Each month I will be featuring a star student that has made exceptional progress on his or her reading level. This is Julia and she has definitely made some amazing progress in her reading ability.
Back in October of 2010 Julia’s mom gave me a call because her daughter seemed to not be reading as fast as the other kids in her grade level. She had mentioned that she had received Reading Recovery instruction in 1st grade, but for whatever reason it didn’t help her get to grade level. She had mentioned that the teachers thought she was reading at a Kindergarten level in 2nd grade.
As any parent would feel, this is devastating news. No one wants to hear that their child is performing significantly below grade level. Julia’s mom found one of my advertisements and gave me a call.
After the call, we set up a time for a free assessment. I found that Julia was a very confident little girl who enjoyed reading. Her mom had mentioned that she was usually reluctant to read and was afraid of failing. Essentially her morale and self-confidence were at stake. (Which is the case for most students that are struggling with reading).
Julia had a burning desire to read the books that her peers were reading. She set a wishing goal of being able to read Frog and Toad Books and Junie B. Jones books. At the time I felt that the Frog and Toad goal could be met by November and that she could meet the Junie B. Jones goal by January. Some people may have seen this as very tough goals to reach since Julia was only reading with me for one hour a week, but what I do is more than just reading tutoring. I provide reading accerlation.
You may be asking what the difference is between reading tutoring and reading acceleration. Reading tutoring can be provided by anyone who has more knowledge in reading. It could be an older student, a college kid, even a past teacher. All of these people may be qualified to provide reading tutoring. This is really helpful if a student is only a few months behind grade level. However, when a child is 1 or more grade levels behind their peers, then they need reading acceleration. This is something that is going to help a child move very quickly in a short amount of time. This entails deliberate teaching with a great foundational knowledge of the reading process. Reading acceleration can be performed by someone who has knowledge of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary development. Also, reading acceleration needs to be performed by someone who can build a report with kids quickly. If a child likes you and trusts you, then he/she will work very hard for you and make significant gains.
So, back to Julia. Julia met each of her goals. She was reading Frog and Toad books by November and has just finished her 2nd Junie B. Jones book right on schedule. She was able to start the first one in January just as planned.
When I started working with Julia she was a very confident little girl. She has now built on that confidence and her teachers have informed her mom that she is reading on grade level. Julia was a student that needed acceleration vs. tutoring and she got just that. She always has a smile on her face and is willing to read whatever is put in front of her. She is going to continue reading with me over the summer to ensure that she is not effected by summer slide. When she is in 3rd grade she will be able to read whatever her peers are reading and take the WKCE in November without a problem. I foresee that this little girl that was pronounced to be reading 2 grade levels below her peers will be proficient on this test. All of the students that I have worked with have fallen into the proficient range regardless of where they started when I began working with them.
I am so proud of Julia and the amazing progress that has made and will continue to make. It is because of smiling faces like hers that I continue to do what I love to do best. Teach kids how to read.