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I think I'm on day 5 of tutoring Joel. I found out he thinks the Explode the Code books are fun, so that's a plus. We are on Unit 4 of Blend Phonics. Today I did things a bit differently. Instead of having him say the sound of /h/ then /i/, then blend them together 'hi' and lastly when I add the last letter 't' and he'll say 'hit' (you can read in detail HERE about Blend Phonics) I said the letter names as I put a word on the board like this:
I'm writing all the words in capital letters still.
Me- for the word dug I would say, "D-U-G, can you read that word to me Joel?"
Joel- as he sounds it out would answer, "dug,"
Me- Can you use that in a sentence.
Joel- I dug a hole.
Me- Good job! Then continue with the next word.

Elizabeth's Blend Phonics Syllables (what I call my handy dandy teacher manual) that I printed off from her site actually says to say the letter names as you write the words on the board. Don Potter's You Tube video shows more of the blending method that I wrote about in my Day 2 of tutoring. I like mixing it up and using both.

I wanted to also write where Joel is at. He reads at a first grade level right now. All the cvc words he still sounds them out. I had him read a bit of Green Eggs and Ham before I started. I noticed that he  would read the words very fast, which was my first clue that he memorized the pages. I then went to the middle of the book and had him read one word at a time. I covered the other words. He had to really look at the words. I noticed he would look at the picture too and could figure out most of the words. This told me the pictures were giving him way too many clues. Next I had him read a page with the picture covered and he could barely figure out the words. I also can tell which words his school taught as sight words.

He also did not know what a vowel or consonant was. Later I asked his 10yr. old sister and at first she couldn't remember what a vowel was but she eventually pulled that information and she remembered. Then I asked her what a consonant was and she didn't know. I asked her to be my student while I practiced a lesson on her and I was surprised that her school didn't teach or else she couldn't remember spelling rules like when to use a K or C.

What sad to me is that I don't feel Joel, is behind at all (he is 7, will turn 8 in Sept.). Every child learns differently and in their time. If I could I'd homeschool him with my children but I'm barely fitting in my six kids. I think keeping him home for at least one year. Diligently working through Blend Phonics and use Elizabeth's Free Online Phonics Lessons he would be very prepared to enter 4th grade (he is currently entering 3rd grade).

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