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Question about moving from reader to "real" books (Remediating a 'guesser')


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Hi Everyone,

 

Brief History:

This year, my 8.5 year old has been working hard to learn to read.   He has made HUGE, HUGE leaps in progress.   I am so proud of him!    As some of you may remember from my past threads, his main problem was that he would guess a LOT while reading and skip many words.   A LOT.   Sometimes he would insert entire sentences or phrases that weren't there, or paraphrase sentences instead of actually reading, skip lines, etc.  

 

I posted on the forum for help, and Elizabeth recommended over practicing phonics and moving him off of 'in text' reading since he was so focused into context clues when reading.   She isntead suggested we use word lists or nonsense words to practice reading since those would be nearly impossible to guess at. 

 

So, we started going through all of the All About Reading levels with him using the letter tiles to re-practice all of the phonics he needs while reading.  (We are not doing the AAR readers, or all of the fluency sheets.   Just enough to review the concepts and cement them in his head.   He is about to finish AAR 3.  We will start AAR 4 next.)   Then we read lots and lots of word lists.   This all started in January 2015.   We used the cursor method where I would reveal one sound at a time and did lots of practice reading that way.   I would also have him physically touch the AAR letter tile when making its sound to get him used to reading through the word. 

 

Where we are now:

The good news is that the word list (coupled with over-practicing phonics) strategy worked!    After about 1 month of just word lists, I moved him over to the set 6 "I See Sam Readers".   Those books are remarkably GOOD at building fluency in reading once they have been taught the phonetic concepts.   I have yet to find anything that works as well for my son.  

 

The bad news is that lately my son has been giving me a lot of push back with those books.   Despite being a struggling reader, he is a book connoisseur!  ;)   He can spot 'twaddle' a mile away.    Basically, he says he doesn't like the unnatural way the book is written or the "way the characters talk."   I think what is bothering him is that these readers use controlled text.  (LIke any reader!)   They only use words that the child has been taught to decode...which means that often the way they are written does sound sort of artificial. 

 

He has been asking and asking to read Arnold Lobel books instead.    (The Arnold Lobel books are also a bit easier for him too.   they have a lot less text to read through, and are a lot shorter than the current I See Sam books he is on.)   I figured why not let him pick the book he wants to read so I let him read a few stories from Owl at Home

 

BUT, towards the end of the story---he started resorting back to his old guessing habits!!    Then, he asked to continue on with the book the next day, and he started guessing and skipping stuff again.

 

My questions...

I guess I am sort of torn about what I should do.  

 

One one hand, I want him to enjoy what he is reading.   What is the point of having a good reader if he doesn't like to read.  Right?    Also, is the point of teaching him to read to eventually get him to the point where he can read "real" books without controlled text?   

 

But on the other hand, we worked so hard to beat that guessing habit.   I don't want him to revert back to those old, poor strategies when reading.    So maybe I should just tell him that he "has" to stay on readers until we finish them or AAR 4. (Since he isn't guessing in those?)     I guess if you have any advice or words of wisdom to share---please do!   :)

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I don't have any words of wisdom --we're at the same stage/age-- but I can just share what I decided to do with my 8.5 year old, struggling reader...

 

1.  I continued requiring structured (vocabulary-controlled) reading -- out loud -- during school time. (We use CLE Reading.)  This way I can monitor progress, remediate problems or bad habits.  BUT this is not fun reading, even though she loves the program!

 

2.  I "set DD loose" to read on her own (I help pick levels).  Does she guess some?  Absolutely.  She uses context clues to figure out words that have phonograms/suffixes she hasn't yet learned.  I don't think that's a bad thing, though, so YMMV.  I don't monitor this, except show an interest in what she's read.  Occasionally, I wander into her room at night while she's reading and ask her to read a paragraph to me, just for fun.  Her most recent books:  My Father's Dragon (trilogy), the Kingdom of Wrenly books, a lot of Rainbow Magic Fairy books, lots and lots of graphic novels (Zita the Spacegirl, Dragon Girl, Sisters).  I don't restrict "twaddle" -- I let her read whatever draws her in.  I do restrict books that don't fit our morals or are not age-appropriate.  

 

 

Just to give an idea of where she was:  in November she couldn't read Arnold Lobel books without my assistance.  We were reading some Fox books (Edward & James Marshall) together and they were challenging.  Obviously she has made a lot of progress in the last few months (especially stamina and fluency)...and 2 of those months we did NO school because of family health issues (DH with cancer.)  I think a LOT of her progress has come from getting her hooked on a series that she loved and wanted to read independently (Dragon Masters books from Scholastic Branches).

 

Anyway, just thought I'd share. :)

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Have you looked into High Noon and similar books? You know we are at a similar point and I'm pretty sure we're going to end up with some sort of developmental vision diagnosis coupled with dyslexia in the end.

 

It kills me to think that DD may end up needing to read controlled text books for a while since she can read the real, good stuff and understand them fine. I'm rolling it around in my head now, so I won't be as upset about it later.

 

http://www.highnoonbooks.com/index-hnb.tpl

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Treadwell Readers.  Controlled vocabulary, but *interesting* vocabulary.  High interest, classic stories...I'm writing the companion for the 3rd reader now and the stories are Alladin, Sinbad the Sailor...words to be practiced are "enchanted" and "dazzling" and "procession."   They don't feel dumbed down, yet the words do spiral through to make fluency easier.

 

 

The issue is that he doesn't want to disrupt the flow and flavor of the story to deal with decoding. I can't blame him. Do that with him before the story.

 

 

You can just go through the stories and underline any tricky words, and study them like you did through previous programs with tiles and such or on a whiteboard. I do have the Companion to the 2nd reader complete if you check my siggie.  Those lessons are designed to use a cursor to practice building the words, with plenty of morphemic work (happy, happily, happiness, unhappy, etc...).  

 

You can go through the actual story with a cursor, only stopping for tricky words!!!, before reading through the story as a story.

 

 

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My son is also a guesser/context/sight reader. He balked at doing OPGTR and Elizabeth's nonsense words. After we graduated from Progressive Phonics to the Nora Gaydos books (both excellent), we bought the AAR readers, which are sold separately. They are interesting stories, but have controlled phonics woven throughout. They have taken my son to a 4th grade+ reading level in one year. At night, I let him read whatever twaddle he wants. That combo has worked well for us. He still does guess off and on, but he loves to read. My solution, at this point, has simply been to buddy read parts of our regular read aloud (which are generally late elementary level) for reading practice. That way, I can monitor the guessing and reinforce the phonics that he knows.  

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Perhaps my youngest can give you some ideas.

 

He can read just fine, if it's a sentence on a page, but if you put that same sentence along with ones of equal level together on a page he is lost.

 

Turns out he has a tracking problem, as in his eyes have trouble just going across the page to the end of the line and back to the new line. This leads him to skipping words, phrases, guessing... It is sort of like you would read if you had the book being moved around while trying to read. Whenever you would loose your place you would just continue reading on with guessing, and then when you do start back it will likely be in a slightly incorrect place.

 

He can now read much better after doing visual tracking activites. . But he still tires easily with eye tracking. If I tell him to just do his best and focus he can usually read a paragraph of a book (dragon slayers academy) but if he is tired or has been reading for awhile he will revert to old habits because it is so hard for him to just look at the text word to word end to line.

Yes, I suspect that he has problems with tracking.   I actually have an apt later this month with our eye doctor.  She is going to give him some tests using the Visigraph machine to see how he is tracking while reading. 

 

Can you let him listen to audio books for the exposure to fun and interesting stories while you continue to work on reading remediation separately?  Or maybe do Immersion Reading with a Kindle while you continue working on reading remediation?

He listens to audiobooks already for like an hour a day while playing, in the car, or before he goes to sleep.   PLUS, I read aloud to him for what feels like hours everyday.   So he is already getting exposed to lots and lots of fun and interesting stories.   And I think he is hearing SO many good books, that it is making him picky about what he reads.    I'm going to look up what immersion reading means.  (I don't know much reading vernacular. lol)   

 

We don't have a kindle yet...but I thought about getting him one for Christmas this next year.   I was sort of waiting until he was reading early chapter books before I bought one. 

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I would work very hard on getting him to the point where he can read anything!

 

Work quickly through Blend Phonics/Webster, you can let him try the sentences in the 1908 Webster now, although they are pretty boring.

 

Links at end of page:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/howtotutor.html

 

Also, the 1879 McGuffey Readers have the difficult words diacritically marked before each passage...however, also pretty boring, but better literature quality than the sentences in the 1908 Webster.  If you find something that really interests him, you could look over each page for difficult words and work on those first and then allow him to read that page.

 

The old Open Court readers are good quality readers with nice stories that gradually build...but they are tied to the old Open Court sequence, long vowels first, so they may not work for you.  They also have to be purchased through used sellers, they are OOP.  

 

 

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I would work very hard on getting him to the point where he can read anything!

 

Work quickly through Blend Phonics/Webster, you can let him try the sentences in the 1908 Webster now, although they are pretty boring.

 

Links at end of page:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/howtotutor.html

 

Also, the 1879 McGuffey Readers have the difficult words diacritically marked before each passage...however, also pretty boring, but better literature quality than the sentences in the 1908 Webster.  If you find something that really interests him, you could look over each page for difficult words and work on those first and then allow him to read that page.

 

The old Open Court readers are good quality readers with nice stories that gradually build...but they are tied to the old Open Court sequence, long vowels first, so they may not work for you.  They also have to be purchased through used sellers, they are OOP.  

So, in short, keep him in 'readers' for a bit longer?  

 

I couldn't find samples of the other readers you linked to, but do I really need to buy different readers?   I'm not sure he is going to like those readers any better than the "I See Sam" readers....and I know that those are at least really effective for him.  

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I actually would try making him read non fiction - where the vocabulary is harder and where you need more concentration to cope with the text. I would choose topics he is very interested in, make sure he was reading aloud and that words he stuck on were discussed phonetically on another page. Guessing "a" vs "the" happened frequently with both my girls as their reading speed increased and even now sometimes I will find an extra word being added into the sentence - if the meaning of the text does not change then I do not worry, but that is because not everything does need to be read exactly accurately - it is usually comprehension exercises, journals and articles that require more concentration - so those are the ones he should practice on. If you guess a few words in a novel for enjoyment - who cares. The meaning of the story is still grasped. If you are guessing words that change the meaning of the text then it needs more attention - sometimes getting my children to underline words works then.

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Perhaps run some searches for books designed from children with dyslexia. I just came across this British publisher, which has intrigued me. The books have a lot of pictures and the text is large and spaced out. It looks like they recruit good authors. One that jumps out at me is Cornelia Funke (author of Dragon Rider and Igraine the Great, etc.) I suspect that if you bought any, you might have to order from Book Depository, though.

 

The tricks we use to make the books accessible include:
  • Short word lengths so readers can enjoy the achievement of finishing a book
  • Lots of chapter breaks so readers can take a rest
  • Special edit processes, with trialling by children of the correct reading age
  • Cream paper which minimises glare
  • Our own dyslexia-friendly font
  • Special line, character and paragraph spacing
  • Lots of illustration in lower reading-age titles to help with understanding
 
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If visual tracking is the big issue, more phonics won't help.

 

 

Honestly, I would hesitate to keep a child in readers that are designed for phonetic learning when his real issue is tracking.  A moderately controlled vocabulary? Yes, b/c we don't want to overload him with decoding AND tracking.  

 

 

Look for something with:

 

-Large font and lots of white space between lines.

 

-Real and interesting stories.

 

 

 

Go through and lightly underline all tricky words.  Use those as a reading warm-up.  Use a cursor to decode, sound-by-sound.  Then use a regular 3x5 index card to hold under the line he's reading to help keep his eyes on the line as he reads the story for real.  

 

There are some nice books put in huge format.  Ex.  We have an oversized, hardback Stuart Little with massively huge font.  My kids have all read that in that in-between stage.  That's what I'd be looking for.

 

 

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Perhaps run some searches for books designed from children with dyslexia. I just came across this British publisher, which has intrigued me. The books have a lot of pictures and the text is large and spaced out. It looks like they recruit good authors. One that jumps out at me is Cornelia Funke (author of Dragon Rider and Igraine the Great, etc.) I suspect that if you bought any, you might have to order from Book Depository, though.

 

The tricks we use to make the books accessible include:
  • Short word lengths so readers can enjoy the achievement of finishing a book
  • Lots of chapter breaks so readers can take a rest
  • Special edit processes, with trialling by children of the correct reading age
  • Cream paper which minimises glare
  • Our own dyslexia-friendly font
  • Special line, character and paragraph spacing
  • Lots of illustration in lower reading-age titles to help with understanding
 

 

I wish they had samples of the insides of the book!  :)

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Not all, but many do. The size of the font, spacing and number of words on a page look really good to me.

 

One thing nice about a Kindle is that you can adjust the font, size and spacing however you like on most books. I say most because picture books where the text is part of the design of the page cannot be adjusted, but that shouldn't be a problem for you since you're looking for chapter books/short novels. However, you can't draw on a Kindle page and you have to use something metal/plastic to point at words or you'll turn the page or pull up the settings bar. With print books, I'll sometimes lightly draw lines between syllables where DD tells me to or I'll draw a line underneath a vowel team she's missing, etc.

 

ETA: I looked for other publishers yesterday, but Barrington-Stoke seems to be pretty unique in their focus. Many sites/dyslexia-friendly book lists recommend their books. I couldn't find an equivalent American publisher. High Noon was the closest I found.

 

I wish they had samples of the insides of the book!  :)

 

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Here's one with a preview that I know DD would totally be into.

 

The-Moonshine-Dragon.jpg

 

http://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk/The-Moonshine-Dragon.html

 

It doesn't have as many pics as some, but you can see how few words there are on a page without pics. I'm going to order one of the books (not sure which one yet) and see how well DD does with her word skipping, etc.

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I'm no help on the current line of thought to this thread, but have you looked at the Elephant and Piggie series by Williams? Shorter and easier than Lobel, but funny and engaging. My kid at the same age loved those.

 

Even if not challenging these books will provide exposure, and at this point exposure to real writing is beneficial.

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One more question to anyone reading:

What do I do if he doesn't self correct when guessing?   How can I encourage him to start self correcting? 

Especially when his guesses are messing up the meaning of the sentence. 

 

 

I'm curious. How long is he reading for when he starts guessing again...specifically in regard to the Lobel books? Is he getting through an entire story/chapter? I know some of the stories are longer than others, but can you provide an example?

 

He was about 3 pages from the end of one of the chapters/stories before the guessing started.  Almost like he was getting tired, but those books are a lot shorter / less text on the page than his 'readers'.  

 

 

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Here's one with a preview that I know DD would totally be into.

 

The-Moonshine-Dragon.jpg

 

http://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk/The-Moonshine-Dragon.html

 

It doesn't have as many pics as some, but you can see how few words there are on a page without pics. I'm going to order one of the books (not sure which one yet) and see how well DD does with her word skipping, etc.

 

THANK YOU!   Those do look just about perfect!   Where are you going to order from?   I see that amazon sells them too. 

 

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I'm curious. How long is he reading for when he starts guessing again...specifically in regard to the Lobel books? Is he getting through an entire story/chapter? I know some of the stories are longer than others, but can you provide an example?

 

Yes, we are huge fans of Elephant and Piggie.   We love them!   He doesn't guess with those, but I am looking for ways to up his reading level.  I would love for him to be able to read a chapter book someday soon.  :)  

 

He has read EVERY SINGLE elephant and piggie so many times he has them memorized.  (Like at least 30+ times each.)  :)  I even like those books!  :)

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After working on guessing with explicit phonics, word lists and nonsense words my DS continues to guess a little and make other silly mistakes as well. I think we worked on a LOT of new sounds in a little over a month and he hasn't "overlearned" the new sounds yet. Even though he is guessing some, I'm okay with it because it isn't rampant like it was before. Also, I can tell that he is making an effort to sound out lots of the new words that he does encounter. He continutes making progress in reading, so I'm okay letting him read "Frog and Toad" even if he can make a few guesses from the pictures, etc. Even though he is also 8.5, I think that this is a really fragile reading stage for him as he begins to move on to "real" books. I consider him a beginning reader still and as long as he continues to improve, I'm okay with some mistakes. The other night before bed he was reading a Frog and Toad story and started making lots of mistakes so I just had him put his bookmark in the book and he did much better the next day.

 

I plan on having him review phonics until he is a solid reader. I thought it was interesting in the instructions for Blend Phonics that the recommendation was for the kids to review the same information every year up until 4th grade. I used to think that once we had completed a phonics program that we would be done with reading instruction. That may work for some kids, but for my DS I see how much the review benefits him.

 

My plan from here on out is to do some phonics review including words lists, some reading from the "I See Sam" books, AND some fun reading every day. I'm working on a hunch that "everything else" will work itself out. :)

 

I'd try to let your DS correct his errors as much as possible and try hard not to overhelp (which is *my* bad reading habit, LOL). Maybe a simple, "Does that make sense?" will do if he moves too far forward in the text and doesn't catch it himself. We took such a long break from reading books that I had to re-remember not to overhelp. Letting him comprehend if the text makes sense is an important reading skill and if he can self-correct his errors he will be much closer to reading on his own.

 

Keep us posted! :) :)

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The McGuffey Readers are free online, you can try and see before buying an actual book. Also, most libraries have them. here is the 2nd reader in PDF, you want the pdf versions, they have the difficult words diacritically marked.

 

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14668/14668-pdf.pdf?session_id=d0c004686ebf0d6f39e66c655e9da406cadd2aa1

 

You might want to start with the first reader and build up confidence and stamina. The boxed set is reasonable from Amazon, all 6 books, starting with the 4th reader they also have comprehension questions. They have a wide range of selections, non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.

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If Amazon doesn't have the one(s) I need, I'll order from Book Depository, which is owned by Amazon. Free shipping worldwide. Takes over a week to get here, but the shipping speed is pretty good considering it comes from England.

 

THANK YOU!   Those do look just about perfect!   Where are you going to order from?   I see that amazon sells them too. 
 

 

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We used High Noon which worked well for us, until DS segued to Magic Tree House.  Those Barrington books also look interesting.  Possibly both would be good. HN would give a whole chapter book to work on with a controlled reading level--some of which get pretty interesting by the upper levels. While the Barrington ones look like they might be rather fun and have other aspects controlled such as the paper color.

 

I followed along with ds and usually corrected wrong words whether he was reading from HN or MTH--I just supplied the right word without making a big deal of it--sometimes if he was very into the story and it was exciting I let something go so as not to interfere with the excitement and figuring developing a love of reading was as important at that point as having every word correct every moment.  

 

Usually though books were read more than once (often 3 times each though not in a row so that they were not simply memorized) until he started to soar in his reading skills. and by the time they had been read repeatedly for fluency and automaticity they were also being read perfectly.

 

It may be that he is really excited toward the end of a book, but it also may be that he is getting tired.  If the former, I'd allow for a few errors.  If the latter, I'd suggest shorter reading sessions held more frequently so he does not tire in any session and start going back into bad habits.

 

I'd not tend to stop him if he badly wants to read a particular set of books such Arnold Loebel, but I'd probably make some rules about how he will be doing it, including perhaps  that it will be part of the program since he wants it, but also that you'll be continuing with the controlled readers, or looking for some better (more interesting) controlled readers for him.

 

And I'd emphasize that the hard work he does will allow him to move on to books he finds more interesting sooner, and to just work with some materials that may be a bit dull and not great stories.  One thing HN was helpful with in that regard is that a lot of the stories emphasized a character who had to persevere despite obstacles.

 

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Thanks again everyone for the advice. 

 

I've really been putting a lot of thought into it.   I **think** I'm going to continue having him read from the reader until he finishes.   I know he doesn't like it, but it is really helping his reading.   SO---What if I added a 3rd reading session to our day so that he can read some books of his choice?   He is not yet reading silently, so I will have him read his 'fun' book out loud too.

 

So our total reading time would look like this....broken up into three sessions:

1)  AAR Lesson / phonics review (we will probably finish up level 4 at the end of May) (30 minutes in the morning)

2)  Read from reader (15 minutes)

3)  Read aloud from his choice of book (15 minutes)

 

What do you think?  Is this too much?   Perhaps I should wait to add the for fun' books until we have finished AAR?   Then that reading session can replace our time spent using AAR?  

 

P.S.   If you have any specific High Noon titles that are REALLY, REALLY good, please link in this thread.   My son likes funny books and mysteries.  He especially likes funny mysteries.  lol   I have Nate the Great scheduled for later on already.  But any other titles you can recommend would be wonderful.

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The McGuffey Readers are free online, you can try and see before buying an actual book. Also, most libraries have them. here is the 2nd reader in PDF, you want the pdf versions, they have the difficult words diacritically marked.

 

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14668/14668-pdf.pdf?session_id=d0c004686ebf0d6f39e66c655e9da406cadd2aa1

 

You might want to start with the first reader and build up confidence and stamina. The boxed set is reasonable from Amazon, all 6 books, starting with the 4th reader they also have comprehension questions. They have a wide range of selections, non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.

 

Thanks ElizabethB!   I guess what I meant in my previous reply was...  Do I need to switch to another set of readers?   Can't I just use what I already have since it seems to be working?  (The I see sam books.)    I'm not sure that he will find any of these readers interesting.   You know?

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Thanks again everyone for the advice. 

 

I've really been putting a lot of thought into it.   I **think** I'm going to continue having him read from the reader until he finishes.   I know he doesn't like it, but it is really helping his reading.   SO---What if I added a 3rd reading session to our day so that he can read some books of his choice?   He is not yet reading silently, so I will have him read his 'fun' book out loud too.

 

So our total reading time would look like this....broken up into three sessions:

1)  AAR Lesson / phonics review (we will probably finish up level 4 at the end of May) (30 minutes in the morning)

2)  Read from reader (15 minutes)

3)  Read aloud from his choice of book (15 minutes)

 

What do you think?  Is this too much?   Perhaps I should wait to add the for fun' books until we have finished AAR?   Then that reading session can replace our time spent using AAR?  

 

P.S.   If you have any specific High Noon titles that are REALLY, REALLY good, please link in this thread.   My son likes funny books and mysteries.  He especially likes funny mysteries.  lol   I have Nate the Great scheduled for later on already.  But any other titles you can recommend would be wonderful.

 

I think 30min is a long time on a lesson.

 

I wouldn't add another reading session (with him reading aloud) on top of all this, per say.

 

What I would do is wait until he finishes the current Reader. Then graduate him on to the "next level" of reading.  Build it up as if he has really earned the right to read interesting books...b/c he has!  At that point, buddy read some great books together. Do what I mentioned above, underlining & learning any hard words before the reading.

 

When you finish AAR, I would spend 10min/day working on words pulled from things he's going to be reading soon. 

 

Encourage silent reading by having a quiet time. Allow books, drawing, and coloring. He will read soon.

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Thanks ElizabethB! I guess what I meant in my previous reply was... Do I need to switch to another set of readers? Can't I just use what I already have since it seems to be working? (The I see sam books.) I'm not sure that he will find any of these readers interesting. You know?

I would use what is working, I was just looking for a substitute for the readers that were not working! I would either not do the readng that is causing guessing or change it so that you work on the difficult words in each paragraph or page before reading the stories.

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I would not add an additional 15 minutes in the uncontrolled vocab books -- even though less words on a page they are probably still harder due to not being controlled vocabulary.    I would start with a much shorter time frame - like 5 minutes -- and then slowly add more minutes when you see that he is not guessing.  I would also probably do that session before the controlled readers -- when his eyes and brain are at their strongest.  

 

For my DD, the High Noon books were not more interesting and only marginally more acceptable than the I See Sam books. 

 

Those Barrington books look interesting and nice that they have some more 'girly' choices as well -- although unfortunately none of the ones I picked out as appearing like they might be interesting to DD are available on Amazon.

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I would not add an additional 15 minutes in the uncontrolled vocab books -- even though less words on a page they are probably still harder due to not being controlled vocabulary.    I would start with a much shorter time frame - like 5 minutes -- and then slowly add more minutes when you see that he is not guessing.  I would also probably do that session before the controlled readers -- when his eyes and brain are at their strongest.  

 

For my DD, the High Noon books were not more interesting and only marginally more acceptable than the I See Sam books. 

 

Those Barrington books look interesting and nice that they have some more 'girly' choices as well -- although unfortunately none of the ones I picked out as appearing like they might be interesting to DD are available on Amazon.

 

As someone who has used the I See Sam books, do you feel it is necessary to finish up all 8 sets? 

 

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As someone who has used the I See Sam books, do you feel it is necessary to finish up all 8 sets? 

 

 

We are half way though set 6, and for my daughter, yes it will be. She's happy to read other books, and does, but she doesn't naturally pick up new content that way. Or not yet, anyway. When we're done with all of those, I'm going to go back to ElizabethB's speller lessons and see what further drilling dd might need while we continue reading whatever else that seems fairly suitable that I've got stashed around here.

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As someone who has used the I See Sam books, do you feel it is necessary to finish up all 8 sets? 

 

Sadly we didn't get make it through all 8 sets because it became a daily struggle and I decided to let them go.  I do think it would have benefited her a great deal to go through all of them though.   At the time I was all over the 'The Book Whisperer" type stuff -- that it's all about finding the books that 'speak' to the child or draw the child in to reading.   So I thought if I moved to more interesting choices it would make DD happier and that reading what she liked would help her to become a reader -- now I laugh at some of that.   My job wasn't to find the perfect book (magic pill) -- my job was to make sure she practiced reading correctly. 

 

I will say it is probably worth looking at the easier High Noon books and seeing if the lower levels aprox match the level your son is at -- and if so trying them out.  The difference is really that the material is definitely less little kidish -- they are still controlled text.  My comment before was because the style is still 'unnatural' and clearly remedial to my DD who wanted to be reading 'real books not this stuff!'  But I do think going through the High Noon books can be just as useful as going through the I See Sam books so worth a look see to see if they work better for your DS especially if available at your local library ( my library system has them although you have to search by title/author not by High Noon).

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If visual tracking is the big issue, more phonics won't help.

 

 

Honestly, I would hesitate to keep a child in readers that are designed for phonetic learning when his real issue is tracking.  A moderately controlled vocabulary? Yes, b/c we don't want to overload him with decoding AND tracking.  

 

 

Look for something with:

 

-Large font and lots of white space between lines.

 

-Real and interesting stories.

 

 

 

Go through and lightly underline all tricky words.  Use those as a reading warm-up.  Use a cursor to decode, sound-by-sound.  Then use a regular 3x5 index card to hold under the line he's reading to help keep his eyes on the line as he reads the story for real.  

 

There are some nice books put in huge format.  Ex.  We have an oversized, hardback Stuart Little with massively huge font.  My kids have all read that in that in-between stage.  That's what I'd be looking for.

 

I agree.  If his eyes aren't tracking, then it's not a phonics problem.  My DD had major tracking issues in the past.  It did lend to word guessing that we spent a lot of time working through after the tracking and other vision problems were corrected.  Larger fonts, covering parts of the text, using a curser and/or having him use his finger will help aid him in tracking if needed. 

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Sadly we didn't get make it through all 8 sets because it became a daily struggle and I decided to let them go.  I do think it would have benefited her a great deal to go through all of them though.   At the time I was all over the 'The Book Whisperer" type stuff -- that it's all about finding the books that 'speak' to the child or draw the child in to reading.   So I thought if I moved to more interesting choices it would make DD happier and that reading what she liked would help her to become a reader -- now I laugh at some of that.   My job wasn't to find the perfect book (magic pill) -- my job was to make sure she practiced reading correctly. 

 

 

Your thoughts (bolded above) are exactly the type of information I am wanting.   Thank you for articulating things so well.  

 

I am at the same turning point.   I am trying to decide my best course of action.

That is really what I am trying to get advice about.   Do I.....  a)  stick out the I See Sam readers and continue through all 8 sets, --OR--  b) move on to more 'interesting' books in the hopes that this will encourage him to practice reading more.   (We already own the Sonlight grade 2 readers.)  

 

So thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

 

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I agree.  If his eyes aren't tracking, then it's not a phonics problem.  My DD had major tracking issues in the past.  It did lend to word guessing that we spent a lot of time working through after the tracking and other vision problems were corrected.  Larger fonts, covering parts of the text, using a curser and/or having him use his finger will help aid him in tracking if needed. 

 

I agree, one needs to find out what the issue is. And, it's very possible for kids to have issues with more than one thing (you can have visual processing issues AND dyslexia for example--it's not necessarily one or the other). Sometimes therapy and remediation are both needed.

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P.S.   If you have any specific High Noon titles that are REALLY, REALLY good, please link in this thread.   My son likes funny books and mysteries.  He especially likes funny mysteries.  lol   I have Nate the Great scheduled for later on already.  But any other titles you can recommend would be wonderful.

 

 

High Noon's readers are very text controlled, and in general you'd see where he places in them--they tend to be sold in sets. 

 

The 6th level of the Sound Out (preliminary) series has a group that are about unusual places that I think are interesting (we live not that far from Portland, OR, and only in one of the books about it did I learn that there are underground passages that were used to kidnap people and conscript them into sailors, for example.)  

 

The next several levels up all have some series that have mysteries. I don't know if any have humor. 

 

Not High Noon, and not a controlled reader, but you might also want to look at The Buddy Files which are mysteries featuring a dog detective and are reasonably funny. My ds starting reading them overlapped with HN and Mag. Tree H.  -- there were only 3 of them at the time, which he read and liked very much, but I think the author kept going, so you'd probably have a bigger choice (or group to keep going with) now. They are quite a lot easier than Hank the Cowdog, which are also funny mysteries with a dog.

 

My son was not especially into mysteries, so unless a series about dogs (which he was into) overlaps with mystery or humor, we were not looking for mystery/humor.  His main genre choice was action/adventure.

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Thanks again everyone for the advice. 

 

I've really been putting a lot of thought into it.   I **think** I'm going to continue having him read from the reader until he finishes.   I know he doesn't like it, but it is really helping his reading.   SO---What if I added a 3rd reading session to our day so that he can read some books of his choice?   He is not yet reading silently, so I will have him read his 'fun' book out loud too.

 

So our total reading time would look like this....broken up into three sessions:

1)  AAR Lesson / phonics review (we will probably finish up level 4 at the end of May) (30 minutes in the morning)

2)  Read from reader (15 minutes)

3)  Read aloud from his choice of book (15 minutes)

 

 

 

1) I cannot speak to AAR specifically, but assuming it is a right program for your ds, I'd say 2 separate 15 min. sessions would be better than a single 30 minute session.

 

2) I would have at least 2 15 minute sessions of reading from a controlled reader daily. 3 such sessions spread through day (some could be repeating books already read, for fluency and automaticity, especially later in day)

 

3)  I would personally allow it provided it is not causing bad habits and undoing the work done the rest of the time.  In fact, I'd make it a reward for the other good work being done.

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1) I cannot speak to AAR specifically, but assuming it is a right program for your ds, I'd say 2 separate 15 min. sessions would be better than a single 30 minute session.

 

2) I would have at least 2 15 minute sessions of reading from a controlled reader daily. 3 such sessions spread through day (some could be repeating books already read, for fluency and automaticity, especially later in day)

 

3)  I would personally allow it provided it is not causing bad habits and undoing the work done the rest of the time.  In fact, I'd make it a reward for the other good work being done.

 

If I could have a 'do over' -- I would do a lot closer to what Pen said in the above post.  Numerous short sessions.  Lots of work with controlled readers.  I would add continued word list reading (ala ElizabethB or Dancing Bears for phonics or Rewards for multisyllable work) -- because it has been extremely helpful here for making reading automatic. 

 

The one difference is for #3 I would probably leave all the 'fun' reading to be on her own time and not something where I was sitting with her correcting her.   I might be willing to use fun reading as a reward for good work -- but not with corrections.   If I wanted 'fun' reading to be part of 'reading work' I would do something like having her read along while listening to a recorded version (which is a commonly used practice for struggling readers).   And if I listened to read aloud 'fun' reading - I would only use the mistakes to make a plan to work on what the mistakes showed me and not for immediate corrections.    This is based on a child that really struggled with both being behind and being corrected though -- so I would be a lot clearer about separating 'working on reading skills' from  'reading'.    

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  • 2 weeks later...

Attached mama the I See Sam readers look like good options for my son.  Did you buy them or get them free by emailing like it says to do?  I'm going to have to find some appropriate reading for my older son who is still going through AAR.  I'm also going to look at the High Noon readers and others listed here.  

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Attached mama the I See Sam readers look like good options for my son.  Did you buy them or get them free by emailing like it says to do?  I'm going to have to find some appropriate reading for my older son who is still going through AAR.  I'm also going to look at the High Noon readers and others listed here.  

 

I tried and tried to email the owner for the free books.   He is VERY responsive on the yahoo group, but never seems to remember to email out the free books when I ask.   I tried for about a month, and finally gave up because I didn't want to "lose" any more time with our school year.   So, I eventually purchased the books from this site:   http://www.iseesam.com/products

Amazon also sells them too just in case you have a gift card or something you want to use.   And Yes, these books are really amazing!

 

Honestly, I feel like REAL printed books are important when learning to read.   I don't have any research to back this up, but my gut tells me that something is lost when you are reading on a screen.  When teaching reading, I like being able to underline tricky words/letter combinations, divide words into syllables with a pencil, and even just have the child touch/track under the word when blending.   

 

We just recently started doing the High Noon readers too.   As an update, I am doing pretty much what Laughing Cat suggested below.   We do a phonics lesson wtih AAR and read a fluency sheet/word list; we read a story from the I See Sam reader (controlled reader), then they "free read" from the High Noon books for fun without any correction or me even standing over their shoulder.   I VERY subtly enquirer what is happening in their book just to make sure they are comprehending what they are reading....but I mostly just let them read these for fun. 

 

My son is REALLY liking thees High Noon books too.   He said that that was his favorite part of school!   (Music to my ears after our struggle with learning to read.)   http://www.highnoonbooks.com/detailHNB.tpl?action=search&eqskudatarq=8551-5

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Attached mama the I See Sam readers look like good options for my son.  Did you buy them or get them free by emailing like it says to do?  I'm going to have to find some appropriate reading for my older son who is still going through AAR.  I'm also going to look at the High Noon readers and others listed here.  

 

If you end up purchasing the I See Sam readers, I would suggest calling the company before ordering online.  Sometimes they will offer a discount or special over the phone that they haven't listed online yet.

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Speaking of I See Sam...

Readingteacher.com has a lot of the I See Sam books available for online viewing, all free (the first 100, maybe?).  

They are "animated" and can be read-aloud by the computer or silent for the child to read.  Each has a quiz at the end.  

 

I've been using these with my daughter, who reads a print copy to me first, then she gets to watch the story on the computer (read to her).  Then she takes the quiz for fun. :)

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Speaking of I See Sam...

Readingteacher.com has a lot of the I See Sam books available for online viewing, all free (the first 100, maybe?).  

They are "animated" and can be read-aloud by the computer or silent for the child to read.  Each has a quiz at the end.  

 

I've been using these with my daughter, who reads a print copy to me first, then she gets to watch the story on the computer (read to her).  Then she takes the quiz for fun. :)

 

Just as a warning, only the first 52?  (I can't remember the exact number) are the actual "I See Sam" books on readingteacher.com.   After that, the owner started coming up with his own books that still use the original characters.     They are not the actual "I see sam" books that everyone raves about.  

 

For some kids just practicing reading is enough.  So the reading teacher.com is probably fine.    My son was not one of those kids.  He needed the specific practice and "spoon feeding" that the original "I See Sam" books bring.   The other books on readingteacher did nothing for him.   (I mean they were about as effective as bob books or other simple readers we tried.  But they did not increase his reading level and fluency like the real I see sam books did.

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Just as a warning, only the first 52? (I can't remember the exact number) are the actual "I See Sam" books on readingteacher.com. After that, the owner started coming up with his own books that still use the original characters. They are not the actual "I see sam" books that everyone raves about.

Well, that's disappointing. Youngest DD has just started the Sam books, and we had a nice groove going (she reads to me, then listens/watches on the computer). Looks like that will only work for 10 more books.... Boo!

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