Monday. The key challenge is getting H. to stop guessing and using memorized words. We are focused on breaking those two habits and shifting him to ‘sounding out’.
This is the second day of drilling CVC words with the with the /ah/ sound. We started with reading-aloud /ah/ words that ended with ‘t’ (fat cat sat), then added ‘g’ and ‘p’ endings. By now he has read hundreds of /ah/ words, I am overloading him to force him to sound out instead of recall.
He is improving, but still gets the first or last sound wrong. And every once in a while he makes a mistake on the vowel. Half-way through this list of /ah/ words, he read ‘lap’ as ‘lip’ – a sign of memory-reading kicking in. Try reading this list aloud yourself and imagine how that mistake could happen, he has already read many pages like this.
We are finger-point reading a grade-2 chapter book (‘Jack Stalwart – The Caper of the Crown Jewels’), and he’s struggling. Again, the mistakes are telling: I am continually correcting him on the small function words (‘A’ instead of ‘The’), and he is obviously guessing some larger words from context. For example, he read ‘This is terrible” as “This is dreadful”. I often re-read a sentence that he struggled with to help him keep the storyline intact.
But he is also succeeding with hard words, for example he nailed ‘encouragement’. He continues to enjoy the story. I had worried that a grade-8 student would be disdainful of a grade-2 story, but this series of books are excellent.
As an aside, I was mortified as we were reading. I had forgotten the ‘beheading’ scene, a magic trick in a stage performance that recreates the beheading of William Hastings in the Tower of London in 1483. It was delightful when I first read it two years ago, and H. loved it now, but it is terribly inappropriate given recent current events in the Middle East. Haroun didn’t seem to notice.
I continue to praise H.lavishly for working hard (see ‘Mindset‘) and he continues to give 100% effort. We did a second session of word drills, by the end he had completed the /ih/ words (fit, sit, bit) which he found much easier that /ah/.
It is only the second day, but already I can see a difference.