reading · slice of life

The Worst Words You Can Say to Me

Isabelle gave me a gut-punch on Saturday without ever laying a hand on me. We were in the middle of practicing the binder pages her tutor gave her. She was growing increasingly frustrated. That’s when she finally exclaimed, “I hate reading!” It took everything in me not to break down in tears.

About an hour later, I talked to her about books being wonderful things that teach us things and take us to new places. I acknowledged that I know reading is hard for her right now. I discussed having a different mindset.  I encouraged her to say “Reading is hard for me right now,” rather than “I hate reading!”

While I haven’t heard the words “I hate reading!” since Saturday morning, Isabelle’s declaration has continued to nauseate me every time I’ve thought of her making that declaration.  Of course, she detests reading practice. She mixes up words — possibly because she’s not seeing them correctly. On Sunday, which was a slightly better practice session, she saw the word Look and couldn’t figure out what it was (despite reading the word look several times that morning) and declared, “This word is trying to trick me!”

This morning, we snuggled under a blanket on the couch for our practice session. She brought her beloved teddy bear, aptly named Teddy, who read some of the words for her. We set a timer and discovered she could get through her three binder pages and two books in under 16 minutes. She was pretty pleased with herself when she realized it didn’t take that long to practice.

The first of three practice pages.
Reading a just-right book.
I use a stopwatch (and graphs) to help Isabelle see how long it takes to practice reading. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a relatively short amount of time.
The reading specialist from Isabelle’s school provided her with a bag of books and activities to do over the summer. While I’m not a fan of the activities that correspond with the books, Isabelle liked the idea of filling in the names of the books she has been able to read on her own. Seeing we’re less than two weeks into summer vacation, I have a feeling I’m going to need to create additional sheets like this so she can track the books she’s read independently over the summer.

I’ve been turning to educators like Deb Frazier and Tammy Mulligan for advice on how to get through this rough patch in Isabelle’s reading life. Therefore, I wanted to publicly thank them for their support. If you have any other words of wisdom, please share them in the comments below. I want my daughter to love reading on her own as much as she loves being read to. (And thank goodness she still loves to be read to every day!)

read aloud · reading · slice of life

Questioning Myself (as the Parent of an Emerging Reader)

Every afternoon, after Isabelle gets off of the bus, washes her hands, and eats a snack, we read together. She’s comfortable reading books like this:

But she wants to read Elephant and Piggie books. I have a feeling it’s because many of her peers are reading E&P books independently. A few weeks ago, her teacher and I discussed her taking home I Am Going, which is an E&P book. After a lot of support from me (and about three weeks), Isabelle was able to read I Am Going independently. (I have a feeling a lot of it was memorized due to the repetition.)

Tricky Words Flash Cards
Six weeks have passed since our initial foray into reading E&P books together. We’re about ten or so days into our third one, Happy Pig Day. This one is harder than the previous ones we’ve read since it contains more complex words Isabelle hasn’t encountered yet. Therefore, I made flash cards for Gerald’s part, which is the part she’s chosen to read in this book. We review them prior to each reading of Happy Pig Day.

Here’s a peek into her reading aloud from Happy Pig Day today.

Not bad, right? I cannot tell how much is memorized, but I do know she is self-correcting when she misreads, so that’s a positive thing. 

If I’m being honest with myself, I know this book is too challenging for her right now. However, I believe motivation is crucial, which is why I’m allowing her to read this with a high amount of support from me. Therefore, we’ll continue reading the eight-page books her teacher sends home, as well as the E&P books she wants to read. And, I’ll probably keep second-guessing myself every day.

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picture books · reading · slice of life

Picture Books to Weather the Storm

We’ve been hit by the blizzard (aka: Stella). What do you do to keep a six-year-old from climbing the walls on a day like this? There are only so many TV shows I’ll let her watch or crafts she’ll want to do.

An idea came to me after reading the lovely comments I received from so many of you after yesterday’s blog post I shared.

“Isabelle!” I called.

“Yeah?”

“I have an idea of something we can do together today.”

“What?” she asked.

“Would you like to build a fort in the great room? We can turn on the fireplace and read picture books together. I’ll read to you.”

Her face lit up. “Yes! I want to!”

I thought of a tweet I saw from the Anne Arundel Public Library:

“What if we read one book for every inch of snow that’s fallen on the ground?”

“Okay. How much snow do we have?” she asked.

I texted my neighbor who I knew would know. Within minutes I found out we had 17 inches! (That was at 11 a.m.)

“17 inches so far. So we’ll read 17 picture books. What do you think?”

“Good,” she replied.

“I have stacks of review copies I need to read in my office. What if I bring them in here and you select the ones you’d like me to read to you?”

“I like that,” she said.

I brought in piles of picture books and let Isabelle select the ones she wanted me to read to her. Next, we built the fort with blankets, chairs, and heavy-duty clips. (BTW: This is the best fort we’ve ever made thanks to the newly-installed baby gate around the fireplace in our great room.) Isabelle placed pillows on the floor. Then, the two of us crawled in beside each other. (We left Ari in our view, but we didn’t let him inside. We figured he’d pull down the blankets.)

Our fort filled with books.
So far our favorite book has been A River by Marc Martin. The language is beautiful as are the illustrations. (I won’t disclose the titles of the ones we didn’t like.) Each of us gave it a thumbs-up!We’re taking a break so she can watch an episode of “Super Why” while Ari sleeps (and I write). More books to come soon!

We’re taking a break right now so she can watch an episode of “Super Why” while Ari naps (and I write). More books to come shortly!

**** Update: 3/14/17 at 11:15 p.m. ***

We read 19 books since we got 19 inches of snow. Here were some of the 19, which got a 👍🏼 from Isabelle and me.

reading · slice of life

I Wish You More

Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a fantastic children’s picture book author. We’ve come to love many of her books, especially I Wish You More, in our house. (In case you missed Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s recent Modern Love essay in The New York Times, then you’ll want to read it now before you read the rest of this post. In fact, you should click on the link NOW because I don’t want to be the one to deliver bad news to you if you’re a fellow AKR fan. Warning: Have tissues nearby when you read her essay.)

In an effort to pay tribute to Rosenthal before cancer takes her from this Earth, Chronicle Books is encouraging their patrons to share what we wish for those we care for in the spirit of Rosenthal’s picture book (I Wish You More).

As soon as I finished the Chronicle Books piece, I rushed to my computer and printed the I WISH YOU MORE card. I knew exactly who I wanted to give it to and the message I wanted to send. However, it took me awhile to find the right words.

For those who don’t know, my daughter was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, or CAS, when she was 27 months old. In the almost four years since her diagnosis, she has learned to speak beautifully. While there are times when she still struggles to get her words out, those instances are fewer than they were in the past.

What you may not know is that 30-40% of kids who are diagnosed with CAS are later diagnosed with language-based learning disabilities. While I’ve been told a formal diagnosis of Dyslexia is usually not made second-grade (because one needs to see a child is two years behind grade-level), there are tests that can often show the writing is on the wall for having a language-based learning disability.

Unfortunately, the writing is on the wall for my kiddo. As a mother and a literacy specialist, it makes me sad. (It makes me lots of other things too, but I’m going with sad this morning.)

Today, my kiddo begins working with two new people. One is a school-based reading specialist who will pick her up with one other peer to provide assistance with things like rhyming. The other person is a private reading tutor we’ve hired to work with our daughter. She’ll be using the Orton-Gillingham sequence with her. It is our hope that with early support, we’ll be able to avoid a Dyslexia diagnosis once she’s in second grade.

Last night, before I retired to my bedroom, I left the little lady a card on her placemat. I made sure I was downstairs when she sat down for breakfast. (My husband usually gives her breakfast.) I asked her if she knew what it said. She read the first three words, but got stuck on the fourth word: wish. Rather than frustrate her by asking her to use her strategies to figure out the word wish, I read the card to her. Despite the lump in my throat, I held back tears and explained what my words meant.

I told her I know reading is hard for her.

I told her new people would be working with her today.

I told her she’d be missing class — twice — to work with these new people. (She balked and I gently reminded it will help her.)

I told her these people would help her learn new strategies to figure out tricky words, like wish, so she could be a more confident reader.

I told her she would learn how to become a brave reader.

I told her I’d be here to help at home.

After we finished our talk, she ate breakfast. I asked her if she wanted me to put the card in her backpack. She said yes.

Later, when I buckled her into her seat to go to school, I asked her, “What are you going to do with the card?” I figured she’d tell me she’d keep it in her backpack.

“I’m going to put it in my cubby,” she replied.

I smiled. I hope she looks at it when she gets frustrated. I hope she looks at it when she feels like it’s hard. I hope she looks at it and remembers to try things even when she’s afraid to say the wrong thing.

As a person who is trained to work with young readers and writers, it’s hard to step aside to let someone else help my kid. However, as my daughter’s developmental pediatrician told me, I’ve already done so much. If I do any more to help my daughter, I risk ruining our parent-child relationship. And I don’t want that. Therefore, today I am taking a step back and letting other people help her move forward. As a result, I’m wishing myself the courage to let go and see where this takes us.

UPDATED at 12:30 p.m.: About an hour after I hit publish on this post, I learned of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s passing.

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easy reader · reading · slice of life

Can I Play Too?

This afternoon, Lynne Dorfman and I chatted on the phone about the chapter we’re finishing for our forthcoming book, WELCOME TO WRITING WORKSHOP. Near the end of our phone call, we began a “SOLSC Eve” conversation. I lamented to Lynne that I’ve been writing about anti-Semitism because it’s been consuming my thoughts. (Click here or here to see why.) I told her, “I don’t want to focus on what’s happening in the news all March long.”

Lynne gave me some straightforward advice. “Keep writing stories about Isabelle and Ari.” She reminded me I need to write about them despite all of the ugliness surrounding us now.

Simple enough, right?

Even though the Challenge begins tomorrow, I typically share the post I wrote on the previous day so I can get up and share first-thing in the morning. (In other words, I’m writing for 32 consecutive days.) So, here goes…

Something happened when Isabelle started Kindergarten. Her teacher began teaching them Everywhere Words (aka: sight words). And just like that, Isabelle began reading. As of today, the kids are up to 50 Everywhere Words, which means Isabelle can read simple books. However, the books she self-selected to bring home weren’t just right. They were safe. They were too easy.

Isabelle’s teacher and I chatted about my concerns. We decided she’d try an Elephant and Piggie Book we didn’t own. I Am Going was the first Elephant and Piggie book that came home from her teacher. It was CHALLENGING for Isabelle. (Thankfully, she was motivated because she enjoys the Elephant and Piggie books.) After a couple of weeks, Isabelle was able to read both Elephant and Piggie’s parts on her own. Therefore, she returned I Am Going to school.

can-i-play-tooWhile we finished up I Am Going, Isabelle’s teacher sent home Can I Play Too? This book frustrates Isabelle since it contains many words that aren’t on the list of Everywhere Words she has mastered. As a result, I read the Elephant and Snake’s parts and she reads Piggie’s part.

But today, something wonderful happened… and I don’t think Isabelle realized what she did. Today, Isabelle read several of Snake’s speech bubbles on her own! And when I say read them, I mean she put her finger under the first letter in each word as she went through each of the sentences. This happened without prompting. Isabelle read several of Snake’s speech bubbles and flowed right into Piggie’s speech bubbles. And I couldn’t be prouder of her!

I acknowledge this book is challenging for Isabelle, which is why we’re focusing solely on it this week. Perhaps, if I don’t push too much, she’ll read a few more of Elephant or Snake’s speech bubbles when we practice reading tomorrow.

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Head over to https://twowritingteachers.org for more slice of life stories.
chapter books · read aloud · reading · slice of life

First Chapter Book

We're ready to pick up where we left off with All About Sam -- on the couch -- after Isabelle returns from school today.
We’re ready to pick up where we left off with All About Sam — on the couch — after Isabelle returns from school today.

I had no intention of sharing chapter books with Isabelle yet. But she was intrigued when she spotted me unpacking a box from HMHCo this morning. She plodded into my office and said, “What’s that?” She pointed at the book. It was a review copy of All About Sam by Lois Lowry.

“It’s a chapter book,” I replied matter-of-factly.

“What’s a chapter book?” she asked.

I handed her the book. “Take a look and tell me what you notice.”

She sat beside me and opened the book. “It has no words.”

“What do you mean, ‘it has no words’?” I knew she meant it has no pictures. However, I wanted to hear her to say ‘it only has words’ or ‘I don’t see any pictures.’

“I don’t see words,” she said.

“Do you mean that you don’t see any pictures?” I asked.

She nodded.

“Well, there are some pictures,” I said pointing to a few of the illustrated pages. “But it’s mostly words.”

“Read it to me,” she said.

“Right now?” I asked. We only had 20 minutes before we were to depart for school.

“Yes,” she replied.

I had never read this book, but I knew it was related to the Anastasia Krupnik Series. However, I went in blindly. I read the title and author and dove right into chapter 1. (Very unteacherly of me, right?)

By the end of chapter one, Isabelle was snuggling on the hardwood beside me. I would’ve been uncomfortable, but she looked cozy. She giggled at the parts where Sam described the first few hours of his life. By the end of chapter one she said, “keep going!”

“I can’t. We have to leave for school in 10 minutes,” I replied.

“Let’s read more!”

“Do you like this book?”

“Yes!”

“Why?”

“Because it’s funny. It’s about a baby. And he’s funny.”

I looked at my watch again. I counted the pages in chapter two. There was no way I’d make it through the entire thing, but she doesn’t know what chapters are yet. I acquiesced.  “Let’s sit on the couch and I will read a little more.”

And so we did.

Once I found a good stopping point, midway through chapter two, I said, “Okay, we have to go to school. We can read more when you get home if you’d like.”

“Yea!”

Later in the day I looked up the level of All About Sam online. It’s a level Q. That’s a fourth-grade level book! I’m not sure if she’ll still be interested as the chapters go on since this is way above where her interest level is. But you never know! So, we’ll keep reading — after school!

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Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.
accomplishments · OBSERVATIONS · reading

Recognizing Letters

Isabelle has 41 songs on her playlist.
Isabelle has 41 songs on her playlist.

I presented Isabelle with her playlist on my iPhone as she prepared to brush her teeth.

“Pick a song,” I said, as I do every morning.

Instead of scrolling up and down through the playlist with her finger in search of a picture she liked (which matches a song she wants to hear), she settled her finger towards the center of the screen.

“A…,” she began.

“A, what?” I asked.

“A.” She pointed towards the Jackson 5’s song. Then she continued. “A. B. C.” She looked up and smiled.

“ABC, what?” I asked. (I had a feeling about what she was doing, but I wanted to follow her lead.)

“ABC, da song! Dat’s ‘ABC’,” she said as she touched the screen with her index finger.

IMG_2949Next thing we knew, a new screen popped up and we heard the Jackson 5 singing and playing “ABC.”

“Wow! You read that. Instead of looking at the picture, you read the letters a-b-c and picked the song. You should be so proud of yourself.”

Isabelle beamed.

I continued, “That’s reading, Isabelle.  The letters mean something.  This song is called “ABC” and you read the title of the song.  You can learn how to read the titles of all of your songs.”  But then I stopped.  She’s only four.  Why push?  And besides, we had to brush those teeth!

picture books · reading · slice of life

Don’t Come In.

 

Check out that stack of books on Isabelle's bed. Taken at 7:15 a.m.
Check out that stack of books on Isabelle’s bed. Taken at 7:15 a.m.

I try not to rise before 6:00 a.m. any given morning unless I am working in a school or leading staff development.  Since I wasn’t doing either of those today, my alarm was set for 6:10 a.m.  Plenty of time to get ready before Isabelle’s 7:05 a.m. wake-up time. After all, today was going to be a writing-from-home day, so I didn’t need to be up that early.

But Isabelle had other plans.  Or at least her bladder did.  She came into my room at 5:08 a.m. and said, “I needa go potty.”

I bolted up and hustled her to the bathroom without donning my glasses.  Once in the bathroom, Isabelle did her thing. Why does she even need me here? I wondered in my half-asleep stupor.  But then, she started talking to me.

“Whatcha lookin’ at?”

“Huh?”

“Whatcha lookin’ at? Are you lookin’ at me?”

“No. I’m not looking at anything.” I considered the question a bit more. “Maybe the shower curtain. I’m half-asleep. You know, it’s the middle of the night.  I didn’t even put my glasses on.  I can’t see anything.”

She didn’t seem to care. She kept right on going. “You have your meeting?”

“Yes, I finished my meeting last night before I went to bed.”

“On the computah?”

“Yes, on the computer.”

“Why you talkin’ with your patients?”

“They weren’t my patients.”

“Who were dey?”

“My friends. They’re my writing group. We talk about our writing.”

“Oh.”

“Did you like coming in and seeing them on the computer?”

“Yes.”

More banter. Finally, she flushed, washed, and got on her way.

She declared “I’m not tired,” upon returning to her bedroom.

“But it’s the middle of the night.”

I realize this was a blatant lie, but I wanted to go back to bed. Somehow, I convinced Isabelle to play quietly.

“I sit in my chair.”

“What will you do?” I inquired.

“I wanna sit in my chair.”

“Okay.”

We hugged. I went back to my bedroom.  By this point it was 5:27 a.m.  I tried falling back to sleep, but never did.  {Sigh.} Instead I meditated and rose from bed around 6:15 a.m.

Around 6:30 a.m., I checked the monitor and it revealed Isabelle sitting in bed reading books to Teddy.  Cute.

I checked the monitor again around 7 a.m. and found the stack of books had grown taller.  I turned on CBS and began watching “CBS This Morning.”

By 7:10 a.m., there was no movement from Isabelle’s room.  I checked again. The stack was even taller and she was still reading.

“Do you like comedy?” I asked my husband as he brushed his teeth in our bathroom.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“Watch this.” I handed him the monitor and walked down the hall to knock on Isabelle’s door.

“Go away,” she said.

“Excuse me!” I said from the opposite side of the door.

“I mean,” she paused. “Please don’t come in.”

“That’s better. What are you doing?”

“Reading books!”

A few minutes later Marc was ready to leave for work.  He attempted to enter Isabelle’s room.  However, she turned him away too.  She was reading and didn’t want to be bothered. I was SHOCKED. She always wants to see him in the mornings. She didn’t care about getting a hug or a kiss.  She wanted to keep reading.

By 7:25 a.m., I had to extricate her from her room or she’d be late for school.  That’s when this happened:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO OF THE THIRD ATTEMPT TO GET INTO HER ROOM.

Even though I set the timer, she called for me about a minute later. She was finally ready for me to come in. I wish I had a camera when I entered her room because there was a stack of picture books about 18″ high on her bed!  As annoyed as I was about being awoken long before sunrise, I was pleased she spent two hours reading quietly in her room this morning.

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Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.
reading · slice of life

My 3 year-old wants to read! So now what?

photo (11)My in-laws sent Isabelle a Halloween card last week.   I opened it and read it aloud to her.  She was delighted by the card and carried it around for awhile.  But then something unexpected happened.  She began to cry.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

She had forgotten what it said.  I scooped her up on to my lap and read it to her again.  And that seemed to please her until…

30 seconds later she was crying again.

“What’s wrong now?” I asked, feeling my patience being pushed to its outer limits.

“I can’t read it!” she wailed.

I softened. “You don’t know how to read yet. And that’s okay.  You’re just learning how to talk.  First you have to learn to talk, then eventually you’ll learn how to read.”

But she then she said what I thought I always wanted to hear, “I wanna learn to read.”

Thoughts swarmed in my head. What’s that?  You want to learn to read? You’re not ready to read yet!  

I pulled Isabelle back on to my lap and told her, “Mommy will teach you how to read.  I promise you.  But it’s going to take some time.  Just like it took time for you to learn how to talk, it’s going to take time for you to read.  It may take a few years.”

“A few years?” Isabelle asked, probably wondering just what years were.

“Yes, a few years.  But I promise you, I will teach you how to read.”

And that was that.  Or so I thought.

Last night she was still napping when my husband’s plane arrived at the airport.  The plan was to pick him up at 5 p.m. and go to an early dinner at Panera on the way home.  But she was in a deep sleep.  Therefore, he took a cab home.  When Isabelle awoke from her nap, all she wanted to do was go to Panera to eat.  I explained we were eating dinner at home, but that set off the tears again.  (Oh to be three years-old… everything’s a crisis!)  So, I did the first thing that came to mind.  I wrote up grabbed a sticky note and explained what an “I.O.U.” was. Then, I issued an I.O.U. for a dinner at Panera to her with the date on it.

A few minutes later, I was in our bedroom, chatting with my husband who was unpacking his suitcase, when she came into our room crying.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

Tears streamed down Isabelle’s face. She held the sticky note and said, “I can’t read this!”

“That’s because you can’t read yet,” I replied matter-of-factly.

“I want to learn to read!”

Then I had a virtual repeat of the scene from three days’ prior.  This time, I had to explain what was happening to my husband.  As I drew my tearful toddler to my lap, I looked at Marc and said, “Isabelle wants to learn how to read.” Then I turned to her, “Remember Mommy told you I’d teach you how to read after you saw the card from Grandma and Papa?”

“Yes,” she said through her tears.

“You don’t know how to read yet. It’ll take time to learn how to read.  But I promise you, I will teach you.  It’s going to take a few years, but with a lot of practice, you’ll learn to read what the words on the page say.  Until then, you can use the pictures to remind you of what things say.”

A few minutes later she was giggling again, but I was left wondering what my next move was going to be.  Clearly she is motivated to decode the squiggles on the page.  Isabelle knows the letters stand for sounds which form words.  She can identify uppercase letters and a lot of the sounds they make (That’s thanks to all of the phoneme practice we’ve done for her C.A.S.).  She loves “reading” memorized books aloud.  All that said, I’m pretty sure she’s not developmentally ready to read.

After waking up in the middle of the night (an hour ago) thinking about this, I started googling, “What do I do when my three year-old wants to read?” (BTW: Start googling that phrase and you’ll be surprised by the things Google wants to auto-fill for you!)  I came across a piece that reassured me of my decision not to purchase flash cards or any other kind of packaged program to help Isabelle learn to read.  The author of the article encouraged readers to help children identify letters in their natural settings.  I figured that’s a good place for the two of us to start.  I can certainly have Isabelle identify uppercase and lowercase letters in words she’s curious about and ask her what sounds they make.  I think this will help her find the significance in the letter-sound connections since she’ll be ‘studying’ words she is interested in.

With that, I think I’m going back to bed.  I will get off of Pinterest where I found lots of sight word bingo activities and Montessori word puzzles.  For now, we’re not going to do those.  I’ll just keep reading lots of picture books to Isabelle and encouraging her to interact with words she’s curious about learning.  And slowly, in her own time, she’ll learn how to read.

 

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Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com on Tuesday for more slices of life.
Jewish · OBSERVATIONS · reading · slice of life

Putting It All Together!

Isabelle admires her Mitzvah Wall after we put all of the papers back on the wall.
Isabelle admires her Mitzvah Wall after we put all of the papers back on the wall.

I’m thankful I have a reading specialist (aka: my mother-in-law, Linda) on-call 24/7.  Linda is my go-to person when I either have a literacy-related question to which I don’t know the answer or need to confirm my thinking about something.   I called her right about an hour after I got home today since I wasn’t sure if I was thinking clearly about something Isabelle was doing as a reader. I thought, surely I’m suffering from rose-colored glasses mommy syndrome! So, I dialed Linda on the cell phone.

As soon as Linda picked up I said, “Hi there. Something just happened with Isabelle regarding her reading life and I need to know if what I’m thinking is happening is actually happening.  Do you have a minute?”

“Sure,” she said skeptically.

“It’s a good thing,” I reassured her.

“Oh, good!” I could hear the twinge of panic melt from her voice.

I began recounting my tale:

  • Most of the sticky notes from Isabelle’s Mitzvah Wall (that she could reach) were on the floor when I got home.  I made her pick them up.
  • She started asking me what each one said.
  • After telling her what a few said I asked her what she thought they said. She was able to accurately describe one – three key words from the sticky note.
  • I was shocked. WAS SHE READING?!??!
  • We tried a few more.  She knew the difference between the sticky note with the horrendous car drawings (one was that she didn’t lock the door with her foot when I came to get her and the other was that she reminded me to go to Judy, the dry cleaner).  OMG!  It was as if she was reading.
  • I went to the other room to retrieve my phone. I HAD to document this!
  • I recorded her accurately stating what five of the final seven sticky notes on the floor said. (TAKE A LISTEN TO THE SOUNDCLOUD BELOW.)
  • Was it the poorly drawn stick figures I drew that was helping her or was she able to decode a few of the words I wrote on each one?

When I finished talking, Linda said, “I’m not surprised. She’s putting it all together.”

Was it really possible?  Or were we both wearing rose-colored glasses because it was Isabelle doing this?

After a few more minutes, Linda was confident Isabelle was using meaning, structural, and visual clues to make meaning out of the sticky notes.  While no one can really say whether she’s reading the pictures, recognizing some of the words, or recalling things from memory, the bottom line is that she’s putting it all together to make meaning.  (And, what my mother-in-law loved was that Isabelle wanted to know what each one said. That curiosity is something I take for granted.)

When I started the Mitzvah Wall last month, I hoped it would encourage Isabelle to do more helpful things. Who knew it would be the springboard to helping with her emerging reading skills?

Check out the other slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.
Check out the other slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.