19 November 2013

America Reads 2013-2014 Blog Prompt 3

                                                          

ATTN: America Reads Tutors

Tell about a student(s) who you are tutoring that is making progress or a student that is having challenges. (Do not use the student's real name). As an America Reads tutor what strategies are you using to help the student. Do you have ideas for other tutors?

59 comments:

  1. I haven't yet began tutoring, so I will share my thoughts based off of when I tutored elementary kids during my senior year as an extra credit class. I noticed that a specific boy was struggling with paying attention to math. It just bored him to death and it was even hard for me to work with him individually with him on math material. I asked him what he was interested in and he told me he loved sports. So I took math problems and likened them to sports. Touchdowns, innings and quarters made numbers interesting for him. I believe if we find something these kids really like and make their learning somewhat interesting, they can move past those difficult moments and continue to progress.
    Brian

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    1. Brian that is a great example. You have the mind of a natural tutor. LeeAnn just stopped in and needed to hurry and get to afterschool at Nibley because a child saw her the other day and said are you coming to afterschool tomorrow?. These small people rely on you as tutors so much more than you think they will. Remember as you are getting close to the end of your hours this semester to tell them good bye for now, I will be back in January. Or if you are not coming back Thanks for letting me tutor you. I really enjoyed getting to know you. Keep reading you are doing great.LMH

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    2. I have not yet been assigned an actual school tutor but I imply everything that I learn everyday in helping my beautiful daughter, who is a second grader. Just last night I had the opportunity to help her with both her math and spelling. What a wonderful time this was I tried to make it as fun as possible and show her that I was genuinely interested in what she was doing. There are so many children that just want to be told that they are doing well and it's fun to help where needed. I can not wait for my opportunity to apply what I have learned to the children I will be tutoring.

      JA

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    3. Brian, what a great attitude to have. You are the type of guy that the kids will really get along with as well as relate too. This is a great opportunity to you to get out there and really show what you are capable of doing. I wish you the best of luck and know that you will succeed.

      JA

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    4. LMH, I completely agree with you. I think it is wonderful that Leann has made such an incredible impact on these future leaders of America that they look forward to her being there every week. I wish you all the best of luck and know that we can all succeed even one child at a time.

      JA

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    5. I totally agree, find something they are interested in, then read about it! It makes learning so much fun!

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    6. I agree with you Brian! It's all about finding out what makes them want to be involved and then integrating it into what needs to be learned. Students should have a big say in their goals and curriculum. Most concepts need to be applied in concrete terms not just figures, facts, and numbers to get people to care. Good story!
      L.H.

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    7. So true Brian, I am the same way (math is hard for me but learning percentages was easy for me because I can calculate how much something when something I want is ___% off. LOL) and knowing that you can reach kids by making it useful, fun, practical is great insight! I hope you are able to get tutoring soon! Kids need that extra caring that you seem to provide!

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    8. Nice method. Relating the material to something they know can be very effective.

      -A Stuart

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    9. I agree with finding out what a students interests are. We can teach so much easier and better if a student knows that we care about them, not just in reading but in what they like. Friendship and trust begins by showing interest in their interests.

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    10. I like the personalizing method. I think it also helps the students to realize that we are actually listening to them too.
      HP

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    11. Each student is an individual that has their own story. What works for one may not work for another. That is an amazing insight to be able to take something that seems uninteresting, yet important, and deliver in a different way that helps the students accept it better. Way to go Brian!

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  2. I wanted to mention a student I had last year, he is ADHD, and has a hard time focusing. What I came up with as well as with the Director at the time was to find something he was really interested in, (Robots) and we found a coloring page with one on it and everytime he stayed on task and focused during the lesson he could add a sticker to his page or color it, after it was completely done, he would earn a prize from the prize box. This really helped as an incentive and helped us both to track his progress or remind him what he needed to do to earn his prize. It was a great visual for both of us!

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    1. Giving them intensives such as getting to do things they like to do is a good way to get them on task, it's a good compromise!
      L.H

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    2. What a great idea! I think that is wonderful that you were able to personalize his instruction to meet his goals. I bet he loves to come and tutor with you.

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    3. I really like the idea of personalizing, I am going to do that too with my struggling student. Maybe I could find a Thomas coloring page and do that as well. Great idea!
      HP

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    4. That is a really great idea! Students with ADHD struggle with concentrating and the way you and the Director handled the situation is very clever. I honestly wouldn't have come up with something so brilliant as that. Good work!
      S.T

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  3. I just started tutoring again a couple weeks ago and I'm a little rusty usually I can get children to get involved and want to do reading and other activities with me (flashcards, whiteboard games.) But I have this one little girl who cannot read, and I am trying everything with you easy little books and doing the ABC's before reading flashcards, but she simply wants to give and do something else when she can;t read a word. For example we were doing flash cards, which she was excited about at first but once we got to longer words she wants to move on to something else. She says its hard and that she doesn't want to do it. I will talk to her more and find out what she likes and try to incorporate it into some spelling so she can start sounding those words out.

    Give you have any other suggestions please let me know!

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    1. Sounds like it can be difficult, I know I've had some difficult situations with little girls not wanting to read (: Just keep encouraging her. And maybe try singing the ABCs by their sound instead of their name. It's really fun!
      L.H

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    2. I noticed that there are some kids that just love doing the easy stuff. No matter what, once it gets hard they just shut down. I don't know what age group you are working with but I hope that you can find something that will get her motivated. Sometimes just doing one or two can be more feasible that seeing that big stack of "hard" words. And each day just ease in one more and one more and before she knows it, she's done the whole thing. Games with the cards (like I mentioned in my post, like match aka memory) they don't even realize they are learning when they are having fun. With the older kids you can "beat the clock" I don't know ... I hope it gets easier for you! These kids can sometimes bring out ideas in us we never knew we had! LOL

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    3. I have found that flashcards work well because the student is only seeing and focusing on one word at a time. With this little girl, I would probably make her a sound ring. A sound ring has each letter of the alphabet and as you go through them she just says the sound of the letter. That way she is not overwhelmed with words but is still learning the phonics. Also, if you are at Nibley Park, there is a fishing game where only letters are used. This works well with teaching single letter sounds. You could also have her think of a word that starts with the letter.

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    4. I really think personalizing the flashcards to what she likes would help her concentrate more and put more effort into learning the words.
      HP

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    5. A sound ring? Is that like ring she can wear on her finger? I like that idea could you please explain more about this sound ring. I've gone through the alphabet with her and she knows the sounds pretty well. She just doesn't want to sound out the words. Fore example, when she starts to sound out a word she can usually sound out the first 2 letters then will automatically guess what the word is. Some words are easier than others but most words she she'll guess or just say its to hard and not want to do it.

      I've actually done that game idea you suggested and it works, although sometimes I know if she's really learning or just telling me what she already knows. Hmmm... maybe I could have her spell words out..? After she says the sounds, and a word beginning with that letter. Thanks for the suggestions I'll keep trying these and other strategies..
      How exactly can I personalize flash cards?

      Best,
      Susan

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    6. Sometimes the use of concepts like consequences, which can be good or bad depending on the actions, can help a student stick with the lesson and want to work hard. I have given prizes at times and withheld them at times, whichever was appropriate. And I always vocalize why they received the consequence that they did. Good Luck :)

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  4. I feel like the two students that I am tutoring are definitely making progress. They are both gaining confidence, speed, and accuracy from when I first started reading with them. In fact, I am hoping to move them both up a level or two after thanksgiving break and before winter break. Although we are still having difficulty in some areas the students are feeling more capable and starting to grasp more English concepts and grammar. This is done just simply by believing in them, knowing that they have the ability and treating them like they are intelligent. They respond to that. Personally, I like to talk a lot and so I try to engage the students in conversation that enhances the reading session. Also I bring up the vowels and discuss the short vowel, long vowel thing constantly because that isn't present in their native language so they really need to grasp that concept to be successful sounding out and spelling English words. My only advice is make the learning relevant for them and interesting and they will want to learn it.
    L.H.

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    1. Sounds like you got this! I like how you are making your tutoring session fun and bringing in other ways to enhance your time with them.

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    2. Clever! Glad it's working out.

      -A Stuart

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    3. This is what I am finding. That it is okay to have a little fun with those students we work with. After reading, reward them with a game or something they enjoy.

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    4. It's a pleasure to know that kids are making progress. I highly agree with you that making the learning relevant and interesting will help them want to learn it
      Quynh

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  5. I have two students that are really struggling in the second grade class that I tutor in. Surprisingly, they enjoy coming out with me, I thought that would be the biggest obstacle I would face but since they enjoy coming out and reading I have tried to make it more fun. The children have a little 11-12 page paper book that they read that includes words that they are learning, along with that they have flash cards to practice the bigger words they have just been introduced to and then phonics cards that are appropriate for the stage they are at. When we are done we can write sentences. They write one, we look at it and make sure it's right and then they give me a sentence. I will try to "trick" them by putting mistakes into my writing. I have them be the "teacher" and try to find mistakes and boy! are they good! The one little boy really needs the handwriting practice and it makes me happy to be able to integrate that into my time with him. While reading the book I use something learned while tutoring my children and sounds like other tutors are doing, on the bigger words I cover up half of the word ask them to read it to me and show them how they can break up a work in phonics to try and figure it out. Teaching them about the e on the end of a word makes the vowel say "it's name" and just little tricks here and there that I understand make our language hard to learn. We have been playing matching games with these cards. They get lots of practice and it is a nice change from me holding the cards and asking them to read them over and over. They seem to really enjoy it, I am so excited when I go back to tutor and see that they have gotten a new book or new cards. The teacher I worked with recently told me she is seeing a big difference, even though to me, I didn't think it was a big deal. It really is a great feeling helping the children.

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    1. Creative tactics. Keep it up!

      -A Stuart

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  6. I have three kids and they are all making good progress. One was having troubles initially, but we simply power through any of her reservations and she always gets through it with varying degrees of help from me. I think positive reinforcement and keeping the environment low-pressure really helps.

    -A Stuart

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    1. This is very true. Most students are used to being told to focus and get back on track. When we do this, with as low pressure and as much respect and kindness and patience as possible, they seem to respond well. I think that powering through and moving efficiently along the lesson plan, adjusting when necessary, is a great idea. Thanks A

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  7. I have one student that has a hard time focusing. He will look at the first letter of the word and then just begin saying any words that start with that letter while looking all around the room. I have continually told him to look at the word and focus on the whole word not just the first letter. We are beginning to make progress on his attention span. I have another student that really struggles. He also has a hard time focusing. We have been working on long and short vowels. I have been working with him to say a word with the short vowel sound and if it doesn't make sense to change to the long vowel sound. I is fun when he uses this trick and says a word that makes sense to him. I love seeing his eyes light up when he figures out the words.

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    1. I have a student that has a hard time focusing at first, especially if there is a lot going on in the tutor lab. I just keep asking her questions regarding what she read or something in the text and she stays on task better.
      KL

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    2. Attention deficit can be a factor with these kids. I had attention deficit disorder (ADD) and it was so difficult to keep my train of though. Unfortunately in the 80's nobody really knew what it was and my teachers and tutors would just get frustrated with me for my lack of attention. Obviously we can't do anything about it medicinally or anything like that....so I think making it as interesting as possible is something we can really rely on to get our students through.
      Brian.

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    3. I have some boys that have hard time focusing too. Same to me, I continuously tell him to look at the word when he pronouns it so he could remember completely. I think they don't seem interested in what they are reading.

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    4. I have some boys that have hard time focusing too. Same to me, I continuously tell him to look at the word when he pronouns it so he could remember completely. I think they don't seem interested in what they are reading.
      Quynh

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    5. One thing I have learned in school in my own class room is that the teacher is the key to "entertainment." With the world of technology we live in, interaction is what a lot of hyper children need. The easy distractions are indications of boredom. Pop out of your routine, maybe try a word, red light green light, spelling bee etc.. If the kids know they can earn a game or reward the excitement comes back and isn't so routine and boring for them. I like to just read a story for them if they do a good job. I will read them the new book we pick out if they agree to read it to me next time. Being silly and using voices to animate the story, shows them books can be fun exciting and emotional. Not just some monotone words they are required to learn.

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  8. I enjoy the kids that I tutor. However I have two boys that are one of each. One that is really succeeding and one that is a spitfire and struggles. The one who is really succeeding started out at a basic level of reading and has rose three levels and is reading chapter books, he gets so excited to read his chapter book to me. I am really proud of his accomplishments. I am also proud of my other little boy. But he sure is a spitfire and at times difficult to control. He struggles with understanding what the book he read meant, and I think that is why he gets so frustrated and not wanting to continue. He let me know that he really like Thomas the train, so I am going to bring in a couple Thomas books and read those together. I think that will help him to understand and not get so frustrated. I think as tutors we need to at times if our student is struggling focus on both their strengths and weakness, because at times it is easier to focus on just the negative and if we focus on both we might better help them.
    HP

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    1. Exactly! If you focus on what they're doing wrong all the time then they start to feel like they're never getting anything right. Its amazing how easy and unintentionally this happens. Good Post.
      Brian.

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    2. that's right, focusing on both strength and weakness will improve the learning effectively. It's normal that he feels frustrated because he does not understanding the meaning of what the book he read, so I think you can encourage him, simply explain meaning of the book or choose the easier book for him, that will all help.
      Quynh

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  9. I have not been able to tutor yet, because my award was late. But I have watch how
    tutors encourage their students in order to read. It is impressive to see how many times, the tutors tell the kids they are doing a great job. Some of most of the time, this children do not have enough encouragement from their homes. Seen how students from college go, and have the patience to teach them, makes a huge impact in the future the kids might choose.

    ZOGA

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    1. Zoga you are right. The lack of encouragement many times starts from the home. They don't have that support system and something as simple as a "great job!" or "Way to go!" can go so far with these kids. I believe ALL kids deserve compliments!
      Brian.

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    2. Definitely a true statement encouraging helps a lot. Think of a situation when you felt discouraged and someone gave you uplifting words I bet it helped so encouraging the children is a great idea. S.C.

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  10. I am tutoring an older student that needs help with vocabulary and comprehension.Each week we work on her vocab words by reading a story that includes those words and then discuss the meaning based off how they are used in the text. After she expresses her understanding, we discuss the actual meaning and then I think of things that will help her remember. When possible I will use examples that she can relate to and sometimes small gestures that relate to the word. She is making a lot of progress and seems to enjoy our sessions.

    KL

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    1. KL,

      That is fantastic, the best part about being a tutor is watching the students progress over time and the expression on their face when they realize that they got a word right after a few trys.

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  11. Tell about a student(s) who you are tutoring that is making progress or a student that is having challenges. (Do not use the student's real name). As an America Reads tutor what strategies are you using to help the student. Do you have ideas for other tutors?

    Last year I had a student that I worked with and he struggled a bit with reading the first time I tutored him he was a little shy of me because I was new but over time his reading improved because we sent him home with some of the words that he was struggling with to practice. I think it's easier for students to learn in a low pressure environment and with someone they can trust and who better for the job then someone at home.

    S.T

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  12. I have been helping kids in Kinder Garden learning the Alphabet letter and counting.The challenge I have is make them focus on what they are reading. I have two boy who always talk on other things while I try to help them learn the Alphabet letter and they would play with the little thing as a tool to count rather than count them. So, I have constantly remind him of what he is doing but he doesn't seem to be interested in that. So I ask him for his favorite things and spell them it alphabet letter but this idea something opens to another topic to him to talk on. I felt a bit frustrated. Then I tell him as soon as he can get that done, he can go to play game with others and this way works sometimes.
    Quynh

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    1. Try making it a game. Does the teacher have word blocks? If so, ask the children to line them up. Have both boys try at the same time. The competition will let them focus on each other and do the task at hand. If there aren't blocks do a craft with them have the teacher print the letters on paper, and cut them out. Start with just a few (5) a,b,c,d,e and have them race to get the order correct. Once they get it right move onto the next letters.
      By playing games and turning the hard stuff into areas of interest , you will hold their tiny attention spans for longer periods of time.

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  14. As an America Reads tutor, I had never imagined my presence would make this type of impact. These children work so hard and are so determined to learn. There are so many children slipping through the cracks of the system. As mentors, tutors, and at times friends we are here to catch the few we can and show them they can and will achieve goals. I like taking notes and arranging the curriculum to establish interest, flow, and retention. I find that not every child learns the same way. Keeping it new and challenging them builds their self esteem.
    One child I have worked with has such potential. She shuts down when corrected and becomes distant. Right away I started to keep it light and fun, constantly using the long and short vowels to let her adjust the sounds herself. This visual aid w/ photos creates satisfaction and confidence. By playing with the words in sentences, you start to see the dots connecting. This is especially helpful with comprehension, and word association for ESL students.

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  15. I have two students who I have had problems with walking between the classroom and the tutor center. They like to run and play, especially on the stairs. They play just like I did at that age but I know the school is strict about this and if they ever got hurt someone would hold me responsible. My solution: when I pick them up from class, just outside the classroom door I stop and have a talk with them. I bend down to look them in the face and gently ask for their cooperation. I ask them to agree to walk with me in the hall. Their agreement is important. If they do not agree I will take them back to class.

    It had quick positive results but in a week or so it starts again. So I think I need to renew my agreements with them.

    Both are 1st graders from the same class; one boy, one girl, and very cute.

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  16. This posting is a little past due I know....sorry. I volunteer at Nibley Park. I currently have 4 students I work with. 2 I started half way through the year, and the other 2 I started with the end of September. One of the 2 I have had the whole year is so interesting to work with. He has so many questions and comments, that it is hard to finish books, and even pages sometimes. For most of the year, he has done a poor job bringing books back. One it took almost 6 weeks. And recently he has just lost interest in books after 1 or 2 weeks. So then he started telling me about Monster's University the movie, and how he loves it so much and that it is his favorite book. And I said, why don't you bring it in next time? He said, really. I told him as long as he is reading challenging books and reads them at home, that I did not have a problem. So he is very excited now. We usually split the chapter up, each of us reading half. I can tell he enjoys it when I read to him. So I have learned that every child is different, and there is not just one way that works for them, and that they are interested in doing.

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  17. I have been placed in a classroom to help out. The very best thing that I've seen to do with two of my students are very different. One of them needs my one-on-one attention to stay focused and up to speed with the class. Obviously I cannot only spend time with him, but as much as I can he appreciates (as does the teacher). The other needs to be ignored at times in order to stay on task. It is an interesting opposite approach, but both seem to be better because of my efforts. And of course I always give positive encouragement when the opportunities present themselves.
    Boundaries is another huge way to keep the students on track. I allow them time to talk about some personal stuff at the beginning of my lessons, and then get to work when they've had a chance to blow off some steam. They know that my primary purpose is to help them with their schoolwork, not just hang out and be a friend, but that I also care about them as an individual. It has been working very well.

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  18. I have two students who fall on the complete ends of the spectrum, One is constantly improving and moving up levels and the other I have a hard time trying to even get him to come to tutoring but when I am able to I just try to be really encouraging with him because I feel like he doesn't bother to try because he feels it's too hard to read or he thinks he can't do it. Also, I noticed family factors play a huge role in how the child improves or not my one student is always having practice with her parents how to read the other student parent doesn't read with him. Just try to be encouraging no matter how difficult the situatio gets.
    S.C.

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  19. I work with kindergarten students. most of them wanted to learn and make a progress. I do not have a specific student that is challenging. however there are times that are difficult for me to finish the assigned work because the kids get tired easily. as a solution I use this: I tell the students that if we finish the assigned work early we can play games. this really helps me to motivate them to work hard.

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  20. I several students that are struggling in reading and understanding the main points of their reading. I also work with the language and we look in the dictionary for the meaning of the words that don't know. There are times when we have to reread the book over, so they are not stumbling in the reading.

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