Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A+ for effort and attitude

My sweet Little Miss Malia has been struggling with some school-related things since she started Kindergarten last year. At the Parent-Teacher interviews last November, I discovered that Malia only recognized 7 of the 26 letters of the alphabet.

I went to work with her and two weeks after that startling realization, Malia proved what she could do by conquering nearly the entire alphabet in just 14 short days.

However, after she learned all of the letter names, she then had a difficult time learning their sounds. Her kindergarten teacher put her in a small group where they focused a lot of time and energy on letter sounds and she came out of that group confident with her sounds and proud of her accomplishments.

The one set-back to this hard-core focusing on letter sounds was that it made her have a hard time looking at words as a whole. For example - she was concentrating so hard on the individual letter sounds, that reading the word "the" was impossible for her. She would sound it out letter by letter, making the T sound, then the H sound and then the E sound individually, rather than grouping it together as a word. She has made progress with that now too, but still struggles.

All of this work, however, put her behind in her reading since she needed to take a lot of time in learning the names and sounds first. She is now in Grade 1 and her Term 1 report card came home two weeks ago with Parent-Teacher interviews the following Thursday.

My precious little 6 year old girl is a great student who is well-liked by her teacher and her classmates. She is friendly, she listens well and she puts in a lot of effort in her work. And I am so very proud of her for that.

Her struggle with reading still remains - and while they would like Grade 1 students to be reading at Level 4 or 5 at this point, Malia is still at Level 2. At times this really discourages me, but then at other times - most times - I am just bursting with pride at this girl's determination.

And she is p-r-o-u-d of herself too! Last year she would often get frustrated and say things about her lack of reading skills that would break my heart. But now? Well, she has no idea that she is in a low reading level. She is just plain excited at what she CAN do and is excited to sit down every evening with a home-reading book or get quizzed on her sight-words flash cards.

Her newest thing is learning about punctuation - specifically the exclamation mark! I love listening to her putting more emphasis on the words with the exclamation marks after them (especially the one-word sentences with exclamation marks, like "Look!" or "Dad!").

No, she may not be at the top of her class when it comes to reading - but I'd be willing to bet that I am just as proud of her - if not more so - than the parents of the kids reading above grade level.


LaughingLady said...

My oldest struggled with that focusing on individual letter sounds rather than recognizing letter combinations. She still does a little bit, but she's a voracious reader despite that! She's also joined the school's spelling club, so I think that will make a huge difference.

And progress is really what's important. We all develop at different rates and excel in different areas. A huge emphasis is put on reading in the early years, but once math and science get equal billing, maybe those will be Malia's incredible strengths. You just never know!

TammyIsBlessed said...

I'm proud of little Miss Malia too! :)