The subject (2JV) is eight years old and was promoted to second grade after repeating first and despite the fact that he is still unable to read kindergarten-level books. Our subject has been removed from his public school and placed in a private school because of parental concerns about the lack of progress stemming from the interventions in place at the public school.
The new school conducts a number of initial assessments in order to identify needs and establish placement. This video captures one of the assessments which allows the reading specialist to discover if the child knows the alphabet and simultaneously establish an objective measure of handwriting fluency by timing the activity. As you will see, the child manages to produce only 19 of the print letters from memory using an obviously laborious, visually-guided process. The production rate proved to be about 12 letters per minute.
An RLN assessment reveals that the subject can name only 40 letters in one minute. We plan to update the case as progress is documented during the next few months. The specialist reports the feeling that this subject may well be farther behind than any other student he has helped.
The child is now being introduced to cursive in the sequence of a phonics program during 30-minute daily sessions. The cursive letters needed for the phonics lesson are introduced and immediately put into use during the lesson. The child writes the sounds and words on paper as modeled by the reading specialist on the chalkboard. Incidentally, the pupil does this writing using a fountain pen. The specialist taught a correct grip at the outset of the first session. The pen won’t write if the child tries to hold it with the habitual grip shown in the video.
First Cursive Lesson
October 12, 2012
It has been four weeks since our specialist began working with 2JV. In the daily sessions time is split between phonics instruction with Blend Phonics and instruction of cursive handwriting. Because this child is in second grade and needs to work with the regular class activities, the primary objective is to jump-start reading skills. Therefore, more time is spent on phonics instruction than on cursive instruction.
The subject has learned to read all of the words in the phonics program through Unit 13 (448 words) plus a supplementary list of compound words built from words in the learned lists.
Part of each session is spent on learning to write in cursive. The letters introduced are determined by the words in the phonics list and immediately applied by writing those words. Note the pencil holding habit captured in the first video. This new clip shows the subject has learned to use a better grip.
The subject is working on cursive writing of the Unit 2 phonics words. Unit 1 consisted of 43 words. Unit 2 offers 53 additional words. The lack of fluency is pretty obvious, but improving with experience. Directed movement practice would help, but time for that movement training is limited.
April 22, 2013 – We have great new information.
2JV has been given his end-of-year reading assessment. As this year started, 2JV was a non-reader with severe dyslexia who had not passed first grade after two years. He now reads at a middle grade three level and no longer shows any sign of dyslexia. His last cursive handwriting fluency score was 83 LPM. 2JV is an honor-roll student in his grade 2 classroom.
We hope to post a video showing his current level of skill with cursive handwriting before the year is out.