Welcome to this week’s wrap where I share some of the successes and challenges of being a specialist dyslexia teacher.
The days and weeks seem to be zooming by so quickly this year…. I can’t believe it’s already June and only a month until my little girl turns 4.
Last week I picked up a couple of new students for tutoring, two girls, one in Grade 1 and the other is in pre-primary. I spent the first session with each girl completing some phonological assessments, played some games and generally just got to know each other.
One of the weaknesses that came through with both girls, was their very limited ability to be able to manipulate sounds in words. For example, I asked each girl to say a word without a particular sounds. “Say cat without the c”. Neither girl was able to do this. They also had a great deal of trouble with being able to blend and segment. I’ll begin tutoring both girls in the Initial Code, Unit 1 of the Sounds-Write programme. I’m looking forward to getting started with them.
Here’s my PMI for the week.
Plus – Phonics resources
What I love about using Sounds~Write is that they provide you with all of the resources you’ll need to be able to use and implement the programme. What I don’t love is how long it takes to make all of the resources hehehe. So over the last few months I’ve slowly been printing, cutting, laminating and just generally putting it all together. I’m not finished yet….but I’ve made real progress and have an organised system going on as well. This is a real plus as it means I simply go to the box I need to pull out the resources I’ll be using for the day. Below are some pictures of the resources I’ve made and how I organize them all.
Minus – Time planning
I suppose this is the age old debate in teaching…..how much planning do you do? Even though I’m provided with the programme that I use for tutoring, I still find that my planning takes so long. I think I’m spending between 30 min – 1 hour per student planning a one hour lesson for the week. This includes me working out which lessons I’ll use, choosing appropriate words, picking a reading book that will suit the lesson, making resources for the students to take home and then also setting home activities.
As I use the programme more and become more familiar with the lessons and resources, I imagine my planning will become quicker. I also like to make the word building cards and other resources for students to take home, so that’s something that will just take time as they need to be prepared on a week by week basis.
How long do you spend planning?
Interesting – Fluency board
The fluency board is a combination of ideas I got from Sounds-Write and This Reading Mama. It’s a fun way to encourage accurate and fluent reading.
The aim is for students to read 20 words correct in 30 seconds. If students can do this, then it is more likely that the skill being taught will be maintained. For the example below I’ve only chosen 5 words and repeated those words on each line, but in a different order. The focus is the digraph ‘ck’.
I have laminated the template so that the words can be easily changed using a dry erase marker. You could also use this with 20 different words, or any number of a combination of words. I’ve also made up some boards to send home with students to use.
You can also keep a record of how long it takes students to read the words, and see if they can beat their personal best. I’ve now also made a recording sheet so I can keep track of the words I use for each student and how long it takes them to read those words.
As I’m using this as an ongoing assessment item, I also pick 5-10 words from the board and get students to write them on their mini whiteboards to check their spelling. This is a great way for me to see how they’re going with reading specific words, but also if they can spell these words. This then helps inform my planning and if I need to go back and revise particular units.
If you’d like a copy of the board and recording sheet then click on the pictures below to download them as a PDF.
Thanks for stopping by.