Barry had been given an award a school for "academic achievement", particularly in reading. This is good news, though we still have a huge amount of work to do. Barry was tackling new combinations of letters more confidently than when we started, and his spoken language is beginning to develop, with more sentences rather than fragments, and the use of "because". We had a discussion on whether insects were animals, which we'll continue next time. There are, though, big gaps in his vocabulary - he did not know what royal meant, or who might be royal, and did not recognise the Queen from a coin, though he did recognise her from a banknote.
The teaching assistant who asked for help has sent me this update, which I've edited slightly.
It is going well. Several children are becoming very fluent and confident. I've had to (re)train all of them to look thoroughly at what the letters/blends of letters are telling them, rather than just desperately guessing. Soft 'c', soft 'g' and words derived from French have caused problems for most of them. I've got your book, which has been very helpful. One thing I have noticed with at least two of them is how much their reading varies from session to session. I can have one session that goes badly, when they are continuously getting stuck, and another when their reading is very fluent. It is almost as if their brain switches tracks.
What I love about this method is that it uses real books and the student naturally becomes a more self-sufficient reader over time. It isn't a 'quick fix' by any means but it does encourage them not to be phased by difficult words. One habit they all seem to have developed is of 'getting' a difficult word right just as I'm in the process of writing it down to be studied further!
I can see a point coming when I will have to swap the more fluent ones from those very short chapter books with lots of pictures onto 'proper' long books - they are already shocked that they can tackle 60 page long books with relative ease - and very proud too!