How do we know if a child would benefit from early intervention? I’ve already described my concerns about this kindergartner’s possible delays in reading, language, and social development (see parts one and two). Not only does she have a strong family history of those issues, but has also experienced significant emotional trauma, which can lead to delays and regressions, as well. I have not yet completed a systematic informal evaluation, but I keep gathering clues. I was thrilled when Stacey grabbed a marker and wanted to write.
We were doing some roleplaying, with Stacey creating signs that identified her as a doctor and dentist. The paper above, if rotated, says, “I am a dentist.” She wrote “I am a” without any assistance and left decent spacing, too. Without lines. Stacey got bored with that activity and turned most of the letters into happy faces. While she was in a writing mode, I decided to check out rhyming again. Without any graphemes, Stacy had typically become anxious about rhyming, even in a game format. But when I asked her to use letters for rhyming, she was intrigued. We started with cat and bat, both of which I modeled for her. Stacey smiled and wrote my prompt, then created her own rhyme! She was able to segment phonemes and identified three out of five short vowel sounds. I did tell her to add a k after the c in ‘back’ and ‘black.’ Eventually, Stacey ran out of interest and said, “Period!” as she added punctuation after the word ‘hit.’ I asked, “What does that mean?” and she answered, “You are done… the….” I suggested, “Sentence?” and she nodded.
Other observations: Stacey recognized individual one-syllable words in a sentence, blended phonemes without distortions (“k-æ-t” instead of “cuh-ah-tuh”), and demonstrated confidence and pleasure at her ability to write! Woohoo!
Does this mean I can pack up my reading concerns? Not until I’ve done more systematic work with her. However, I am very encouraged with these skills!