Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"That rat is sad."

It's been a slow week for blogging...or for anything else. At the end of last week I was busy finishing my essay and attempting to clean my house (note I said attempting) before my sister came in to visit. It was a lovely visit, though too short! She left Sunday, I worked Monday, then got sick (some kind of intestinal bug) and have had two hazy days at home. I think I turned the corner this afternoon, which means back to work tomorrow -- and I'm now way behind on office tasks and extra tired.

I've had to take it easy the past couple of days, but one thing I have done is get back into the routine with the Sweet Girl's reading lessons. We had a couple of weeks where we were only doing the lessons sporadically. I've tried not to be a slave to doing it "every day" especially since she tends to balk if the lessons get too long or too challenging right now. I don't want to force the issue if she's not ready. But I also don't want her to have so much time between lessons that she forgets what we've already gone over. As a result, I've kept the lessons as relaxed as I can, given her breaks on the days it seems like she needs breaks (or when I do!), and sometimes spent time reviewing parts of old lessons before going into new ones. It's worked pretty well.

Today we went over lesson 17 and she read an entire sentence/story: "That rat is sad." This was momentous because it was the first time the words she was reading had spilled over onto a second line (two words on one line, two words on the next) so we were practicing reading left to right on one line, then getting to the end of that line and knowing to go back around to the left for the next line. I think that concept went over fairly well. She likes that these little "stories" (so far only two-four words) have pictures next to them too. We do the sounding out of the words first, and then we look at the pictures and talk about them.

She was able to read the entire sentence on her own except for "that." I just introduced the "th" sound in yesterday's lesson, and she's struggling mightily to say it. I know she often has trouble with consonant blends at the beginning of words ("sp" has always been a huge challenge) but I hadn't realized that she was essentially saying an "f" sound instead of a "th" sound. I've been trying to get her to watch how I hold my tongue, but she's mostly in her "I can't do it!" phase.

In general, she's been so enthusiastic about learning to read, and today was no exception. We celebrated that we finished lesson 17 and she was in a happy mood. Until she realized (looking at the book cover and the size of the book) that there are 100 lessons. Hmmm...the blessings and drawbacks of having an observant child! She got a bit despairing then and told me that she didn't think she really wanted to learn to read after all. I took this with the gigantic shaker of salt that I knew I should -- she's just feeling a bit daunted -- and simply said "But you ARE learning to read...and you did such a good job today! That rat sure looked sad in the rain, didn't he?" And suddenly she was all smiles again.

I'm learning to navigate my daughter's learning weathers. It's an exciting and challenging aspect of my learning learning to be a better, more patient teacher.


Erin said...

I immediately thought of Templeton when I saw your title. He's not so much the sad type... But that just makes finding the emotion in him more powerful! Good luck with the lessons! :)

Beth said...

Ah, Templeton! You know I really liked the new Templeton in the recent film version of Charlotte's Web...a movie I still haven't reviewed, incidentally, but keep meaning to!

You're really turning out the reviews on Epinions...I can't keep up! (Reading them, I mean...the fact that I can't keep up the writing pace is a foregone conclusion!) :-) You're amazing! I've noticed you've been on a huge *Henry and Mudge* spree...the one series of Rylant's readers we've yet to tackle. So far we've stuck with Poppleton and Mr. Putter and Tabby!

Erin said...

Hehe, I admit the promise of a dollar per review lit a little fire under me... And I've got the time now, so I'm going for the gusto! I need to write some movie reviews; I've got a big list of movies I've yet to review, but in a lot of cases it's been so long I don't remember them well enough to say anything. :-P Anyway, I'd never read Henry and Mudge before, but I really like them. And there are a lot of familiar scenarios in there! :)