Last I reported, my oldest squirt and I along with our buddies completed week 2 of Reading Camp. The hub escorted our daughter to week 3, and we played hooky for week 4. Thus, the final week, class number 5, met today. Although sitting next to our child was preferred, I was banished by my daughter to the seat behind her for which I was happy to oblige considering I felt she was asserting her independence (a change from the usual Momma’s girl). Class began with the optional sharing of homework (under Miss Rebecca’s direction) before the class (aaaah, the days when it was exciting to stand in front like the teacher) followed by thunderous applause after each student’s presentation.
Enthusiastic cheers, “I have this book at home! I’ve read this book!” rang out once Miss Rebecca passed out the day’s reading, Dr. Suess’ Cat in the Hat. Again, the young students were given autonomy over their learning by handling the book themselves and being in charge of the turning of its pages. My daughter graciously gave me the thumbs up after I requested (yet again) the seat next to her in order to follow along. Yes!
After the oral reading, Miss Rebecca reviewed the story by selecting a page from Cat in the Hat, reading orally to the students again, yet this time omitting some key words much like the cloze technique. The four and five-year-olds then shouted the missing vocabulary word at Miss Rebecca’s pause. Thus, they “knew” the story nearly verbatim without literally being able to read using their memories and the pictures as guidance. The pride at knowing the correct word emanated from their faces, a joy to see.
The final activity of the day consisted of a spelling game where the teacher handed each student two letters. She then wrote a word on the board. If a student had one of the letters in the word, he/she was to move to the front of the class and place himself/herself in the correct letter order in relation to the other students at the front of the room. Thus, not only were students asked to identify the words on the board, but also recognize which letters comprised that word and in what order those letters needed to be placed in order to mimic the word on the board. Thrilled at the recognition of his/her letter in a word on the board, a student would hurry to the front of the room in order to participate in the spelling.
Thus, Reading Camp came to a close. Although a storybook as a token of “graduation” would have seemed appropriate (considering the tuition amount), we walked away without even a certificate symbolizing all of our intended hard work. What matters, though, was the memorable experience facilitated by a young, motivated teacher determined to make a difference in the lives of her students.