Fieldwork Journal #3
Today I completed my twelfth hour of fieldwork. In order to gather information necessary to complete my case study, I decided to do a brief interview with Natalie to get to learn some more about her, particularly her home life. Her teacher had previously informed me that she usually lives with her grandmother, so I tried to be gentle with my questions, in case I hit a soft spot.
The first question I asked Natalie was what her family was like. She simply shrugged. It really broke my heart. She confirmed that she does usually live with her grandma. I asked about siblings, and she told me she has six. They don’t live with her, though, they live with their moms. My heart broke again. Apparently she was wearing her sister’s pants, and she was going to be angry because there was now a hole in them. To lighten things up, I also asked about what she likes to do at home (I found out we both like to play the Wii!) She plays soccer and basketball, but soccer is her favorite. She usually plays video games at home. She doesn’t read; it’s boring. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, her favorite kinds of books involve animals and history. She also informed me today that she likes learning about her own history, or her ancestors. I thought that was a neat piece of information. She really likes informational text, which can be hard when working on reading comprehension, as there is no plot line to follow, really.
I’ve been working on making her figure words out for herself. At first, I would feed her the words when she was stuck on them. Now, I make her sound them out herself, and with a little patience, she does end up getting a majority of them. I’ve been writing out the word she is stuck on, and breaking it into syllables. She then sounds out a syllable at a time. I have also been covering up part of the word in the book. That seems to work, too. While we were in the classroom library today, she told me that she reads at the green AR level, or at a third grade reading level. Before she told me that, though, I gave her an assessment on the 4th word list. She was definitely at the frustration level. I might work some more with her on decoding, as she still needs some help with that.
For the last portion of the time I was there, the other two girls that occasionally work with us joined in. They are quick readers, and appear frustrated when Natalie takes a while to read her page. One of the girls even asked if they could read for her, because she was too slow. I saw Natalie’s face drop and I quickly shushed Deanna. That’s not a way to make her like reading! Today I informed Natalie that I just want reading to be fun for her. I want to make it exciting. I’ll see what I can do in the last 8 hours I have with her!