Friday, November 12, 2004


John got his first report card the other day. The "grades" are X (mastered skill), W (working on it), and H (having difficulty). There weren't any surprises, although I was pleased to see a X's by "suppresses desire to interrupt," and I saw myself in the W next to "uses time wisely."

He can, I learned from the report, count by rote to 113. "What's after 113?" I asked.

"One hundred and fourteen," he answered. "I was counting for her, and when I got to 113, I got tired of counting and told her I wasn't going to count anymore."

Only one thing bothered me. Next to "identifies sounds in words," he got a W. His teacher works on reading by sounds (I don't know the official name of this type of teaching). So the class looks at the word "cat" and says, "Cuh-a-tuh. Cat."

John has gotten to the point where he recognizes words -- he doesn't sound them out. He sees a group of letters as a words, not a code to be picked apart. He's told me he finds it boring to have to sound out the words with the class, but he does it anyway.

My fear is that he'll somehow "unlearn" how to read the way he does, that reading will turn into a chore, and that school will become a place where he has to put up with listening to stuff he already knows.

Well, to some extent, that last thought is true. Better he learn it now than when he's, oh, 13, judging from both his parents' backgrounds. In any case, a talk with the teacher is probably in order.


  1. If the teacher knows he can read, then she should put a new word, one he hasn't seen or doesn't know, in front of him to see if he's capable of sounding out the word. I'm frustrated by this teacher, Krup. :(

  2. I'm no expert, but I think your concern is valid. Have you seen that message that mixes up all the letters in the middle of words as a demonstration of how once you know how to read, the only letters you need are the first and last in a word? If you were made to read it simply by phoneme, it would be a mess.

  3. I hate that way of teaching. My kids are convinced that two syllable words (including my son's firs name) have three syllables since that is how they have been taught to sound them out.
    BTW - This is Ein Shem