Friday, March 14, 2014

Education Friday - Vanderbilt Reading Clinic Part One

In January my son started at the Vanderbilt Reading Clinic.
He starts High School this Fall, so he really needs to improve
his reading comprehension.
His tutor agreed that I could post how they work
together here (thank you!)

1. Visualize and Verbalize (workbook 4a) – 
In this activity we break activities down sentence 
by sentence to create visual images and talk about 
how as we read we use the author’s words to change our picture.  
We answer comprehension questions and talk about how we tell 
the difference between what the reader thinks and knows versus 
what the author tells us in the text.

2.Reading strategies (History text) – 
Before reading, during reading, 
and after reading strategies to help us make sense of the text.  
We’ve also started working on summarizing the paragraphs in order to gain meaning as we read.  
- Before Reading:  
Scan the text (Title, Pictures, Headings – ask ourselves what they mean?), 
See if we can identify the author’s purpose (Persuade, Inform, Entertain), 
Set a Purpose for Reading 
(Ask Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions regarding the text), 
Tap our Background Knowledge (what do we know about the topic?)
- During Reading: Look for new information 
(that answers our questions, that is something we didn’t know, the describes the main idea/details of the passage), 
Ask Clarifying Questions, 
Make Connections between sentences and paragraphs, 
Make Predictions, 
Create mental images, 
Summarize as we go to ensure we understand what we’re reading.
- After Reading – Summarize the reading 
(Who/What, Did What, Where, When, Why, How, and What), 
Check to see if we answered all of our questions, 
Answer the questions using what you know and what the text tells us.

Progress – The reader has shown improvements in identifying when his answer is his thoughts or the author’s.  
He is able to complete the pre-reading strategies and can independently look for information during reading.  
We will continue working on the other strategies as we go.  
When answering questions that require inferences, 
I encourage the reader to think about what he would do 
and why he would do it in order to try and connect to the text.  
Reader really enjoys describing mental images of the text and 
has shown improvements in changing his image as he reads.  
We have focused mostly on Before Reading and have just started 
practicing During Reading 
(looking for information, making connections, and summarizing).  
We will continue to work towards the rest of the During Reading strategies and After Reading.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Blue is Happy

A book blogger walks into a library .  .  .
The other day I walked into my favorite library,
and the librarian (one of the reasons it's my fave)
introduced me to Nashville author Jessica Young.
So we read her book, My Blue is Happy
(illustrated by Catia Chien, published by Candlewick).
My Blue is Happy is for young readers and
introduces both colors and how we feel about
them. In that way it echoes Seuss's My Many
Colored Days. The twist here is that the
narrator and the people the narrator knows feel
differently about the same colors. This is
a great example of theory of mind for readers
with autism, and you can see from my thirteen
year old's review that the point was not lost on
My Boy's Review:
My Blue is Happy
Mother’s blue was sad, but the narrator’s blue was happy. 
Mother liked yellow, but the narrator did not. I don’t know about red. 
The narrator’s friend’s favorite color was pink, but the narrator did not like it. 
Dad thought brown was ordinary, but the narrator thought brown was special. 
I don’t know about green. I don’t know about orange, either. 
Nor do I know about gray. Not even black. But I loved that the book had colors in it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
My boy and I always take note of books
written in rhyme. This picture book
rhymes whilst extolling the versatility
of Superworm. A fun read aloud, with predictable
rhymes and a pattern
to appeal to the young 
(or older child clinging to picture books)
reader with autism.
My Son's Review:
There was a toad on the road. Superworm became a lasso to pull the toad. 
Superworm then became a skipping rope for animals to play on. 
An animal was going to sink into the well. 
Superworm became a fishing line to rescue her. A crow put Superworm in his beak. Superworm’s friends tried to rescue him. 
When Superworm came back, he became a swing! Then a slide! 
Superworm even became a belt! And a hat! And an ac-ro-bat! 
Hip, hip, hooray for Superworm!