Monday, March 10, 2008

Blending Therapies with Graphic Organizers

To recap my last post on how Pamela and I read books, we begin a reading by recalling the last one: (1) thinking about the known and asking questions about the unknown, (2) reading the title and predicting the problem, or (3) narrating the previous reading. After that, Pamela is ready to read several pages from a chapter book. Keeping in mind the zone of proximal development, we rarely read an entire chapter in one sitting.

This time I printed out sheets on setting from an ebook of graphic organizers (you can also try making your own in Word or downloaded free ones). I needed three sheets to cover the chapter: downstairs, upstairs, and outside.




When we read and narrate books, we cycle from one method to another. First, she reads half a page, closes the book, and narrates what she remembers orally (Charlotte Mason). Then, I open the book and ask her questions with the page in view to practice syntax (the association method). After that, we shift to the graphic organizer for Pamela to record her ideas. Then, we cycle back to reading the book until we make it through our goal for the day. In all activities, I encourage her with a warm, playful attitude and dialog as we figure out what needs to go on the sheet.

The following clip illustrates one day's worth of reading and narrations. I did edit as much as I could, but, since I know parents of struggling narrators (especially autistic kiddos) have asked about how you narrate with someone still learning English as a first language. The clip lasts fourteen minutes, but I did add titles throughout it to explain the method behind the madness.


poohder said...

THANKS Tammy, this was very helpful to me. I think I am having my daughter narrate passages that are too long. Maybe we can do larger ones than you, but I think I am expecting too much and reading a "literature" book too fast. I also found the graphic organizer info to be helpful. Your problem with Pamela is Syntax, our problem is spelling. My dd is an adequate reader, but very little of this transfers to her writing. She struggles with spelling even simple words, therefore writing can be very tedious. Any thoughts? I have been trying spelling word groups, like all the "all" words and "ab" words, and she is beginning to use some strategies and see some patterns to learng spelling, but it is very slow. I need to try this organizer method I guess and just have her write even very simple sentences and see how it goes and adjust from there. Thanks again.

walking said...

The key is to keep each passage short and gradually lengthen as the child feels more competent. Another big key is to be comfortable with spreading a book out as long as the child needs. If you consistently preface a reading with the recall of a previous one, then they will all link together.

Now, for spelling,

1) At least a year of copywork is the foundation to spelling.
2) For problem spellers, key an eye on any wrong words and erase them immediately to get the wrong spelling out of sight. Some people use cut up white labels to be really quick on the draw.
3) Once the child is comfortable with copy work, then shift into studied dictation. The best resource for that is Cheri Hedden's presentation (available for cost at Sound Word; at some point, ChildLightUSA will post her audio file for free). Studied dictation is your opportunity for focusing on errors in mechanics (spelling, grammar, and punctation).
4) If you having her write on her graphic organizer, go ahead and help her with the spelling when she gets stuck and correct things immediately without any lessons. (Maybe keep a list of problem for you to plan lessons.) You do not want to interrupt the flow of thoughts by making her look up the spelling or go through different rules every 30 seconds!

What I try to do when thinking through these principles is to focus on the purpose.

Oral narration - composition
Copywork - penmanship
Studied dictation - mechanics
Association method - syntax
Dialog about readings - relationships

This helps me scaffold without defeating the purpose of the activity!

poohder said...

Thanks again!!! your comments were very helpful! Do you employ these comprehension strategies formally with the other readings for science and history? Or do you just mainly use these with the "literature" selections? Thirdly, how often are you using these organizers? Is it daily? I think I am going to buy the
"Currclick" graphic organizer book you referenced. Blessings!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is really great. Graphic organizers are so great at building comprehension among children, and it makes me happy to see others using these in an effective manner. I noticed that the organizers you are using are black and white, you might also consider creating or printing some in colors as the colors can sometimes cause even more stimulation in the child's mind. Great job.

walking said...

Poohder, I did back off higher level reading and narrating when we started RDI because of her zone of proximal development with expressive language. I realized Pamela needed past tense and action verbs to narrate history properly and present progressive tense for geography. She needed all three for science.

I think she is ready now and am thinking through how to get history, geography, and science restarted.