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think with me please (learning to read help)

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My son just finished his Kindergarten year. We kept it simple.

OPGTR up to lesson 40

All of Saxon K

first 12 pages of Math Mammoth 1A

All of A Reason for Handwriting K

and lots and lots of library books


For 1st grade we are going for Heart of Dakota's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory...I hope.


I plan on continuing OPG through the summer...here's the but...

BUT, he hates OPG. It was a struggle to get to lesson 40 and he still isn't really 'getting' it.


What should I do?


He will be 6 in September, btw.

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I had this with my son and realized that I needed to stop OPGTR for a while and just review. We use ETC online and I set him back to the beginning. For him, he gained a lot of confidence when he realized that he could read so much more than he thought. Then we broke out the BOB books and he loves those. Within three weeks he was able to read all of the first three boxes, and he can even read a whole box in one sitting. I haven't picked OPGTR up again yet, but when I do, I'm going to try to make sure I pair any new instructions with lots of review. I think for us, OPGTR just signified "hard."


The other thing I think is that my son just found each lesson a little too long. I sometimes split it out- where we would do the "vocabulary" in the morning and then come back later to read the sentences. This worked okay, but not as well as just sitting back and reviewing for a while.

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Are you reading OPGTR right out of the book?


We struggled at first, but I started to write everything on a whiteboard. One word at a time and one sentence at a time. She does not read anything out of the book. I think that all of those words on one page is way too intimidating.


It made a world of difference! She really enjoys the short lessons. If a lesson is too long, I will split in into two days.


Another suggestion I have is to do it daily, even if you only do 10 min each day.


We have really fallen in love with OPGTR. We are more than half way through now.


HTH, Kristen

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When we started using OPTGR, I ran into major pushback from dd. The page was much too busy and the sentences were too boring (for her). Stumped, I searched the archives here and used many Hive tips.



  • Before the lesson begins, I read OPGTR. I have notes on what dd has struggled with so I do a quick 2-review. Using a lap whiteboard, I write out the review words. I'll say, "EA sometimes says /ee/, read these words with EA as /ee/: read, lead, each. AI sometimes says /a/, read these words: pain, rain, stain, paint." Erase.
  • Then, I move on to the new lesson, writing down new sound and words. I give her the rule: "EAR can say /air/, let's read these words with EAR as /air/: wear, tear, bear." Then we're done with the phonics teaching.
  • DD moves onto the reading part of the lesson. Initially, she read one reader a lesson, using Bob Books or Now I'm Reading! by Nora Gaydos. She would sound out the sentence: "Mmmmaaaatttt ssssaaaaatttt." If she didn't repeat the sentence without dragging out the sounds, I would say, "Mat sat. Good job. " We'd turn the page. "Mmmaaatttt ssssaaattttt on the cccaaatttt." I'd repeat the sentence again, correctly. "Mat sat on the cat. Excellent."
  • I prompt when she's stuck. "What sound does M make? M says mmmmm. /a/ is the short vowel sound of A."

We read the same short-vowel sound readers over and over for a long time. It took her a while to make the leap to the next level, several months if I remember correctly. I even set aside OPGTR for a bit and dd just read books, as I reminded her of the various rules when she got stuck.


She's now to the point where her skills are increasing quickly. She is working through 2-3 lessons a day and she usually reads 2 easy readers and 1 more difficult reader at a time. I don't match the readers to the lesson. I also pull books from the library that might be a bit above her level, but we read them together. Now that she's reading "real" books she is far more motivated to read.


I wouldn't completely stop the phonics lessons, but I would encourage you to linger on the short-vowel sounds for awhile using phonics readers until he's reading through the books with ease.

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