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Everything posted by cabritadorada

  1. I love this thread--and ElizabethB, that video is great! The /a/ with m or n issue is exactly the blending problem that I had with dd using AAR. I didn't notice the way short a changes at first--my mom, with her EdM in language and literacy, pointed it out to me as a reason that dd is struggling to blend--and she's totally right. The the tongue placement for /an/ or /am/ is in a different place than it is for /at/ or /ap/ and dd could not make the leap from saying the separate sounds to saying them as a word when the sound changes even a little bit. My mom said that for kids who struggle with blending you can teach the vowel sound attached to the consonant that controls it (phonics programs already do this for more pronounced examples like r-controlled vowels, ang/ing/ung/ong, etc). So, you teach -an and -am as word parts, and then the child works on blending it with the initial consonant.
  2. I see what you're saying, HoppyTheToad - I haven't previewed past episode 23 but I've read the synopses to 80. It does look like the pace changes at 40 and you get comparatively more sight words. I'd still call in strongly phonics-based though. DD is now 11 lessons in the only sight word on headsprout is "the" (at DD's school they're still introducing letter sounds and not pushing blending that hard, but the kids have 20 sight words they're supposed to know--so that's kind of my point of comparison). The thing I'm really loving about Headsprout is how the phonics are organized. Every sound segment that is introduced is completely stable--so, "ee" will always sound like "ee" in English, and "an" will always sound like "an," "v" is "v" and so on. Part of our struggle with sounding out with AAR was that right from lesson 1-- the short /a/ is introduced with with /p/ and /m/...and /a/ does *not* sound the same in "map" as it does in "Pam." It's subtle, but there's and extra leap the the child needs to make during blending to get to the word. DD wasn't getting it all the time and was getting super frustrated. If you're being introduced to stable sound segments and then blending words like: see, Lee, van, can, ran, etc. It's a lot easier of a bridge to blending, at least for my kid. We'll see how it goes past lesson 40, though, the program definitely changes.
  3. As the title says, I'm in love with this app/program...has anyone else used it with their dcs? We did AAR pre-reading over the summer before K (DD is in public school) and I was attempting AAR Level 1 at home since her school does "whole language" with leveled readers and DD is getting nothing from it--but with AAR she was having a ton of trouble blending and was extremely resistant to the level 1 lessons. DD just completed lesson 10 of headsprout, which is an "assessment level" with fluency sheets to check for weak spots--and I'm so pleased with her progress and the lack of resistance I'm getting from DD when it comes to reading.
  4. Do free trials of everything! We're doing trials of Reading Eggs, Mathseeds and Headsprout right now and I'm extremely impressed with Headsprout. It introduces sounds, blending and segmenting with a lot of varied practice and in a very understandable way. DD is on lesson 9 (doing about 4 a week)--and I'm seeing huge progress. I really like that it introduces stable phonics segments that will virtually always be pronounced exactly the way the child learns them the first time (/ee/, /s/, /v/, /an/, /cl/...). DD is reading the Headsprout readers on her own, something she has not been able to do over the last 2 months with leveled readers provided by her kindergarten, AAR readers, or BOB books despite a lot of effort. I've previewed the lessons up to 20 and I just really impressed with how well thought out it is. I've previewed some of the reading comprehension lessons as part of the free trial too--they look well thought out but I can't comment on why my kid might think of them. :) Reading Eggs moves faster--especially with sight words--than Headsprout. I think it's pretty good reinforcement of letter sounds and sight words but at least for my dd, too fast and not enough blending practice to be her curriculum--I'd use it more as a game. Mathseeds is very repetitive but colorful and cute. Worth a try. I think there are co-op buys for all of these programs right now.
  5. I'm a full-time working mom by necessity--homeschooling is not an option. I'm very inspired by WTM and homeschooling--but for us it has to be afterschooling. Still--there is time in the morning and evening to spend a few minutes doing fun phonics and math--and we spend a ton of time reading. I am deliberate about making our at home time interesting and "enriched" -- Ancient Egypt was been the theme for October. We checked out a ton of books on Ancient Egypt and Egyptian mythology and read them together on the evenings and weekends. We drew pictures of Egyptian dress and the gods and pyramids and hieroglyphics. We examine the maps and read related bible stories. We created an egyptian princess halloween costume. We also do units from Mystery Science every few weeks for fun. (The human body ones were super interesting and memorable) The books we checked out for November are about the first Americans (native) and Native American folk tales. It will be super fun. She's at an age where she just wants to soak up all the information and then let her imagination run wild with it. I don't know what it will be like after, say, third grade--but at least for these early years I feel like it's fairly easy to fit in some homeschooling even if you can't home school.
  6. I get it through a testingmom.com subscription which was $118/year. Through testingmom I've also got free logins to a ton of different educational websites/apps including: Webber's Hearbuilder, Wordly Wise 3000, Brittannica, MobyMax, Reading Kingdom, Clay Piggy, Scootpad, Scholastic BookFlix, Tumblebook Library, Planetii Smartmath... It's a surprisingly great deal if you use even 2 of them.
  7. Just wanted to check in and say that successful blending happened this morning!! The look on dd's face when she realized she'd just read "map".... :) And then Pam, sap, am, sam.... I had her touch each letter and make its sound, then do it again faster. then I had her put her finger under the first "m-a" and said, "This says /ma/" and had her repeat--then I asked her if she could add the last sound to that... and she finally did it! It went smoothly with the other words and she's so excited now. For the past week we've revisited blending briefly every day and I've modeled what we're trying to do--the rest of the time we've been working on letter sounds, say it slow-say it fast, and a few sight words she has in Kindergarten. I'd say it's been 3 weeks of attempts before it just now clicked for dd. OP, I hope your son has a breakthrough soon too.
  8. We're in a similar place--AAR pre-reading has totally caught up my 5.5 yo dd on her phonological awareness skills (she passes the AAR 1 pretest with flying colors now) but we've been trying lesson 1 of AAR level 1 for a week now and she can't blend. For now we're in a holding pattern--we review the basic phonograms every day, attempt to blend a few times, and then practice initial sounds and robot voice (say it sloooow, say it fast). It was suggested to me that if you give a child the first consonant attached to the vowel of a cvc word, you can help transition into blending. For example, teach that "ca" says /ca/ and then add /t/ for cat or /p/ for cap, if f that makes sense...We are trying this but it hasn't clicked yet.
  9. What do you guys like the most? History Buffs? Architecture? Art? Pizza? Theatre? Music? If you have anything you're particularly passionate about, NYC will have something one-of-a-kind to offer in that area. Do any of the big attractions call your name?
  10. Yes! If you haven't done so yet, watch this video with him. You might want him to take this free online course on How to Learn Math -- he probably has all kinds of fear and judgments about himself wrapped up in slowness and the possibility of getting the wrong answer. It can be paralyzing.
  11. With a Kindergartener here: I almost don't count our read alouds--they're just part of every day no matter what. Other than reading aloud the one thing I aim to hit every day is phonics.
  12. I'm one of those people who thinks that giftedness in children is kind of a scam. Malcolm Gladwell has written extensively on this--what we call childhood "giftedness"--the 99% percentile 4,5, and 6 year olds--it's not very meaningful in the long-term. That said, a high score on those tests mean extra resources and options for your kid and that's never a bad thing. If you think your child would benefit from the options or accelerated learning, I'd encourage you to prepare them for the test a bit...and take the results either way with a heaping tablespoon of salt. Testing in 6th grade or above is more predictive, but even then it's just a tiny piece of the picture of a child's skills and potential.
  13. The Library is #1 inter-library loan is like Amazon to me, but it's FREE!! I know there are are others with great link collections to vintage public domain materials--they're great. I agree Progressive Phonics is fun and useful. Mystery Science is free this year and we LOVE it. The Crash Course videos are awesome--there is a crash course for kids that geared toward the elementary set. Free Teacher Resources that can be adapted for Homeschool: The Core Knowledge Foundation has pdfs of all of its curriculum for free online--you would probably need an ereader to really use the materials, but the lesson plans and stories are high-quality and could be adapted for use at home. ReadWorks.org https://www.learner.org/
  14. After school crankiness is exactly why I've been doing the bulk of our after schooling in the morning BEFORE the school day. :P Afterschool we mostly just read together. I agree that snacks are hugely important. If we get any learning done in the evening it's with a snack or a Popsicle. One thing I'm surprised the article doesn't mention is sleep. Lots of cranky students are not getting enough sleep at night...I know if DD gets a solid 11 hours I'm probably going to have a good evening cooperator, but if she has trouble falling asleep on time (even just a little less than 10.5 hours at night) she's burned out by 4 pm and I shouldn't push it.
  15. "What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know" by E.D. Hirsch Jr would be a pretty great resource for you, I think. It's not a full curriculum for Kindergarten by any means and it assumes no formal instruction is taking place--it's essentially stories (non-fiction and classic fiction), games and songs. You get some history, geography and science, literature and folktales, number and patterns games. In my experience, 5 year olds are sponges and *love* learning about the world almost as much as they love free play. Just think of all the questions they've got for us! There can be value to holding back on phonics and numbers for a while, but go ahead and pour on knowledge about weather systems, ancient Egypt, ecosystems and animals, dinosaurs, food, human anatomy, the solar system, maps, Great Explorers, the Old West, and so on, through books, conversation, experiments, films, etc. It can be light--you're helping him construct information and vocabulary scaffolding that he'll build on extensively later.
  16. I second Letterland as a really fun option. We love all the characters and how their personalities match how the letters behave in words! My daughter is especially partial to the Jolly Phonics songs and hand motions for each phonogram. You can find them on youtube and soon you'll be singing "Ah ah, ants on my arm!" (skip to my loo) and so on.
  17. The above Reed College quote is similar to the original AOL article that claims (notably without quoting) that the new UCLA Black Living-Learning Community was created to provide students "safe refuse from micro-aggressions and other forms of racism present in campus culture." This "safe from micro-aggressions" angle is the journalist's gloss on the story--not coming from UCLA or even the Black Student Union. As for Reed...it's a very unique college where "systemic white supremacy" and "Western Civilization" are pretty much synonymous...I suspect no enrolled students would be offended by the idea that students of color might want their own house to heal together. For the rest of us, I think it's pretty normal to get one's hackles up about the implication that one group *needs* a house to keep it safe from the rest of the college community--even if there's a kernel of truth to it. It feels uncomfortable.
  18. @Artic Mama Based on what I've read about the UCLA house and my basic knowledge of Civil Rights Law--skin color has no bearing on the application process, but realistically there is self-selection going on among applicants. This is pretty normal. Amherst College has Theme Houses - see https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/housing-dining/residential-life/housing/theme Including the Charles Drew House that is traditionally Black. Again, skin color and identity are not part of the application process. Another example, currently New York City has a Men TEACH initiative to try to encourage more men (especially minority men) in college to train to become teachers, but the program itself is open to all. I think affinity groups are often a good thing *IF* they are optional and a person can place themselves rather than being told where they belong. It can be pretty isolating to be in a minority (religious, gender, skin color, country of origin, etc...) especially in a new setting like college.
  19. An alternative viewpoint. The idea is that it's a "themed living community" for students who share a common interest--in this case, black culture and issues--black skin is not a requirement to live there. Only 24 students live there. At my college there was an honors dorm, a Spanish House, and Italian House, a French House and a Vegan House...that were all officially school sponsored housing. I don't think there's much fuss to this.
  20. I have a daughter with some speech difficulties and I can tell you that what finally clicked for her was really working on verbal word and sound games until she was finally able to "hear" initial sounds of words. Pre-reading games that help: Rhyming games - (hop if I say 2 words that rhyme, stay still if they don't rhyme) matching pictures that rhyme, read a book with many mispronounced words (call the mouse a "grouse" and have her correct you, etc), have her come up with rhyming words for words you say (made up or real). Clapping syllables Initial sounds of words games (with objects and pictures only to start): You put a bunch of items in a box and have her match the ones that start with an /m/ sound and the ones that don't belong (mitten, magnet, monkey, etc). For /l/ it's a leaf, locket, lizard..., /c/ is cup, cat, cupcake, cow...work on two letter sounds at a time because contrast helps. Do lots of review. You also want to start with sounds that are easy for her to make and are different from each other--if she's doing /f/ /d/ confusion avoid those for a while! When she can reliably hear and match a few initial sounds of words you can introduce the corresponding letter and it will really stick for her. She'll understand that it's the M that's making the /m/ sound in monkey. Right now she doesn't have the initial sounds of words clear in her head so the letter sounds are kind of meaningless facts--that will change! When she's able to go "m-m-monkey!" and pair it with "m-m-mop!" she's really ready to pair letters with their sounds. You can play games where she's matching objects or pictures to the proper letter, or writing the correct letter every time you show her a picture of something that starts with that letter. When she's got some letter sounds and the concept of initial sounds of words stable in her brain she'll be ready for more traditional phonics instruction. :) This may have some added benefit for her pronunciation skills too...
  21. The school year doesn't start for us until Sept 8, so there's still a lot of summer left in my eyes! :) I started afterschooling dd this summer because of a worrying lack of progress on letter recognition and letter sounds after a full year in pre-k (with daily letter instruction). She finished pre-k only recognizing the letters in her (short) first name--which is where she was at the beginning of the pre-k year. She had no letter sounds at all. So this summer we did a few things: 1. Follow up with dd's audiologist to make sure her hearing is normal -- Fortunately it is. DD had her tonsils and adenoids out and ear tubes put in last December. That resolved some hearing loss she was experiencing (probably part of why she was having trouble with letter sounds--she couldn't hear for a while). But at this point she's had nearly 8 months of normal hearing so it's no longer holding her back. 2. Started speech therapy. She didn't qualify for services when I had her evaluated by Early Intervention--not delayed enough (receptive language 88th percentile, articulation 17th...) --but I decided to bite the bullet and pay for some sessions out of pocket. She needs practice making sounds properly in order to be able to hear and distinguish them. We'll see where she's at when the school year starts. I'm hopeful her kindergarten teacher will recommend that she continue speech in school. We've been doing her "speech homework" every day--about 5 min. 3. Pre-reading lessons! She's had 34 official lessons so far--30 minutes each. We do an AAR pre-reading lesson, read the corresponding page from Letter Land, and then usually an extra phonological awareness game or letter sound and recognition practice. She's now recognizing almost all the upper case letters in the alphabet consistently and about half of the lower case letters. She's got letter sounds down pat for 8 letters. It's tremendous progress in just over a month. 4. Read Aloud - I've rediscovered the public library and the constant stream of new books has dd very interested. We've been reading aloud for 20 minutes every night. Sometimes more--because she'll ask to be read to during dinner or snack. I'm noticing her patience for longer books with more complex words has increased quite a bit. 5. Swim lessons - they're happening --she's starting to swim short distances independently. It's pretty great--I think we'll keep it up year-round now. 6. Math - previously we would just fool around with a few pages of Mathematical Reasoning at a time, but then I discovered vintage Stern Structural Arithmetic manipulatives at my mom's house. :p I bought the books - we've been doing the lessons for about 2 weeks. It started very easy but it's already more interesting and challenging. DD loves the blocks and the concepts are making sense to her (odd and even, basic 1-10 addition). I kind of want to borrow some neighborhood kids to join these math lessons with dd because there are games for small groups (currently dd plays them against me and some puppets lol). Anyway, the summer learning experiment is turning out to be a triumph. I feel really glad I decided to take some of my kid's education into my own hands--it's very fun and interesting for me and DD is learning. Thanks to this forum, I'm making lots of plans for the coming year. :lol:
  22. They're mostly high-end of 4th Grade level by the scholastic reading level measure. If he's comfortably reading James and the Giant Peach and The Cricket in Times Square I have more book options to recommend (I have to go pull up my list)--the ones I listed are mostly mid-3rd grade reading level. :)
  23. If I can steer you away from doing letter a week or "Letter of the Week," I'd like to. :P It's a super common pre-k or kindergarten technique, but it's not a very effective one. There are some books and articles on this. I learned this after my dd had a full year of pre-k (from age 4.5 to 5.5) with letters of the week and by the end of the year she could recognize only of the letters in her name. At first I thought my daughter might have a learning disability--I mean, she had letter lessons going on every day, but none of it went in her brain. But now that I've been researching and teaching her myself for a few months it's clear she doesn't have serious learning challenges--it's just that learning each letter in isolation for 5 days and then moving on to the next one didn't make letters mean anything to her. There wasn't enough context, not enough review or comparison of letter sounds or shapes, to make them stick. My feeling is you want to go faster and review more--and when it gets to letter sounds, if you can learn 2-4 letter sounds almost as a group and practice, and then add more--that's a good way to make the letters and sounds stick. AAR pre-reading, a lesson a day (ultimately you end up going through the alphabet 3 times) is working well for my daughter, but I've also been adding some extra review games with 3-4 letters or sounds we've previously covered to make sure the info stays.
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