Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reading Time

Years ago, when Whitney was diagnosed with 1p36 Deletion Syndrome, I would have never have believed that she would one day be learning to read.  In those days the doctors had told Melanie and I that so many things would never happen for our daughter.  And yet here we are.  In second grade, Whitney has been working on a new reading program that we are really excited about.

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.)


Heather Thorup said...

I didn't even think about reading being a struggle that makes sense. Sounds like she is doing great though!

Nate said...

Thanks, Heather. She's learning lots. It's pretty fun to work on her reading homework with her and see what she knows.