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Hold my hand... teaching my son to read. (AAS) Long... sorry!

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I have another thread going right now regarding possible dyslexia and VPD in my 9 year old son who has a Dx (so far) of SPD.


Our main concern with him is his reading. He is very proficient in math, although the reading issues are beginning to cause some problems in the area of math. He is 2E.


He has an appointment at a developmental optometrist on 1/6 -- next Thursday (!! Yay!!), so I'm not sure if I should even be asking this question yet or just wait until we have results from that appointment. I decided I should ask because I most likely will continue to work on his reading / phonics at home even if it does turn out that he has something going on visually and needs therapy... so either way, I'll end up asking these questions sooner or later. :tongue_smilie:


Just for background, we have tried ReadingEggs, HeadSprout, and OPGtTR... all were unsuccesful.


Then, I ordered All About Spelling for my daughter. After I received this program and was reading through it, I realized that it would probably be a good fit to teach my son phonics. So I scoured the internet to find out if you can teach phonics with AAS. Lo and behold... YES! Yay!


So I tried to figure that out and my son has since exploded into knowing many of the phonemes and can now read CVC words. He can also read a myriad of other words, but I really don't see any rhyme to his reason.


We are also using FLL orally so we can get in some grammar work even though he's not yet reading.


To go back a little bit, my son has always been 'late'. With everything. He crawled late, got his first tooth late, walked late. But every time he was ready to do something, you knew he was really ready and he would take off with it.


I can tell that he is really ready to read.


I am fairly certain that we are not using AAS in the correct manner for a phonics program. We are taking it really slow and we are on step 4 or 5. I'll make up some spelling tests for him using word families and he does awesome. But I don't feel like we can go any further is AAS because it's a lot of spelling rules and I don't think he's there yet. I could be wrong, though. ;) Can anyone offer me anymore advice on how to use this (with specific steps) as a phonics program? (Since AAR isn't coming out for a little while.)


I am also looking at printing him off some I am Sam books. I think I like those better than the Dancing Bears. I have also been thinking about the Phonics Page Lessons but haven't really been able to look at the lessons. We also have this set of Reading Rods, but haven't used it yet.


Can someone please help me figure out how to incorporate all of these things to really get him going with reading? Is it all too much? Should I keep going further in AAS? Can you just tell me what to do? :tongue_smilie: I feel somewhat lost at this point. :001_unsure:

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For my dyslexic ds, we have not done any explicit work on spelling. So I can not comment about AAS. We had done a bunch of of phonics work, all being successful in their own way, at each point. However, each was not designed specifically for dyslexic students, so there have been some gaps that have hindered higher level reading. At this point, we are working with a Wilson tutor. I really see a huge difference in the structure and approach than a traditional phonics program.


So I guess my bias now is that if you suspect dyslexia, I would investigate reading programs designed for dyslexia.

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...So I guess my bias now is that if you suspect dyslexia, I would investigate reading programs designed for dyslexia.


:iagree: Barton Reading and Spelling comes with all the training you need on DVD, and it's scripted. It is the most parent friendly Orton-Gillingham based program available.


The modules are $250-$300 each, but you can re-sell them for about $50-$75 less than retail, so overall the cost is very reasonable. The tiles are cumulative, so I buy 2 extra sets of tiles with each level (except level 1, since they are not needed with the other levels). That way, I have a set to keep, a set for my buyer to keep, and a set for my buyer to sell with the level.

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My personal bias is to follow through with the vision therapy eval and treatment if needed and then other than that, just use the I See Sam books. That is ALL I used to teach my 2 girls to read---including one was was thought to never be able to learn to read.


Once you get through the first 3 sets of the I See Sam books, add in Apples and Pears spelling from the same people that do Dancing Bears. The spelling program is WONDERFUL. Doing it that way he won't really be overwhemed with rules, etc. but rather be reading BOOKS on his own. After the 4th set or so, you can branch off and start with easy library books, etc.


Check out the yahoo group for Beginning Reading Instruction for lots of great support on using the I See Sam books.


Also, with the I See Sam books he can go through them as fast or as slow as needed. If he really takes off, he can read several stories a day and move quickly but if he needs more work you can easily slow down.

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If your son has vision processing issues, then vision therapy is going to help tons. I would see what their plan is and go from there.


With the non-CVC words that your son is reading, are they alone or in the context of a sentence or story? I found that my son was incredibly good at reading a word in context but on its own he struggled with reading it--he wasn't using phonics knowledge and chunking words into syllables or segmenting sounds, he was just guessing based on a few letters. Part of this was because of his particular vision issues and how that made the letters jump around, and vision therapy has helped tons with that.


To use AAS for teaching reading, you do want to modify things a bit because it's scripted for spelling rather than for reading. Once your son knows at least the first sound for all the letters, and understands the segmenting skills in the first four steps, you can move on to the other steps. Many kids learn to read faster than they learn to spell, so use the steps for reading instruction first. If he's ready to learn to spell those words also, let him, but if not, then you can work at two places in the program--one for reading and another for spelling.


For some of the earlier steps, you might find both go hand in hand. In steps 5 and 6, if your son knows the letter sounds, he'll be able to do these. But when you get to something like step 18 where he needs to remember doubling F, L, and S, he'll likely be able to read those words faster than he'll learn how to spell them. Similarly with the rules on C and K. So when you get to steps like that, you may find that he is ready to keep moving in reading but may not be ready to keep moving in spelling.


It also might happen before then--he may be able to read all of the words in some of those early steps but may not be ready to spell them. That's ok.


If the step teaches any rules or concepts to learn, teach those to him and have him read the words rather than spell them. You can also have him read the dictations when you get to the steps with that, rather than having him write them. You may want to rewrite them in a larger font if the font is too small for him. You could use the tiles at first, or write them on the white board. Your goal in reading instruction is to teach him how the phonograms work for reading purposes--spelling is more difficult for most kids, so he may not be able to do the reverse processes for awhile.


AAS does have readers that go along with the books and you could try those too. The readers that go with Level 1 have gentle tracking lines that are very helpful for kids with vision processing issues, and the line breaks are at the end of phrases to nurture natural phrasing in their reading.


You may find that AAS doesn't have enough reading practice for your son on each concept, and if that's the case you will probably need to look into another resource to add or replace it. AAS is coming out with All About Reading, but it might not be in the timing that you need (a pre-level is coming out in Feb, and Level 1 in April or May).


Well, I hope this helps as you try to decide if you can use AAS for teaching reading to your son.


Merry :-)

Edited by MerryAtHope
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I am with Elizabeth in that if you can afford the full Barton or Wilson program you would be better off with those. They address both reading and spelling, and the address issues AAS, as much as I love it, won't. Like it directly teaches a child cadence in reading. Dyslexic students often just don't' hear it.


BTW how did he do with step 2? If he struggled you might want to also consider stepping back to LiPS. It teaches how sounds look, feel and sound, so that the child isn't relying only on one sense. For kids with auditory processing problems this is a huge issue. My 3rd dd for example had a horrible time with spelling because she couldn't hear the difference between short i and short e nor both sounds in blends. Thus if you gave her a word like bent she would write bit, then read it correctly and fall to pieces because she would realize she didn't spell the word right but she didn't know how to correct it. LiPS correct that and she hears the sounds correctly now.

is a youtube sample of a LiPS lesson, though this would be for a child who already know their alphabet. There are instructions for younger students as well.


The other big piece I always look for is the ability to see letters and words in their minds. I have two excellent spellers and both have the ability to call up a word in the mind and spell from that. I personally would try and the best I could do, if I could do it at all, was to end up with some 3d letter in the middle of a flower field and I couldn't hold it there long enough to spell anything from it. Seeing Stars teaches the ability to see words and letters in the mind (visual memory) for the purpose of reading and spelling. It can also be a full reading program. It does have scripting, but it doesn't have the set schedule like Barton. It also doesn't have as many movements and the tiles (though I am sure at Lindamood Bell centers they use the LiPS tiles with it, the manual even says so, but then doesn't prompt you with how). I personally just bought the TM used and am adding the methodology to AAS for my younger two. In the mean time I have learned to see words in my mind and am getting better at holding them there.


Now if these programs are just off the wall too expensive then you can use AAS. I personally wouldn't worry about the spelling focus, because it does contribute to reading. I would add work that included reading of the spelling cards daily, air writing and trying to visualize the phonograms (and later words). If he doesn't do well with writing then when you aren't using the tiles, go to big motor writing, using a sand box, a white board and air writing. Those don't have lines they have to say inside of, so they are easier. Barton uses a process of taping under each letter while saying their sounds, then slowly blending them together (again uses some sort of finger movement under the word, Barton uses a U), and then blend quickly while running the finger under the word. Adding movement to the instruction was a big piece for my ds.


I cover the phonograms daily for my ds with recall problems, for my 3rd dd I cover them weekly and for my oldest two, who have them mastered, I cover them monthly. All cover the sounds cards weekly and all cover the spelling rules weekly.


If you really want to focus on reading even more, with the plan to come back to spelling later then you can build the words for him with the tiles and just have him read them. If you want to focus on both at the same time, then either have hims spell the words then read them, or give him the phonogram sounds and have him just pull down the right tile from the sound you give him. Either way I would spend more than one day with the words. I have my younger two go through the following process: Day 1 I sound the words out by phonogram while they spell with tiles, air write and visualize. Day 2 have them spell the words and write in sand box. Day 3 have them air write, visualize and spell backwards from what they visualize then read it backwards, then read it forwards (all from what they see in their minds). Day 4 have them spell it on lined paper (you could have them read it from the card here). Yes that means I spend 4 days on the words alone, after the spelling instruction. For my ds I break the list into parts, for my 3rd dd she does all 10, and then if there are extra practice words she does those in a different set.


If the amount of tiles are overwhelming then go back to 4-8 tiles and one vowel, and practice making words from just those. Then slowly add as he feels comfortable.


Well that is all that is coming to mind at the moment as ways you can modify and focus on reading and mastery for a dyslexic. Let me know if you have questions of it I need to clarify something.



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The best way to teach a child to read fluently is with word decoding lists. Have the student highlight the small*words or sounds within the word. *Using this decoding method creates confident, fluent readers in a very short time. I also recommend that every student with dyslexia use dot patterns.



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