|Animal Kingdom 2011|
I just began volunteering in Sofia’s former kindergarten classroom last week. I loved, loved, loved listening the kids grow as readers last year. So this year, I asked Mrs. L. if I could volunteer again. Sofie goes to music on Wednesday mornings, so during that time, I get to work with Mrs. L.
Today, I listened to 4 or 5 kids read. Then I got to help a few students write their journal entries. Today they were writing about animal mothers and babies.
Can you even dial back to when you were pre-literate? You see these symbols that you are told mean something. There are 26 and you need to learn to write them legibly and know what sound they make. Oh! And remember some of them make more than one sound, and some of them work with other letters and make whole new sounds.
To write a sentence, a child not only needs to master those skills, they need to be able to put together a full sentence in their mind, remember it clearly enough, and then all apply the alphabet skills.
The first little guy that I worked with – chubby with big blue eyes and the sweetest spirit, though he is probably the first to get distracted when something shiny comes by 🙂 He chose to write about kangaroo moms and babies and his sentence was “A kangaroo has a baby joey.”
Check out how long kangaroo is! But all the sounds (except the ‘oo’ at the end) are fairly clear if you slow the word way down and listen carefully. So that’s what we did. Sound by sound, slowly, carefully, checking his alphabet chart on his desk. But he did it. We got to the end of kangaroo, and I told him ‘hey, this oooo sound is tricky, let me tell you about this’, and I gave him the ‘double o’ at the end.
Oh, if I could have captured his face. When he realized that he had spelled ‘Kangaroo’, he beamed. His eyes said ‘oh my goodness, I CAN do this!’ Pride was bursting out of all of his little kindergarten self.
Helping kids learn to read and write is like midwife-ing the future. I am absolutely thrilled that I got to participate in this birth today.