End 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.
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.
Incorrect 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!)