Monday, February 22, 2010

Book reports

At the kids' school, they start doing book and topic reports in first grade. Alex had his first one a few weeks ago on a book about a polar bear. More than anything else I want him to learn how to work through the process of an assignment like this. So we sat down and read the story a couple of times over a few days. Then we sat down and I asked him what the story was about. I wrote down everything he said as verbatim as possible...incomplete sentences and all. Then we went back through and made them into complete sentences. He's actually getting pretty good with that although he has no idea how to use verb tenses. Finally, I had him go through and number the sentences in what order the events occurred in the book. This type of exercise is really good for his sequencing skills. Then he wrote down his sentences for his book report.

This last week and this week he is doing a report on the planets. He brought home a book and we worked on reading it. We had a huge apraxia incident with the word "very" which shut everything down completely one day. On Saturday we started up again but I had to turn him over to Mark when things started out with "So tell me what you learned in this book..." "Planets." "Okay, what was this book about? What did you learn about planets?" "Book. Read."

At that point I went upstairs and told Mark I was going to explode. :) :) Alex knows how to talk in complete sentences, but he was hoping I would give up and let him out of it so he could write his spelling words, which is what he really wanted to be doing instead of his book report.

But with Mark's help Alex persevered and finished the book this weekend (us reading it and him reading it) and got some ideas down on paper. Sunday afternoon I worked with him on combining sentences and correcting them. We nearly had a meltdown (me too) over "is" versus "has."

As in..."Mars is a planet." "Mars has a planet."

Alex was convinced it was "has." So I had to bring it back to a sentence he knows how to say. I handed him an apple and wrote two sentences and asked him which one was correct.

"Alex is an apple." "Alex has an apple."

Of course he easily identified the correct sentence and we were able to build on that to help him understand the correct sentence for Mars, too. He wrote his rough draft of the report Sunday night (eight sentences; needed to be a minimum of seven).

Today he came home and redid three papers AND wrote his final draft of his report all before dinner. For Alex this is HUGE. He did all of his work without complaining and had time to play before dinner.

He has started bringing home more A's and C's (not sure why he avoids the B's, but whatever) so I'm hoping he can pull his grades up and demonstrate competency to be able to enter second grade next year. While we are very aware of his deficits and work with him (and his teacher) on addressing those, we do feel he is capable of doing the first grade work and are hoping he will finally decide he is too!

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