Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

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Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Keep smiling through

It was one of my reading support days at my daughter's school today and as I walked into one of the classrooms, waiting for one of the children to locate their reading book, I glanced up at the wall and saw a poster that made me smile. It said, "If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours," and it had a big smiley sun on it. It was lovely and certainly cheered me up. What a lovely poster and sentiment to display on a classroom wall.

I had a grin on my face all afternoon. It's really funny now as when I walk through the playground at the end of lunchtime and the kids are playing outside, a few of them come up to me and say, "Am I on your list, Miss? Do you need me, Miss?!" It's really sweet.They all look up when I walk into the class room with expectant faces - am I going to say their name? I walked into one class room and I said a kid's name and a group of the others were quite disappointed it wasn't them! They went oohhhhh!with their little chins resting on their hands. Very cute.

They do a round robin where the classes are split up to form new temporary classes and they move round each room doing a different activity. It sounds confusing, and it was to me when I first witnessed it, but they have a system and it's all very controlled. They move round every 20 mins or so and so the kids I thought were in one class room weren't when I got back and I was left with a little lad who'd been reading with me and no idea where his class had gone! But reception sorted it out, thankfully! I just wander round the class rooms until I find one of the kids on my list!

I'm really enjoying it and have already picked up a few common words the kids get mixed up. They say 'Saw' instead of 'Was' and vice versa, and some of them will look at a word and take the first letter or first couple of letters and make up a word that they think it looks like. It's fascinating to watch how they try and make sense of the words and sound them out.

I'm having to watch my accent, though, otherwise they'll have a school full of 5-7 year olds talking like pirates! I was listening to a girl reading and she came to the word 'are' so we sounded it out slowly and I said 'Arrrrrrrrrre,' but she said 'Arrrghhh!' It was really funny! The local accent is quite different to mine as I was brought up in Much Wenlock - a rural shropshire town with a real ooh-arrrgh accent which became more pronounced when I lived in Plymouth and Exeter down in Devon!! The local one here in Telford is quite different. They say things like, "Dowan" for Down, and "Browan" for brown.

I never knew reading with kids could be such fun!

Julie xx


Mum in a Muddle said...

Hi Julie, It was funny to read your account of kids reading in school. O, my 6 year old is still struggling to learn to read and often says 'was' instead of 'saw'!

Lynne Hackles said...

The first time I heard, if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours, was on Deal or No Deal. One of the contestants said it and I used it on my blog. I'm glad to hear it is used all over the place.
My daughter worked in a school and organised a smile patrol in breaktime. She'd get a few of the kids to look for others without smiles and then try to make them smile.
When she left the school the tradition continued.

Julie P said...

Thanks, Mum in a muddle! It's certainly has been an eye opener since I started the reading support. I'm impressed that the kids read so well. When I started school, I couldn't read at all, yet here these kids are starting to form letters and say the sounds and starting to read from nursery aged 4! It's amazing.

I do feel sad when I'm told a lot of the reason some of the kids are behind with their reading skills is because, for what ever reason - no time, they don't feel confident with reading themselves, or they just don't want to - the parents don't read with them at home. So I hope my limited input will help redress that. The kids and the teachers seem to appreciate it.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I like the sound of the Smile Patrol, Lynne! What a wonderful idea. I think my daughter could have done with a smile buddy following her disasterous hearing test attempt this morning where she threw the tantrum of all tantrums! (Just like a mother she is!) There was much foot stamping and crying and refusal to do anything (and that was just from me - I'm kidding.)

It was definitely one of those. "I wish the Earth would swallow me up," moments all parents have at some stage.

Julie - who is now smiling! ;0)