This paper is about a sixth grader who is facing difficulties in coping with the school curriculum, due to learning and reading disability. A specific method has been devised that aims to help develop her learning skills in order to keep up with the rising demands of the upcoming classes.
When a child does not perform academically well in the school environment, parents tend to start wondering if there is some deformity that is causing the problem. This is indeed a matter of immense concern, because the child’s future depends on what and how well he or she is learning and developing in the early school years.
Micki Long is one such student who is unable to keep up with the standard of the class she studies in. She was an underweight baby, and since birth, her motor skills and intelligence quotient have been differing from other children her age. The difference is in that she is slow, and incapable of competing with her counterparts at school. Despite her fondness for all other activities like being a member of the church choir, etc., she needs an up boosting or an intervention that may help her in her academics. She is enrolled in the Cottonwood Middle School.
Micki has recently been promoted to sixth grade, but is finding it very difficult to keep track of all her subjects due to her slow speed, and low thinking level. It is learnt that “Some primary factors such as cognitive deficiencies and hearing impairment may lead to learning disabilities.” (Snow, et.al, 1998). Micki is slow in learning, lacks writing skills, is not very social, possesses no organizational skills that may assist in her studies, and is now placed in the special education resource class, with third-grade instructions for reading.
Reading difficulties are related to neurodevelopment problems. These do not go away, but it also does not stop the student from performing normally in school (WBGH, 2002). The reading or learning disabilities of children have been associated with a disorder named dyslexia. There is no specific definition for this disorder, but it is present in many school going children or even grown-ups, who have difficulty in reading words the right way (“Dyslexia”, 2009). Micki, who has reading difficulties, is unable to comprehend things well, and is poor in grammar, has problems in word or letter recognition, and is slow in performance (Munro, J., 1995). Many children may be slow at reading, but Micki’s parents need to show concern because of her irritable behavior, and because she is showing no improvement with time. (“National Centre for Learning Disabilities”, 2009).
There are five areas of reading instruction, namely, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. The intervention that is most suitable for Micki, is that of reading mastery, a program that may help develop English language skills, and assist in the five areas of language development.
Reading mastery is present in two portions, one contains classic level I and II, and the other is reading mastery plus. These differ with the standards to which they are given; the former is given to students of K-3, while the latter is a more elaborate piece, given to K-6. The reading mastery implementation may help the child to improve the five areas of language development.
For the fluency to take its course, it is important that daily oral practice be held, and to set goals for attainment. By employing the reading mastery to Micki, her fluency in language may be developed well.
It has been said that “if a child is suffering from reading disability, visual images of what is being said may be given for help” (“Child Development Institute”, 2009). Sound decoding is a similar strategy adopted for the student to learn more words. The focus is made on the sounds of words, and there is an increase in the number of words learnt this way. The awareness of phonemics is also equally important for the learning child. The sounds of the letters and symbols are taught through the reading mastery, in immense detail. Then is the turn of comprehension. The students are given stories, and made to answer questions after comprehending. This develops reading skills, and may help Micki greatly in developing her skills, which are currently lagging behind.
Oral and written language for Micki may be improved through the reading mastery, and with proper discipline and determination. Decoding and spelling of words are the foremost actions to be executed by the students through reading mastery. Common irregular words are made to recognize by the students. A reading vocabulary of over 1,200 words is aimed for. Response to questions, predictions, instructions, and conclusions are all made through the reading mastery program.
For Micki, I can make an analysis of the improvements seen through the reading mastery program, by keeping a record of the changes examined in here, day by day, in story reading. I will make her read the story “The Fat Cat” for five days, and note the changes that occur in the areas of phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, phonic knowledge, and comprehension.
- Day 1: Micki spelled and read 3 words correct of 9 words. That means her phonemic awareness is 33%.
- Day 2: She respelled and reread 3 words correct of 9 words. That means her phonemic is 33% in same words.
- Day 3: She respelled and reread 4 words correct of 9 words. That means she developed to 38% in the same words.
- Day 4: She respelled and reread 7 words correct of 9 words. That means she developed to 75% in the same words.
- Day 5: She respelled and reread 7 words correct of 9 words. That means her phonemic awareness is 75%.
- Day 1: The teacher ordered Micki to read 50 letters and words (“sight words speed drill” which regard to the story “The fat cat”, she read 33 words and letters correct.
- Day 2: She reread 37 words and letters correct.
- Day 3: She reread 36 words and letters correct.
- Day 4: She reread 42 words and letters correct.
- Day 5: She reread 50 words and letters correct.
- Day 1: This part is not required in reading mastery program, but I ordered to try give to Micki 6 words, we ordered her to read the six words. Moreover, we did not rely on the information from this part because as we mentioned it is not required in this program. She read 4 vocabularies correct but with the teacher’s assistance.
- Day 2: She reread 3 vocabularies correct because she was nervous that day.
- Day 3: She reread 5 vocabularies correct but with her teacher’s assistance of 6.
- Day 4: She reread 5 vocabularies correct but without her teacher’s assistance of 6.
- Day 5: She reread 6 vocabularies correct but without her teacher’s assistance of 6.
- Day 1: She read 10 words correct of 40 in reading the same words of the same story. That means her fluency is 25%.
- Day 2: She read 15 words correct of 40 in reading the same words of the same story. That means her is 30%.
- Day 3: She read 14 words correct of 40 in reading the same words of the same story. That means her fluency is 28%.
- Day 4: She read 20 words correct 0f 40 in reading the same words of the same story. That means her fluency is 50%.
- Day 5: She read 18 words correct of 40 in reading the same words of the same story. That means her fluency is 38%.
- Day 1: Micki read the story for 13-15 minutes. She answered 20 % of the questions but with her teacher’s assistance. Plus, she answered two questions by looking at the pictures.
- Day 2: She read (the fat cat) story for 13-15 minutes. She read 40% of the questions with teacher’s assistance.
- Day 3: Micki read (the fat cat) story for 13-15 minutes. She answered 65% of the questions, but with her teacher’s assistance
- Day 4: Micki read (the fat cat) story for 13-15 minutes. She answered over 70% of the questions correctly, but with the teacher’s assistance.
- Day 5: She read (the fat cat) story for 13-15 minutes. She answered over 80% of the questions correctly with her teacher’s assistance.
Based on Micki’s performance, I will keep the following goals for Micki, in my mind
- To become fluent in reading words.
- Help Micki develop ways in which she can read and understand better.
- Develop understanding of any text that is read and help her comprehend well.
- Enhance Micki’s reading skills.
Following this, my intervention for Micki would comprise the following aspects, in order to help her in her reading skills
- Continue with the reading mastery program, and incorporate all levels to her development.
- Reading periods will be increased for greater practice.
- An attempt to improve Micki’s behavior and develop interest into this program will be made.
- Counseling will be given to Micki’s parents, regarding her personal development.
- Spelling and general writing habits will be developed in Micki.
- An attempt to increase her vocabulary will be made.
- I will show her improvement to her, through her past records taken before the reading mastery program, which will be a source of motivation for her for further progress.
Helping Children Overcome Reading Difficulties. (2008). Child Development Institute. Web.
Dyslexia, (2009). Web.
Munro, J. (1995) Types of Word Reading Difficulties and the Likely Causes. Web.
Should I Be Concerned About Reading Difficulties? National Centre for Learning Disabilities. 2009. Web.
Snow, C., Burns, S., Griffin, P. (1998) Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Web.
Difficulties with Reading, (2002). Web.
Whitney, S. (2009) Preventing Reading Difficulties and Reading Failure: Early Intervention and Prevention. Web.
Smith, C.B. and Sensenbaugh, R. Helping Children Overcome Reading Difficulties. 2009. Web.