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Phonic program suggestions

Guest bdsandmls

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Guest bdsandmls

My DS2, just turned 6, is in need of a phonics program. He has already been diagnosed as dyslexic (his older brother is as well, but I think DS2 is quite severe, where DS1 is mild), ADHD (which we have under control with dietary changes), and a math processing issue. He was formerly diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech, but no longer fits the criteria, so is simply a phonological speech delay kiddo. We suspect he has some sort of language processing or language recall issue as well, but have no offical or unofficial diagnosis. He has been in ECI since age two, was in headstart for 2 years and learned nothing more than the first letter of his name and to recognize his own name. After a year of detoxing from public schools and slowly homeschooling he can point out about 3/4 of the letters if you show him a sheet of paper with all the letters and ask him to find a specific one. If you ask him to tell you the names of any of them on the paper (instead of naming and then he finds) he can only name J, X, and O. He knows no letter sounds - despite working on them in headstart, speech and our homeschooling classes. Scottish Rite diagnosed his dyslexia back in April and we were really pushed to put him back in public schools. However, we believe that for him, this would be a huge mistake as he is VERY aware of his learning struggles and will shut down if pushed too far, which happens easily. He doesn't need the pressures of public school. We do speech therapy 2X a week thru a local university.


We have the BOB books - starting with the alphabet ones and everything except the Compound words and Long Vowels sets. He is quite interested in them. Scottish Rite recommended Lindamood-Bell (which is what they are basing his speech lessons off of at speech therapy) or the Orton-Gillingham method. Eventually he will go to dyslexia class at Scottish Rite, but I know from his brother going there the last year (1 more year to go), that he is nowhere near ready for their curriculum. We are new to purchasing curriculums, last year we just used stuff I had from teaching in PS combined with more of an unschooling philosophy as we all detoxed from public schools. We are purchasing quite a bit this year already, so would like to keep expenses down as much as possible while still getting him the quality program he needs to be successful.


He is a very kinesthetic learner, but does better with verbal lessons than visual lessons. He doesn't like handwriting, but does like doing things like cutting and gluing, doing dot-to-dot activities and mazes.


Sorry for the book; Here are my basic questions I guess:

1) has anyone every HS'ed a child like my DS

2) can anyone recommend a phonics curriculum that would be helpful for him?


TIA for any help!



former PS elementary teacher

DS1 (9) Dyslexic, GT, suspected ADD - looking forward to beginning our official HS curriculums, including Latin (and eventually Greek - so he can read Homer in the original translations)

DS2 (6) Speech/Phonological Disorder, Dyslexic, ADHD, Math Processing Disorder, suspected language processing/recall disorder - likes HSing on HIS terms

DD1 (3) Speech/Fluency delays, general mischief maker and laughter generator in our house

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I would start with Leapfrog's Tallking Letter Factory DVD for letter names and sounds. If you have to repeat something 1,000s of times, better a talking frog than you! (You'll get in plenty of repetition later, let the frog do the basic sounds.)


I have been working with a student who had Apraxia when he was younger. While his speech is fully remediated, the Apraxia impacted his ability to learn to read. Diacritically marked prints are very helpful for him. Also, he needs a lot of repetition. I made these charts especially for him, he could not remember ou even after 1,000 repetitions until I made it red for "ou, ouch, blood." He needed hundreds of repetitions with the colored chart, then he moved to the black and white version. (The charts are on page 3 and 4, an alternate version with the key showing is on the last page.)


With a lot of repetition and marked print and no sight words, strictly phonics, he is progressing well and is now reading above grade level, although he tires from reading aloud too long. Silent reading does not tire him, but he has to do continual reading aloud to work on completing advanced phonics and cementing what he has learned. He has to be taught everything explicitly and incrementally, from syllable division to schwa to accent.


The 1908 Webster's Speller has been especially helpful to him. As a bonus, it's free from Don Potter! (Used for both phonics and spelling, the Spellers were actually originally used to teach both reading and spelling.) His mom uses CLE with him, it uses a different marked print system than the 1908 Speller, but he is very smart and able to handle several different marked print systems. CLE is working well with him. When he was younger, she had to break up the lessons and do 1/2 of the work every day, but he is now able to do a full lesson in CLE LA every day.

Edited by ElizabethB
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My 7-year-old had severe articulation problems that I think were partly caused by phonological processing issues.


He had no concept of some sounds even existing (g, k) and others he just confused all the time as if they were the same sound to him (s/sh/ch, -- then lot of consonants he seemed to always think were the t sound).


Well, I don't know where to start.


He should have been able to learn "ssss" b/c he could do "ssss" just fine. But his K curriculum was Zoo Phonics (which is cute and everyone loves it....) and they teach s snake ssss. He could look at s and say snake, but not associate the sound. It turns out -- he was nowhere near being able to segment "snake" into its sounds, and a blend or cluster or whatever (two consonants, each making its own sound) was extremely hard for him. So there was no way he could think "snake, okay I will segment s-nake and hear the sss sound." I read later kids like this should have only key words that will be very easy for them to segment, like "sun." If they are going to have keywords.


My son also did university speech therapy last year. He was in it for about 8 months. It has helped tremendously. He is much more rarely saying wrong sounds in words and he really knows all the sounds now, he knows what shape his mouth makes (etc... tongue placement and the noise in his throat are big things for him... the noise in his throat for g and k were extremely hard for him for years but he is doing good with them now) for every letter too, I think.


I did a lot with him for phonemic awareness.


I like "I See Sam" at the beginning b/c it starts with all the consonant sounds that can be held. In the red books there started being sounds that my son was still working on in speech therapy and that was a little disastrous. But once he covered sounds in speech therapy, it was still hard work, but he could start to do it.


I used All About Spelling through about Step 5 (sounding out CVC words, then segmenting words with a consonant blend). But that is similar to other phonemic awareness programs.


I have found he *always * needs to see letters on a page or letter tiles when doing phonemic awareness. Oral anything is a waste of time b/c he cannot get it that way. He always needs letter tiles or to look at something.


But once he got through speech therapy (very difficult, lots of fits thrown for me if not for the speech teachers, including refusing to get out of the minivan and trying to run down the sidewalk instead of go into the building ----- and this is pretty out of character for him -- he has literally not been in trouble at school since he was in 4-year-old pre-school and would pull on kids' shirts sometimes) he has made good progress. Still slow, needing a lot of practice, but he is very close to grade level.


Speech therapy did help my son a lot and so I am hopeful it will help. My son had 2 years of school-services speech and he made no progress -- his school SLP helped me get the referral for him. He was 6 years old and completely missing the consonants g and k, was eliding any and all consonant clusters to w, etc. etc. He was not easily understood and had temper tantrums over not being understood. He was just starting to have a few times of giving up on trying to communicate after not being understood. But anyway the speech therapy worked out very well for him.


edit: I agree with Elizabeth about starting with phonics. This is b/c - -my son didn't get reading was sounding out word! Did not have this concept! Didn't have concept of blending! So until he really got what reading was, sounding out words, then sight words just made him even more confused. After he got this down, which took major time, then there is plenty of time for sight words. I agree about the slow and incremental.


I was pleased with Abecedarian Level b last year for a lot of phonics. I did not use Level A. I like the books Phonics A-Z by Wiley Blevins, it is at my library. I think he has got some good ideas. But really I used a lot of things and don't know of one thing, to get him to the point where he could be ready for Abecedarian Level B.


I have a younger son, too, who is 3 now. I am not sure what is going on with him. He exited EI speech when he turned 3, but he is not doing really well. I am planning to see if he can start at the university clinic my older son went to, next year.


Also -- I really get what you are saying, about the letters and names and sounds just not sticking, b/c they don't really have a meaning, or a concept of them. For my son it was not all letters -- but about a quarter of them. They were just all the same to him. Then he didn't get blending at all -- he had no idea of it. It was very hard to teach him. I did a lot of just asking him to watch me, then just asking him to copy me, doing the thing from All About Spelling where you say aaaa while pulling down an a letter tile, then mmmmm while pulling down an m tile, then running your finger and saying "aaammm." I did that only with the sounds that can be dragged out, and that I knew he knew, for him to understand blending AT ALL. But I tried to make every step so small I could tell him he did good. I could tell him "good job watching me" after many 5-minute sessions doing this, so that he wouldn't be so resistant to it, thinking he wouldn't be able to do it. (I feel bad at trying to ask him things orally he couldn't answer like "what is the first sound in cat?" that stuff, or asking him to try Head Sprout, etc, things that he couldn't do.)

Edited by Lecka
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What worked here was the I See Sam program. http://www.3rsplus.com or http://www.iseesam.com You can even google free I see Sam books and get the 1st 2 sets to print out for free.


This program REALLY works. It looks different but is phonics based. It just teaches things in a different order. They start out with 5 sounds----s, m, short a, ee (long sound with 2 e taught together), and I (as in the word I). They then blend these into the words I see Sam. That is IT for the first 2 books. From there they VERY slowly introduce a new sound which they use to make a new word and they they repeat it over and over and over again. The pictures help carry the story but they do NOT allow the kids to guess the words so it is not sight reading.


It took my daughter a few weeks to learn the first 5 sounds and those 3 words. I thought we would NEVER EVER EVER get the word I down---seriously, it was that bad. Once we got going, it got easier. As weird as it sounds if you can get through the first few books it does get easier for them even though the reading gets harder.


It took my daughter about 2 years to do the 1st 2 sets of books. Then she started really taking off. She is now reading at a 4th grade level. That doesn't sound like much for a 16 year old BUT she was never expected to be able to read. She has an IQ of 38 which is in the severely impaired range, she has LDs on top of that, severe speech issues--stuttering and other issues, etc.


I will never say it was easy but it is so nice to see her be able to go to the library and pick out young reader books and simple chapter books and read them with understanding.


There is also a yahoo group called Beginning Reading Instruction that is a huge help. There are several homeschoolers there as well as tutors, reading specialists, etc. from around the world using the program.

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I was on that yahoo group and I don't agree with everything that they say wholeheartedly.


Now, I am extremely pleased with the first set of I See Sam books.


All they have got for blending though is the notched card. I love the notched card. But I think there are more things to do for blending besides the notched card. I think the things I also like are in the category of "word-building." But things like word chains, and just lots of blending practice with the letter tiles making it multisensory. As an addition.


I also asked on there when my son was having extreme trouble with a book in Set 2 called The Shell. He was having extreme problems b/c it was like the words sell and shell were the same word for him. It was just horrible. No one seemed l like they were familiar with this specific issue, and one person was making me feel like I was making up my son having this issue.


However -- I still like that yahoo group and have been pleased with every other thing about it.


I think I should have kept going, and just expected to go back to work on s/sh/ch after my son did them in speech. I could have just given him those words as he read, and gone on.


We did go through Set 3, and he did pretty well in Set 3. Set 2 happened to be the hardest, and I think it was b/c of it having some sounds he hadn't covered. By the time he got to Set 3, he had gotten farther in speech therapy.


I happened to be able to observe him when he was working on s/sh/ch. (B/c my mom was here and watched my younger kids.) He spent at least 3 entire hours just working on telling apart s, sh, and ch. The first day I saw him do a thing of sorting picture cards into a pile, one pile if starting with sh, one pile if starting with s. He was just lost doing it at first. The teacher had to hold every card up to her mouth, emphasize the shape of her mouth and her tongue, and then draw a picture on a piece of paper for how her mouth looked for s, and then for sh. Then he started to be able to match them but he was matching from looking at her mouth and then the picture of a mouth shape (one she said looked like a cave, and one looked like something else) more than hearing the sound. I observed 3 sessions and it was about like this for 3 sessions. He was better the 3rd session but still working on it.


And then I was like -- no matter he couldn't read these sentences about "Sell the shell."


I am really not negative.... I was just really optimistic when I got these books, and the first set went fairly well. I was very sad about the difficulty of Set 2. That is all. It is still a program I like and support. But I don't think it is the whole answer for this issue.


The I See Sam books really are good... if I seem a little negative, I can say, I think the Bob books are a cruel joke. They are insanely, ridiculously difficult. There is no review. A million new letters in every book. No real chance to practice. I cannot say how disappointed I am in them, regarding my son. I think I See Sam are much better than Bob books. As Otakee said -- there is a lot of practice! There is not too much introduced at once! So much better! My son liked the stories and pictures, too. You can see samples on 3rsplus.com.

Edited by Lecka
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Sorry you didnt' always get the support you needed from the yahoo group. I honestly haven't been on there much at all for the past 2 years so things might have changed.


My daughter was super tough and it worked for her. It was a struggle though. I HONESTLY (and this is terrible to admit) would start to drift off to sleep BETWEEN words when she was reading to me at first. Honestly, it took her so long to read each word that I started drifting off.


It was worth the plugging along though. She is now at a functional reading level and can read most of the things she needs to and most of what she wants to.


They used to talk more about different games you could play with the letter tiles--building new words using the sounds they have already learned, etc. My daughter was one though where "phonemic awareness" didn't matter at all. She could not rhyme for the life of her, had trouble with the blending, etc. but managed to learn to read with Sam and his friend........and now can rhyme.

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I may have been misunderstanding -- but it came across as people saying that other types of phonics instruction like word building would only confuse kids. But then people saying they did it. I think I was not using some terms correctly maybe.


At the time -- there was a lot of -- what kids *should* be doing by some certain age. But then people would say -- yes, some kids do really struggle despite a good curriculum being used correctly. Kind-of, a few people saying this method is fool-proof. Then a couple of people saying they had kids who struggled in learning to blend. Blending was just a huge thing here. I agree though - - once he got the hang of blending, nothing else so far has been that hard. (My son has a solid end-of-1st-grade reading level now, and he is very accurate with one-syllable words. Working on fluency now. He knows a few 2-syllable word patterns but others he does not know yet.)


My son still has problems with rhyming. He can point out words that rhyme, but he also will say two words rhyme that do not rhyme. I haven't done anything to work on this though.... he is reading anyway. (Since he learned to blend well enough to read. He learned segmenting before blending. I went with thinking those skills are foundational to blending and directly used in reading and spelling. So since that time I haven't gone back to rhyming. But I tried previously, sigh.)


Ottakee -- I think I might have tried I See Sam at your suggestion, and I really am pleased with it. I have looked since and I haven't seen anything better. I did get very good support from the yahoo group also -- except on The Shell. Just a very frustrating time for me, and I hadn't realized that my son's sound/auditory discrimination was so poor. I was hearing that speech shouldn't interfere with reading, which is true for sounds where he is clear on what the sound is (like him reading th as f or v ----- not a problem). It was the case for sounds where his error was a substitution but he did hear the sound properly. So I didn't realize until later.


edit -- I just looked at the orignal message again. If he is doing well with Bob books, that is wonderful. Yay! If he needs extra practice at the lower level -- you can look at I See Sam samples and see if they would be appropriate. My son does not seem to have recall issues -- if he knew a letter, he could come up with the name, as well as identify it on a paper. He just couldn't manage to learn a number of letters, and I think it was b/c of the phonological issues. His root problems were confusing sounds and poor phonemic awareness.

Edited by Lecka
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If you do think sound discrimination (as they are calling it in this video) is part of the problem, then this is the best video I have seen. I really like this video, lol.


If you go ahead to Biomapping the Brain and Baby's First Reading Skill, they show a girl who hears letter sounds differently, on a brain scan. Then they brain scan a baby and show that the baby is hearing the letter sounds typically.


I have seen sound discrimination, auditory discrimination, and phonological processing all used to describe this, I think. I think phonological processing doesn't have to mean this, but can include this.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-KPQZAERCc this is another link to the same video (or part of it). I can't get my other link to work but it might be my computer.

Edited by Lecka
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