Thursday – Christmas Day. There were no breakthroughs today, just hard work and slow progress.
I am pushing through the Blending course at top speed, not waiting for H. to master each exercise. So he still makes odd mistakes. Blending systematically and gradually builds one sound over another, and assumes there is mastery at each step. But we are in a great hurry.
Today’s drill contrasted /aw/ (‘lot’) with /eh/(‘bet’), which is one of the harder pairs. We expect errors like misreading ‘loss’ as ‘less’, but H. misread ‘loss’ as ‘lot’. I signaled an error and he tried again, still getting ‘lot’. I asked him to sound it out, and he correctly called the sounds /l/ /aw/ /s/ but still announced ‘lot’. Finally he recognized the error.
We stopped and talked about that, what could be causing it and how we could try to correct it. For the rest of the morning we focused on slowing down and getting 100% accuracy.
We did exercises with affixes and the ‘no-E’ rule. We watched Gina Cooke’s wonderful video about making sense of spelling, and I point out examples in our Goosebumps text. H. stumbled on the word ‘circulation’ and didn’t really know about blood circulation, but he understood the link to a circle.
More praise for working hard, and a discussion about what it would take to become the best reader in his class – working harder than a girl he described as a very hard worker. It won’t happen, but he has a roadmap if he wants to try and the sense that even if he isn’t the best, it isn’t because there is something wrong with him.
By the end of the morning, he was exhausted and making lots of mistakes. But the Goosebumps was getting to a critical scary part and he didn’t want to quit. I read about 10 pages in my most expressive voice, while he followed with eyes as big as saucers. He is going to be a great reader.