Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

Cheaper alternative to AAR? Is it overhyped?


22 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 hdjCC

hdjCC

    Hive Mind Larvae

  • Members
  • 3 posts

Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:17 PM

I was heavily considering AAR for this year but then got sticker shock.  We have been doing a mix of HOP and OPGTR.  I have blue/red letters that I could incorporate into OPGTR...My son is dyslexic and I was thinking something more tactile could be useful to integrate.  Seems like one of those programs I hear so much about.



#2 coastalfam

coastalfam

    Hive Mind Level 3 Worker: Honeymaking Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 198 posts

Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:37 PM

We have used AAR, and it works great. We switched to Reading Lessons Through Literature, because of the better price, and because I prefer to have text books and teachers manuals on my tablet. RLTL works equally as well as AAR for my youngest and my oldest. However, neither of my kids has Dyslexia, so I really would not be able to comment on the interchangeability of the two programs I have used, or the ones you are using. I can say AAR is a solid program, and the tiles are a big hit with my kids, however, in my opinion, the font in the readers and on the fluency practice sheets is too small, especially for a struggling reader. I had to enlarge the material with my home scanner for my oldest, who struggles with reading due to Down syndrome, though my youngest son benefitted from enlarged material as well. I really can't wrap my head around the smallness of the font in the beginning level. If you can get your hands on the material to try it out with your son, that might be a good idea before you invest. Another thing you might do is cross post this in the Learning Challenges board for better guidance regarding curriculum helpful for children with dyslexia. Good luck!
 


  • sarahrb likes this

#3 coastalfam

coastalfam

    Hive Mind Level 3 Worker: Honeymaking Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 198 posts

Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:37 PM

Oops. Double post.
 


Edited by coastalfam, 08 July 2017 - 01:12 AM.


#4 Sweetpea3829

Sweetpea3829

    Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2208 posts

Posted 08 July 2017 - 03:49 AM

With your son having dyslexia, that kind of throws your question for a bit of a loop.  

 

AAR is, imo, overhyped.  I did not care for the pre-level at all and found it to be a complete waste of $$$.  Level 1 bored my students to tears.  The reader books were dull, the stories were uninspiring, and the practice/fluency sheets were overwhelming.  Everybody says you don't HAVE to do an entire fluency sheet...but to my 5 and 6 yr olds, just seeing that sheet was intimidating enough.  

 

HOP's readers were far more interesting.  Aside from the fact that they were colorful (which isn't necessarily a good thing for all students, but mine sure appreciated it), the stories were much more engaging and interesting.  The fluency/practice pages were not overwhelming.

 

Ultimately, I would start with HOP and use it until we got through CVC and into blends/digraphs.  Then I would switch over to Progressive Phonics, which is free and available to print here.  I'd typically pick it up early in the Intermediate levels, though with one of my students I went back and reviewed the entire Intermediate level from book 1.  

 

I'd throw in the remaining HOP readers as extra practice.  

 

Once they were fairly solid with digraphs/blends, I'd continue with the PP all the way through the end of that program, and I'd throw in Explode the Code as well for practice and to round things off.  I found that ETC was that final piece that they needed to really cement things in.  So we'd have the visual aspect of PP, and the physical/writing aspect of ETC.  

 

I also added in Spectrum Phonics through Grade 3 as additional practice.  My students would typically complete all of PP by the end of 1st grade, and 2nd grade into 3rd would be the finishing touch.  My youngest is entering 3rd this fall and he is just finishing up ETC.  BTW, they did not complete every single page of every single ETC book.  I'd rotate random pages into their daily work folders as review and practice.  If they had the skills for books 1-5, they'd see practice pages from any of those books.  

 

 

 

ALL of that to say...your case is different, because your student is dyslexic and learning to read won't happen quite so easily.  Honestly though, I'm not sure that AAR is the answer even for a dyslexic.  Barton reading program is pretty much the gold standard in teaching a dyslexic how to read.  But if you think AARs sticker price is an ouch...Barton is an even bigger ouch.  The good thing with Barton is that it's resale value is very high.  Susan Barton is easily accessible and is fantastic at helping her tutors.  

 

Over the past few months, my Mennonite neighbor has been coming over to our home to watch the Barton training videos on our TV (because they're not allowed to have electronics).  She tutors students from within their community who were recently identified as dyslexic.  She's also using a second program with two of the younger boys that weren't ready for Barton...but I can't remember its name now.  

 

IMO, if you *can* swing Barton's costs, do it.  It's worth every penny.  It's not worth it to waste your time, and your student's time, on programs that won't likely work to remediate the dyslexia.  IMO, AAR isn't intense enough to do the job.  But Barton is.  


  • texasmom33 and fralala like this

#5 Melissa in Australia

Melissa in Australia

    Amateur at everything

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11232 posts

Posted 08 July 2017 - 06:01 AM

I have special needs twins. I have been trying for 2 years to teach them the alphabet. The prereading AAR is WORKING. It is unbelievable

I am using AAS with my dyslexic 13 year old we started in book 3. He is rocketing through it. The dictation is going really well. I have tried him with AAR and he feels it too babyish.

I know someone who is homeschooling her dyslexic children and I recommended AAR to her and she is blown away with the results for her children.

I really love it and wished I had found out about it before this year.

You think the price is expensive over there. It is just about double here.

#6 Pintosrock

Pintosrock

    Hive Mind Larvae

  • Members
  • 25 posts

Posted 10 July 2017 - 02:36 PM

Well, we weren't enamored with AAR. We tried the pre level for dd who is struggling tremendously with her letters. The crafts are a large part of the program and were a complete bust over here.

Some reviewers loved the puppet. I must be the only one weirded out by a beheaded animal... We went with a different puppet, but the whole puppet idea is a flop here. He distracts dd and they go off dancing together.

Instead, we've taken a multipronged, hands on approach, customized to dd's interests (that's why we do homeschooling, right?) We do:

Small alphabet puzzle (M&D makes a board with two pieces, upper and lowercase, for each letter. Giving dd two boards with four pieces is WAY less frustrating than a 26 piece standard alphabet puzzle)

Bob books alphabet series

Build a letter (using a template and Duple LEGO blocks or wood pattern blocks)

Random alphabet books from the library (dd matches two puzzle letters to the letters in the book)

I suppose that's cheaper than AAR, if I had only known this was the direction we were going before buying it!

#7 ExcitedMama

ExcitedMama

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 746 posts

Posted 10 July 2017 - 03:56 PM

I don't think AAR is overhyped. My DS couldn't even read CVC words when he started and after a slow start we breeezed through all levels quickly and now he is an enthusiastic reader. He loves reading and I often have to tell him to put down his book and go to bed. I was very impressed with how systematically it taught all the phonograms and kept it fun and interesting through all the levels. The readers are really cute, even when the phonograms are limited. The TMs are reusable which helps with sticker shock if you will be using with another child. I have been getting their newsletters for years and they do often talk about this program and it's benefits for dyslexia.

If you want to try something tactile you could consider adding in the MP First Start Reading workbooks. You don't need the TM and the workbooks are pretty cheap. When my DS was starting out and having trouble with putting sounds together FSR was really helpful. It starts with bubble tracing letters and moved up to words. It has coloring and slowly works up to reading comprehension exercises. It was really well done and DS was sorry when it was over, they have more books out now. It really helped things click for him by adding in writing.
  • Melissa in Australia likes this

#8 amazzie

amazzie

    Hive Mind Worker Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 196 posts

Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:03 PM

My dyslexics did well with this. http://www.soundfoun...ns.co.uk/en_US/ The stories are crazy so I'd skip them unless you are teaching an older kid. The flashcards and notched card along with the mastery/overlearning were priceless!

 



#9 Jess4879

Jess4879

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1603 posts

Posted 11 July 2017 - 08:17 AM

We fast tracked my oldest (dyslexic) through AAR and it definitely helped.  My middle kiddo - non dyslexic - also used AAR and did well with it.  She skipped the tiles and a lot of the games and just read.  My youngest, I strongly suspect is also dyslexic, and we are working through AAR 1 very, very slowly.  We really loved the readers, especially when compared to Bob books and other phonics readers.  The AAR stories have a much better flow to them and are more interesting to read than "Sam O.K.  Bob O.K"  lol 

 

AAR is very good at building in the systematic teaching and review that dyslexic students need, without boring them to tears and killing their love of reading. 

 

I wouldn't have used it with my non-dyslexic, however, if I didn't already have it.  Something like OPGTR would have worked well and cost less. 

 



#10 Farrar

Farrar

    Expert Cat Herder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22553 posts

Posted 11 July 2017 - 08:33 AM

AAR came out too late for us, but we used AAS... it seems like a fair price tag for what you get in terms of materials. However, it's an O-G program, and there are many others, including many that are cheaper. And Spalding is one that's more of a DIY version that's much cheaper.

 

However, if I had a child who was diagnosed with dyslexia, I wouldn't fool around. I'd just go with Barton, which is even more, I think. I think you can fool around with teaching reading all kinds of ways in the absence of a learning disability. Phonics should still be the basis, but there are more and less intensive approaches that can work and materials that are free or incredibly cheap, like Progressive Phonics or a pile of BOB books and a copy of OPG or Reading Reflex or something. But for a kid with dyslexia, I wouldn't do any of that. I'd get right on a program that's meant to work with dyslexic kids.


  • Heathermomster, ZaraBellesMom, Syllieann and 2 others like this

#11 goldenecho

goldenecho

    Hive Mind Level 4 Worker: Builder Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 226 posts

Posted 11 July 2017 - 10:06 PM

I was heavily considering AAR for this year but then got sticker shock.  We have been doing a mix of HOP and OPGTR.  I have blue/red letters that I could incorporate into OPGTR...My son is dyslexic and I was thinking something more tactile could be useful to integrate.  Seems like one of those programs I hear so much about.

 

Since your child has dyslexia, I would ask this on the "Learning Challenges" part of this forum.  I've asked a question about AAS and other programs for Dyslexia there and got some very good answers.
 



#12 goldenecho

goldenecho

    Hive Mind Level 4 Worker: Builder Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 226 posts

Posted 11 July 2017 - 10:11 PM

PS:   I am not sure if this is the same for AAR, but for AAS almost all the cost was for the initial manipulatives, which you keep year after year.   The books and cards, since they are non-consumables (not used up...can be reused) were not hard to find used, cheap.    Because there are also readers, used versions of AAR seem to be more...about $70 is what I've seen (I've looked into it because I love AAS).  AAS workbooks/cards seem to run about $20 used.  So if you did both it would be about $90 per year if you bought used. 



#13 ByGrace3

ByGrace3

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4125 posts

Posted 12 July 2017 - 01:46 PM

It's not overhyped. It works, and the resale value is great... So basically you get almost half the price back... Totally worth it for us.

#14 Ellie

Ellie

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 31345 posts

Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:11 PM

I was heavily considering AAR for this year but then got sticker shock.  We have been doing a mix of HOP and OPGTR.  I have blue/red letters that I could incorporate into OPGTR...My son is dyslexic and I was thinking something more tactile could be useful to integrate.  Seems like one of those programs I hear so much about.

 

The mother of AAR, Spalding, is definitely less expensive: You need the manual (Writing Road to Reading), a set of phonogram cards, and, for children 8 and older, a sewn composition book (a new one each year). For less than $50, you're good to go with all your children, forever. :-)


  • sarahrb likes this

#15 Syllieann

Syllieann

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1002 posts

Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:15 PM

I don't think it's overhyped. It is a good, easy-to-use program that is open and go and works for a wide variety of teachers and learners. The pacing is flexible, which allows for mastery while still providing spiral review. The resale is good, and it includes everything so you don't have to go scrounging around for readers that line up with your phonics program. By the way, if you do purchase a set of nice readers (not the fold-it-yourself paper pamphlets) to go with a cheaper phonics program, you will be nearing the cost of AAR anyway.

Despite my fondness for AAR, if opgtr is working then why switch? If opgtr is working for the student but you're tired of fussing with making flashcards and finding readers, you will likely find AAR worthwhile. If your student is just plain not able to move forward with opgtr due to the dyslexia, then I would go straight to Barton based on what I've read on these forums.

Spalding is not the mother of AAR. They would better be described as siblings, both the spawn of OG methods. I would not do Spalding or a spinoff with a dyslexic unless there was some sort of extenuating circumstance. The incremental approach of OG and AAR, wherein one sound is practiced until fluency before adding the next new thing, is just plain easier. It reminds me of SWB's advice to only expect them to do one hard thing at a time. Many kids do fine with all the phonograms (and all their sounds) up front, but it is mentally more demanding. I just see no reason to add that in for a struggling reader.
  • Melissa in Australia, Farrar and scholastica like this

#16 MerryAtHope

MerryAtHope

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7520 posts

Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:25 PM

In the latest version of The Well-Trained Mind, SWB and JW say that All About Reading is "the most age-appropriate and parent-friendly Orton-Gillingham program on the market." Marie Rippel's son has severe dyslexia and they were told he would never read (you can see a short video about his story here). She's a member of the International Dyslexia Association and of Pro Literacy, has taught graduate level courses in O-G, and tutored for more than 20 years. It's definitely worth considering for a student with dyslexia.


  • Renai, Melissa in Australia, melmichigan and 1 other like this

#17 OneStepAtATime

OneStepAtATime

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 32091 posts

Posted 13 July 2017 - 11:48 AM

AAR is not overhyped if you mean do you pay a fortune for something that doesn't work.  It can work incredibly well depending on the student and the facilitator.  As with anything else, though, it will work better for some than others and it IS more costly because it is a more intense OG based system than most reading systems.  Some kids need that depth and intensity.  Some kids don't, or need a different approach.

 

Since your child is dyslexic that means that there are a lot of reading programs out there that are going to make too many leaps, won't break down the material enough, won't review enough, for him to have real success.  AAR has worked well for many dyslexics.  it does break things down more, does approach the material from many different directions, and dyslexics usually need that.  Is it more costly?  Yes, but it has a good resale value and it does cost money to produce materials with this many components and pieces.  

 

As mentioned up thread, though, Barton Reading and Spelling is designed specifically for dyslexic students.  It goes into even more detail, breaks down things even further, and is considered a well laid out program for dyslexic students.  It is also designed for a layman to use instead of a trained dyslexia specialist.  I honestly found Barton to be a huge massive help to my two dyslexic children.  Was it costly?  Yes, compared to programs for NT kids.  My kids are not NT (neurotypical).

 

To give you an idea of the cost comparison, though, my kids were at one point going to private remediation tutoring with a "dyslexia specialist".  We paid over $800 in one month and had only barely scratched the beginning surface of their issues.  We were looking at complete financial ruin if we had continued down that path, $800+ a month for years (and yes remediation can take years).  I finally gave up on schools and tutors and other reading programs and moved to Barton.  It has actually SAVED us money, and time and effort.

 

So back to your earlier question, no AAR is not overhyped in the sense that it is a solid program that works well for many.  For a lot of people something like AAR is not necessary, but it can be a great fit for many neurtotypical kids that need that intense a program.  For a dyslexic, unless you are a trained dyslexia specialist that can take nearly anything and turn it into something useful, you will probably need something like AAR or Barton.

 

You might give your child the free student screening on the Barton website.  If they will have any success at all with an OG based reading program (regardless of which one) they should be able to pass that screening.  If they don't, they probably need additional remediation first with LiPS or Foundations in Sound.  

 

Best wishes.


  • Farrar and Sweetpea3829 like this

#18 Zinnia

Zinnia

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1066 posts

Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:53 PM

We tried AAR for a year with my (turns out) profoundly dyslexic child.  

 

It both went too fast (and didn't break things down into small enough pieces; introduced too many things) and relied heavily on sight word review, which allowed him time to memorize the words.  Which made for a frustrating year for both of us.  He was "learning" the words that he had memorized, but he couldn't apply the phonics rules to any other words.  Frustrating all around.

 

Barton is a better fit for us.  But he is very, very affected by the dyslexia, and even Barton isn't winning any speed contests around here.  So this is definitely a YMMV sort of review.



#19 melmichigan

melmichigan

    sitting on "The Fence"

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5450 posts

Posted 13 July 2017 - 11:34 PM

We start AAR Level 3 with my dyslexic son next week.  We started back with AAR 1 after I realized that something was wrong and HOP was not cutting it for this child. It has made a huge difference for him.  I have resold my sets for half of my original cost each time.  I do not feel it's overhyped.  


  • Melissa in Australia likes this

#20 ExcitedMama

ExcitedMama

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 746 posts

Posted 14 July 2017 - 09:25 AM

Just to clarify from the other post AAR absolutely does not rely on sight words at all. It does have review but that's for words previously learned which are taught as sounded out. The first level is actually very different from most sequences taught so it's actually pretty hard to use any readers you might see which is probably for the best as the student will continue to practice the phonograms taught before level 2 really allows branching out and adding in supplemental reading material. At that point sounding out is cemented and outside reading can be tackled based on practice taught to found out unfamiliar words. It's also a great program to use at your student's speed. If a new concept is tricky it's super easy to break up the lessons. In the beginning a lesson might have a new phonogram and a couple of exercises/games to practice it and fluency sheets to read. When we started DS hated the fluency sheets and read very slowly so I broke them over a few days. He was usually fine with the multiple exercises but it would be easy to break those up as well. It usually alternates teaching a new phonogram and the next lesson is reading a story with the new phonogram incorporated. As DS' fluency picked up the lessons went quicker until we were zooming through them so it's very easy to customize to your student's needs. It teaches very systematically so there's no reason to rush at anything. Work through the lesson as the student needs to in order to learn. Obviously rushing would frustrate the student and hurt their chances of retaining the material.
  • Syllieann likes this

#21 Syllieann

Syllieann

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1002 posts

Posted 14 July 2017 - 11:58 AM

Just to clarify from the other post AAR absolutely does not rely on sight words at all. It does have review but that's for words previously learned which are taught as sounded out. The first level is actually very different from most sequences taught so it's actually pretty hard to use any readers you might see which is probably for the best as the student will continue to practice the phonograms taught before level 2 really allows branching out and adding in supplemental reading material. At that point sounding out is cemented and outside reading can be tackled based on practice taught to found out unfamiliar words. It's also a great program to use at your student's speed. If a new concept is tricky it's super easy to break up the lessons. In the beginning a lesson might have a new phonogram and a couple of exercises/games to practice it and fluency sheets to read. When we started DS hated the fluency sheets and read very slowly so I broke them over a few days. He was usually fine with the multiple exercises but it would be easy to break those up as well. It usually alternates teaching a new phonogram and the next lesson is reading a story with the new phonogram incorporated. As DS' fluency picked up the lessons went quicker until we were zooming through them so it's very easy to customize to your student's needs. It teaches very systematically so there's no reason to rush at anything. Work through the lesson as the student needs to in order to learn. Obviously rushing would frustrate the student and hurt their chances of retaining the material.


I agree. Aar does not rely on sight words. Aside from the rule breakers and leap words, which are few, the phonics is taught for all the words. They are sounded out. The manual tells the teacher to use the cursor. If the child starts guessing the parent should use the cursor. If the cards are being used to teach sight words, that is not in keeping with what the manual tells the parent to do at all.

#22 hdjCC

hdjCC

    Hive Mind Larvae

  • Members
  • 3 posts

Posted 14 July 2017 - 09:20 PM

Thank you all for your responses.  I think we are getting clearer on a direction. The open and go  option and having to find readers is appealing and something OPGTR doesn't offer.  Just using blue and red magnetic letters along with OPGTR was a direction I was considering.  I have also been plowing through the demo videos on Barton.

 

Thank you!!


  • MerryAtHope likes this

#23 ElizabethB

ElizabethB

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10047 posts

Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:05 PM

You can teach the basics of an OG program for under $30 by using the Recipe for Reading manual and doing the lessons on a white board. You can follow up with Sophris West Rewards after a few years for higher level OG phonics, it is $100 for teachers manual plus $20 for student workbook, but you can sometimes find teacher books used.

Not as easy to use as Barton, but pretty easy and a lot cheaper.

ETA: The Recipe for Reading manual's cost has gone down, it is now under $20 at Amazon.

https://www.amazon.c...ipe for reading

I personally think it is better and more interactive to not buy the workbooks and just teach from a whiteboard and with magnetic letters or scrabble/banannagram tiles. Another book I own, Back on the Right Track Reading, suggests buying a small box of kitchen or bathroom tiles at a local hardware store and writing on them with a sharpie to make your own tiles, then you can have a single tile for sh, ch, oa, ai, etc.

Edited by ElizabethB, 17 July 2017 - 03:17 PM.