"In my first session with the student, I wanted to get a solid idea of what he needed and determine whether or not I could provide that help. At the beginning of our time together, I asked him to tell me about himself. I learned from him that his primary goal at this point in time is to get out of his reading-focused group, where some stuff he already knew. I asked him why he wanted out, and how he thought he could get out. He told me that if he could be in his regular English class without being pulled out for reading, he would do better in English. He said that in order to get out of the reading class, he needed to demonstrate 5th grade level proficiency. When I asked him what he would have to do to get to that level, he said that he had to improve his reading comprehension.
I had him read to me passages from "Frindle," a level 5 book, and then discuss with me what he had read. I chose to give him a fiction book since he does not enjoy non-fiction, and I wanted to hear him read something that could keep him interested. I believe that together we can find ways for him to get, and stay, interested in passages that would not initially present themselves as particularly riveting.
There were a number of idiosyncratic behaviors I noted during our time together. For instance, he tends to anticipate words, a skill that can help him in reading comprehension. As a result, however, he will often either substitute words for one another ('this' for 'the'), change the form of a word and then alter the rest of the sentence to match, or will simply leave out certain words entirely.
I would allow him to make a certain number of mistakes and then I would correct him, and after I had corrected him a number of times, I would ask him why I was correcting him. He told me that it was because he was reading too fast. He knows that he reads too quickly, and when I continued to ask him his reason for doing so, he said that he just wanted to be done. When I then asked him to tell me why it was so important for him to be done, he remained silent, which I found interesting. We moved on, but I asked him to consider for himself the reasons behind his habits.
I gave him a few tasks to complete while reading. The first was meant to help him internalize the text he had just read. I had him stop, inhale, and exhale at the end of each sentence on the period. This exercise seemed to work well. I then asked him to stand up and walk around the room while reading, taking a step for each word. While he complained that he felt awkward and robotic, his pronunciation became audibly more intentional. In order to help with word-skipping, I simply gave him a 3x5 card with which he would read only the text he was uncovering line by line. This also seemed to work well.
Overall, I was pleased with our time together and I am convinced that he is more than capable of reading well and comprehending what he reads. He exhibited strong signs of complex conceptualization, and the challenge will be training his brain to remain engaged for longer and longer periods of time, helping him learn how to convince himself that what he must read is, indeed, worth reading. He rises well to challenges, and I would be interested to see how he might meet his current situation from a new, different perspective."