Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back in the Swing

We are taking advantage of the warm weather. Garbage cans have been emptied. A load of boxes of things we want to keep, but won't need until well after we move, such as Christmas ornaments, have been taken to our storage unit.

Loads of laundry have been done, by the Evil Genius and the Dancer. Dishes have been run through the dishwasher. We are trying to catch up after everyone being sick.

The Dancer and I need to get back seriously into the school schedule. I have a question for you homeschoolers. Would you feel comfortable letting a fourth-grader with fairly good reading skills and comprehension read assignments on her own, not aloud to her teacher? She still struggles with sounding out words she is not familiar with, which is why I've been having her read aloud. I've been feeling (cough) lazy and wonder whether I could just be letting her read. She doesn't do very well yet pronouncing new words even when I help through sounding them out, or just telling her how to pronounce, as in Tchaikovsky. I'm hoping this will come later.


Karen said...

Barb, I teach phonics in kindergarten and first grade. The first grade kids read aloud everything or I read it aloud to them. In second grade, they do most of their reading and other assignments alone, but I do have them something aloud 1-2 times each week. After reading an assignment, the child has the choice of telling me about what was read or writing a paragraph. Primarily, so I can check their comprehension.

By third grade, the kids read their own assignments to themselves. I try to have them read aloud at least once each week, so I can make sure that they are progressing. If an assignment has a number of strange names or unfamiliar words, I often read part of it aloud and have the student read the remainder of the assignment to me.

I'd let her read the assignments on her own, but encourage her to ask questions about words she encounters that she can't figure out on her own.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Thanks for your input, Karen. I've been teaching the Dancer phonics all along, but she's had problems with it. She's still not always good about sounding things out on her own, even though I've tried to teach her the phonics rules. I'm still hoping she'll pick up more phonics as she reads more.

Presbytera said...

I would still encourage her to read something out loud regularly. Nick had the same problem in 7th grade. We began with reading the psalms everyday. I would read most of it and then when I saw a short line, I'd have him do it. I increased the amount he read outloud gradually. Eventually, we read them antiphonally verse by verse. It helped a good deal.

Laura said...

I think a mix is good but at this age lean heavily toward independent reading...I agree with Karen's comments. I'd ask comprehension-type questions afterwards to make sure she grasped what she was reading, or sometimes have them do something fun which shows comprehension, like create a cartoon strip retelling what they read, or illustrating and captioning a picture. There are lots of ways to do it.

In some cases she may be able to figure out meanings of words from the context, or could ask for help; if you're busy when she's reading, you might even encourage her to write down unfamiliar words if it doesn't interrupt the flow of her reading.

I figure it doesn't really matter if every individual word is understood or pronounced correctly, as long as they grasp the overall meaning of what they're reading, because the more they read, the more the "puzzle pieces" fall into place and words that didn't make sense one week may make sense the next time they encounter them.

You reading to her at a higher level will also put vocabulary words in her "memory bank" of words which may help her recognize them when she encounters them in print. My oldest son was a "late-blooming" reader and I think listening to oral reading might have even been more helpful to him than him reading aloud to me -- but unless her reading difficulties are extreme, I would be pushing a 4th grader toward reading independence and focusing on her reading a lot more, rather than necessarily perfectly, if that makes sense.

My children have been all over the spectrum readingwise so I've seen it all (grin), from extremely advanced to somewhat delayed. My 10th grader is attending public high school and reading issues which seemed such a concern around 4th grade age are completely a thing of the past -- you may be amazed at the sudden leaps forward she'll make!

Hope this helps!
Best wishes,

Laura said...

PS My post doesn't read this way (I got caught up in thinking about my older son at this age, grin), but I want to emphasize it sounds as though your daughter isn't having the struggles that my son had, just fairly routine issues with pronouncing or recognizing words. So I definitely think you'll be happy to see big leaps forward with her word recognition, the more she reads, and you reading more advanced material to her will also really help accelerate that...all of which was meant to say "Don't worry!" I think you're on the right track with increased emphasis on independent reading. :)

Best wishes,

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Thank you all for your input! I feel more confident now about helping the Dancer move forward.

skatey katie said...

hey love
the thing we were taught to do at teacher's college (all those years ago) was to give children "reading mileage" which is independent reading of books at an easy level for them. books they love, books for pleasure. from pre reading, children can do this. that's when the "mileage" is made. that's when reading for pleasure is encouraged - because it's easy and there is a high enjoyment factor.

and words like "tchai-whatever" can be asked (like the lovely karen said!) but not laboured over every time a book is picked up.

am i making any sense? (need to head to bed lol)

finally after all these years i can truthfully say that all my kiddos have a love affair with books. some of them have taken longer to love books, and that's ohk.
kisses X