Last week was pretty mellow. I had a cold over the weekend, and it was a holiday weekend, which meant there was no Classical Conversations community day. Additionally, our home(pre)school co-op was cancelled.
We read several stories and poems in My Bookhouse, and library books of her choice.
At work, I've been busy administering a computerized reading test to all twenty-seven of my students. The test involves each student reading the first two pages of a short book to me, while I take running records. Fourteen or fifteen years ago, when I learned how to do running records, I learned on paper. Now, I'm doing them on an iPad.
While a child reads to me, I have the text displayed on my iPad screen. If the child repeats a word, I have to press the repeat button. If the child self-corrects (example: reads "these" as "this," but then says "these"), I have to press the self-correct button and write the error word across the screen (in the same awful way one has to illegibly sign one's name during a credit card transaction). Self-correction and the repetition are the only two actions that don't count against a child. If the child substitutes a word, and doesn't self correct, I have to press the sub button and record the error word. If the child omits a word, there's an omit button. If the child inserts a word (example: children often insert articles before nouns, not changing the meaning of the sentence; the error counts against a child regardless of whether the error affected the child's comprehension of the text or not), there is an insert button, and I have to record the error word. Finally, there is a told button if the child needs to be told the word.
If a child can read the text with very few errors (95-100% correct) and answer 4 out of 5 comprehension question correctly, the text is considered to be at the child's independent reading level.
If the child reads with an accuracy rate of 90-94%, and answers 4 out of 5 questions correctly, the text is at the child's instructional level.
If the child reads with an accuracy rate of 89% or less, and answers 3 or fewer comprehension questions out of 5 questions correctly, the text is at their frustration level.
Part of me wants to test my four year old, just out of curiosity. But all of me knows her reading comprehension level.
Like I said, she can read Magic Treehouse, and she understands what she reads. There are words she needs help decoding, vocabulary she needs defined, and phrases she needs explained. Because she's four. For example, the title of Chapter 2 is "Ocean of Grass" - a reference to the prairie. We talked about how, when we look out at the ocean, the water seems to go on forever, and how the prairie grass seemed to go on forever. She also needed words like tepees and Lakota explained. She got North and South Dakota (from her USA map puzzle, I'm sure), but she needed help reading Minnesota.
I consider this book to be at her instructional level. She can read almost all the words on one page without any help from me, and she understands the story. Magic Treehouse is written at a Guided Reading level "M," 3rd grade.
With my child, I don't need to record every error; I just need to read to her, and have her read to me.
This is one of the things that originally attracted me to the Charlotte Mason method. Its simplicity. It wasn't about student workbooks, teacher editions, and curricula miscellany. It didn't cost a lot of money. It didn't need its own room. It didn't require me to keep a second lesson plan book. It needed bookmarks. It was about reading to my child, listening to her read, and talking about books.
To assess each student individually, the rest of my public school class has to be occupied with an independent activity. I've been testing every afternoon - all afternoon - for the past two weeks, while the rest of my students code on code.org in one of our school's 5 tech labs. I have not been teaching.
The song of the week was Roller Coaster.
The night before, my daughter said, "If someone is hurt, maybe they will need me to play that part." I said, "Maybe not." Then, walking home after the performance, she said to me, "Did you see the girl who was hurt?" (There was a girl in the play who had her arm in a sling.) My daughter said, "See, I could have played her part."
While digging in the dirt, she found a woodlouse. I heard her speaking to the pot of dirt in a sing-song voice: "Come here little arthropod."
Woodlice are fascinating! Really. For instance, did you know that the female has a marsupium, a pouch on the underside of her body to hold her eggs? And that's just the beginning. Look them up. Fascinating.