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Maddie's Story: One Year Later

Sep 19, 2012 2:31:16 PM

If you followed my story about Maddie, you will remember she struggled in first grade to learn how to read. I tutored her about two times a week, mostly online using Skype. During the spring of first grade she went from level B/2 to level J/18 over a three-month period.

Have you wondered how Maddie is doing as a reader? Did she maintain her gains?

This fall, Maddie is starting third grade. Last week, her mom mentioned that they had started reading a Harry Potter book to Maddie when they were on vacation. Maddie was impatiently waiting for someone to read the next chapter to her, so she started reading it to herself!  She stopped by the office today and read a bit of the story to me.

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Maddie's Story: Post-assessment plans

Jul 12, 2011 3:20:35 PM

Maddie's StoryThis is the final part of a three-part series as I considered how much longer Maddie would need ongoing tutoring sessions.

In this post, I will be looking at how Maddie is dealing with challenges in a new test.

In Literacy Lessons for Individuals, Part 2, Marie Clay suggests that a child of Maddie’s age should be reading at about a Level 16 book.

I have just begun working with level 16-18 books with Maddie and she is doing well with them. I have noticed her consistently monitoring her reading, detecting errors herself, and correcting many of those errors. I am also pleased with how well she is searching searches for different kinds of information at difficulty. I see her rereading, checking the pictures, and taking complex words apart.

Here, Maddie is reading Space Monster’s Birthday Party (Level 16). I am pleased to see her checking her reading and quickly correcting words (monster, maybe). She also does some fast problem solving (wonder). I see her doing this kind of independent problem solving on a regular basis, which is very exciting. I remember when at difficulty she would just stop and do nothing.

My time with Maddie has been very inconsistent lately with my move from Florida back to our home in Massachusetts. Despite the lack of weekly tutoring, I have noticed that Maddie is continuing to read and try new things, a great sign that her self-extending system is continuing to develop. Her parents and I have decided I will work with Maddie every other week during the summer. This will give me a chance to monitor her progress and provide the family with some books that will be a good fit for Maddie. I also hope to make some videos to illustrate useful ways to support beginning readers and writers. In particular, I hope to make some videos using magnetic letters. Look for those in the fall!

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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Maddie's Story - Pioneer Valley BooksI am continuing to think about how much longer Maddie will need to be tutored and what I need to focus on to ensure that she is in a solid position to benefit from classroom literacy instruction.

In this posting I will take a closer look at Maddie’s writing.

When I began working with Maddie in late December, there was a very limited number of words she could write. She was good at hearing sounds in words, especially consonant sounds, but she needed help hearing harder sounds like vowels and blends. She has always had stories to tell and it was easy for her to come up with topics to write about.

I immediately began to address the following:

• Reversals of letters (b/d, c/e

• Appropriate use of upper- and lower-case letters

• Hearing more complex sounds in words

• Building a core of words she could quickly and easily spell

• Learning how to use words she knows to spell new words

Teaching Maddie to write has been more challenging than teaching her reading. Because the teaching has been done using Skype, I have struggled with both seeing what she was doing and intervening and supporting her when she needed it. Still, I think she has made great progress. Here is a story she just wrote. She composed the short story quickly with very little help from me.

All of the common sight words were written quickly and easily. She was able to hear and record sounds in library, new, and circus. With a reminder, she was able to change the e at the end of library to y. The spelling patterns in new and circus are difficult. At this point in her progress, I think her using k for c and the a for u in circus is just fine. I’m not sure why she recorded the ew sound as ee for the word new. I am pleased at the lack of reversals. She has not completely mastered this, but she is doing much better. I think she used the upper-case B in book because she still struggles with b/d and uses that as an avoidance strategy. The spacing and size of the letters all look fine. She began with an upper-case letter and ended the story with a period. She should have made It was a circus (book?) a separate sentence, but that is not surprising.

I think Maddie does not need ongoing tutoring in writing any longer and is ready to benefit from classroom writing instruction alone. What do you think?

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Maddie's Story: Assessing Fluency

Jun 8, 2011 11:24:20 AM

Maddie FluencyOver the last few lessons, I have started to consider how much longer Maddie will need ongoing tutoring sessions.

Marie Clay says that, “Children who successfully complete early literacy interventions like Reading Recovery should operate in reading and writing in ways that put them on track for being silent readers with self-extending processing systems during the net two years of school. With good classroom instruction and moderate personal motivation that should be achievable.” (p. 53, Literacy Lessons, Part One).

Here is a list of things I am considering:

• How does Maddie’s reading sound? Is it phrased and fluent with familiar reading? On new text?

• Can Maddie detect errors for herself? Can she correct those errors?

• Can Maddie search for more information (by rereading, taking words apart, or thinking about the story) in order to solve unknown words?

• Is Maddie independent in her writing? Does she have a variety of resources to get to new words? Can she monitor and edit her efforts?

Today, I had Maddie look at some new reading while I reflected on her fluency.

Listen to Maddie read two new books. I think her fluency has improved recently. When she first began working with me, her reading was slow and she used very little intonation. While she is not the most expressive reader, she sounds good and her expressive reading shows the she has a strong understanding of the story. Her pace is still somewhat slow, but she is able to integrate problem solving along the way. Here are two examples from Level 14/H books. In both texts she slows down to problem solve, but then picks the pace back up again. 

 

You can use this fluency rubric to assess Maddie’s fluency as well as your own students’ fluency.

Fluency Rubric

(You can find more assessment materials at our Pawprints Resource Center.)

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Maddie readingAs Maddie moves into reading higher text levels I am thinking about the book introductions I need to provide her with.

I have noticed some teachers start to give very skimpy book introductions to students as they climb into higher texts. Unless I am using a book where the students are VERY familiar with both the plot and language (such as The Three Little Pigs) I feel it is important to provide my student with a good book introduction, no matter what level they are reading at. This is true when working with one student or a group of students in Guided Reading. 

The first reading of a new book is not a test. It should be a successful first reading. Marie Clay says, “The teacher must plan for the child to have in his head the ideas and the language he needs to complete the reading. In the first year or two of leaning to read it helps if the child knows what the story is about before he reads.” (Literacy Lessons: Designed for Individuals, Part Two: Teaching Procedures, p. 91)

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Magnetic Letters and Maddie's StoryAs Maddie reads increasingly more difficult books, she will encounter many new words. It is important that she learns to be flexible in how she approaches problem-solving new words.

Here is some theory about what needs to happen. In Literacy Lessons: Designed for Individuals, Part Two (p. 119), Marie Clay discusses how the learner needs to link visual and phonemic information. She says, “the learner has to link a visual form with phoneme (sound) in order to ‘learn’ a letter-sound relationship. The hardest-to-teach children struggle to distinguish letter forms that they see, one from another, and to distinguish sounds that they hear, one from another, and to link the two.” The brain needs to send the information in both directions as we read and write.

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Maddie's StoryMaddie has had about 24 lessons with me now. During each lesson, we read two or three familiar books. My focus is on getting her to read faster (she continues to read quite slowly), and with more expression and intonation. During each lesson I see improvement. Next she reads to me a book she read for the first time the day before. I take a running record—an assessment tool used to record her errors and self-corrections. Maddie usually reads these books with 97% or better accuracy. I am pleased because I think students learn more when a book is on the easier side. I have started doing some work in each lesson with magnetic letters. In my next blog, I will show some of these sessions. In every lesson we write a story and then cut up a sentence. Maddie is learning a lot from writing that carries over to her reading. The last thing we do is read a new book. I introduce her to the story and then she reads with some support from me.

Reading on her own

A large shift that has occurred is in Maddie’s attitude towards reading. Previously, Maddie had avoided reading. When asked to read she was very hesitant and resistant. But just the other day, on her own, Maddie pulled some books off her bookshelf in her room and began to read them to her sister.

In this clip, you can listen to Maddie read a bit of A Hungry Lion. This is the second time Maddie has read the book and I think she reads it quite well. Listen and see if you agree. She reads it with a 99% accuracy rate, stopping only on the word did

Puppet Show

A Hungry Lion features a play at the end based on the story in the book. I told Maddie that she could now read the play to her family. The day after the lesson her mom called to tell me that not only had Maddie read the play she had taken the book up to her room after the lesson and set up a puppet show. She made tickets and invited her mom, dad, and sister Vivi. (There are cute puppets to go with the book but they did not have them at home.) Maddie drafted her dolls and stuffed animals to play the parts. Her mom made a video of the show if you would like to see it.

What I am pleased to see is Maddie attempting to use different voices for the different characters. Clearly a new literate world is opening up for her!

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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Maddie's Story: Writing lessons

Feb 28, 2011 8:00:54 AM

I have been working with Maddie now for about seven weeks. We usually have between two and three lessons a week. Working with Maddie using Skype has not been difficult. Her dad and mom are there to help me and I am very pleased with Maddie’s progress. She has moved from a Reading Recovery level 2/Guided Reading level B, to Level 10/F.

Teaching writing has been more challenging than teaching reading. I think this is because I am used to doing much more non-verbal demonstration in writing.  Still, this is coming along very nicely.

In this post, I will be sharing the work we are doing using sound boxes to hear sounds in words.

Marie Clay says, “Writing requires the child to pay close attention to the words he has chosen to write, hear the sounds in the words and to write down some letters that will represent those sounds. It is an activity well suited to developing phonemic awareness.” (From Literacy Lessons: Designed for Individuals, Part Two, page 70)

elkonin boxWhen I started with Maddie she already showed a lot of strength in hearing sounds in words but it was inconsistent. To help her, I am using Elkonin ‘boxes’ as a supporting framework for hearing sounds. The way the boxes work is you make a box for each phoneme (not for each letter). So the word cat has three phonemes – you would make three boxes. The word make also has only three phonemes, so you make three boxes. The child says the word slowly and pushes counters or her finger into each box as she says the word. It is important that she says the word slowly and smoothly. 

For more information on how to use this procedure, see pages 72-80 of Literacy Lessons Part One.

For Maddie, I try to select 2-3 words from her story in every lesson. She says the word slowly and pushes her finger into the boxes. You can see two video clips here using this procedure.

In this clip taken a few weeks ago, Maddie is struggling to orchestrate hearing and pushing. If I were sitting next to her I would model that task and then perhaps push while she says the word, then have her push while I say the word until she can do both together. Since I am not beside her I ask her dad John to help me.

After a bit of practice over several lessons, this task is now well established and Maddie is hearing many more sounds in words. See what you think as you watch this clip taken a few weeks later. 

I am very pleased with how many sounds she is hearing and how she is hearing the sounds in sequence. We have begun to talk about silent letters and some spelling patterns. Reading and writing skills are a reciprocal process and this skill of hearing sounds in words in sequence will be very helpful to Maddie, as she needs to solve unknown words in text.

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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By now, Maddie and I have had several sessions using Skype. As you view some of the videos, I think you will agree with me that she is learning and making good progress.

I still struggle with helping her at difficulty. If I do not have the same book to follow along it is very difficult. I cannot see the print and see her at the same time. Maybe with more cameras we could do it better – but for now I tend to stay away from books I don’t also have. 

I realize how often I like to use some kind of nonverbal response, such as putting my finger into the story to show the child the part he/she knows. For example, Maddie came to the word today in Baby Bear Goes Fishing. She came to a dead stop. Normally I would have covered up day with my finger to show her to (the part she knows). After a bit of hesitation I said, “Maddie cover up the letters d-a-y with your finger and look at the first part." She did and said, “to” and lifted her finger and said “today.”  Wow! I was pleased.

Maddie’s confidence is growing. At times she still sounds very slow and choppy. But in this clip of her reading Lost in the Woods, a level E/7 book about Bella and Rosie, I think she sounds very good. 

On that same day, she read A Birthday Present for Spaceboy (a level E/8 book) very well for the first time after a book introduction. I like to use this book because it lends itself to fluent reading with some repeated phrases, such as “zooming up and down and all around.”

I have begun to try to use magnetic letters to show Maddie how words work. In the next video, you can see us working with the ending ing. She is learning about how words can have endings. It will help her as the books get more difficult and she begins to see more words with endings.

I am pleased with Maddie's progress. I am teaching her only two to three times each week but her parents are doing a great job of following through and having her read from her bin of books each night.

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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Maddie's Story: First Skype Session

Feb 18, 2011 12:24:36 PM

Maddie and I had our first session over the Internet. I used a video chat program called Skype. My husband Bob was filming us from our home in Florida while Maddie’s dad assisted at Maddie’s home in Massachusetts. There are a few challenges to teaching like this and some bugs to work out. But Maddie did not seem thrown at all by the experience and I am very hopeful that I can help her from a long distance.

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Maddie's Story: Lesson Progress

Feb 8, 2011 3:23:42 AM

Michele Dufresne

This was my last session with Maddie before I left town. Maddie’s mom and baby sister observed the lesson, so you will hear baby sounds in the background of the video! After this final lesson, my lessons will be given using Skype. Tune in next time to see the successes and challenges this brings to the teaching of Maddie.

I am pleased with Maddie’s progress. She has already gained a lot of confidence. She is noticing errors and often rereading difficult parts. I am encouraging her to make the first sound of new words as she rereads. The combination of hearing the sound and observing the language structure can often help a student anticipate what the new word is. I model this for her as I encourage her to reread.

I believe the reason that Maddie has made rapid progress is because she is working with continuous text. Too often, struggling readers are given problems to do in isolation, such as phonics worksheets where you have to put down a missing letter sound or fill in a blank. Struggling readers are also asked to practice new words using word cards. Reading a random list of unknown words off of a word card is difficult because there is no context to reinforce those words. I do some work with word cards, but it is not as powerful as many other ways of learning new words. I do very little work in isolation. Occasionally, I ask Maddie to find a new word in a book and make it with magnetic letters and/or write it a few times, but I always make sure that the word I select shows up frequently in her books.

Marie Clay in Literacy Lessons: Designed for Individuals, Part 2, says, “The teacher must create opportunities to link new features, letters, and words that occur in many activities but not overdo it. There should be echoes from one part of the lesson to another part.” She says, “ New words will be acquired through reading books, and others will come from daily writing.” (p. 40). 

I am focused on expanding Maddie’s vocabulary, but I also need to attend to her fluency. Her reading is still somewhat slow and choppy.  See what you think here in a few videos from our session together.

In the first video, I introduce Maddie to a new level D/6 book called Blackberries. Maddie reads the book nicely with very little help.

 

In this second video, I introduce Maddie to the new level D/6 book, The Missing Earrings.

 

In this third and final video for this entry, you can see that I am working with the new word they. Maddie has just read Where is Santa? for the first time. They is a new word in this book. First, I asked her to find the word they in the book and then I asked her to do a few things with the word in isolation. They is a tricky word, but it is important to learn because it shows up in many stories for beginning readers. Hopefully, Maddie will soon be able to read this new word in other new books.

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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Michele Dufresne

In my previous three posts I shared with you a story about a first grader named Maddie who is having difficulty learning to read. I am going to tutor Maddie long distance using Skype. Before I left town, I had a chance to work with Maddie twice in person. In the next two posts, I will share these sessions with you and some thoughts about what kinds of instruction will help Maddie.

After reviewing the data I collected using Marie Clay’s Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, I have developed the following long-term goals for Maddie:

 

1. I would like Maddie to be able to read in a phrased and fluent manner at grade level text (level 16/I) by April. Since we are starting at level C, we have a long way to go.

2. I would like Maddie to learn how to work independently to solve new and unknown words by breaking them apart. She will need to learn how words look and sound alike and how large words are made of parts she knows.

3. I would like Maddie to consistently check (self-monitor) when her reading isn’t looking right, sounding right, or making sense, and take action to self-correct her errors. I would like this self-correcting to take place very close to the error.

I have immediate strategies for Maddie that I hope will lead to reaching the above goals in about 12 weeks.

Increase the number of words she recognizes in text. She has a very limited sight vocabulary. To achieve this goal, I will: 

- Use several easy books that have very similar words in each book.

- Have Maddie build and break easy words from her books to increase her ability to use those words in different contexts.

- Have Maddie write the words I want her to read. There are reciprocal gains from reading and writing. Maddie knows how to write many words, and she can learn to read these same words. I will find multiple opportunities in each lesson for her to write words, both in isolation and when writing stories.

- Have a tray with words made from magnetic letters. I will keep 4 -5 words we are working with on the tray so I can easily use them whenever I want.

Maddie needs to learn to self-monitor (check her reading) using meaning, using the initial letter of a word, and using familiar words.  To do this I will:

- Ask, “Does that make sense?” “Try it again and make sure it makes sense and looks right.” Or, simply, “Were you right?”

- When she makes a mistake (and sometimes when she has not) I will cover the first letter of a word and ask her what letter she expects to see. Since Maddie knows most of the letter sounds, it will be easy to teach her to check by using the first letters of words.

- I will teach her new words so she can have “islands of certainty” to check her reading. I will not expect her to know every word in each book, but I will ask her to check with the words she knows.

My goals will change as I move along, but here are a few videos from our first session together.

Listen to Maddie read Bella’s Birthday. Maddie is reading this for the fourth time. I read it to her during her initial assessment and then she took the book home and read it a few times to her family. I am pleased with how smoothly she is reading a level C book. This book is providing Maddie with the core reading vocabulary she will need in order to read more complex text. 

 

After she read Bella's Birthday, I had her work on the word my so that she will know it whenever she encounters it in new contexts. During the initial assessment word test, Maddie was unfamiliar with this word; when I asked her to write it, she recorded mi.

 

I am impressed with what Maddie is doing! Following the assessment last week, I sat and read a pile of level B and C books with her. I sent them home with her and she has read them several times with her family. Reading and rereading books is a powerful learning tool. Maddie is lucky to have such great parental support. I am taking a chance and moving up to level D instead of spending today’s session with level C books as I had planned. So here you see me introduce her to an old favorite book published by Rigby called Father Bear Goes Fishing. Listen to her read this book for the first time.

 

Below you can observe both the book introduction and Maddie’s first reading of The Missing Puppy. I like this book because the structure is fairly repetitive and it provides both support and challenges. It gives Maddie another chance to see new words in a meaningful context.

 

Here is just a snippet of Maddie’s writing. I am getting ready to cut up the story and have her reassemble it. Practicing writing gives Maddie a chance to listen and record sounds in words, reinforce the words she knows, and learn to spell new words by using the ones she already knows. Writing is Maddie's strength. She knows most of her sounds and can write quite a few words. I don’t have the video taping worked out so you cannot see very much of this – I will try to do better next time!

 

The last video I am sharing shows Maddie reading her most challenging book yet, Georgie Giraffe the Detective. I started by giving Maddie a rich introduction to the story, which will help her to grasp the material conceptually before working with the text. This book has more challenges than Father Bears Goes Fishing and The Missing Puppy. I decided to take a chance with it to see what happened. I was prepared to support her with these challenges along the way. Most importantly, I wanted Maddie to feel confident and successful. I didn't want to blow it by making it too hard – but I also didn't want to waste time if she was ready to move on. I am very pleased with how she did. Afterward, I took time to work on another new word – can. For some children, working on both went and can would be too much, but she was learning words so quickly that I decided to try it out.

 

With just a few simple sessions, Maddie is off to a great start. By reading appropriate books and spending just a little time making and breaking words, Maddie is taking on new sight vocabulary and learning to self-correct. I am feeling very optimistic!

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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Maddie video screenshot

I have met with Maddie’s parents to share my recommendations.

Intervention is necessary to help Maddie improve her reading. I recommended Reading Recovery, which is an intervention program that could help accelerate Maddie's progress in reading and prevent Maddie from needing special education or first-grade retention. As a former reading teacher and Reading Recovery teacher leader, I have never seen a program that can match the success rate of Reading Recovery. In Reading Recovery, a trained teacher works one-on-one with her/his students. In an average of twelve weeks, most children catch up to their classmates. You can find more facts about Reading Recovery on the RRCNA website. You can also find research on Reading Recovery at the U.S. Department of Education website about early reading programs that work. 

Unfortunately, the school Maddie attends does not have Reading Recovery. 

The next possible option is for Maddie’s parents to find a trained Reading Recovery teacher who would be willing to tutor Maddie after school. This will not technically be Reading Recovery because Reading Recovery is provided in school every day for 30 minutes. The Reading Recovery teacher works in collaboration with the classroom teacher and other school personnel. Private tutoring does not work the same way, but it can still be quite successful.

But wait – before we go the route of a private Reading Recovery tutor, we are going to experiment with something a bit more unusual. I am going to tutor Maddie long distance using the internet. We will try using Skype, a video chat program, for our lessons. We plan to film a few of the sessions so you can follow along if you are interested in upcoming posts.

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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Maddie's Story: Reading Assessment

Jan 18, 2011 9:07:14 AM

Maddie's Bear StoryI met with Maddie today. As I told you in my previous post, Maddie’s parents are worried about her lack of progress in reading. I conducted an assessment of Maddie in order to gauge her level of reading, writing, and phonemic awareness. The following is an outline of my assessment and her performance. I believe you will find it interesting and helpful.

First, I asked Maddie's teacher to send home some recent work Maddie had done in school. I received a terrific story Maddie had written about a bear in her backyard. The story had a beginning, middle, and end. She wrote the story using a mix of standard and invented spelling that was very readable. Click on the image to the right to see a PDF of her story.

When I sat down with Maddie, I used a number of assessment tasks from Marie Clay’s Observation Survey. Maddie quickly identified all of the letters in the alphabet by letter name. 

Next, I asked her to read a list of sight words. Maddie could read only 2 of 20 words on the list, which provided my first cause of concern.

I used Clay’s Concepts About Print to look at Maddie’s understanding of books. Maddie demonstrated that she is competent in how books work. She understands which direction print is supposed to go in, knows how to match her finger to the print, and understands the use of punctuation. You can see her doing some of this assessment here:

Next, I asked Maddie to write as many words as she could in 10 minutes. She was able to write 18 words. It is interesting to note that she can write many more words than she can read. Here is a short clip of her at work on this: 

In my next assessment, I asked her to write a dictated short story. I asked her to say each word slowly and write all the sounds she could hear. Maddie could record 32 of the 37 phonemes in the story. This shows that Maddie has strong phonemic awareness. You can observe a bit of her writing here. Notice how she is saying sounds softly under her breath.

Last, I asked Maddie to read several simple books. I started with a few books Maddie had read at home, and then I used some unfamiliar books. Maddie is reading only at level B. She can read a simple patterned book using pictures and a pattern. If you would like to look at her reading, here are some videos of her reading at levels B and C. 

Fruit Salad (Level B/2)

I Like to Read (Level B/2)

Pets (Level B/2)

Where is Quack? (Level C/3)

After I instructed her on self-correcting, she was able to correct some errors while reading. At level C, with less repetitive text, Maddie started to struggle and guess at words. 

After I meet with Maddie’s parents, I will share with you my recommendations for instruction.

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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Maddie's Story

Dec 20, 2010 1:51:53 PM

Michele Dufresne

Child writing - Pioneer Valley Books

Maddie, like many other children, is struggling to learn how to read. Maddie’s parents have agreed to let me share Maddie’s story with you. It is a story with an unknown ending. 

It is December of her first-grade year and many of Maddie’s friends have taken off in their reading. Based on a recent school assessment, Maddie is only able to read level B books. Is there reason to be concerned and to take action? Yes! Reading at only a text level B means Maddie can read only the most basic, repetitive books whereas many other first-graders are fluently reading complex stories. It is important for Maddie to be assessed with a strong and comprehensive reading assessment that looks at more than her reading level. If Maddie doesn’t get help soon, she may be at risk of long-term reading problems. She could fall further and further behind.

I am going to use Marie Clay’s Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement to look at Maddie’s knowledge of letters, sounds, and print conventions. I will look to see how many words she can write quickly, and find out if she can write a simple, dictated story. Once I know more about what is going on with Maddie, I will have a better idea of what should be done. I will let you know what I find out about Maddie after her assessment.

If you are a parent of a child struggling to read, or a teacher with students who are struggling, I hope what I write about will help you think of some ways that you can help.

Michele Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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