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Maddie's Story: First Skype Session

Maddie and I had our first session over the Internet. I used a video chat program called Skype. My husband Bob was filming us from our home in Florida while Maddie’s dad assisted at Maddie’s home in Massachusetts. There are a few challenges to teaching like this and some bugs to work out. But Maddie did not seem thrown at all by the experience and I am very hopeful that I can help her from a long distance.

I started the session with some familiar reading. Rereading familiar books is important for a number of reasons. First, it gives Maddie a sense of achievement. It is easy and she knows she sounds and looks like a good reader. It also gives me a chance to work on fluency. I think she sounds pretty good, but I will be working to get it sounding smoother and faster in every session.

Here are two videos of familiar reading. In the first video, Maddie rereads The Missing Earrings

In the second video, we take turns reading The Missing Glasses. I chose to take turns to see if I could increase the pace of Maddie’s reading. See what you think! 

I am not going to show you the writing we did in this session. This was the most challenging part of working from afar. Maddie has some reversals and needs some hands-on coaching with letter formation. I have to think more about how I can address this. I will need Maddie’s parents’ assistance.

Maddie read two new books in this session. They both went well. The first new book is called Super Dog. This brand-new level D/6 book worked really well. This is a book I wrote just recently and Maddie is the first student I have had read it.

The second book presented more of a challenge to me. I did not have a copy of the book here in Florida. Even though I have used the book hundreds of times with other students -- and thought I knew it by heart -- I found it hard teach with. Maddie had to hold up the books so I could introduce it to her. Then sometimes I didn’t know what she was struggling with. Still, as you watch her read I think you will observe that she did pretty well. The level D/6 book is called Jolly Roger and the Pirates.


For our next session, Maddie’s dad is going to try to set up the computer so I can see more of the book and especially the writing. I am not sure I will attempt to use books I don’t have copies of here!

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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