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X-Post Choosing a program..help!

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My ds, almost 8, is reading at a late 2nd grade / early 3rd grade level. He is becoming more fluent, but does guess at a lot of the words. He was dx with a writing and spelling ld. (Whether or not this is accurate, he is terrible in both subjects!)


Many have recommended a specific reading/spelling/writing system (Barton). I'm trying to decide whether or not to use it. The program requires that he stop reading ANYTHING other than the system and its specific books. This gives me great pause, but I want to correct problems now rather than when he is older.


Another option would be to start at the beginning with OPGTR and use something like All About Spelling, and hope the writing problem really is lack of continuity (in writing) this year.


Anyone with similar experience out there???


Any other programs you recommend would be great!!



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I would definitely recommend Barton over OPGTR. Barton is an Orton-Gillingham program, which means it is multi-sensory and systematic and works well with remedial students. It limits reading text to materials within the program so that the student is always presented with decodable text at an appropriate level. Guessing is one of the worst habits that a beginning reader can pick up, and very difficult to eradicate later if it is allowed to become engrained. Barton controls practice text so that the student has no need to guess.


OG programs are structured around a philosophy of teaching sight-to-sound. There is a newer type of reading instruction now that employs a philosophy of sound-to-sight, and this is the one I prefer. I have found that it remediates much faster for most children, plus it is easier to teach. I typically recommend using a sound-to-sight approach first because it is much less expensive and takes much less time. If you don't see satisfactory progress within 20 to 30 hours of working one-on-one with this type of program, then it's time to look deeper to see if there is an underlying problem that has not been diagnosed and remediated (with my dd, it was visual efficiency deficits -- not evaluated in regular eye exams) and/or consider switching to an OG program.


The best sound-to-sight program on the market right now is ABeCeDarian. They have an active and very helpful support group on Yahoo! The developer of the program, Michael Bend, was the keynote speaker at the IDA convention a couple of years ago and he is highly respected in the reading community. He posts to the support list to help if someone needs advice or help getting past a hurdle in the program. Janis on that list is also very experienced using the program and very helpful with getting parents started. ABCD is *much* less expensive than Barton.


My advice is to start with ABeCeDarian. You should see significant results within 20 to 30 hours of using the program one-on-one. There are a few (very few) children who seem able to access reading only through spelling. When this is the case, it becomes necessary to switch to an OG program such as Barton.


Spelling typically remediates much more slowly than reading. I would focus on getting the reading up to grade level first. Once your son is reading on a 4th grade level, I would advise adding in Sequential Spelling from Avko.

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