Thursday, September 29, 2011
Non-verbal children who have some hearing loss don't learn to read like a typical child. Typical children learn their letters and then sound out the words. But Whitney can't sound out words even though she knows all of her letters. So an entirely different approach is taken. In class, the student is taught to memorize sight words and their meanings. This requires quite a bit of repetition, but the program tries to make it more of a game so students don't get tired of it.
In class, Whitney is shown a page where a new word is presented. The teacher signs the word and points to it. Then on the next row the new word and some other word are listed. Whitney has to look at both words and choose the one she's currently learning. On the next row of the page three words are presented and Whitney needs to pick out her new word. This way the word is being memorized by sight and can later be picked out on a page when reading a book. The more words she memorizes, the closer she'll be to reading actual phrases and sentences.
Whitney loves books so much and she's really been working hard at this new reading program. As she's reading her vocabulary is growing and she's learning new signs as well. I can hardly wait for the day when she'll be able to sit down with some of her favorite easy reading books and enjoy them all by herself. It's going to be absolutely life-changing.
(The accompanying image for this post is from The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, one of Whitney's favorite interactive books available for iPad. It's an amazing children's story about the healing power of reading and it's a lot of fun too.)