lunes, 1 de abril de 2013

Primer trimestre / First Term 2013 5 years 9 months

The highlights of this term have been
1) Overall level
2) Reading focus
3) Materials: books and DVDs
4) Visit to state schools in England to enrol him for a month in the summer.

1). I'm very happy with his spoken level. He speaks fluently, sounds native and understands all TV programmes. Most of these are American series found on Boomerang, his favourite channel: e.g. Scooby Doo, Loony Tunes, and he's picked up some American phrases: e.g. 'Oh boy!'.
He sometimes gets lazy with question formation and I make him repeat the sentence, especially indirect questions correctly: e.g. Do you know where is that big tree we saw. As I've said before, parents shouldn't be afraid to reformulate language as the children don't get enough exposure to learn them naturally.

 2) This first quarter of the year the focus has been on Reading. As before, I've been reading books to him before bedtime as much as possible. These are books are above his reading level but I get him to read certain words, e.g the last sentence at the end of every page.

But I wanted to boost his own level of reading. I have to admit a certain level of frustration as I expected him to make faster progress. Finding the 'right' time to read is tricky, that is, when we both feel like doing it. When at home distractions and tiredness make it more difficult. Despite this, we managed to finish the introductory series (from 1-7) : JOLLY PHONICS activity books  which introduce words wiith 'regular' sounds, 'oo', 'ie', etc. The activities include linking sounds to words, cutting them out, colouring them in, writing them, etc.

We've also used the BBC series of beginner readers based on 'phonics'. e.g Pat Naps, A Trip to the Tip, Min's Song. I thought theses would be too easy but they've been useful for consolidating key sounds and letter combinations.

The main readers I've used are the "READ IT YOURSELF'  with Ladybird series in 4 levels. They are traditional stories which most children should know but carefully graded. LEVEL one went welll and he even read "The Enormous Turnip" out in class which also boosted confidence. We then moved on to LEVEL 2 and TOWN MOUSE and COUNTRY MOUSE.   This went quite well. I've tried to find equivalent Level Two books: e.g. by Puffin young readers, Star Wars The Clone Wars: the Secret Villain. This was more complicated as there are not so many repeated sentences. But the subject was interesting to him.
I also bought a book by Egmont press called Jungle School at the 'Green Banana' level, which is the easiest of the 3 levels, and this has seemed more difficult.

Finally, We started a series from the JOLLY READERS at Level 2 - Green level (it seems green normallly equates to Level 2!!).  There is far more text on each page and even the first page was hard going!!

The 'secret' is perseverance. You will suddenly find them make a leap, but getting to each stage can be hard work and frustrating at times as I've found! The aim is to get him to read more often, ass this is the only way to make progress. The school is also using the phonic method and they have covered some of the same sounds, so hopefully we'll see a jump in level soon.

3) In term of DVDs, I bought him the Spy Kids trilogy which he really enjoys and a film called Megamind, which even adults would like!! There is always new vocabulary and expressions to pick up during the films, and it gives you something to talk to them abourt interactively. During the Easter visit to England he got "The Iron Giant", which he loves and has been the subject of much follow up discussion.

4) I heard from a teacher that he had sent his daughter to an English State school in England after the Spanish term ends, as the UK year ends around the 24th July. I enquired about this, and children from any EU country have the right to attend a school (with free places) at any time. You have to go through the local council first and then contact a school with places. We did this and were given a visit to a school. We were shown 4 classes corresponding to his year, and could see some of the work the children were doing. They seemed to be writing short stories and it seemed more advanced than the work we're doing. In the end, my sister got me an interview in her shildren's school even though there are no free places, and they are going to place him for a month. This will be easier logistically for my sisiter as two of his cousins already go there and of course it will be great that he knows someone there. We'll be sent a book to judge his reading level before he arrives at the end of June so he can be given the correct attention. This is quite an exciting option for any parents who really want to see their children advance in their heritage language. I'll give further updates on this, but for now, I have a target to work on reading and especially writing by the end of next term.
 


2 comentarios:

  1. Hi Simon,
    This is Alba, from Madrid. First of all, thank you so much for your blog, it's quite complete and interesting. I'd like to ask you some doubts, and I'd rather do it by email, so please if you don't mind answer me back to alba.lopez.moreno@gmail.com.
    Hope to hearing from you soon,
    Alba.

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