After her day at school and with Christmas coming, bright seven year old was a little tired this week. When this happens, I usually take on a bit more of the work and have the pupil follow the text, sometimes joining in, sometimes providing a word when I stop. So, we did just a little of Alice, concentrating on details such as the difference between conversations and conversation. Parents had bought the wonderful pop up book, which bsy liked.
We then took pressure off by working through some of Ruth Miskin's story books, Green. Remember that four weeks ago, bright seven year old could not read at all, and we had to start by explaining the system and working on the scheme's ditties. Ruth's little stories are brightly illustrated, amusing and well organised, with the words set out at the beginning and an introduction and questions that ensure that the child understands the meaning of the story. We read two, Six Fish, in which a cat is warned about overeating, and Stitch the Witch, who tries to turn her cat into a frog, but gets the spell wrong and turns into one herself. As always, I'm ready to explain why the irregular "red words" are read, but bsy is making good progress and can read them all. She needs to be clear on the difference between off and of, so we practise. These books provide good and enjoyable practice while we also work on texts like Alice, and look through microscopes. They consolidate long term memory, introduce some slightly less frequent words, such as whisk, and build the neural connections described by Professor Kandel. Bsy and her dad took half a dozen home with them to read over the holidays. Bsy quite likes the books.
Two times table very nearly in place now, and we started on threes. I still think counting in multiples makes learning the table more difficult, as it sets up a mental pattern that has to be overridden to learn the table. My second pupil, an older boy who also knew no tables a month ago, is now quite good on 2x, with just one bizarre mistake - "Six twos are twenty" - maybe a phonic slip as both words start with tw.. - and accurate but slow on 3x (one error) and 4x. He knew 5x, so we moved to 10x, 11x and 12x, then 9x and 8x. Good progress on these, though not secure around and over 100. More practice over the holidays, to leave just 6x and 7x to do. Bringing out the patterns in these higher tables was most effective. This young man has now read over 70 pages of Harry Potter. He is quite good on longer words, but still makes some errors on shorter ones.