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Almost 6 year old VSL: Curricula ideas??

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Hello all,


I haven't been to the forums in quite a while, since what we are doing with my daughter is working. But now my son is school age and I have discovered, through research, that he is a VSL. (My daughter and I are not, though we are probably more whole brained than left brained.)


What I have been using with my daughter definitely will NOT work for him. I'm looking for suggestions on curricula, especially for reading. We are planning on using Math Mammoth, but are open to other suggestions. Right now he's tagging along in science and history (R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey and various lapbooks for history). Again, I'm open to other suggestions for those subjects as well. But frankly reading has thrown me for a loop. My daughter and I both taught ourselves at such a young age that neither of us remembers a time when we weren't reading (daughter was 2). I am a former teacher, but I was taught to teach reading via phonics. That isn't working so far, and from my readings, it isn't likely to get any better.


So, anyone with suggestions for curricula that will help a VSL, please chime in. Or if you have a VSL and know of something that didn't work, please post that too!! It'll cut down on research time! :p


Thanks in advance,


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One of my VSLs loved MM in the older grades. I haven't used much of it for the early grades. You might plan to add cuisenaire rods to the MM lessons if/when the mood strikes (particularly with the place value lessons in 1B?). If it's too much writing for him, have him do it on the white board or write for him. Along with the c-rods, don't miss the www.educationunboxed.com videos. MM can be a very flexible program. Look at the chapter notes to parents for further recommendations for manipulatives and games - these sorts of additions may be key for a VSL.


If that doesn't work out for some reason or if you'd like to supplement, you might consider Miquon (along with c-rods). My understanding is that Miquon will provide a big-picture approach and would also be hands-on.


Somewhere there are a bunch of threads about curricula for VSLs. Try a tag search. Here's one old thread: http://forums.welltr...lum-works-best/

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My almost 7yo first grader is a VSL. I use a word building approach to teach reading (and spelling). I'm just starting with my third child. I teach them letter sounds as well as how to break a word apart into all of its sounds and then use a movable alphabet to talk them through spelling words. We eventually move on to AAS. Both of my older two kids jumped into reading about half-way through level 1. DS started reading much later than dd (6.5yo vs. 4.5yo). So, part of it might be the approach. But he could just not be ready to read yet. Until reading clicks for my kids spelling is easier than reading. Then the next day reading is easier.


Another thing I noticed with ds is that it took him longer to be interested in longer read-alouds. My two girls have loved chapter books by 3-4yo. DS wasn't interested until about 6yo.


DS is doing well with everything he is using right now: HWT, AAS, OPGTR (which we started after he jumped into reading last fall), RightStart math, MFW Adventures, and various faith formation resources.

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Thank you for the suggestions so far. I will do a tag search later on tonight. I've never heard of Education Unboxed, so I'll be looking into that as well.


Anyone have any other ideas, especially for reading?


Off for park day!!



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Ariel is a VSL. MM really didn't work for her, but she LOVED Right Start. Miquon was good, too. Finding something to teach her reading was really hard. She liked Jolly Phonics, but it wasn't quite enough, so we also used Dancing Bears and The Writing Road to Reading. WRTR was probably the best fit. You might look into AAR or PAL Reading - we never used them because Ariel was past that point when they came out. She loved Reading Eggs, Starfall, and the Leapfrog Letter Factory.


As far as history goes, I think DD has learned more from watching Horrible Histories than anything else. Now that she's learned to read, I also give her books like the Magic Treehouse Research Guides. We recently restarted SOTW, it's going ok. I'm pretty sure we'll use the HSITW Middle Ages Project Passport to supplement that segment of history, though, since she learns more by doing (and watching) than listening and answering questions.


Science has been the most successful with Intellego or GEMS.

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I wouldn't skip phonics just because he's VSL. Dancing Bears is a good choice. The cursor helps train the eye to focus on each letter from left to right.


You may need to add manipulatives to MM. My VSL uses C-rods with Singapore. He's in K now, so we're only doing the 3R's and some read-alouds. I also don't expect reading to "click" right away like it did my other kids. It is taking time. We just work 10 minutes every school day consistently, and we're making solid progress.

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First, your DS is still quite young -- not even 6yo. He sounds like he may just be on a very normal/average track for a boy to be reading. (Typically, boys read later than girls, as typically the math portions of their brains develop first, then the language arts/reading areas. With girls, it is the reverse.) I don't know as though I would jump into specialized or remedial programs or helps at this point. That can sometimes put stress and pressure on the child that really is unnecessary, if they are just developing on a different timetable than what you are used to or are expecting.


However, if you know you have a strong VSL, mild dyslexia may be slowing down your DS's reading -- many right-brain or VSL are mildly dyslexic or have other mild LDs in the language arts areas. Simple techniques to help further down the line once your DS is reading and seems to be struggling: colored filters (see here or here). Another idea: even covering the lines ABOVE the line he is reading with an index card to help him focus and process what he is seeing.



Our VSL DS was delayed in reading; we would create little books with 1 short sentence per page with words he knew or could sound out, using the visual methods in Reading Made Easy. I think that program was somewhat helpful for him, as it helped visualize the vowels. He was 7 or 8 before reading really *clicked* for him. DS spent a LOT of time with visual books during the period just before making the jump to reading -- Calvin & Hobbes comic collections; books heavy with "exploded view" illustrations and small captions; even "I Spy" and other "search & find" books. He so wanted to know what words went with the pictures that he would have us read the captions to him, and it helped keep alive a desire in him to keep working at the reading until HE could do the reading.


We also used a lot of hands-on board games (like Python Path, and Happy Phonics and others) to engage all the learning inputs. If you really feel you need a more structured program with more formal educational games to teach reading, try Hooked on Phonics, or Sing Spell Read Write. He also really liked computer games at that age, and Bailey's Book House and the earliest of the Reader Rabbit series was very helpful in keeping him trying and working on reading. Others on this Board have said that the Leap Frog learning to read series or the related The Letter Factory DVDs have helped their DC start reading. Also check out the free Starfall website, and the for-a-fee Head Sprout websites -- again, others have said these resources really helped their struggling readers turn the corner.


Once he could read, I let him practice with computer games which he loved -- the Reader Rabbit series and Clue Finders Reading Adventure worked the language arts areas. Most importantly, we read aloud together EVERY DAY popcorn style ("you read a page, I read a page") -- all the way even through high school. It helped him slow down and break words down by syllables and not just "guess" based on letters he saw in the word. Using the index card (ABOVE the line currently being read) to help him track was helpful.


For actually teaching reading, you may find some of the mnemonic techniques in the Stevenson program helpful. (Our DS has continued throughout to struggle with spelling and writing, even though he's a pretty good reader. We used the spelling component of the Stevenson materials.) Others on this Board have used Apples and Pears with success. All About Reading may be helpful, as the related All About Spelling involves all of the learning styles, and I would guess the reading program does as well, so it might be a good connection for a VSL. Also, some of the basic ideas in the book Unicorns are Real may be of help.


Finally, here are several articles on *teaching* reading to a VSL:

- Education.com: "Reading Help for Struggling, Gifted VSL: Wholes and Patterns"

- "Teaching Reading to VSLs"



For general helps, check out Dianne Craft's website (esp. under heading "Information" and then subheading "Articles") for some great ideas for *how* to approach learning/teaching, and for some very helpful exercises and nutritional supplements that increase focus/concentration and increase brain hemisphere connections.


Here are past threads with lots of suggestions -- I apologize in advance, as I searched via my past posts, so you'll see a lot of repeat in my posts in these threads -- just skip me and glean from the other wonderful ideas and advice!


BEST of luck in your right-brain, VSL adventures! warmest regards, Lori D.



Figuring out learning styles


If you have a visual-spatial learner, which curriculum works best?

Your best curriculum finds for your right brained child

Help with curriculum for right brain learners

What curriculum do you use for your right brain or VS learners?

Xpost: Dianne Craft's Right Brain programs


Favorite curricula picks for your visual learners


An open invitation to parents of learning challenged kids (xposted)


Right brained vs left brained

Best books for info on right brain learners

Can anyone give me examples of whole to part learning, or curriculum suggestions

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My son is a definite VSL. He hated OPGTR and similar programs. He learned letter sounds through Leap Frog videos and watching programs with close captioning on. I used AAS at a slower pace for phonics, along with ETC. He likes MM, HWT, and workbook stuff. I do a lot of posters and games, DVD's and computer games.

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My son is a VSL. I second the PP who mentioned Leapfrog dvds. After the Letter Factory and Word Factory, I used a free phonics program. Instead of having them read off of papers, I used a magnetic dry-erase board with the markers and also magnetic letters. They loved it! I really like RightStart, but I couldn't accelerate it fast enough for my son so we switched to Singapore with him and that is going well.


You should check out this website if you haven't already:


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