Prizes and Prizes!

By Children Rising
February 28, 2013

How did they get 30 stickers in here?

After reading, working on his second phonics book, and finishing his last box of sight words, Erick got his prizes this week: a Cat-in-the-Hat bookmark and superstar sticker for finishing his first phonics workbook, and then a very special Super Mario surprise box for finishing the last box of sight words.

Even though it doesn’t look like much, Erick immediately recognized it as a Glow Block that Mario can pick up in the game to light his way. “Thank you, Miss Madalyn!” he exclaimed, “I like it!”
“It’s not just a box,” I replied. “There’s something inside!”
At this revelation, Erick became so excited that he had to ask for my help to open this little box. Inside, to his amazement, there were 30 stickers of different characters from the game.

I was a little worried that Erick would be let down by the stickers. I had gotten it from a toy dispenser, not knowing which capsule would fall out. I was a little disappointed myself when I opened the box beforehand and discovered that all the characters inside were villains–Bowser, grumpy mushrooms, snapping flowers, flying turtles, and not a single Mario or Yoshi–but I didn’t have time to go back to try my luck at getting a different set. It turns out that I didn’t have to worry, because as soon as Erick saw the stickers, he shouted “YES!” while pumping his fist in the air. And if that were not assurance enough, he said, “Wow! I really like this! I’m going to show my mom! Thank you! Thank you!”
“You’re welcome.” I replied. “It’s because you have been working so hard and you did such a good job with your sight words! And…maybe you can use your little Super Mario to fight all those bad guys.”
“Maybe.” Erick said. Then, “I’m going to put these in my bed.”
I think that must be where he hides his small treasures. I was about to ask him about it when he said, “You and me–we can be friends forever. Okay?”
“Okay!” I agreed, as I did my own mental fist pumps.

Reading is Exciting!

By Children Rising
February 21, 2013

Erick is always very excited during our tutoring time. Before I have a chance to say, “Hi, Erick!” he greets me with, “Hi, Miss Madalyn!” which is usually quickly followed by a question such as, “Is that your car?” or “Why do you wear a name tag?” or “Do you speak Chinese or Spanish?” or “Where is your sister?”
Oftentimes, my answers lead to more questions, and I have to steer him to our task at hand. It always surprises me that he is equally enthusiastic about learning more about reading as he is about our conversations before we start tutoring. I take this as a sign that Erick values our relationship as well as becoming a strong reader. We are a bit like gym partners, working out our literacy muscles.

This time, he said, very seriously, “I want to tell you something.”
I asked him, “What is it?”
Then he told me about how he got lost in Sears during the weekend, and the security guards helped him find his mom.
We talked a little about getting lost and helpful people, then Erick started his work.

He finished his phonics workbook and whizzed through most of his sight words. He then read a book to me that amused him greatly: Put Me in the Zoo.
This is a book about a bear/dog creature that can change the color, shape and size of his spots as well as  transfer them to other objects (including people), juggle them, make them fly, and form them into sock-shapes. Though it sounds like an odd book based on my summary, it makes a lot of sense when you read it. Erick enjoyed it immensely. “Oh! I like his spots when they are blue!” he said, and, “Look. Now his spot is shaped like a big egg.”


As with the last two weeks, Erick picked a book to take home. This week, he took home a story about a the adventures of a boy and his large dog. Next week will bring more excitement as Erick collects his prizes for finishing his sight words as well as his phonics workbook!

A Treat for Our Students

By Children Rising
February 12, 2013

During our last tutoring session, we had a special treat: all the students got to pick a book to take home. Erick mulled over his choice for a long time–so long, in fact, that most of the students picked the books that interested them and he was left looking at what they had already glanced through.

He was looking for a book that not only had a good number of pictures to go with the words, but also one that was interesting to him. He passed up a book about construction (too many long words), one about forest animals (too many pictures and easy words), and one that appeared to be a colonial biography (no pictures at all!).

Erick eventually decided to take home a book called A Trip to the Doctor. It had some difficult words, like “stethoscope” and “receptionist,” but also pictures to go along with them. He was glad that there were kids in the book and that there were real pictures instead of illustrations.

Perhaps this book could inform his next trip to the doctor or even a career choice!

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