Dana, (not her real name), a second grader, came to me for private remedial lessons in February because the teachers and the parents claimed she had reading comprehension problems. Of course, her parents' first question was "How many lessons will she need to understand what she reads?"
I explained to them that I still do not know the student, and would update them after one or two lessons.
I began the lesson with Dana, a lovely child, slightly embarrassed, but cooperating very well but to my surprise, not only did she not understand what is written, she did not know how to read fluently and worse she found it difficult to identify even the letters!!!
I stopped the lesson and said to Dana, "Let's play the letters game." Dana smiled and I brought out a large piece of Bristol. I wrote the letters in luminous markers and together we placed a few words for each letter. Dana enjoyed it very much and felt comfortable. At the end of the lesson, I gave Dana a task to write a sentence using 5 letters of her choice and bring it to the next lesson.
Now, I will explain the importance of reading fluently and accurately before the process of reading comprehension. There are no shortcuts to where we really want to go!!!
When I admire the students' reading level, especially in the lower grades, I refer to several things:
Precision – This refers to the reader's control of the alphabetic code (sounds, movements and various combinations).
Fluency – This refers to text reading speed; in other words, continuous and uninterrupted readings flow.
In addition, to move forward to the comprehension target, an even more important element should be taken into consideration:
Accentuation – This refers to punctuation marks and the reading rhythm (non-monotonic, giving each unit its significance, etc. (.
From this, we can observe that acquisition of control of word recognition skills is a developing process, and we must identify the role of the student in the process, where he stands, and from there, assist him to read fluently. Only when that point is reached can you start teaching reading comprehension.
Dana's parents came to pick her up after class. They saw the neat binder I had prepared for her with the word game. They seemed very disappointed. I made it clear to them that they should strengthen their daughter's reading and her ability to identify letters, rather than pushing her to acquire a skill for which she is not ready. I advised them to read a book with her every night, and not "let her read by herself …" as they wished to do, since it turns out she still does not know how to read.
Dana came to me for several successive lessons, until the end of the school year and her progress was apparent.
She successfully passed the Growth and Effectiveness Measures for Schools test (GEM) conducted in May, and most importantly, felt good about herself and was ready to move on to reading comprehension. In addition, the teacher wrote in Dana's certificate that she often participates in class and reads her homework well.
I succeeded in teaching her!!!
You are welcome to contact me with any questions!!