We are (more or less) back in routine, and are continuing in our reading lessons from Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. If you are new around here, I posted my introduction to this series here.
One thing that's new this new year is that I got a new resource! I'm hoping that Peggy Kaye's Games for Reading will give me some ideas to add some variety to our reading lessons while I continue to follow my own course. I also received a package of Scrabble fridge magnets for Christmas. I've been making crosswords on the fridge myself, but I'm thinking the letters may be useful for a reading lesson or two as well.
This was the first lesson following our Christmas/New Year's break. I decided to start off by finding out how much SA had retained of our first lessons. I used an activity called "Word Ladder" from Games for Reading. I quickly drew a ladder with twelve steps on a sheet of paper. Then I wrote fifteen words on index cards:
I got a little tiger out of the toys, and we used it to climb the ladder. For every word he read immediately and correctly, he moved up one step. We put these words into an "easy" envelope. He got ten of them. We put the words that he didn't get immediately into a "hard" envelope to work on later in the week. These are the five words that went into that envelope.
SA enjoyed this game, and the whole lesson took about five minutes or so.
For this lesson, I decided to teach SA the suffix -ing. I made several words on the refrigerator using my new magnetic scrabble letters.
learn (this was a new one for him)
Then I told him the sound the letters -ing make, and put them behind each word in turn. He read the new, longer words with no problem.
This lesson took probably three minutes. He clearly continued to think about it, though, as later in the afternoon he came to me and said, "Mama, singing has -ing in it."
"Yes, it actually has two -ing's in it," I replied. "Let's go make that word on the fridge."
And we did.
I did another lesson using the scrabble letters. I didn't do a phonics lesson related to the word "course," as I really couldn't think of another word where that particular combination of letters (-ourse) make the same sound.
First, I wrote "OF COURSE" in scrabble letters on the fridge. I asked SA to read it.
"Of cowrse?" he read hesitantly.
"Of course," I said.
Next, I asked him to look at the word very carefully, so that he could see the letters in his head.
Then I mixed up all the letters and asked him to spell it again.
He did not do very well: "OF CORUSE"
I quickly put the words in the correct order again (I didn't want the incorrect spelling to register in his brain, especially as he seems to be a very visual learner.).
Then I mixed up the letters again, and I had a turn spelling it correctly.
I gave him another turn, and this time he spelled it "OF CORSUE."
I corrected it again, but didn't prolong the lesson. I'm starting to realize that he "sight reads" words so quickly and easily by sounding out the first and last sounds and guessing what's in between. He has also mixed up "green" and "golden" occasionally, which would indicate the same technique. I'm not sure how good or bad that is at this stage. For now, I just encouraged him to look very carefully at the letters.
One interesting thing, though. He can read the word "course" now. He hasn't missed it since this lesson.
Big Red Barn Reading Lesson 1
Big Red Barn Reading Lessons 2 and 3
Big Red Barn Reading Lesson 4
The Awesome Mystery of Growth in Reading