This past week my teacher had me working with my focus student on fluency when reading. My focus student is at a lower achieving level in reading for her class, so she is working on books that are appropriate for her reading level during reading groups. Normally the students are paired into groups of 3 or 4 students that are of similar reading levels as her. This week my teacher had me working individually with my focus student on reading her books instead of in her group. I was supposed to have her read the book several times through, the first time giving her help where it was necessary, and by the last time of reading through the book she was supposed to be able to read it on her own. The books were generally 5 or 6 pages long with simple sentences on them.
When working with my focus student on the first book for the week she had a very tough time getting through the words. She was unfamiliar with many of the words and did not do much to sound out the words and try to determine what the pages were saying. Instead, she would look at the pictures and try and guess what the word was. Although this can be an effective strategy sometimes by looking at the pictures after trying to sound out an unfamiliar word, but solely relying on the pictures can lead the child to thinking that certain words are different than what they actually are. For example, on one of the pages in the book my focus student did not know the word 'panther' but instead of looking to see that the word started with 'p' and trying to sound it out, she directly looked at the pictures and thought the word was tiger. Clearly she was not looking at the words and trying to use her reading strategies to figure out what the word was, but instead relying solely on the illustrations in the book. This was the main problem that I saw with my focus students reading, along with not trying to sound out words. Perhaps she is not familiar with some of the sounds that the letters make but she definitely needs more practice with letter and sound identification in order to develop her reading further.
After reading through the book with her and helping her when she was unfamiliar what the text was saying, she was able to successfully read the book on her own. She was so excited that she read the whole book that she wanted to read it again to me. I was excited to she that she was so thrilled with her progress and happy that she did well, because I could tell that it was a motivating factor for her. I hope to see her continue practicing her books within these last couple weeks that I am observing in her classroom.