. Play word games together.
  6. Talk with your child. It’s a good way to learn new words, and to learn more about a language. (How children talk will influence the words that they will expect to see as they are reading.)

Reading aloud to children is important because it helps them pick up information and skills they need.

Children’s reading experts agree that reading aloud is the easiest and most effective way to turn children into lifelong readers.

Continue reading aloud after your children can read. All readers will enjoy listening to books that they can’t yet manage on their own.

Previous posts: Reading Aloud To Children,   Reading Aloud To Children 2,

Reading Aloud To Children 3Share The ReadingReading To Brothers And Sisters

See also Sharing Books With Young Children (Scroll down to the Reading section.)

 

Advice for parents and teachers

I find that searching around the World Wide Web provides lots of good advice (and some questionable advice too!).

I was very pleased to find this website- LiteracyLearning.net. It advertises itself as ‘a site dedicated to resources for literacy learning and teaching’.

There is a lot of very valuable information for parents related to Reading Recovery.

Parents will be especially interested to read Ways to Help At Home.
There are some ideas that you can use as your child is reading the take-home book, and unjumbling the cut up sentence that comes home each day.
Your own copy of Ways to Help At Home can be downloaded here.

Parents and classroom teachers may also be interested to read A Reading Recovery Lesson.

Each part of the Reading Recovery lesson is explained- Familiar ReadingReread of Yesterday’s New Book for AssessmentWord and Letter WorkComposing and Writing A Story, the Cut-up Sentence, and the New Book Introduction & First Read. There is quite a bit of ‘teacher talk’ so parents might like to revisit The Lesson page on this blog as it also explains the parts of the lesson without the ‘teacher talk’.

Phonological Awareness 2

The Prep and Year 1/2 teachers have been exploring more about Phonological / Phonemic Awareness. You may like to view the following Youtube presentation from the Neuhous Education Center. (It is intended for teachers but it is well explained for others to follow too.)

WHAT RESEARCH SAYS:

      • Phonological Awareness is critical to learning to read.
      • Phonological Awareness is a strong predictor of reading success. (Children who can hear the parts within words find it easier to learn to read.)
      • Phonological Awareness can be developed through instruction. (Children can be taught to hear the parts within words through a variety of activities.)

from the handout that accompanies the presentation.

During Reading Recovery we include Phonological Awareness instruction across the whole lesson, but mainly during Letter ID / Word Work (e.g. making a word with magnetic letters, changing the 1st or last letters, breaking a word into parts) and Writing (e.g. clapping syllables of a word before attempting to write it, sound boxes).

    

If you would like to know more about phonological awareness or phonemic awareness  go to http://www.k12reader.com/phonemic-awareness-vs-phonological-awareness/

You may like to read a previous post about Phonological Awareness.

You can download at handout with some ideas for home at https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/172%20Phonological%20Awareness.pdf

Please note: There are some products for sale via this link. SAEPS will never recommend or ask that you buy any products linked to this blog.

The power of self corrections

 A self correction is when the child reads a word (or part of a sentence) incorrectly and then fixes it without help.

Sometimes adults give too much attention to the mistakes that children make which can be rather discouraging, especially during the early stages of reading. But when we give attention to the self corrections we are emphasising what the child is doing well, i.e. the solution rather than the problem.

You might ask “Why did you stop and change that word?” and you might get a reply such as-
It’s a d so it’s a dog, not a puppy.
Checking the 1st letter really helped you didn’t it!”

Because Little Chimp is asleep in the picture. (Not awake.)
It was good to think about what was happening in the story.”

I saw ‘to’ and I knew it was ‘today’. (Not they.)
That was clever. Sometimes you can see a part you know.”

When you bring the child’s attention back to a self correction by saying something like “You did a good job of fixing this word. What you were thinking?” you are not just focussing on the child recognising more words, you are encouraging the process of word solving. The blue teacher comments above are reinforcing the process. By doing this you may encourage him / her to think-

Yeah, you’re right, I really did do that and it worked for me. Maybe I’ll try that same thing again sometime.…..That wasn’t so hard. I did it all by myself. I’m getting pretty good at this stuff.
From One Child At A time by Pat Johnson

By focussing on what the child did to help himself or herself, the child may be more willing to take risks and try again on another day, on another book. (And not just wait for help.)
Feeling good about yourself is the best way of learning and strengthening skills such as reading.