Monday, February 2, 2009

Reading at Sight: Lesson 1 (Part Two - Troubleshooting)

Last week, I shared how big of a complete flop our first "reading at sight" lesson turned out to be. I mean - really. Clearly, I wasn't expecting her to read perfectly from the get go, but it was obvious that something just was not clicking with Punkin, and I had to figure out what that was.

When we settled down two days later for our second sight reading lesson, I still wasn't sure I had much of an idea. I had plans to introduce fewer words in one lesson, instead of the entire first two lines. Other than that, I was still sort of flying by the seat of my pants. I wondered, though, if perhaps seeing the word all by itself, without neighboring words crowding around it in a sentence, would help Punkin focus in and "see" the word. So, before I took out the "Twinkle, twinkle" paper, I wrote the word "twinkle", slowly, in print as Punkin watched. When I was finished writing, I told her that the word was "twinkle".

She jumped back in her seat, clearly shocked (rather dramatic, I know). But, she was evidently surprised, which surprised me since this word was one that she had sort of gotten in the previous lesson.

"That whole thing?! That whole long word says 'twinkle'?!" she asked (still shocked).

"Well, yes, honey. Don't you remember this word from our first lesson? Here, we begin at the t and read over to the e and that's all one word - twinkle. See?"

Punkin pointed to the very center of twinkle, just as I had done in our lessons, and said, "I thought just this part was twinkle!"

"The i-n-k part?"


Ahhhh, now all of the confusion from the other day was beginning to make sense. I admit, I was startled myself by our little discovery. Punkin needed some preparatory work that I had taken for granted! We took a few moments to talk about words and the spaces between words. We counted the number of words in the first two lines. Just to be certain we were clear on where a word began and where a word ended, I wrote out some of the words on a piece of paper as she watched me.

I felt like a complete dunce for overlooking something so completely fundamental. The good news is, though, that Punkin made great strides after we cleared the issue up! We only had a few minutes left after our troubleshooting session, but we followed the steps in the first lesson over again and were able to get through the first line. This time, at the end of the lesson, Punkin read the words back to me, left to right - "". Then, grinning a very big grin, she looked up at me.

What a sweet moment.

(Praise God we figured that out early on in the game!)

Today we finished Punkin's third sight reading lesson, and I clued in on what I think was the other major issue impeding our first sight reading lesson. But, more of that in my next post :)