Monday, October 22, 2012

Reading Rainbow

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I admit that I'm kinda obsessed. I've been forcing myself to have the composition journal be the very last thing I take out of her backpack on the days she's quizzed. I want so badly to know how we she did! But I know I need to take a pause so that she doesn't see how crazed I am.

Rainbow Words are sight words. Here's the letter that explains how it works:

This is what they look like:

Today, she came home with the blue words. 

[Insert happy dancing mama who needs a new hobby here.]

Because I learned long ago from my Guru how kids with Ds do best with learning sight words, I redo the cards like this:

All lowercase, no letters touching, contrasting colors (I think she struggles a bit more with learning straight from the ones that come home). These cards are both sturdier and easier to manipulate than the small colored papers on the ring. It also allows us to play lots of games (thanks to Auntie Tee for the tip!) that I make up as I go. 

One day, it may be everything laid out in a matrix and I say "Find me the word ________" or maybe I give her a small object and ask her to put that object on a specific word or maybe I just go old-school flash card style and she reads what I show her. We mix it up, I wing it, and she's enthusiastic. 

Most importantly though, with new words, I start out just showing them and reading them to her. I don't expect her to perform right away. She lets me know when she's ready to read them. She always shocks me when she starts to read them along with me. That's my cue to change up the strategy. 

We typically do the new words before meals and then practice in the morning if we have extra time after getting ready or while waiting at the bus stop. It doesn't take long at all. It's the games that get more involved and can take a while if we allow it to. It really depends on her mood. We always stop when she shows that she's done. It's pretty obvious when she's done. 

Ok, so here are some examples of the quiz sheets that come home and get me all giddy:

You can see that the first one shows a comment that continues on the back. What it says is that whoever quizzed her wasn't sure that she got "like" correct, but she was so fluent in everything that they gave it to her. 

I was at home all indignant like, "You didn't have to give her anything. She knows that!" 

And that's why it's good that it was a note and I didn't get all loud with anyone over (my precious) Rainbow Words.


Here's the rainbow that gets colored in after a successful quiz.

I'm noticing more that articulation is becoming an issue recently. The new blue words like "he" and "she"? Ugh. And then "small"? Not really sounding like how they should. Yet?

I did send in a short note a couple of weeks ago about "the" because she says it like "fa". But it's consistent so I wanted her teacher to know (she says "Smith" like "miff"). I deliberately chose "thuh" over "thee" because sooo many other things she says sound like "thee". 

What's interesting is that I was told in the last IEP meeting (eek - another one's coming up on Wednesday!) that to be considered fully successful in (this?) Kindergarten, students must know 32 sight words. And the color words aren't even required. These teachers just add them in to help children with all the color-related tasks they do in class. So I guess I can breathe a little in that regard? 

She's met the minimum.

And let me tell you, I am thrilled. She's strong in an academic area!

It's not that I thought she couldn't be; I'm just glad that she is. Make sense?

For so long, I thought that my slacker ways were going to screw my kid out of learning to read. So many other, younger, children had parents that were on top of this sight word thing and they were thriving. I was envious and felt defeated before I ever got started. I thought I had missed the window. I started a couple of times, but never kept it up.

It's great for me to know that she's ready and it's working now. I can let that guilt go. I love when that happens. Because I've got a lot of guilt.

But I still probably do to do something to help divert my mind from this stuff...just a tad.


ckbrylliant said...

Go easy on yourself Mama. It's a long road and she's building a great foundation. I love your natural ways of building in learning!

Me ;-) said...

Way to go! She's doing great! Have you looked into the BrillKids program? We started using it last year and had a lot of success with it. The way the program teaches sight words is really neat.