Saturday. We continue to drill on CVCC words, and H. continues to improve but is making too many errors for my liking. We have covered the drills faster than his brain can create patterns, and unfortunately we reinforce his bad guessing habits in our fingerpoint reading.
In her original book on multisensory training, Anna Gillingham commands that the student stop reading entirely while he masters decoding drills. I understand the logic of that, perhaps we would arrive sooner if we went slower. But time is so short, we have only a few more days before I leave on vacation and H. returns to school. Who will tell a grade-8 non-reading student that there is no rush to start?
We started a new Goosebumps book today, ‘Vampire Breath’. H’s reading gets smoother and smoother each day, but he is still guessing too much. He can’t yet make sense of these stories by himself, there are too many wrong words. The missed function words are especially worrying, he still reads the word ‘I’ wrong (although I suspect he understands what he is reading and merely calls it wrong). He does not have the endurance to labour through more than one or two pages without stopping; I try to pace him to half-pages and take over reading to keep him fresh.
We tried another Repeated Reading fluency drill, about a half-page of Goosebumps, and this time it went much better (H’s reading skills weren’t good enough in previous attempts, or maybe the texts were too hard). We run through the first time just to get the words, and then I start timing his trials. Exactly as it should be, every trial showed improved speed, accuracy, and prosody.
I build a simple hand-drawn graph as we go – his second time becomes the top of the graph, and it grows with each reading. Ideally the graph would should a smooth ‘learning curve’ (which is exactly what it is measuring). You can see that H. was getting tired at the end.
If you are not familiar with Repeated Reading, many resources around the web describe it. Most are likely based on this classic paper by Sarah Dowhower. Repeated Reading is generally used as a fluency (speed) drill, but the research is clear that it helps with several other reading sub-skills.
Tomorrow is a day off, we resume on Monday.