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#1 goldenecho

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:01 AM

My youngest son is several years behind in reading.  It's not because we started late...we've been working with him since Kindergarten.  He cried his way through PS Kindergarden and we spent the first couple years of homeschool going at a very gentle pace just because he had built up a fear of learning and we didn't want to add to it...in many ways it worked.  He has a much more positive attitude towards school now, and towards reading in general.   He still does not want to do much of it...and we're running out of new Piggie and Elephant books (the one series he actually enjoys reading). 

 

I suspect a learning disability, maybe Dyslexia.  We had plans to have him tested but my husband just lost his job so those plans are shelved because of the cost of testing for the moment (but will happen as soon as he gets back to work).

 

I want to increase the amount of reading he does every day...right now we just read one Piggie and Elephant or other reader a day (I alternate between a phonics reader, which teaches him new concepts, and the Piggie and Elephant books, which he enjoys reading and helps him with sight words).  I feel is not enough but it took a while before we could even do that without tears. 

 

So, I want to add more, but am afraid of pushing to hard and going backwards as far as willingness to read goes.   Can anyone suggest a next step, or tips on how to move forward in gently increasing the amount we read?   Or of other books like Piggie and Elephant?  He really likes the humor and that we both read parts.



#2 Jenn in CA

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:15 AM

There are ladies here who know lots more than I do, but just for some perspective, my dyslexic DD is 9 and only does 15 minutes of reading/spelling per day, 4x/wk. That's all we've done since she began school. That includes reading practice. It's been enough to maintain slow but steady progress and not lose the gains she's made, and not stress her out or make her hate it.

 

Rapid naming drills, reading lists of words, helped a lot with fluency. But we only did those for 2 min/day (as was part of our 15 minutes) and it took months of that to see improvement. So, keep on with your small amounts of reading and don't be discouraged!


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#3 Storygirl

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:42 AM

You can request free evaluations for learning disabilities through the public school, even if you are homeschooling. Under federal law, the school is required to evaluate all students living in their district who are suspected of having a learning disability, even if they are not enrolled in the public school. The school will not diagnose dyslexia but will be able to tell you if he has a reading learning disability and/or other learning issues.

 

Private evaluations are really helpful, because they give you additional information and can help determine the root of the problem. The school's purpose is not to find the root of the problem and diagnose it, but to determine if the student qualifies for help in order to access his education. So the school will run the testing but will not necessarily do a great job of telling you what all of the scores mean. Some people post scores here on the LC board, and people who are familiar with the tests can often offer some insight.

 

I just wanted to be sure you know there are options that don't cost money. You can save up for more thorough testing later on.

 


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#4 Storygirl

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:44 AM

The other thing I wanted to say is that you mention practicing reading, but you don't mention reading instruction. What are you using for teaching phonics and reading? Those who are dyslexic generally will not be able to learn by practicing sight words or just by more reading. They need direct instruction of a specific nature.

 

Are you using a phonics program now? Have you in the past? Which one?


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#5 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:58 AM

What Storygirl and Jenn said.   :)

 

 

You can send a letter in this week to your local school system requesting evaluations.  You might be able to get those evaluations by fall.  They usually won't be very detailed.   As Storygirl mentioned, really a school eval is usually just to determine if a child is functioning so below grade level they need help to survive in the classroom, but school evals CAN give you needed info that might help until a private evaluation becomes possible.

And they are free.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I also agree, what program are you using, if any, to teach reading?  Not just practice reading through site words and exposure to print.  Are you using any sort of phonics based program?

 

I would not force additional reading on a child that is struggling, especially if you are not using a phonics based program to work on reading skills.  You don't know for certain what the disconnect is so forcing more reading on a child with a learning difference may actually be ingraining poor reading habits without remediating the underlying issues.  It might give them a way to limp through reading with inefficient coping skills without helping them to actually master reading.  This is what happened to my DD.  Then you have to go back, start from scratch, and help the student unlearn the bad reading practices while teaching them the ones that actually work for how their brain processes language.

 

What you might look at is doing a few things, for now, since money is an issue and evaluations are not possible at this time.

 

1.  Write the school and officially request evaluations.  That starts the clock ticking.  It can take a while to get the school going on these but legally they have to start the ball rolling once you send in an official request.

 

2.  Get on the Barton Reading and Spelling website and give yourself the tutor screening.  Then give your child the student screening.  This is free, not super long, and might help you to know if there are certain issues that need to be addressed before a reading program might work.  I am linking it below.  This does not obligate you to buy Barton and it is not a test for dyslexia but it helps determine if certain issues may exist that would make a reading program problematic without additional interventions first.  This would at least give you a something free to help with a preliminary analysis.

 

https://bartonreading.com/tutors/#ts

 

https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss

 

Please note:  Before giving either of these screenings make sure that you will not be interrupted, the area is relatively quiet and free of distractions since hearing the sounds is critical, you and your student are well rested, not hungry or cranky, and you don't have to rush out the door soon.  

 

3.  Look into ElizabethB's free reading program designed for kids who struggle with reading.   It might help and it is free.  She posts on these boards and could answer your questions.  If that doesn't seem to work for you, seek out a reading program that is phonics based and preferrably Orton-Gillingham based specifically.

 

4. If you and your child pass the Barton screening, consider seeking out ways to possibly save up money for at least the first two levels of Barton or see if there is someone in your area you could borrow them from.  They usually resell at nearly the purchase price so save up to buy the first level ($250), implement the first level, sell it while you continue practicing what was learned, use that money to help purchase the second level, practice what was learned while you sell the second, and see if there has been any improvement.  Levels are not grade levels but skill levels, by the way.  Schools usually don't teach level 1.  Most kids pick up level one skills intuitively.  Many dyslexics do not.  Level two material is similar to what is normally taught in a standard phonics based reading program but normal reading programs usually go at a much faster pace and most programs skip a lot of steps that dyslexic students actually need taught to them explicitly and slowly.  It frequently is covered way too fast and with too little explicit instruction for the skills to be mastered and internalized for a dyslexic.  Barton, and other programs like it, break it all down into smaller pieces and teach things far more explicitly.  They also include a lot more review.

 

5. Read up on dyslexia and learning challenges.  You might read books like Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, The Dyslexic Advantage and The Mislabeled Child both by Brock and Fernette Eide, Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner by Kathy Kuhl, etc.


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 15 May 2017 - 08:10 PM.

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#6 goldenecho

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 11:29 AM

We are using Progressive Phonics, a free program online that explicitly teaches phonics rules and then follows up with short poetry readers where you read some and he reads some.  He responded well to the joint reading, which is why I stuck with that.  I'm considering trying All About Reading if he turns out to have Dyslexia, because I've heard it's good for that (And we already use All About Spelling, by the same company, which he's done well with)...but again, that would be after my husband is working again (because of cost).

 

We do the Piggie and Elephant books days we don't do that.  We don't usually do both, because of burn out.   We have not practiced sight words explicitly, but focused on phonics, though he has picked up some sight words through the reading practice. 

 

The other thing I wanted to say is that you mention practicing reading, but you don't mention reading instruction. What are you using for teaching phonics and reading? Those who are dyslexic generally will not be able to learn by practicing sight words or just by more reading. They need direct instruction of a specific nature.

 

Are you using a phonics program now? Have you in the past? Which one?

 

 


Edited by goldenecho, 15 May 2017 - 11:42 AM.


#7 Storygirl

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 04:31 PM

I don't know Progressive Phonics, but maybe someone else has used it.

 

I haven't used All About Reading, though it is popular and mentioned often on the WTM boards. I know it is OG based, which is good. But it was not created for remediating dyslexia, so it is not always sufficient.

 

Barton was created for remediating dyslexia. AAR looks cheaper at the outset, but, as OneStep mentioned, if you resell Barton, your cost may be less in the end. And it includes spelling and all language arts, so you wouldn't have to purchase other programs as well.

 

I did try All About Spelling with DD, and she was not able to get past those very first cards. She needed more intense remediation.  If your son is doing well with it, that's great!


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#8 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:17 PM

I have never used Progressive Phonics so I can't really say whether it is as thorough as something like Barton or Wilson or one of the other OG based programs designed for dyslexics.  How long have you been using it?  And how old is your child?  

 

Does the program use any nonsense words?  If so, how does your son read with nonsense words?  Is it his decoding that is weak?  Fluency?  Comprehension?



#9 goldenecho

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:06 PM

I have never used Progressive Phonics so I can't really say whether it is as thorough as something like Barton or Wilson or one of the other OG based programs designed for dyslexics.  How long have you been using it?  And how old is your child?  

 

Does the program use any nonsense words?  If so, how does your son read with nonsense words?  Is it his decoding that is weak?  Fluency?  Comprehension?

 

Progressive Phonics doesn't use nonesense words to my knowledge...it has the readers and some flash cards (which we haven't really used with him...I've mostly just used the readers, which included explanations of the phonics sounds and then 5 -10 poems to for your child to practice reading that use the new words.  Then everything is color coded.  New concept words are in red.  Previously covered words are in blue.  And words that parents should read (because they have concepts not addressed yet) are in grey.  You can have your child read just the new words first, and then reread with the blue too.  This is our second year using it.  Our first year, before we started with Progressive Phonics, we mostly worked with Bob books...and we were doing All About Spelling, which also had phonics practice.    Then of course before that he had some reading instruction in school that first year too, and we did Starfall some before that and some other random practice with letters. 

 

My son can decode alright but slowly.  He often will try to guess and I'll encourage him to sound it out (which he sometimes resists).  His fluency is comes and goes...like he will read fluently until he hits a hard word, or makes a mistake, and it will throw him off and sometimes after that he can't even read easy words t (I usually take a break and come back later in those cases, and often he will be able to read the passage fine then.  But any mistake in new material just creams his desire to keep going.   When we started, there were tears before even trying--like 20 minutes of tears with us sitting there encouraging him as best we knew how before he would attempt a short Bob book when we first started, so it's gotten much better.  We tarted doing reading in "play school," so he would pretend to be a toy "student" (a toy dinosaur or something) while he read, and that helped with the tears a lot...a drastic difference.  I think it was easier not to be afraid of mistakes when it was "the dinosaur" making them. And once we started using the Piggie and Elephant books he even would ask to do reading first, which is a huge improvement as far as motivation.  

 

But he still has very little reading stamina unless it's a book he's familiar with (which I know is because there's some memorization going on there, but that was a step he skipped when he was young...he never memorized books like his older brothers did...so we actually encouraged that somewhat because we figured that was a step that had been missing.)   He does a little better on Stamina with a first run through of a new Piggie and Elephant book, probably because he's gained confidence that he can do it.  And he is really fluent by the second run through of one of those...reads with the right emphasis, intonation, everything...only needs help with a few of the longer words. And I can tell he's at least looking at words for clues so it's not all memorization.  Plus, his memorization skills in general isn't usually that great to have something memorized that quickly.  But if I give him something new, even at the same level...all that confidence is gone.

 

Sometimes he'll look at a word and won't even get the starting sound right...like a pure guess out of the blue (sometimes an understandable guess from context, but not always).  Usually if I say "try again" he'll get it, but occasionally he will just be certain that's what the word says even though it doesn't even have the letters needed to make that sound. 

 

He used to always invert two letter words.  A few words he would invert like "was" he would always start with an "s."   And of course, he'd flip bs and ds, though he's getting better with that.  I looked up a lot of techniques for dealing with reversals and found some that seemed to help. 

 

 

 

 


Edited by goldenecho, 15 May 2017 - 10:36 PM.


#10 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:32 PM

Has your child ever had a vision screening with a developmental optometrist?  Along with possible dyslexia he might also have developmental vision issues.  Those frequently do not show up with a standard vision screening through a pediatrician.  In fact, a child can have perfect visual acuity and still have a developmental vision issue that makes reading more challenging.

 

The program you are using may not break things down into small enough pieces and it may not have taken him back far enough to really get better at reading.  Hard to know since I am unfamiliar with the program and he has not had an evaluation.  I wish I could be of more help there.   As for not having nonsense words, a lot of dyslexia reading programs use nonsense words to confirm that the child has not only understood and mastered a reading rule but has also internalized it.  Without the nonsense words it is often harder to determine if they are truly internalizing and able to apply what they are learning in many different situations.

 

I would still give him the Barton screening. You may also be dealing with other issues that are causing your current program to be less effective than it might have been.  See if he passes the screening.  Give yourself the tutor screening first.  Use the links I provided previously.  It is free and may give you more pieces to this puzzle.  


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#11 Storygirl

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:53 PM

I think there are some red flags there, which I say not to be alarmist or discouraging, but to reinforce that it's good for you to heed your concerns.

 

DD11 is dyslexic. I suspected it when she was four, knew it in my heart and gut by the time she was five or six, but didn't figure out how to get her tested until she was ten.

 

I can see why you want to encourage him by having him re-read books to build a sense of fluency. The tricky part is that it is not truly fluency unless he is decoding properly. If he is guessing words or reading from memory, or a combination, he is not really reading.

 

Decoding first. Fluency comes after. That's tough, because decoding is so hard for our kids who struggle, and it can be discouraging to be struggling every time you try to read.

 

DD11 is a master at guessing. I had to work hard to break her of that habit and get her to slow down to decode instead of guess. It was brutal, and we struggled with it for years.

 

I totally understand why you are working on the fluency, but I think switching the focus to decoding is important. You don't need to have him stop reading Elephant and Piggie, but I would make that the fun reading that you do together when snuggling on the couch. But the phonics and decoding needs to be the bulk of the reading instruction, at a separate time, but daily.

 

Basically, the fun reading is to build interest in books and enjoyment in reading. You can take turns reading pages, to decrease his fatigue. But you can take it back even a step further -- that enjoyment of reading is really going to be best developed by you just reading aloud to him, without him doing any of the work of reading for himself. So I personally wouldn't use the Piggie and Elephant books for reading instruction. I would use them for fun.

 

You may do a lot of readalouds already. An accommodation for dyslexia is to have audio versions of text available, so that the student can still have access to written material that they either cannot decode or that takes a lot of brain power to decode. Reading aloud provides this same benefit.

 

I think you are asking great questions, and I think you are working hard to help him! I want you to be encouraged that you are doing a good job! There is a lot to learn about reading disabilities and dyslexia, and you are doing well to try to figure this out more while he is still younger.

 

 


Edited by Storygirl, 15 May 2017 - 10:56 PM.

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#12 goldenecho

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:31 PM

Thanks so much everyone for all your help!   I really, really appreciate it.


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#13 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:35 PM

Thanks so much everyone for all your help!   I really, really appreciate it.

Hoping you find some answers and a positive path.  Best wishes.



#14 Heathermomster

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:46 AM

For testing, call around a discover whether you have a Scottish Rite Learning Center nearby. If you do, contact them directly and ask whether they provide free or low cost dyslexia screenings. If that option is not available to you, contact your nearest dyslexia school and find out whether they will dyslexia screen your child. Costs should run about $350.

After about 3.5 months of appropriate O-G reading instruction, my dyslexic DS was reading simple basal readers. Dyslexic reading instruction should be direct, explicit, and multisensory. My son worked with a tutor 45min/3 days per week. The work was challenging but did not harm him physically or emotionally. New neural reading pathways are generated during reading instruction. The mental tiredness is a side effect of positive growth. I can assure you that my DS did not like reading instruction at the time, but as a rising 12th grader, he is very thankful for being able to read at or above his reading level.

AAR was not designed for dyslexics. Have you administered the Barton, Reading, and Spelling pre-test? It is free and I highly recommend it. If you cannot afford Barton, maybe look at Recipe for Reading and/or Wilson materials for remediation. ElizabethB has excellent resources too. Some moms cobble together their own resources, so maybe one of them can make other suggestions.

Edited by Heathermomster, 17 May 2017 - 12:51 AM.


#15 ElizabethB

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:07 AM

I have had several students who did not have dyslexia who had that many problems and guessing habits just from the sight words they got in public school K who were later switched to phonics via private school or homeschooling. I have also had a few students like that who had either dyslexia or a vision problem. Either dyslexia or sight word guessing problems will both be helped with explicit phonics instruction that includes nonsense words. My students all made rapid progress when they switched to word lists only, no sentences or stories, and just word lists and nonsense words for a few months. The predictability of sentences and the inclusion of so many sight words in sentences triggers the guessing habit. If it is true dyslexia it will take a lot longer and you will need an OG program. The cheapest OG program is Recipe for Reading, you can get the manual for less than $20 and use it with a whiteboard and without the workbooks--I actually like it better that way, the whiteboard is more fun for my students and writing everything one letter at a time from left to right helps reinforce the sounding out every sound from left to right habit.

https://www.amazon.c...b/dp/0838805051

I have some ideas on my blending page:

http://www.thephonic...ndingwords.html

and my dyslexia page, with a link to a free assessment for phonemic awareness:

http://www.thephonic...g/dyslexia.html

If you suspect vision problems after ruling out everything else and reading the symptoms on the COVD website, you can purchase this book and work through the exercises in the book. If it is easy, just do a bit and move on. Hard, problem area, do a lot and work up gradually. For a student with no vision problems they will all be easy. Eventually you will need to see a COVD doctor but you can get a start with the book while saving up money for vision therapy and figuring out a good COVD doctor in your area.

https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I work in 20 minute sessions with 5 minutes of a game at the end, at the beginning always my phonics concentration game which is fun and makes both real and nonsense words. Later, Greek and Latin word root bingo. For older students, I do two 20 minute sessions broken up with a snack or short recess. It is better to do two 10 minute sessions than one 20 minute session when you have that luxury for a younger student. This is the program I use with my remedial students, all free to print:

http://www.thephonic...lesspellsu.html

You can track fluency and progress by doing a timed reading of 50 nonsense words per day, track time and accuracy, from the nonsense word document in the teacher folder in the link above. (But a change from simple to harder types will be a bit of a slowdown, for example, moving from simple short vowel words to mixed short vowel nonsense words and finally to a mix of all types of words once all phonics patterns have been taught.)

Edited by ElizabethB, 18 May 2017 - 03:06 AM.

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