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Thanks for the noise machine, Craig and his brother love it so much they nearly wore out the batteries in one day!!!  It’s hilarious.

Craig is settling into the Easyread routine and I think the jungle juggle and games are doing him the world of good.

As agreed with David over the phone we are concentrating on reading the first page with no guesses or mistakes and when he does that we skip the second page.  This seems to be working on the whole and he is reading fairly fluently, generally decoding the whole line in his head before he attempts to read it out loud.  Because he hasn’t decoded the second page the previous day he has to read properly rather than remember (which is what he was doing before).

I think it’s working?  Although he still does have a propensity for guessing he is always able to get it right when under pressure to work it out properly.  I have said that if he gets 10 days correct with no guesses I’ll buy him a lego set, which seems to be focussing his mind for now!

I have noticed encouraging signs in his reading outside of Easyread – he has started reading text on the games on his tablet, which he never did before.  One example – when he fishes on HayDay the fish species have unusual names like “Sockey Salmon” and without any prompting from me he has started trying to decode these and read them aloud whenever he gets a new fish.

Also at bedtime the other day we agreed to read a chapter of Dirty Bertie one sentence each, turn about, and he got so carried away with the story that he read a couple of paragraphs without thinking!  He only stopped and said it was my turn when he got to a word that he needed help with.  That was a one-off, he still doesn’t enjoy reading most of the time, but it’s a step forward.

We are on 2 weeks holiday from school just now and he is not reading nearly as much as he would at school, but I’m not forcing it, just concentrating on doing the Easyread each day and encouraging him whenever he reads anything else, even if it is a label on a packet!

It’s all good stuff and heading in the right direction.  I can sometimes feel him getting a little bored with the story – he often says how can 3 little pigs have sooooo many pages?!!  And yet if he had to read more than one page there is no way he would manage to do it without guessing so I think we are at the right pace just now.  He could probably manage without the characters for most words, but uses them to decode the words he doesn’t know.  He is reading so fluently its hard to know how much decoding he is actually doing, but with the Jungle Juggle I always make him say the original word out loud first and I’m surprised how often he finds it difficult and uses the characters.  He makes silly mistakes like reading “frog” when it says “fog” but realises his mistake when I ask him to try again.

All in all I think we are doing well.  My only hesitation is that he has always been such a proficient guesser that it is hard to be confident how much decoding is happening in the story.  Sometimes he misses whole words out or changes words to make it better eg “piggies” instead of “pigs”.  Is it because he hasn’t read it or is it because his autistic mind thinks the story is better that way?  Like a jazz musician doesn’t always follow the notes on the page.  Who knows… I’m just being very strict with him and saying he needs to read what is on the page. In the games it is less contextual and so he has to decode and I am more confident of the benefit he is getting from the games.

The last thing I’d like to say is how much my four year old is enjoying watching Craig do his Easyread – he is just as enthusiastic as Craig and I’m sure he’s learning a lot just by watching!  He is good as gold and sits so quietly except the occasional word of praise for his magnificent big brother.

I have a review meeting with Craig’s teachers and the educational psychologist in a couple of weeks, so I’m going to be raving about Easyread and trying not to dwell too much on how the school system has been letting Craig down.  They have such low expectations of him when it is so obvious to everyone that he is a bright cookie.  It is their opinion that Craig will come right in the end and he is just a “slow learner” so I’m fairly sure that whatever progress Craig makes via Easyread they will just say “I told you it would all be OK – patience is a virtue…!”  But we’ll know better. 😉

Sorry to witter on so long… the abbreviated version is – we’re doing great, thanks and keep up the good work!