Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"I'd like to keep reading this"

Reece started reading The Best Trick shortly after she completed the Bob books. This little book is a story about animals, with each part of the story being only page or two long, and completely decodable. She reads one part of the story each day.

Reece has the benefit of being the 2nd child in the family with an autism spectrum disorder. Her older brother is the guinea pig. When he was learning to read, I focused on phonics heavily. We did phonics drills every single day, and he would get SO upset when the blends/digraphs had different sounds. Or when one sound had different spellings. It was frustrating for both of us. He learned quickly to despise reading. It was hard... it was miserable. I can't say that I blame him. I blame myself, but try to give myself a little bit of grace for not knowing what was going on inside of him.

A residual negative effect of Austin's reading lessons has been extremely poor reading comprehension. We spent so much time working on learning how to read, with me pushing him hard to read longer and longer books to try to keep up with his friends, that I never emphasized to him that he was supposed to be getting something out of all this reading. That it wasn't just reading to get to the end of the lesson, to mark off the box on the assignment sheet. Reading comprehension, and the awareness that he's supposed to be understanding what he is reading is just NOW starting to develop, at almost 13 years old.

So I decided with Reece not to repeat those mistakes. We do phonics, but in context of books. She does Explode the Code workbooks, but as "spelling", so she doesn't associate it with reading in a direct way. When we're reading and she comes across a sound she doesn't know, I just tell her what the letters say together and we move on. And we always focus on what we're reading... what the pictures show us, what just happened, what might be happening next. And I try my best to make sure that she feels confident and successful in reading. It's hard for me because I want her to move forward and keep up with HER friends... but I try to restrain myself.

And today, I was rewarded for my patience!! :) We finished today's little story, and she looked at me and said, "I'd like to keep reading this." I said, "Sure!" and we read the next story. She said, "Let's keep going... this is a good story. I want to know what happens next!" Page by page she continued to read - her reading is getting good! And before I knew it, we were at the END. She read 12 pages! She finished the story, and she really liked it!

Best of all, when she read the last word she said, "I did it! I'm so happy!"

I really needed that today. I've been having mini panic attacks about Austin being a high schooler in only 2 years (how on earth can I get him doing high school level work in only 2 years???). One of these days I'll try to address all my concerns about it on my blog, but I tend to get very emotional and slightly irrational! LOL I'll push that worry back for a little while.

Today, I'll just be content with a little one who is making her own milestones with learning to read!


Anonymous said...

Jen, in light of this post, The program Abecedarian that I reference earlier might be just the ticket. It is SOOOO easy and it takes all the ways to spell certain sounds and teaches those. In level B1 we learned all the ways to read/spell the by the sounds. IE the sound ow as in Cow can be spelled ou or ow. The sound "OOH" as in blow can be spelled as ou, ow, ough. There are about seve ways ways to spell the "u" sound as in blue. The child learns to "flex" the sound until the word makes sense. Anyhow just thought I would share. It is slightly easier than many other approaches. Rhonda

Lisa said...

How awesome is that! "I'd like to keep reading this" is definitely the goal!

Niffercoo said...

Rhonda, I do have a concern after looking at the website, and that's with the nonsense words. I've spent so much time working with Austin to think in context and to read that way, that I don't want to throw in words that make no sense to him now.

And I probably should have been more specific with our studied dictation problems. He is spelling fine (it's typically his only subject that's on grade level during standardized testing), it's just his memory for the sentences is poor. I read the sentence twice and he can't remember it all to write it down, even after having studied it all week. I'm wondering if it's due to his language processing problems or his auditory processing problem, coupled with the rich language in the Spelling Wisdom exercises. He did dictation (unstudied) today out of the Out of Print History Encyclopedia and did much better. But Riley noticed that I broke the sentence in half for him, and I don't do that for her.

I probably need to read more of CMs work about studied dictation, and see if I'm even approaching it correctly. It's just frustrating for him and me when he can't remember the sentences to write them down.

Luke said...

I love hearing encouraging stories like these: Little milestones that demonstrate that learning and developing is taking place. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Jennifer NOW I understand. My dd was reading by memorization so the NONsense words forced her to actually use real strategies to read VS reading by memorization. Rhonda