Danny The Champion of the World is a good teaching book for a pupil aged seven to eight. For this pupil, it was a big jump from his starting point as a non-reader, and we can only fit in short teaching sessions, 15 mins or so, at the end of the school day once a week, when his father picks him up. The teaching technique is the same basic one - if he gets stuck or misreads a word, we go to another that has the same pattern of letters and sounds, usually at the end, and teach that one thoroughly. We then add more so that he does not have to blend each one from scratch, and, when he is confident, we return to the word in the text, usually taking it from the start of the sentence. In the last three sessions, we have been re-reading the paragraph from the previous week, then one or two new ones depending on how tired he is. We've nearly reached the end of chapter 1, and words such as although, paraffin, gipsies, ceiling, electricity are now within his grasp, sometimes with a double take. There was a slight improvement this week in fluency too.
Essentially, we'd reached a plateau, with a lot of consolidation, and that slight improvement in speed that shows that the plateau is not perfectly flat. After the immediate impact of the first lessons, we have moved to slow progress, as pupil applies his new knowledge to a broader range of words.
Update, one week later, much more confident progress to reach the end of the first chapter of Danny, with immediately, especially and frightened read without hesitation, but work needed on bough, would and fridge, though once again some self-correction. Class teacher and parent continue to say that these very short sessions - 15m - are valuable to pupil, and fitted today's in around a difficult CPD commitment.