Tuesday was a busy day at school. When I arrived the children were in small groups and each group had a different project. My group was working on contractions. They had a worksheet that had a Christmas wreath on it. At the bottom of the page were contractions inside a circle that they were to cut out and then paste on the wreath. All around the wreath were leaves which had the words that a contraction came from. Between the words was a berry. The children found the contraction, such as won't and glued it between will and not. If they had trouble, a chart was in front of them showing the different contractions and their origins. Not a hard project. But two little boys just could not focus. Every contraction I had to prod them to cut it out, find the two words, put on the glue, pat it down. Then on to the next one. They just were so easily distracted. But they finished and it was correct. YAY!
There are maybe 10 children that I work with regularly in reading. They have a series of little books they read to me. The books are 6-8 pages long. They began with pictures and words in the sentences. Now they are all words. There are no more then 2 sentences per page. We work on the phonics highlighted in each book. Then they read to me. Some struggle sounding out every word; some can't remember words they work out the next time it appears; some guess the words; some read slowly and get all the words, and some read quickly with expression. We have many levels of skill.
One little boy R was a book behind the others. This happens to many of them for different reasons. They miss school, the adult helping them doesn't have time to get to all the children, there is special testing, there is an assembly. I had him read the first book to me. He struggled, he couldn't remember words from one page to the next. Nearly every word had to be sounded out. He finished and I moved on to the other children. They all read the next book and I had time to take R again and have him caught up.
R came up, sat down, and we began. The phonics, easy. He began to read. Slowly but surely every word was perfect. Very few words did he even have to work out. It was if a different child were reading to me. I complimented him on his reading. I told him what a great job he did. I talked to him about how much trouble he had with the first book (which was no harder) and how he breezed through the second book. I asked him how come he did so well. And all puffed up with pride, R said, "Because I am getting better."