By now, Maddie and I have had several sessions using Skype. As you view some of the videos, I think you will agree with me that she is learning and making good progress.
I still struggle with helping her at difficulty. If I do not have the same book to follow along it is very difficult. I cannot see the print and see her at the same time. Maybe with more cameras we could do it better – but for now I tend to stay away from books I don’t also have.
I realize how often I like to use some kind of nonverbal response, such as putting my finger into the story to show the child the part he/she knows. For example, Maddie came to the word today in Baby Bear Goes Fishing. She came to a dead stop. Normally I would have covered up day with my finger to show her to (the part she knows). After a bit of hesitation I said, “Maddie cover up the letters d-a-y with your finger and look at the first part." She did and said, “to” and lifted her finger and said “today.” Wow! I was pleased.
Maddie’s confidence is growing. At times she still sounds very slow and choppy. But in this clip of her reading Lost in the Woods, a level E/7 book about Bella and Rosie, I think she sounds very good.
On that same day, she read A Birthday Present for Spaceboy (a level E/8 book) very well for the first time after a book introduction. I like to use this book because it lends itself to fluent reading with some repeated phrases, such as “zooming up and down and all around.”
I have begun to try to use magnetic letters to show Maddie how words work. In the next video, you can see us working with the ending ing. She is learning about how words can have endings. It will help her as the books get more difficult and she begins to see more words with endings.
I am pleased with Maddie's progress. I am teaching her only two to three times each week but her parents are doing a great job of following through and having her read from her bin of books each night.
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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