A Candle of Inspiration...
From "I Don't Care" to "I Did It!"
Little Jill [not her real name] entered my second grade class barely able to read more than a few basic sight words: the, and, is . . . that's about it. What she lacked in knowledge, she did not make up for in enthusiasm, either. I remember the third week of school, supervising lunch duty as my little ones stood in line, overhearing Jill say, "I can't read, but I don't care." Well, I dashed right over and gave her the standard, "Oh, but you have to care, dear! It's so important. And even if you don't care, I do!" She wasn't convinced.
Her grades have been poor. I've had her parents in (very nice people) and they are at a loss as to ways to motivate her. They experience the same lack of enthusiasm at home.
I've been digging deeper and deeper into my bag of tricks and nearly driving this child crazy I bet trying to show her how wonderful and fun and amazing the gift of reading is.
Today I was administering word wall tests -- 77 words long. Brandy was next. I was holding my clipboard. She was looking at the three columns of words on my desk. She started to read, slowly. She didn't know them instantly, but she was able to figure them out if given a moment. She finished the first column and when I asked her to move on to the second, she looked surprised at first, then slowly started to read down the column. By the fourth word, she broke a bit of a grin and peeked at me out of the corner of her eye. I couldn't help but grin, too. She read four or five more words . . . peeked and grinned a little wider. By the time she finished column three, having successfully read 68 of 77 words ... we were both grinning like fools! First I gave her a high-five, but as she headed back to her desk, I called her back and gave her a hug. I was so proud of her I could have burst.
I reminded her of that day in the lunch line and said, "Jill, now you CAN read!" I asked her if I could tell the story to the rest of the class and she said I could. In fact, she couldn't wait until I did!
I told her I would call her mom and dad and tell them how well she had done. Well, she walked home from school and about five minutes after she left, my phone rang. It was her mom. She said she couldn't make any sense of what Jill was trying to tell her, but she needed to call the teacher right away! I told her the good news.
I know reading 68 words isn't rocket science and she's still got a long hard struggle ahead of her, but SHE CARES NOW!!!
A Game to Reinforce Word Wall Words
Here's a fun idea to help reinforce WW words, and numbers, too. Put the words on cards and place them in a pocket chart. Along the lefthand side, place one number in each row. We are working on the numbers from 11-20, so mine looks something like this:
11 some funny look bring take
12 can right before my saw
13 the thing many would come etc.
Draw a small picture on a card and place it under one of the cards. We are studying owls in science, so I have a picture of an owl hidden under one of the words. The game is for the kids to guess which word the owl is hidden under. They love it. The reason for using the numbers is to find the words quicker. If a child guesses "right" it could take you a minute or so to find the word "right" as there are 25 or so words on the pocket chart. Therefore, the child says "12-right". You lift up the word to see if the owl is there. I've gotten so much help from others. I like to share the little bit that I can!