Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interesting Observation..

I met the mom of one of Salamander's class mates at a town meeting last week, and as we got talking, we came to the realization that our kids have similar decoding, phonemic awareness, reading speed/fluency issues.

She shared with me a reading intervention she had started with her child at the beginning of the school year and that she noticed that her child's reading had become much more fluent and that he was enjoying reading books a lot more.
What did she do? She started getting books on tape or CD for her child, as well as the actual book. And at bed time, she has her child read from the book while listening to the book on tape/CD through head phones.

It's so simple that it's brilliant!!! Salamander's phonemic processing (connecting letter blends to sounds, and vice versa) is impaired. While his phonics are strong, recognition of vowel blends, consonant blends and, as an extension of that, sight words and words that are used a lot is poor. He simply does not 'recognize' these.. and he is not connecting these to sounds (and as an extension of that, he has great difficulties with spelling too). Basically the visual processing and the auditory processing systems are just not linking up the way they are supposed to.

So I started this past Sunday with having Salamander read from a book while at the same time listening to the book on a tape. We are currently at a very slow reading rate (90 words/min), and that's OK. I rather start slow and have Salamander be able to keep up, than start too fast and have him get frustrated.

He resisted me like crazy on Sunday. Did NOT want to do it (which typically happens at first when we are working on an intervention that uses auditory and visual processing systems together -that's where significant deficits are, so it's incredibly hard for him). But I got him started, and he managed to read/listen for about 7 minutes (about 4 pages) before he got completely exhausted (and I could see the exhaustion on his face..).

We weren't able to do this on Monday and Tuesday, but I did have him continue last nite. And to my delight, he simply strapped on his headphones, opened the book, hit play on his cassette player and read 15 (!!) pages. On his own. No fussing. Totally focused.
He said to me afterwards; "Mom, I only lost my place a few times. But I was able to find it back as I was listening.' and 'Figuring out unfamiliar words is getting easier, as I have the voice to help me."

Of course, having only done this twice, it's too early to tell whether there will be a substantial longer term impact. But as Salamander is starting to see the benefits of reading this way, I think he'll continue to work with me on this and we'll be able to build up his phonemic awareness and his reading stamina (as well as his confidence).

Yes, yes, I realize, it's one more intervention (and there will be more as we are starting the Lindamood-Bell program next week) to build into his, already very full, day. But I have to do what I can to help him become a more confident and proficient reader (and speller)..

On a totally separate note, as I have lots of stuff going in my life that I cannot always be 'direct and open' about on this blog (as this one is in the public domain and anybody can get on and read stuff), I started a private blog. I am willing to give people access, but you'll have to email me and ask...


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