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Maddie's Story

Michele Dufresne

Child writing - Pioneer Valley Books

Maddie, like many other children, is struggling to learn how to read. Maddie’s parents have agreed to let me share Maddie’s story with you. It is a story with an unknown ending. 

It is December of her first-grade year and many of Maddie’s friends have taken off in their reading. Based on a recent school assessment, Maddie is only able to read level B books. Is there reason to be concerned and to take action? Yes! Reading at only a text level B means Maddie can read only the most basic, repetitive books whereas many other first-graders are fluently reading complex stories. It is important for Maddie to be assessed with a strong and comprehensive reading assessment that looks at more than her reading level. If Maddie doesn’t get help soon, she may be at risk of long-term reading problems. She could fall further and further behind.

I am going to use Marie Clay’s Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement to look at Maddie’s knowledge of letters, sounds, and print conventions. I will look to see how many words she can write quickly, and find out if she can write a simple, dictated story. Once I know more about what is going on with Maddie, I will have a better idea of what should be done. I will let you know what I find out about Maddie after her assessment.

If you are a parent of a child struggling to read, or a teacher with students who are struggling, I hope what I write about will help you think of some ways that you can help.

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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