Alina is a 6 year old EAL (English as an additional language) student from Romania. Upon initial assessment, Alina showed understanding of roughly half of the English alphabet letters and had very little knowledge of how to ‘blend’ sounds to make words. E.g. c-a-t = cat. Through 5 months of weekly sessions with me, Alina progressed from EYFS/Nursery (Early Years Foundation Stage) level to Primary 2/Year 1 level which matches her chronological age. She can now read appropriately levelled books, knows almost all initial digraph/trigraph(2/3-letter) sounds e.g. ‘ch’, ‘igh’, ‘oa’, ‘th’ and has become an enthusiatic, confident and motivated learner.
One main focus for Alina as discussed with her mother was Alina’s writing. Alina’s mother was concerned that Alina lacked confidence in this area and was not moving towards being an independent writer. In school, Alina was receiving SfL (Support for Learning) and would usually have an adult scribe her ideas for Alina to then copy. Alina’s mother was eager for Alina to be supported in becoming more independent with her writing as a result of this.
My work with Alina focussed mainly around phonics teaching and learning. By developing Alina’s knowledge of digraphs/trigraphs and sight words (the, and, was) Alina was able to read more challenging texts and began to form her own complex sentences. Initially, Alina would verbally discuss with me her ideas and, as with school, I would scribe this for her to copy. We then slowely progressed to my verbally giving her the sentence whilst she wrote it on a whiteboard which allowed us to easily correct mistakes. The third stage was for Alina to independently write her sentences onto the whiteboard with lesser adult input and finally, Alina progressed to writing her sentences straight onto the page without first using a whiteboard. This entire process taught her not only how to become an independent writer, but also that making and correting mistakes is all a positive part of the learning process.
Below you can see examples of Alina’s writing and spelling progression throughout the period of us working together.