"We started the session with a warm up. I explained to the student that I was going to make a chart: on one side would be 'Likes' and on the other 'Dislikes' and that I would need his assistance recording his likes and dislikes (primarily at school, but also in general). I chose this as a warm-up exercise not only to convey how writing can be used to make comparisons and record ideas, but also as a means of gathering more information about his daily environment and catch a glimpse into his school experience. To kick things off, I took a moment to define likes and dislikes. I then provided him with an example of a like and dislike from my daily experience (at work). I stressed the emotions one might feel when involved with or engaged in something one likes versus that of a dislike. From here, I asked him to provide me with two examples of things he likes about school. He began by saying he liked recess. I continued digging. I asked him what he likes about recess. He said the playground. I then asked him what he likes about the playground. He said the monkey bars. I continued to probe. I then asked what about the monkey bars is exciting and brings a smile to his face. He said going across the blue monkey bars and skipping every other bar while doing so. Once I had this sort of detail from him, I asked him to help me determine what to record on the chart. I told him I might need help with spelling. I paused between words to suggest I was trying to figure out how to approach the next word. I modeled drawing words out (using a hand motion to suggest elongating, like with an accordion) to help with spelling. I then had him sound out the words, in the same fashion, with me. I sprinkled this 'extending sounds in words' approach into the writing exercise we worked on in the second half of our session. When we got to the dislikes side of the chart, the student had a lot to say about the other kids in his class.
From here, we moved on to the mini-fig project we started the last session. I selected a prompt for him to work from based on which prompt he responded to easiest after reviewing some of the options with him (reading the prompts out loud one by one). After repeating the prompt, I asked him to read it back to me. He read it in a very monotone voice, seemingly in an effort to avoid enunciating some of the more difficult words. I told him I was going to read the prompt twice more and I wanted him to listen carefully to the distinctions between the two. The first time I recited the prompt back I read it back as he had read it. The second time I read it back with feeling, enunciating all the words and taking care to pause in all the right places. I asked him for feedback on the two versions. He said he thought my first reading sounded funny. I told him I agreed -- that when we read just for the sake of getting it done, without slowing down to consider the words we're reading and why we're reading them this is often the result. It was clear he didn't see the similarity between the way he had read and I read the first time around. This is helpful to know moving forward. For him reading (and writing) is very much a chore. I need to find ways to help him see the value of these processes, through practice, without him feeling down on himself. After establishing the prompt, it was time for him to respond to it. The prompt asked what he and his mini-figs would do if they had the house to themselves all day. His sentences were pretty bare bones, but from this sample I was able to see some of the mechanics issues we'll need to work on (spacing between words, spacing letters properly, etc.). When I asked him to expand on what he had written vocally, he said what he'd written was an accurate reflection of what he would do all day."