Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I think Ikea sells those

For homework every night, Ezra “reads” a book with me. I've got that in quotes because it’s kind of a fake-it-till-you-make-it exercise. Ezra can sound out some basic words (hat, bet, mom, fuck-a-duck, for example) and he’s got a growing list of “sight words” that he can identify, but he is by no means actually reading yet.

The point of the activity is partly to get into the routine of reading, and partly to see the way letters can be grouped into words and words can be strung together on the page to form thoughts--a concept that, over time, becomes so ingrained it's almost intuitive but does in fact need to be learned.

The books Ezra gets are about eight pages long, with no more than a sentence per page. The sentence structure and many of the words repeat themselves throughout. There is also a great deal of rhyming. He sounds out or recognizes some words here and there, but for the most part he is supposed to glean the words from the rhyming and repetition, as well as from the pictures--and then touch each word on the page as he says it.

As a result, the narratives sometimes take a surprising twist.

For example, there was one book called I Like, which ended with these three pages:

I like honey
[bear holding a jar of honey]
I like bread [bear holding a loaf of bread]
I like standing on my head [bear—you guessed it—standing on his head]

Ezra’s creative rendering of the text went like this:

I like honey

I like bread

I like doing yoga

Then there was Spiders, Spiders Everywhere, which featured this two-page spread:

There are six spiders on my head
There are seven spiders in my bed

Here's how it went when Ezra read it:

There are six spiders on my head
There are seven spiders in my couch

“Ezra,” I said, pointing to the word bed. “Do you see a 'c' at the beginning of that word? What does that word start with?”

He looked at the word, and looked at the picture again, and with great confidence, took it from the top:

There are ten spiders in my bouch.

No comments: