Observing Reading Behavior of a Six Year Old

Observing Reading Behavior of a Six-Year-Old

A six year old child is at a stage where s/he begins to achieve some degree of independence. The child attempts to conduct various tasks by her/himself.  For the assignment, I observed a teacher interact with a six year old in a reading task.  The reading task commenced once the teacher walked to the students and informed her of the reading task.  The reading task is conducted within the school environment where the teacher is the authority figure.

The 6 year old is by this age familiar with the authority figure and sits in readiness for the task.  The child is to read a short story about Cinderella. As soon as the teacher places the book on the child desks she recognizes the characters on the cover page. The points at Cinderella and her sister as indicated on the cover of the story book. This is an indicator of her sharp memory. The child can recollect text that she had previously been exposed to.  From the start, the student is eager to demonstrate her capabilities.

Noticeably, she uses her finger to direct her through the series of sentences that are in the story book. The teacher demands that she stops using her finger and instead rely on her eyes.   Though unsure of her ability, she successfully manages to read the first few sentences with ease. These are simple sentences made of three or four syllabic words. The child reads with ease from one simple word to the next.

This is an indicator the child can actively recognize simple printed words. It is also an indicator that the child is conversant with the alphabets and the sounds that accompany the letters. When the child successfully read through a sentence in the story book, the teacher praised her with sentiments such as good or excellent. This form of motivation encouraged the child to read further.

As the child read through the story, she encountered complex words. I observed that the child paused when she encountered words she was unsure of. She would then skim through the sentences quietly whispering it out. When she was certain that she got the sentence correctly, she would then read it out loud. Words that had two subsequent consonant sounds such as knife and wrist proved difficult to read loud. It was evident that the child was still unaware of the existence of silent words within a sound.

When the child encountered words that she was completely unaware off she did not hesitate to ask the teacher. The teacher engaged the child in breaking the word into smaller letter sounds. Breaking the word into smaller sounds allowed the child to merge the sounds to create the word. His strategy helped the child recall the complex word with ease.

I also noticed that the child could easily get frustrated when she encounters a series of complex words or sentences.  Sometimes, the teacher hesitated to assist the child so as to see whether she should try a difficult reading by herself.  If the child tries and fails, she would get frustrated and would stop the reading process.  The teacher would then intervene, help her read the complex word and encourage her to read on. Words of encouragement such as you are reading very well motivated the child to keep reading.

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