Friday. We have worked our way through CVC words using the first five vowels, and have launched into the second part of the Blending program – consonant clusters. Same five vowels in single-syllable words, but now we get frisky with the consonants.
Our Blending materials do not differentiate between digraphs (the ‘ck’ spelling of /k/) and clusters (the ‘st’ spelling which is two different sounds). That is the role of Phonics, which we haven’t started yet, although H. is being prepared for it. Stronger readers parse ‘chunk’ of letters together, and that is the skill we are trying to explicitly develop with these drills.
H. was smooth and confident (not yet perfect) on CVC words with the five vowels, but he struggled when we added another consonant – his reflex was to use his memory rather than sounding out, and almost every word he called was wrong. So we slowed down, and then slowed down some more. You could almost see him checking the vowel sound, and then the start and end, and then blending the word; it took 2-3 seconds for each one, but his accuracy went way up. By the second session today he was much smoother. By tomorrow it will be natural.
We watched another morphology video, and then hunted for more ‘con’ words – conspire, connect, contact, etc.
And we FINISHED our first Goosebumps book. Matt escaped the zombies and moved to another school. H. is doing more and more of the reading, we used to alternate paragraphs when we started but now he can read one or two pages in a row. I’ve laid out three new Goosebumps for tomorrow for him to choose from.
As we read together, I no longer help him with words from the Blending drills – I merely point the error, and he figures them out. If it is a prefix cluster (the Blending program will start those tomorrow), I only give him the vowel sound. I’m getting stricter about function words. His reading is improving day by day, as is his confidence.
It won’t be long before he pushes me away and reads to himself independently.