Day 3 with Zaniyah (for class)


Today (after the ritual penguin sticker exchange), Zaniyah and I began working on Maze 3-A, because 2-A she did perfectly on last week. Zaniyah did the first 9/9 correctly, however, so I decided to stop her there and thought we could try the next level up a different day.


Zaniyah finished the phonemic awareness pre-assessment from last week working on the concept of deleting initial sounds. This took more thought that I would have expected from her, but she still got them all right. This phonemic awareness test was definitely too easy for her.


Zaniyah had no trouble identifying the sounds each letter makes—even noting the two different sounds for “g.”

Rhyming words was easy (and fun) for her.

Short vowel sounds were a little tricky—she scored 16/20 correct immediately, and self-corrected without prompt on 3 more, leaving only one pronounced incorrectly without correction, when she said “pum” for “pem.”

Consonant blends were hard, so I only had Zaniyah read the first 15 out of 20, because it was clearly frustrating her. She scored 9/15 correct. Below are the errors (her words in bold).

  • glog” for “clog”…she just read this too fast
  • flow-see” for “flounce”…she had the fl- blend, but not the ou sound
  • dwettle” for “dwelt”…dw- was okay, but –lt was tricky
  • crash” for “crass”…cr- was fine, probably just read too quickly
  • swape” for “swap”—sw- was fine, but incorrect vowel
  • trick” for “trink”—nk was a hard blend to pronounce

Consonant digraphs were also a bit of a struggle for Zaniyah. She scored 11/19 correct immediately, and 2/19 I could not understand her response, and she didn’t want to go back to them later. Errors are listed below with her words in bold. Sometimes the vowel was the mistake, but often the digraph itself was the problem.

  • short” for “thort”…digraph trouble
  • port” for “phrat”…read totally too fast
  • yet” for “yeth”—th sound was hard for her at the end of words, easier at the beginning
  • gretch” for “gresh” –sh sound is a little unclear
  • sheared” for “shred”—she has the sh sound at the beginning, but like the th it is tricky at the end
  • squab” for “throbe”—thr was too hard for her, and so she gave up quickly and said “squab”

Long vowels were worse than short vowels for Zaniyah. She scored 14/20 correct, and 3 of the 6 errors were not the wrong vowel, but something else. So the vowel correct percentage is 17/20, or 85%. I listed errors below, with her words in bold.

  • cab” for “kade”…she read too quickly and used short vowel
  • bloob” for “blude”…vowel correct but wrong final consonant sound
  • dreed” for “dreud”…wrong vowel
  • train” for “tayne”…correct vowel and wrong consonants
  • treed” for “trewd”…wrong vowel
  • bookey” for “roke”….wrong vowel and pronounced the final silent ‘e’
  • cume” for “krume”…needed the consonant digraph but correct vowel

Other vowel sounds—12/13 correct in terms of vowels, with only a few consonant mis-reads. The one error was “chewed (1x) or chow (2x)” for “chaw.”

Syllables were hard for her here, even though she did well on them in the phonemic awareness study, because these words she had to read herself and they were often too hard for her, so I would have to help her pronounce the word. Out of 10 words I gave her, she got the number of syllables correct 6 times. (60% accuracy) These were mostly words that I pronounced for her after she struggled as well, like “retention,” “contaminate,” and “guess.”

READ A BOOK AS A BREAK—we took a break to read There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly in between all the phonics tests, because she was getting frustrated by the monotonous, hard testing. She wanted to read the book, not have me read it to her, and she wanted to take turns with me.  I helped her with some words, but often if I split the words into smaller chunks, where I cover up all the other letters except one syllable at a time, and she can always read the parts correctly. It’s putting the chunks together that is hard for her, especially if the classroom is distracting noise and she loses focus.

Notes: she uses the formation of her mouth to sound out words. For example, when she knows that the word is a long vowel she makes a really open mouth to emphasize it to herself. She also mumbles and speaks more quietly when she doesn’t know words, so I have to ask her to speak up intentionally at times, and to slow down. She has such a good attitude about reading, but it can frustrate her over time.

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9 Responses to Day 3 with Zaniyah (for class)

  1. Andrea Rau says:

    Sounds like you have a smart cookie on your hands, but she does seem to have some difficulty with phonemic awareness. I’m sure she really appreciates those little breaks that you give her during her testing, they can alleviate the pressure of trying your hardest all the time. You’re going to be a wonderful teacher! I’d like to talk with you in class some more about your student. =)

  2. That was a great idea to bring the book. It seems like it was a great way to give your student a bit of a “mental break” with a book that was fun, but still useful in your reading assessment for her! And I love your penguin ritual! It was interesting to read some of the consonant digraph errors that she made, it sounds like many were made out of frustration.

  3. Morgan Stahl says:

    It always makes me smile when I read about your penguin sticker ritual. I second Andrea’s comment about how you’re going to be a wonderful teacher! I am inspired by how much thought and insight you bring to helping Zaniyah with her reading.

  4. Sara Vermeer says:

    It’s awesome how you can tell if she’s struggling a lot and then stop and not have her do all of them. It’s also awesome how you used reading a book to be a break. Great idea! Zaniyah is a really good reader it looks like. A great match for you 🙂

  5. Jennie Jansen says:

    You two are so fun to read about =] She probably pushed through all that difficult testing just for you because she loves those penguin stickers, and fun books she gets to read. Sounds like some work with identifying word parts of a larger word should be an intervention strategy for her. I think any reading is frustrating when you go at an unknown word letter by letter. Can’t wait to read about your next penguin adventure!

  6. Laura says:

    I have never heard of a ritual penguin exchange, but it amuses me. You are getting lots of good feedback here. Your blog is fun to read!

  7. Matt says:

    Wow that’s awesome that she did so well on the MAZE! I had some interesting pronunciations in the phonics assessment as well. It’s interesting to hear them try and sound those out when they’ve usually never seen them before. My student also struggled on the syllables. I had to do the same thing for some of the words (wonder if it should use not as difficult words?). Did your student clap syllables during that part of the test?

  8. Kellie says:

    That’s such a good idea that you brought the fun books for a mental break! I’m sure your student loves hanging out with you 🙂 It sounds like Zaniyah is a good reader!

  9. Jenn VanDyk says:

    You are getting some really awesome results with your students which is awesome! My student has troubles with reading too fast sometimes also! If there are any suggestions that is out there for slowing a student down I would love to hear them!

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