Jump to content


Where to start teaching reading


Recommended Posts

Hi, I have a newly 5yr old DD who has a history of speech delay. Her SLP's believe that it is/was apraxia. Her articulation has improved greatly over the past year and a half. She his now at the 25th % for articulation. She has a mild expressive language delay that we're currently working on.


She knows most of her letter sounds, and I would like to start reading instruction. The problem is for her is that she also has some memory recall issues. Her slp likens it to not being able to find the word or concept from the file system in her mind. She is very visual and really enjoys drawing and art. Her handwriting is good for her age.


Problems I have encountered in going over letters and sounds is that she will sometimes misname a letter or sound that she seems to have down for a while. I would like to find a program that takes into consideration her strengths and weaknesses.


I have taught two older children to read. The oldest was easy to teach. He picked up reading quickly. The second needed a little more effort. I used hooked on phonics with both. I also used BOB books and starfall with the second.


I am thinking that my third will need something more targeted to her needs. Any suggestions would be appreciated!



Link to comment
Share on other sites



My son is 6 and in 1st grade at public school. He has an articulation delay. He only said K and T at all starting when he was 4 and struggled with those sounds.... he has made a lot of progress. He was below the 10th percentile still as of June, and he is continuing in a private speech program that is mainly only for kids below the 10th percentile, so I guess that even though he has made wonderful progress and is very intelligible, he is still testing below the 10th percentile (they run on a semester system, and were speaking of exiting him, so he would just do school speech, but after testing they want him to continue).


But anyway -- he is doing okay right now. I am very pleased and proud to be honest. He has just moved up to Level F in school and he is in ARI 1 in the I See Sam books! This is exciting stuff! But he is still struggling somewhat.


My son was identified with the Dibels screening as having difficulty with phonemic awareness. My understanding is that phonemic awareness can be the underlying reason that kids have a hard time with letter sounds. My son did have a hard time with letter sounds, too. An aide helped him at school, to get them faster and more automatic. But it can be a sign of phonemic awareness difficulty. For my son, at least, it is what I think. (edit -- he was identified all through Kindergarten and his teacher tried but she couldn't get anywhere with him. An aide did really help him with his letter sounds -- thank you. But I worked with him a huge amount over the summer and he passed the first Dibels for 1st grade. I had worked with him in K also but trying things that ultimately didn't help him.)


For what I have used -- AAS, and I See Sam from 3rsplus.com. I am planning to use Abecedearian Level B this summer b/c I think it looks good for my son and I have looked at their youtube videos and FAQs a lot. Unfortunately my son does not do well with computer learning for reading....... I tried and he has gotten a habit of random clicking that I wish he didn't have, but it makes computer programs not an option. (edit -- he does well with manipulatives of letters, like the letter tiles for AAS, and that will not be in a computer program. But separately he just guesses and so he cannot do them anyway.)


Sometimes he will make a mistake with the letters that he has worked on in speech. I just make the correct sound for him. It usually happens at the beginning of a word. (edit -- he gets flustered and cannot think of the sound the letter makes, and just starts saying sounds that are similar for him... t will be ffff is one he does a lot. He knows it is wrong but he can't think of t. It seems that for me to just to make the sound before he is flustered is the best thing. It doesn't happen all the time, either, I take it as a sign he is working hard.)


The book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz is one that is helpful to me. I do think my son has a hard time with phonemic awareness, and she has a model of that as a cause for having a harder time with reading. For my son I am confident that the approaches that will help someone with dyslexia will help him. But, I am not sure that he has dyslexia. It is hard to know what is his articulation and what is not. But at this point -- the reading programs that say "struggling reader" or "dyslexia" are the ones that work for him.


We have the HOP books and Bob books. They move too quickly for my son. The I See Sam books move more slowly but they are hard in their way. They like to mix up words like sell and shell, and spots and stops. Those are challenging for my son but he can do it.


I think kids are different, though. My son has no problem with short vowel sounds. He has problems with certain consonants and blends, the same ones he works on in speech, and he took a long time to start to segment blends in general (he could segment fog but not frog for a while, but segmenting fog was also an accomplishment). I have read somewhere that blending and segmenting are the phonemic awareness skills you really need for reading, and the other ones (the manipulating of letters within words) can develop at the same time as reading. I have gone by this at least.


I did try a few things that didn't work and was getting very down, but he is making progress now, and I have found things that are working for him. I tried things I know have worked for other people, that didn't work for him.


My best wishes for your daughter!


edit: My son's recall of words is fine, but he is going to start OT for handwriting at school next semester. So -- they are different in that way. I also don't think my son has apraxia. I have read about it a little and it doesn't seem like him. The SLPs haven't mentioned it, but in my location I think apraxia is a very rare diagnosis, too.


Also, I believe the things my son does in speech are similar/equivalent to LIPS. My husband's insurance has paid for him to have 1-hour private speech 2x/week with a student at the local university speech clinic since June.

Edited by Lecka
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Problems I have encountered in going over letters and sounds is that she will sometimes misname a letter or sound that she seems to have down for a while.



I don't have any suggestions for a particular program, but the bolded part above jumped out at me. If she is having memory problems, I would not teach letter names and just focus on the sounds. That way she only has to remember one thing and that one thing directly relates to the reading process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. I looked over the I see sam readers. I know HOP will not be repetitive enough for DD. It wasn't for my 2nd DS, and that is why we added BOB.


Is the I see sam more than just readers? Is there some sort of teacher's manual. How does the program work?


DD already knows her letters. I think the recall think is more of a word finding issue. But, she already knows her letters and sounds. But, maybe I should just focus on sounds.


I don't know that she has dyslexia. But, I do think she has some sort of learning issues. I have started to look at dyslexia materials since she does have some warning signs.


I think her handwriting is okay only because she is so visual. I think she may have some issues going forward since she has some weakness.


Any other thoughts or suggestions would be welcome, too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have any suggestions for a particular program, but the bolded part above jumped out at me. If she is having memory problems, I would not teach letter names and just focus on the sounds. That way she only has to remember one thing and that one thing directly relates to the reading process.


The letter names can come later. Really, they are just easy ways to talk about a letter. The sounds are the real meat of the matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree about letter sounds. I read that in Reading Reflex. It is a good book. My son was learning letter names in school, though, so....


http://www.3rsplus.com/reading_free_resources.htm From this page is a "getting started with Read BRI 1" link. But, you just help them blend as you go along, and tell the the new sounds as you come to them, or when they can't remember a sound. I am in the yahoo group and they talk more about it there. But, that is the main part. They recommend starting out revealing one sound at a time (for see you would uncover s and then ee) with a notched card. I cover part of a word sometime still but I never really did the notched card, b/c he could blend.


He could do cvc words (like man, bat, fun) when we started I See Sam. He did that with AAS. He had finished K unable to read a word like if, an, at, up b/c he didn't know how to blend. They say on the yahoo group you can teach blending from the books, but I think that would have been frustrating for my son. But -- it is not until BRI 3 that there are blends, I think. So that is a lot of reading to build up skills before they throw in blends! That is a good feature for my son. They do start th, sh, ch in BRI 2, I think, but those are easier for my son than blends.


The things that I liked about it were/are: it is easy enough he does not have to struggle too hard, and it is just reading. I was having behavioral problems at first (that went away once he started having some success!) and I didn't want to spend time on things that were not going to have a quick result. Or, seem like a quick result to him.


We have had ou and ay in I See Sam so far (off the top of my head) and I have talked about them a lot with my son and looked at the AAS letter tiles for them, and built words, and dictated like in AAS. It takes him a long, long time to memorize these things. For him coming to a word in I See Sam and reading it and thinking for the sound seems to be a good way for him to learn. It is better for him than showing him a flashcard that says "ay" or "ou" and having him say the sound. They tend to go for 3-4 books with only one new "ay" or "ou" that will be hard for my son to remember. And, we read the same book for a while. I have tried some other ways to help him learn these sounds and for him I See Sam is good. He will go along with it. Writing is good, too, but he will only write so much, so a program that has a lot more writing while saying the sounds is not one I would want too much, even though we do that also. If he cooperated more I would do much more with writing and flashcards! But, he is most cooperative with the books. And, he does cooperate, it is just hard for him and he is working hard.


I think Abecedarian Level A would have been good for him, too, but I didn't know about it. I do think I will do Level B over the summer. It is, from my understanding, like a workbook version of the Reading Reflex program.


Something about my son that makes both of those seem like a good fit: he doesn't have an awesome attitude about reading. It is hard for him -- there is not much sugarcoating that. He doesn't want cute things or coloring or games. He is happy to play any educational math games, but not reading. He will work hard but he wants to see some result, and he only has so much effort to put out, so it needs to be all going toward straight learning sounds and blending, so that he can see a result.


He does like the cartoon characters in I See Sam fine, but they are not a draw for him, really. I have looked at other programs that I think look very good, but that I don't think he would be motivated by b/c the extras would not motivate him, and he would see less result in the time he was working.


He is good at math and math facts and math problems, and playing little card games..... his frustration level is very high then. But it is so low with reading that is what I look at.


Two times in 6 months he has gotten too frustrated and crumpled up a book... in retrospect I was not being aware of his frustration level. But two times in 6 months is really good compared to what it would be with a lot of programs, I am sure. But I think there are a lot of good programs out there.


But when we started there was a high chance of him crying, saying he couldn't do it, running away, etc. So -- that is also what I was dealing with. I blame his K for that to some extent -- so at least you don't have to deal with that with homeschooling I would think.


edit: In K we were hearing from the teacher that he would stare into space instead of do his work, and she thought it might be focus, but then she would say -- but he really doesn't seem like he has a problem with focus. But he actually couldn't do the activities a lot of the time. This year in 1st grade he is doing all his work as he should at school and mostly very good with me, but I know now that most of the time bad behavior = it is too hard and needs to go slower in some way. But he is more compliant for his teachers at school than he is with me. So -- I think he might do more working with a tutor who had another program. But anyway -- that is why I like I See Sam.

Edited by Lecka
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Btw further down on the page right now is a link about Reading Horizons, and then there is info on how to go to the fcrr page. It reviews a lot of curriculums. It is what is recommended in my Sally Shaywitz book -- to research curriculums that have had studies done to prove they are effective.


I See Sam is not reviewed and I don't think it is as complete as those curriculums. But at this point it is working well for us!


And, for why I didn't pick another curriculum, it came down to thinking he would cooperate. And, I See Sam was cheaper and seemed to be a smaller commitment in that way, at the time, but if it had not worked, I would have kept looking. Plus, my son is in school, so I work a lot on his weaknesses, but I only work on decoding (and phonemic awareness but that is going well at present). The other reading things he can do at school. I do talk about read-alouds with him but he is fine at talking about read-alouds, so I don't look at programs to include those things.


I think you can go to google and type in "florida center for reading research" and then type in the name of a program and curriculum, and it will tell if they think it is a good program, and specifically what the strengths are. If you know your daughter's weaknesses, you want one that is strong in her weak areas. So, I didn't actually do that, but it is really a good thing to do I think!

Edited by Lecka
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the input. I think it might be good to try the I See Sam readers. It sounds like there is a lot of built in repetition. The book on dyslexia may be useful as well. I do just want to keep it fun. She is starting K next fall. I just want to give her a little jump start since I think things will take her a little longer than most kids might.


She already knows the letter names for the most part. So, I think while we're reading, I'll just focus on the sounds vs the letter names.


But, at this point, I think I just need to jump in and see what happens!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I have a student with apraxia, marked print is very helpful for him.


His mom uses CLE with him, but at a slower pace than recommended, he is about a year behind and had to start out doing 1/2 of recommended work per day, he is now working on pace but is still behind grade level a bit--but he's learning to mastery and is doing great!


I use Webster's Speller, the 1908 version with a different marked print. Also, he has a very hard time remembering the 2 letter vowel teams, especially those that have several different sounds like ea and oo and ou. I made these vowel charts especially for him, the color coding helps him, he started out with the color version and then moved on to black and white. The red for "ou," ouch was an especially helpful clue, ou was very difficult for him to remember for some reason.


I would also recommend that you watch The Teaching Company's "Understanding Linguistics." It is a great overview of language and sound, you will need a good understanding of this to teach phonics to someone with apraxia. For example, he had a hard time saying ts as in cats when reading it, but could say it fine in normal speech. It wasn't until I researched the issue that I found that it is actually articulated together as one sound, knowing and understanding this level of how speech and sounds work is necessary to teach an apraxic student.


The syllables of Webster may also be helpful. It was helpful for him to say blends in isolation is syllables first before trying to combine them into words.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...