A Fantastic Breakthrough to Watch

This one little girl did the most amazing thing this week.  She got phonemic awareness.  I mean, she got it.  I spent a half hour with her just a few weeks ago, and at the end of the half hour, she couldn’t tell me what sounds sun or moon started with.  She had a sort sheet and 12 pictures that either started with /s/ or /m/.  At the top of the page were Mm and a picture of a moon,  and Ss with a corresponding picture of a sun.  After a half hour, she still couldn’t isolate the m or s sounds on the sun and moon, let alone any of the 12 pictures she needed to sort.  Early this week she took a theme (unit) test in reading on our recent unit, and got one of the highest scores in class.  Lots of kids did, but she has been scoring so low on anything, that I was thinging it was a fluke.  But Thursday, she brought a sort sheet up that was for  the sounds for D and N.  She had some questions about the names for some of the pictures.  When I told her the name of the first picture, she correctly sorted the word to the correct letter.  I went through the whole group of pictures and the only ones she had trouble with were the two pictures that were R controlled D’s.  I have never actually SEEN a kid go from having NO phonemic awareness to having it, in such a short time.  It was SO cool…..

There are a lot of intangable rewards for teaching, but not always this dramatic.

5 thoughts on “A Fantastic Breakthrough to Watch

  1. Some times I think you just pour all this education into them and for some, it has to process for awhile, I see it a lot with the second language kids, if they don’t have much English, and they aren’t risk takers, then they seldom talk or participate much. Then when they do, it all comes out at once. Some of this reading stuff is the same kind of thing. Some kids have been immersed in books and reading since they were babies, and they have picked up all this pre-reading stuff already, so when they start to read, they pick it up pretty fast. The ones who have never been exposed much to books or reading, or in my class, even English, have to get all the background language and reading acquisition before they can do the reading. So sometimes they SEEM to be making no progress, but its all happening in ways you can’t see. And then suddenly it’s like a light goes on, but it’s just not that simple.

  2. I noticed, too, that you had to tell her the names of some of the pictures. We forget that some of these kids simply have very little vocabulary. They can’t put “mitten” with “M” because they don’t know the word mitten in the first place!

  3. Yup, some of the pictures become language development things for both my English and non-English speaking kids. Mittens aren’t some thing we use a lot in this area. Anything snow related is problematic, we don’t DO snow here but maybe once in 5 or 6 years and then it isn’t much. Some of my kids have never seen the ocean, farm animals, a sled, etc. And some of them aren’t very good problem solvers yet, the sort page might be for R and S and they want to call the rabbit a bunny. Bunny doesn’t work on the page.

  4. I’ve got a friend who talks about visits from the ‘Reading Fairy’ when kids just start to get it like this. That is how it feels to me sometimes, so magical it must be a fairy. What a joy for you!

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