Finding Directions

May 26, 2016

I had the idea of working simultaneously on Daily Geography Level 3 and Daily Geography Level 6.  I imagined that the  level 6  would widen Robert’s horizons while Level 3 would increase his independence and consequently his self-confidence.  So, for the last couple weeks, we studied using both curricula.  Sometimes one or two units from level 3.  Sometimes one unit from each level.  Sometimes just one unit from level 6.

In the past, Robert completed with me all 5 levels of Daily Geography. I used them as the easiest approach to reading comprehension. Except I didn’t have the clear idea of what exactly I was doing and what exactly  Robert was learning.  Well, Robert did learn elements of Geography: directions,  parts of the map, US states, using legend.  But  reading comprehension  is another story.

One of the surprising findings while working with both levels was the realization that for Robert neither level was more difficult than the other one.

I also discovered that Robert had difficulties with processing questions he was reading.  I didn’t realize that before because… I always helped Robert by repeating the question he read.  So he must have attended to my words and not to words he had just read.

He read questions without recognizing the informative value of some of the words as those directing him toward the answer which, I was sure,  ( still am) he knew.  The simplest example would be this question, “How many states are in Southwest Region?”  Robert directed his attention toward words “southwest region” and completely ignored phrase “How many”. Consequently, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do.  To help him, I covered the part of the sentence in such a way that only words “How many” were visible.  Robert read them again and waited just a few second until I uncovered the rest of the question. Then still a little hesitant, he counted all four states.  With some of the following questions I asked Robert to find the important words that would tell him what to do.  That seemed to helped Robert.  Twenty minutes later, we returned to almost the same types of questions but in connection with Northeast region.  Robert was more independent  despite the fact that this time he had to deal with  not four but nine states.

It is possible that by performing second activity  not long after the first one, Robert  relied on memorized connections between specific words and tasks they called for.  But it is also possible that Robert understood that specific words can give him directions straight forward to a correct answer.

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