Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh, really? A phonetic language?

I have a friend that knits. She knit this hat for Mia for Christmas. Adorable. 

I'm waiting for Ania to fall asleep so I can start taking my exams online tonight. The exams are timed. Once you start, you can't afford an interruption. So, I wait for Ania to go to sleep. So, that gives me time for a quick blogpost.

The four sentences from the last blogpost... they are comprised of Ania's sight words. She can read all four sentences! She is up to 55 sight words. She's not exactly fitting into the box with her academic skills at school. They have a very set way they like to see children learn to read. First you learn the names of the letters. She almost has them learned. Then you learn the sounds of the letters. She cannot associate the letters with the sounds they make to save her life. Then you learn to put words together or take words apart phonetically. Not happening.

I figured out last spring that she had an amazing ability to do sight words when she showed me that she knew all her classmates names. So I've casually taught her some other sight words, up until about two weeks ago, when we started trying harder. You can hand her a newspaper and she can pick her words out in a snap. She loves it. We're adding new ones almost every day.

I mentioned her sight words to a lady at the school that works with her significantly and is discouraged because she hasn't learned the sounds. I asked her, "Did you know she has 50 sight words? Maybe we should shift gears and work in that direction for a while?" I was informed that "we do have a phonics based language." No kidding. A few other patronizing comments later (it was stunning), I was ready to ... hmm. I was not happy. Welcome my first negative experience with the public schools. It's actually a long story including the IEP and meetings with other school staff and another appointment next week. To protect the somewhat innocent I'll just leave it at that. Bottom line: Ania's making great progress.


Flutterby said...

She is! She is! She IS making great progress! I know this to be true eventhough I am not a professional teacher or psychologist or anything. I just know that I can see definite progress each time I see and talk to her-and it's not like I'm *looking* for it-it just hits me. I think she is One Smart Cookie. And you are doing a *great* job. Loves, friend! (oh and great amount of luck on your tests)

Leslie said...

You know it's funny because the reading thing has switched from phonics based instruction to whole language instruction (ie: sight words) back to phonics based. Studies have shown that a certain number of kids can only learn to read phonetically, and a certain number of kids can only learn to read by sight words, and then a group can learn both ways. the pendulum will shift again. It's too bad they don't accomodate both learning styles. I love seeing how much Ania has developed and progressed. She is an amazing child and so full of life!

tara said...

That is so funny because when I was teaching we were to never say 'sound it out' Leslie said, another shift of the pendulum. Do they still have Reading Recovery in Bham schools? I love that program BECAUSE it teaches kids using all different strategies! Oh man, don't get me started... Seriously, teaching reading is my favorite, especially when it is teaching a unique learner!!