Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Updating on Trin and Owain. I tried them with the Ladybird Reading Scheme and they have both finished Books 1A and 1B with no problem. Tonight I'm going to start them both on Ladybird 2A and 2B. Trin seems faster than Owain and picks up faster. I am not sure if she is reading with understanding or just reading by rote. Her memory work seems good and she is able to retain the word after a few prompts and reminders. Owain seems to have to work harder at remembering/retaining words.

I find that Owain enjoys having people read to him but has no inclination to read by himself. Maybe he lacks confidence in his abilities? The only time he does this willingly or enthusiastically is when I work with both Trin and him together. Then he sees it as a 'competition' and would approach it with greater gusto. Reads like a shinkansen on overdrive - no full-stop! Had to keep reminding him to take a breath! He still seems hesitant when it comes to blending and decoding sounds. Eg the 'ch', 'sh' and 'th' is still approached with caution and some inaccuracy. I sense that he seems unsure. When done in a phonics workbook from school, he can do this - and seems happy to recite the list to me and can do so relatively fluently. But the same words, when taken in a different context, found in a book or somewhere else, he seems to lose his confidence - even if he could very well read it in his phonics book.

His teachers have taken great pains to assure me that his progress is normal. I might be more paranoid than the usual parent out there given the family history but my antenna is really up and beeping away. Is it me - that I am unduly paranoid or expecting too much? Or is there something not right - mild dyslexia or, as in Isaac's case, just poor phonological awareness? Either way, those are real issues that can handicap learning.

I see similarities in him and Isaac - particularly when it comes to Chinese. Isaac, funnily enough, despite poor phonological awareness and some inaccuracies in decoding sounds, words, still loves to read. But not Owain. Certainly, Isaac at age 5 was a great deal more fluent a reader than Owain. I think back then he progressed so well and so fast that we were all very surprised. Even Melissa, who worked with him for so long. I do not see this in Owain. Is this comparison helpful? Instead, Owain's caution (aversion is too strong a word) with reading seems to mirror Gillian. See my warning red flag waving again?

I am not going to jump the gun, and I will give him time - until the middle/end of P1 next year, to see how he copes with reading and with Chinese. But my gut feel is that he will struggle and there might just be an underlying issue somewhere.

Trin is one child I can't quite figure out. Yes, she still has speech issues - not in pronunciation but in grammar, sentence structure, content. She is very chatty - just a bit incoherent sometimes. Eg "I go for you" instead of "I go with you". But then she's able to pick up on puns/meaning. Eg she overhears us saying "Gosh, she's such a bossy baby!" and she says "Huh? I am the boss? Yes! I am your boss! Okay?!" She loves to chatter - baby talk, incoherent chatter, and she loves to sing. So clearly not an issue of NOT talking. I find this very hard to understand or even to explain this. I think in terms of other 3 to 4 year olds, she might be 6months to a year behind in expressive language structure. But then again, she seems to be a bit advanced when it comes to simple reading. One step forwards, two steps back? Frustratingly puzzling.

Trin is very motivated by lots of praise - the more enthusiastic, the better. She also seems proud to know that she is able to finish two books by herself. Trin also seems happy to read words off the TV screen - she reads parts of the subtitles. Lately I realised that she could read more than the usual sight words. She was including words like "birth" "happy" "love". She's happy to read all the time - road signs, shop signs, banners, newspaper headlines and all manner of incidental text. I don't see this same interest manifesting in Owain.

Trin can be a real tyrant though and she has this bad habit - she can also be a real little hypochondriac and that can be endearing or exasperating, depending on your mood. She could be very annoying whiny at times. Just over the weekend, she entertained us with dramatic proclamations - "My hand!" " My nose!" "My stomach hurts" "Itchy!" "Blood!!" "I want a plaster!!" (for a teensy cut on her knuckle that had dried up already and to appease her, we had to give her a plastic that practically covered her fist. She was proud of that. Made her look like Rocky). At bedtime, her routine is "Give me my medicine now. I want to eat medicine!" She means her usual dose of multi-vits and probiotics. Even my normally patient and doting mother finally snapped after a weekend of "My nose!"

KH himself commented once: "You're as bad as your nai-nai!" Haha! At least he acknowledges what a chronic hypochondriac his mother is - and how annoying that can be!


The Chengs said...

Yup, cannot "jump the gun". Both our Dan & Tim didn't show a liking for books. Dan, for one, was really all for playing - figuring out how to ride 2-wheel bikes at 4yrs, how to rollerblade, climb up/down - very rough...and all he figured on his own. Books? Not interested. So both couldn't read at p1, except for those one-syllable words perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog on and off on matters such as vaccinations *grin*.

How old is Owain? Five? You may want to try enlarging the page on the photocopier and see if it makes a difference for him. Single word versus strings of words on a page is different for a young child. Partly the size of the font, the style of the font, and partly the ability to track the words visually. If the font style is different from what he's used to, it may take a while to transit as well. All the curly tails can be confusing for them.