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Barton Reading and Spelling for language arts


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#1 ShariM

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 02:51 PM

I'm using Barton for 2 children who are now 12 and 11. They are both currently in Level 3 and are almost finished with it, so the extent of the language arts so far has been making sure to start a sentence with a capital and end with punctuation, and also marking Who, Did What, and Where phrases. On Susan Barton's website it says that Barton is a complete language arts program, except for writing, which I assume to mean grammar. Has anyone completed enough levels to verify this? It would be great to use just one program for reading, spelling, and grammar. They've had some grammar exposure, so they aren't completely in the dark.

 

BTW, I love the program. And I watch all the training videos. From what I read I thought they'd be boring, but I really get a lot out of them. But watching for just the upcoming lesson is much easier. 

 



#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 07:41 AM

I love Barton.  Having now used Barton through several levels here is my take on Barton as a complete language arts resource:

 

  1. When Barton says it is a complete language arts program, I don't think she included literature in that statement.  It is good for learning the skills of reading, spelling and basic grammar.  It is not necessary to add anything else to the program through at least Level 3 and doing so could cause the student to be slower (especially an older student) to remediate reading/spelling issues.  (Please note, though, that I am not referring to exposure to good literature through auditory means because I absolutely believe that the child(ren) need that separately from what is provided in Barton, but they should NOT be required to do outside independent reading).
  2. Once Level 4 is started, especially once you get about halfway through, if the child is doing well you could start a systematic writing program to run alongside it.  The student may still need a lot of scaffolding and supports in place to learn to write so scribe for them, use dictation software or whatever else may work so the writing skills are not bogged down by the spelling/grammar that is still being learned.
  3. I do not think the program has enough targeted grammar past Level 5 to be used as a standalone and frankly I started implementing additional grammar after Level 4.
  4. Because of the way Barton does the phrases it pairs extremely well with Institute For Excellence in Writing's TWSS/SWI beginning writing program paired with Fix-It Grammar.  Fix-It only takes :15 a day and is a slow, steady building of layers of skill that does not interfere with what Barton is doing.  It reinforces it. I found other grammar programs distracted and confused.  Fix-It paired well.
  5. Coming at things from multiple angles helped material to really solidify so while Barton COULD be used as a stand alone for reading skills (NOT literature), spelling skills and grammar skills, frankly I don't think it is enough grammar exposure at higher levels, especially with older students.
  6. What worked best here:  Barton through mid-Level 4 with nothing else added (I tried and I mucked the kids up); Barton coupled with IEW's TWSS/SWI moving very sloooooowwwwwwlllllllyyyyyy, coupled with Fix-It Grammar; and exposure to LOTS of literature through read alouds and audio books plus exposure to LOTS of vocabulary/concepts through daily living and experiencing new things and lots and lots of great free flowing discussion.  Also having books around below their decoding level that were at their intellectual level (Hi Noon books are good for that).  Having a solid vocabulary through exposure IRL and through literature helped so much with spelling/reading skills once the Barton program was implemented.  I coupled all of that with Touch Type Read Spell to reinforce the spelling skills being learned.
  7. In other words, no I do not think it is a good idea to just use only Barton for all language arts past Level 4.  I love Barton and it is an awesome program but just like Barton uses multiple modalities to tackle skills acquisition, as you get into higher levels I think students need exposure from even more resources in a targeted fashion to help it all gel and stick.  That being said, it really isn't hard to do with programs that pair well with the Barton system.  There is a flow to do the day and each system is reinforcing the other.  

Good luck and best wishes.


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 11 February 2018 - 07:46 AM.

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#3 ShariM

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 11:47 PM

Thank you for this. I've never looked at Fix It Grammar; I'll have to check it out. We've used Rod and Staff, Easy Grammar, Evan Moor, and Grammarland (which I'm just reading to them).

 

I was using Writing With Ease, but after starting Barton I put it on the shelf until after Level 4. I have an opportunity to attend a workshop for writing which uses the Institute For Excellence in Writing's writing intensives, so it's good to know that will be worthwhile. I had started to use Evan Moor Daily 6 Trait Writing, but again, I'm waiting to finish Level 4. I liked how short those were, and very step by step. 

 

Right now I'm reading every subject aloud to them. I'm trying very hard to follow her advice to not require any reading. I think that is helping. 

 

I love Barton too. I should have done it a lot sooner, but occasionally we would see some progress, so I'd get some false hope. But better late than never I guess.

 


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#4 quitzia

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 05:53 AM

Thanks to both of you for this discussion. I'm learning a lot just by reading your posts. My son just finished Barton level 3, so we're trying to decide what to do next. DS8 really wants to try reading books, so I've been letting him. However, I'm worried that he might switch back to guessing, rather than reading, as he used to do before we started using Barton. He becomes so engaged with any story that he really wants to get to the end. I think his habit of reading too quickly is also from a habit that he's built through years of frustration with reading (before Barton) and wanting to "just be done" with reading. Let me know if either of you have any advice for me.

 

OneStepAtATime, was there a point when your kids began to want to read?



#5 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:48 PM

Thanks to both of you for this discussion. I'm learning a lot just by reading your posts. My son just finished Barton level 3, so we're trying to decide what to do next. DS8 really wants to try reading books, so I've been letting him. However, I'm worried that he might switch back to guessing, rather than reading, as he used to do before we started using Barton. He becomes so engaged with any story that he really wants to get to the end. I think his habit of reading too quickly is also from a habit that he's built through years of frustration with reading (before Barton) and wanting to "just be done" with reading. Let me know if either of you have any advice for me.

 

OneStepAtATime, was there a point when your kids began to want to read?

 

Yes they did start to want to read.  They went from hating reading and struggling every minute to decode to reading pretty smoothly and not balking at reading and choosing to read.  They do not read as much as I do, though, and probably never will.

 

DD was in 7th grade and halfway through Level 3 when she finally read a chapter book on her own for fun.  She got a full length novel (recommended here on the LC board) for Christmas and happily sat in a chair reading the book.  She was able to decode enough words with fluency to enjoy reading the book and continued the series.  Now, she reads for pleasure upon occasion and reads for things she is interested in (fact based material or skills acquisition or certain book series she has interest in).  She is not a voracious reader but she enjoys reading for pleasure periodically and more importantly now she CAN read and read independently as she needs to/chooses to.  Barton made a world of difference.

 

DS mainly reads for information in areas of interest.  He will read voraciously when doing research on something.  Pleasure reading on his own for fiction stuff?  Not nearly as much.  He will sometimes listen to audio books for pleasure.

 

But both have vision issues that cause reading fatigue, especially DS.  The decoding/fluency issues have been pretty much taken care of by Barton.  However, they still read more slowly than I do.  It is more effort for them.  They read well.  They just get fatigued.  (I started reading early and easily.  It was never a challenge for me and I would read for hours when I was their age so my experience was very different from theirs.)

 

What I had to accept was that they will probably never get the same level of enjoyment from reading for pleasure as I do.  Whether that is because we started Barton so late or vision issues just make it hard enough that they don't have the same level of pleasure as I get or even with remediation the effort they have to put in makes it less fun or maybe they never would have had as much interest in reading because that is not part of their make-up would be hard to determine at this point.  They read.  They read well.  Whether they choose to pick up a book every time they have a spare moment or not is irrelevant to me at this point.  I'm just happy they have this skill set and use it, in whatever capacity they choose to.