Personal REVIEW Pages: a Different Tool Altogether!

What do I mean by “pretend reading”? Our clever learners are great “picture-with-sentence” memorizers. You know exactly what I mean: they see a picture, know the sentence that goes with that picture (because they’ve read it a million times) so they say the sentence.

That’s not reading.

BUT because they’re such expert picture-sentence memorizers, we’re misled; we think s/he’s actually reading.

So how can we know if they’re REALLY reading?

Personal Review pages to the rescue!

Simple: We quickly handprint Personal REVIEW Pages.

The main difference between this and the Personal Pages I often talk about is this: Personal Pages are used as top motivators. On the other hand, Personal REVIEW Pages are tools for checking actual vocabulary mastery. We outwit our clever memorizers by scrambling the sentence structure and omitting the picture cue.

Personal REVIEW Pages are without pictures, and deliberately re-arrange phrases and sentences that present the SAME vocabulary in a different order than the learner expects. By doing this, we break the “picture-to-sentence” memorization link.

Let me give you an example so you’ll know what I’m encouraging you to do:

Here’s the text from a page in my “I Said” Book, from my Down Syndrome Reading Program:

I said, “I can help you make three pizzas! We make pizzas one, two, three.”

Now let’s rewrite it as a Personal REVIEW Page which will test the learner’s actual vocabulary mastery; we’ll use the child’s own name (let’s call her Sarah) and the word “Mom,” which we know she already knows:

Sarah said, “Mom, can I help you? Can we make three pizzas? I can help! Can we make one pizza? Can we make two?”


We used only the vocabulary in that page and completely scrambled the sentences she’s already memorized. If she can read that, you’re in! She’s got it. You can move on.

It may surprise you to know that you can add an “s” to the root form of any verb without confusing your reader in the slightest. Run, runs, love, loves, like, likes, jump, jumps. An emergent reader will typically ignore the “snake” at the end of a verb and see it as the root verb. This keeps a verb in the present tense and gives you much more flexibility in creating these Personal REVIEW Pages. For example: Sarah makes pizza. Daddy helps Mom make pizza, etc.


Just like Personal Pages, you make these pages without pictures and you can handprint them in just a few minutes; this is not a labor intensive project by any means; you don’t need more labor than you already have to do!

BONUS: collect these pages in a binder. Presto! You have a fabulous vocabulary review tool at your fingertips. It’s gold.

Have fun with this—it’s a great tool to check on vocabulary mastery.



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