Last week, K read, with heavy prompting, a little phonics book today of the "Pat and Nan sat" variety. I think the unwillingness to read out loud is something that will probably improve as she gains confidence with reading. I suspect the unwillingness to give answers unless she's really sure of them is something that will go on for years.
I am quite sure that the problem is that she doesn't want to take risks, not that she doesn't understand. Last week, in the middle of a lesson where we were adding letters to -an and I was struggling to get her to read "fan" and "pan," she said "If we add 'K' we'll have the beginning of 'kangaroo.'"
...okay then. You can't get "man" but you can extrapolate "kangaroo"?
Her last school was working on more of a whole word approach to reading while this school is using phonics, and I think phonics definitely suits K better. It gives the student tools to figure things out on their own, instead of expecting them to simply memorize things and be able to repeat them back on demand. This suits K's learning style and personality vastly better. After only two weeks, she's really getting the idea of sounding things out. Today, we were about to close the tray on the dvd player and she looked at a label and said "C-c-c-close" and then hit the right button. Not too shabby.
We're getting a better rhythm to our days. We start out with a recorded message from her teacher and a round of educational computer games assigned by the school, then work on the parent-taught lessons. If we're on the ball, we can have the vast majority done by lunch. The majority of the work isn't hard at all for her, but my goal has never been to stretch her to her limits academically but just to prevent her from having to sit there all day doing stuff that's too easy for her over and over again. Right now, she's engaged, she's learning, and she has plenty of free play time, which is what a kindergartener needs.