I went into school three times during these two weeks and we concentrated on reading. I’m reading and trying to understand: Phonemes, Graphemes and Phonics so that I know what the children are learning and being tested on. I don’t want to be a helper that goes into class, gets directed by the teacher on what to do but doesn’t understand what it is or why I’m doing it. Unfortunately there isn’t always time to get all this information at the start so I’m trying to pick it up as I go along ensuring I read up on things I’m not sure on.
The children completed various reading tests: sentence reading that increased in difficulty as they progressed down the sheet. They were only allowed a certain number of mistakes before I had to stop them on a sentence which determined their current reading age. As with all classes there was a range of abilities and while some struggled with the first few lines, some managed to finish the page without any problems.
I think I’ve been lucky with my children, both are high achievers in their reading ability, something they inherited from their father who is a fast reader; I on the other hand am a slow reader. 😳
As usual I listened and watched closely to the children’s behaviours and facial expressions; I think you can learn a lot from watching children and they never fail to fascinate me.
One child used his finger to follow the line (in fact, only two children did that from the group), a few were fidgeting – one also had one hand in his pocket and a couple who were more relaxed were willing to talk, allowing me to interact more with them and ask questions. One child appeared very young for his age, noticeable by his speech while another boy was very good at reading and already on the ‘Gold’ level. I was told by another child that this boy liked Roald Dahl so I asked what his favourite book was and he said ‘Georges Marvellous Medicine’. 🙂
Once the children completed their sentence reading I tested them on their sounds: ‘th, ch, qu, ar, er, ea, wh, ng, ol, sh, ing, ck’. Most of the children did very well with these and only about six had difficulty which was only with two or three sounds each, in particular: ar/er, ea, ol and wh.
To finish off their tests they completed 100 high-frequency words with every word they were unable to read, being written for further practice. Again, this was mixed ability so a few got two or three words wrong and others about ten to fifteen. There were a few who struggled a lot and one who I had to stop half way through because he was struggling so much, it would have knocked his confidence and self-esteem.
I’m finding it easier to relax with the children and I’m becoming less self-conscious about speaking to them while other teachers/adults are around me, although I’m yet to gain confidence in my ability and knowledge which I’m sure will come with time.