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Help me rework a doable English plan for a dyslexic.


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My oldest is 7th grade right now.  Bear with me.  I'm a planner, and I'm looking at our current status and am freaking out a bit about having 18 months to get him ready for high school.

 

He's dyslexic.  

 

He's reading at a level that I would be OK with for a 5th grader.  He reads aloud to me daily and from a wide variety of books to improve in this area.  I think he could hack high school fine as far as reading goes if we just keep plugging away and he utilizes audiobooks and documentaries when he fatigues of reading.  Reading concerns me, but it's not my main concern at this point.  

 

 

His math is fine. 

 

 

His spelling, and consequently his writing, is what really keeps me up at night.  He's working the Essentials in Spelling level 3...3rd grade level spelling and he's not exactly soaring through.  I am working with him through every avenue one can - visualization/logic through rules/repetition/etc... He has just always struggled to spell and probably always will.  As a result he *hates* writing.  His typing is not great either, though he's gone through a few typing programs.  We own Dragon Naturally Speaking, but haven't used it much b/c he gets frustrated with that too. We spend so much time on spelling that he is wiped out before even beginning a real writing/composition lesson. I'm worried that this is going to greatly impact his future options. 

 

He wants to be an engineer when he grows up.  He wants to go to a good university. I want to help him get there.

 

 

Given this situation, what options are there for high school English that might fit around a child who is still working on spelling through high school.  (I plan on staying the course with spelling lessons, sticking with Essentials by Pearson 1919 through 6th grade level and then doing CM Dictations ever after until he goes off to college.)  

 

If I can visualize how high school will look, I think I will better utilize this last 18 months of middle school.

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When is his birthday? Would you consider changing grade levels? The reality here is that most 12 y.o.s are 6th graders, not 7th graders. The extra breathing room might help in a situation like this. It could provide you with 2.5 years until high school. Just a thought.

 

His birthday is January. I have thought long and hard about calling him 6th instead of 7th.  He's ok with the idea right now. It's a tentative plan...with the condition that I will keep transcripts of that 8th/9th grade year in case he turns 18 and decides he's done with school.  kwim.

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His birthday is January. I have thought long and hard about calling him 6th instead of 7th.  He's ok with the idea right now. It's a tentative plan...with the condition that I will keep transcripts of that 8th/9th grade year in case he turns 18 and decides he's done with school.  kwim.

I would do this plan. ^  I think more breathing room *for both of you* would probably be a good thing. 

 

I know that more time won't eliminate the struggles, but it will help alleviate the pressure.  Most kids have a hard time learning under pressure.  I can get something done under pressure, but not really LEARN under pressure. 

 

:grouphug:  to you, mama.  I know the feeling. (I've been staying up late the past few nights with a " I-don't-need-no-stinkin'-sleep" baby, and been obsessing about my dyslexic as well.) 

 

My dyslexic is making progress, but it seems so S L O W.  Molasses uphill in January slow.

 

It's like I wish my child was a Chia Pet ("just add water, and watch it grow!), and really, he's an orchid trying to grow in the Arctic circle. 

 

I can't re-wire my kid's brain, but I can give him more time to process and absorb.  And I can throw some of *other people's* expectations out the window.  I know, it is hard to do.  So hard.  :grouphug:

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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I'm inthe same boat with a 12yo dyslexic/dysgraphic/dyscalculic boy in 7th grade homeschool. Reading is coming along, although all school work is audiobook or read by me. Math is coming along anc I have a plan that I hope will work out.... but writing ack! Spelling is slowly improving with AAS. Handwriting will always look bad, but could be read (although with the combo of the two.) Grammar hasn't been even started (we are a CM family so it isn't generally started until about age 10....). But asking him to write more than a sentance or two is like a torture chamber for him. We haven't really tried TTS because he also struggles at times with talking....

 

And for our case we can't consider putting him back a year as around here most 12yo's are in 7th grade.... and there is a close family relative that is the same age and grade, not to mention a little sister just 2 years behind him....

 

I'm trying to figure out an appropriate writing/grammar program for him for his age and abilities... preferably free lol...

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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 not to mention a little sister just 2 years behind him....

 

I'm trying to figure out an appropriate writing/grammar program for him for his age and abilities... preferably free lol...

 

 

 

I also have a dd 2 years younger, and she's advanced in all things LA.  That makes things interesting. 

 

I'm a CM mom too.  Right now, we are doing lots of oral narrations.  If he does a written narration, it's extremely simplistic.  I still scribe for him to copy his own narrations.

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Have him type everything, starting now.  The more he types, the better he will get.  It's ok that he is still working on spelling.  Just keep at it, even all through high school if necessary.

 

I would keep records as though his 9th grade by age year is high school, and then decide as he gets closer to graduation whether it really was.  Kids with dyslexia can have a developmental leap in the late teens and the extra year might seem like too much.  But you won't know until you get there.

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Both of my kids worked on spelling into high school--one until Freshman year, one until Sophomore. We used All About spelling, which is Orton-Gillingham based--good for dyslexic spellers. Until they were in level 7 though (which has high school level words, Greek and Latin roots etc...), I didn't count spelling towards any English credits--I considered it remedial. 

 

For high school English, my kids generally did:

 

30 minutes lit (reading time--not including discussion time a couple of times a week)

30 minutes writing (or other LA topic, such as a unit of grammar. Or, if I did a more indepth literature guide for a book, that might take the place of writing for a day or two. But I focused a lot on writing because that work was needed.) One year they did speech in this time slot. 

 

My oldest did keyboarding for an elective, and one of the things I did through that was have him review all of the AAS dictations from Level 2 on up--to practice and reinforce all of those words again. It was a win-win--his typing speed improved and he had practice typing all of those words he had studied :-).

 

I did also continue read-alouds throughout high school. We read in the evenings about 4 times a week--used to be more, but they get busy :-). My kids are not super-fast readers, and I felt that it was time well-spent to build up general knowledge, vocabulary, an ear for good language, an understanding of various types of literature that might not be quite accessible yet to them via reading, and good family bonding time.

 

For your son--if you haven't already, you might consider an intensive year working on just reading and spelling for English through an Orton-Gillingham based program and see if you can get reading closer to grade level, and make spelling a bit easier. I found that writing was less of a struggle once my kids had 1000 basic words mastered. If he's struggling with both reading and spelling--you may want to consider whether you do need to just take that time to shore things up there, rather than spread him (and you) so thin with adding in writing. 

 

But if you want to continue with writing now--as far as your son feeling worn out between spelling and writing, I'd try spacing out the tasks. Perhaps do spelling first thing in the morning to get it out of the way. Then let him do some other subjects, and save writing for after a snack or after lunch. Ask for his input on how to schedule it--but both really need to be done, even at 7th grade. There's really no other way to build up stamina for writing. If you need, let him dictate to you and you scribe. Then the next day, he can use that writing for copywork. He'd still be working on learning how to organize his ideas and compose sentences, but you are splitting up the two tasks a bit. That might be an option if he really hates Dragon. 

 

We always did 15-20 minutes on spelling, and 30 minutes for writing (probably more like 20 minutes for writing in junior high). But if your son isn't up for that much time yet, start where he is and build up. If he does fewer writing assignments over the course of the year, doesn't finish a writing program etc..., so be it. Just keep working consistently, a little each day, and don't drop days--that just makes it harder long-term.

 

I started teaching note-taking when mine were in junior high, and used history for notes--we did T notes (like Cornell notes) rather than an outline form like WTM. But, use either--just get him started on taking notes. Start where he is and help him gradually to move ahead in his skills. Remember you're in this for the long-term--he doesn't have to get it all this year. 

 

For writing, Essentials in Writing worked well for us. Here's a blog review I did. 

 

It's not going to be easy for a time, but it will eventually be tolerable, and then it will be a little less difficult, and then doable with considerable help with editing...

 

I told my son that it was like riding a bike or playing an instrument. You stink when you first try it, but gradually you learn and do better as you practice. Practice is the only way to get better. And practice is the only way for writing to eventually become a little easier. Accommodate as much as he needs, especially if he has the testing to show he needs it. But help him also to gradually learn what he can do, to stretch himself, to learn how he works best--to learn how to self-accommodate where and when possible.

 

Make sure to include a high interest subject or something that comes easily for your son that he'll enjoy each year. It's important to focus not just on weaknesses, but on areas of strength and gifting too. It makes school less of a drudgery. 

 

Hang in there! It's really amazing the progress they make over the next 5-6 years. Keep encouraging him, and keep walking beside him. He really can grow in his skills. I started AAS when my son was in 6th grade--and I don't think his spelling was even to a 3rd grade level at that point. It was very rewarding to see him finish the series. Writing is still tough for him, but 6 years ago, I couldn't see how he'd ever write in college--a simple paragraph produced a melt-down. Don't give up hope.

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For some dyslexic  kids, AAS is too fast paced. Barton is a much better fit for some. I would consider giving it a shot. 

 

I understand your fears for what is beyond. I look at what my non-dyslexic daughter is doing in high school (reading primary sources for history etc...) and I cringe to think of the pain it would be for my dyslexic son. 

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We started out kindergarten with SWR, and we worked at that for 2.5 years.  I studied O-G obsessively as I began to realize that he was not picking things up.  He began reading with Dancing Bears, which takes a different pedagogical approach. I think I need to stick with that synthetic phonics style for him.  He is picking up the spelling and improving in reading....just at the speed of molasses uphill in January.

 

I have taken a year of streamlined and oral everything in order to focus on just learning to read.  He was 9 when we did that.  It worked.  It makes me nervous to do that this late in the game.  As it is, we already do most of his composition work orally and he copies it.  (CM style)  For a typical child, I don't feel this would be enough.  For him, it is what he can do. 

 

I'm going to start having him review spelling by having him type out the sentence dictations.  Great idea! Simple!

 

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I don't have good answers for dealing with spelling issues, as we're in the midst of that insanity-producing struggle right now ourselves.  DS (14) is in 8th grade and is dyslexic and dysgraphic.  We've used both AAS and Wilson, and both helped with reading and with spelling, but more with reading.  His reading is quite good now, but his spelling is still atrocious. 

 

I do think that the process of writing should be separate from spelling.  I want him to use the best words he can think of to express his thoughts - not the best words he can spell.  He understands that for his first few drafts spelling does not matter at all.  (At some point in the revision process he corrects all the spelling, but that is only after more important aspects of his writing are addressed.)   We used EIW in 6th and part of 7th grade, and it was doable for him, though the assignments quickly became boring (and I really don't like the writing samples given in EIW).  We switched to some more creative writing assignments at the end of 7th grade, and this was helpful for him.  He is a creative kid, and I think freeing him to explore his ideas in writing was really good for him.  It made writing an interesting part of his day, and not just a difficult task.  This year we are using Hands On Essays, and its pretty straightforward instruction on various types of essays, but what I like most about it is the excellent examples of student writing included.  It's also full of creative ideas to write about - perfect for middle schoolers. 

 

I still feel that his written expression is a poor representation of his thoughts, which is part of dyslexia.  The goal for him is to learn the skills required to lessen that gap.  I agree that practice makes a difference.  I have been increasing his writing requirements this year, and I am seeing improvement.  Oh, and I also agree that time makes a difference, too.  He has made a few leaps in maturity over the past few years that have really made a positive difference in his attitude and his writing ability. 

 

He also types everything.  Learning to type was not easy for him, but typing is now much easier for him than writing.  He can write - has to for math - but typing is much better for writing assignments.

 

 

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1. While you don't drop spelling, you don't focus on it. Typing is overly important. The goal in spelling is to get it to a point that spell check can catch a lot/but not all of it. Then, you just move on. Accept that spelling is just going to s@#k.

 

2. Work on writing skills. For my dyslexic, an outline has been fairly important. She needs to be able to have down where she is going before she tries to put it into sentences. My other dc write better without an outline. Can he write a paragraph about a single topic? If not, go there first. The good news is that you would be surprised what passes as acceptible writing in college.

 

3. Know that him assisting you with writing a paper is helping him tremendously. I think we underestimate how much kids learn from helping/watching us go through the process of writing. Do not be afraid to make concrete suggestions for his writing. Suggest a whole sentence now and then. It really speeds up the learning process. (Thank you to Andrew Pudewa for pointing this out!)

 

4. I still check every. single. written correspondence my dd makes if it is important. She asks me to. She knows that she has a weakness here. If I cannot check it, she runs it by one of her sisters. She is in college, and she sends me her work to check for spelling and punctuation. Why? The learning centers at colleges just aren't generally up to par.

 

5. And the biggest thing, make sure you have the documentation you need for accommodation. Make sure to reevaluate late in high school in order to have it count when he gets to college. Extra time to take tests is ESSENTIAL. He will need it in order to be able to read tests carefully. Much of the time when dd misses a question, it is because she misread it. Even with her extra time. If he does have to take remedial classes, it is FINE. (High scores on ACT/SAT are difficult. Getting accommodations on these tests is time consuming if you are not in the school system. Even with extra time, the test is just too long/adding time doesn't help a lot because the brain is just too drained to take advantage of it. It would be nice if they could split it into two days!) Just plan on an extra semester. The classes themselves are not helpful, but it is a fairly easy hoop to jump through!

 

adding: One of the best things you can probably do for him is to make sure to plan for an extra year of college. Just consider it a five year proposition from the beginning. Know that he will need to take a minimum load. Especially those first years where he has to take all those heavy reading/writing classes. Once he gets into more of the mathy/sciency types of classes, he may be able to handle more. But, the writing/lit/humanities that are required will slow him down. Encourage taking summer session classes online to lighten the load during the rest of the year.

 

My dd with dyslexia is a sophomore in college (in her third year). She has an excellent GPA. She finally has all of those pesky heavy writing classes out of the way as of this week! (Funny, her AMerican Lit I teacher told her she has the highest grade in all his classes..a 97%!) She still reads at about a 5th or 6th grade level. Most of the lit for her class was available on YouTube or elsewhere to listen to. I read a few things aloud to her. She had already read them herself but couldn't get them to "flow".

Edited by Lolly
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Have him type everything, starting now.  The more he types, the better he will get.  It's ok that he is still working on spelling.  Just keep at it, even all through high school if necessary.

 

I would keep records as though his 9th grade by age year is high school, and then decide as he gets closer to graduation whether it really was.  Kids with dyslexia can have a developmental leap in the late teens and the extra year might seem like too much.  But you won't know until you get there.

:iagree: This is DS. Dyslexia/dysgraphia  have caused all the usual problems but finally in the last 2 years I've seen huge improvements.  He reads well now, just slow. His writing has went from barely able to string enough words together to form a sentence to now he can write at least a page or two (and it's at about B level grade wise).  I credit most of this to IEW and time/maturity.  I did a lot of research on the IEW method then bought the Medieval unit.  We'll be going back to IEW US History Unit next year along with WWS 3 (currently using WWS 1&2).  His handwriting is ledgible but at a snail's pace, I still make him write some things, he also does a good amount of handwriting on his own (for D&D games). So while I've always thought of him as a current 9th grader in maturity/mental abilities (actually kid's very adult-like) his academic skills are finally starting to catch up.  He'll always struggle but not as much as I feared he would.

 

We like Phonetic Zoo from IEW and I think it's helping.

Edited by foxbridgeacademy
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We started out kindergarten with SWR, and we worked at that for 2.5 years.  I studied O-G obsessively as I began to realize that he was not picking things up.  He began reading with Dancing Bears, which takes a different pedagogical approach. I think I need to stick with that synthetic phonics style for him.  He is picking up the spelling and improving in reading....just at the speed of molasses uphill in January.

 

I have taken a year of streamlined and oral everything in order to focus on just learning to read.  He was 9 when we did that.  It worked.  It makes me nervous to do that this late in the game.  As it is, we already do most of his composition work orally and he copies it.  (CM style)  For a typical child, I don't feel this would be enough.  For him, it is what he can do. 

 

I'm going to start having him review spelling by having him type out the sentence dictations.  Great idea! Simple!

 

Don't let it make you nervous (I know that's easier said than done!) But seriously, filling in gaps and strengthening the foundation is worth it. For half of my son's 7th grade year and about 1/3 or so of 8th, we didn't get much composition done because he was going through vision therapy. And most writing before that was oral. To say that he had a LOT of catching up to do would be a huge understatement. So...I get the fear, I really do. But that foundation is so important.

 

I wouldn't make spelling a big focus in writing, but I do find that it's one of the things that really interrupts a kid's thoughts, and that's why I would keep working on it. A student who struggles putting ideas into words in the first place and then also struggles to know how to even represent those words on paper (correct or not) will lose a lot of their thoughts. So while not making it a huge focus in writing, keep working on it otherwise to try to develop some automaticity. Dictation is a big help with that too.

 

Do work on keyboarding, but don't drop handwritten work totally, unless your son will be able to get accommodations for that. My son is grateful that I made them do history notes because the amount of note-taking in his college classes is huge, plus many of his tests are essay-based (he just got back from a history final that required 4 essays). Of course if there is an accommodation in place, then it's a moot point--but we found it important, hard as it was, to keep including handwritten work. 

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Thanks for the replies.  It helps.

 

We won't drop handwriting.  His cursive is actually quite nice when he takes his time. His printing is odd.  His numbers are wackadoodle!  He forgets which way to start an 8 if his brain is really going, and his 6's are always backwards making them look like 2's.  We fix.  We write a row of 6's daily for 6mo...it doesn't help.  He's going to flunk Calculus someday b/c he writes a backwards 6.  :confused1:    (Yet, he's the kid who gets the actual math quite intuitively!)

 

 

I was thinking today of how to tweak our routine for January.  

    1. Listen to Audiobook, following along with paper book.

    2. Give oral narration that Mom scribes.

    3.  Type up that narration from Mom's handwritten copy.

    4.  Edit for spelling & grammar with help.

    5.  Copy in cursive.  

 

That hits all the bases.  We can break up the steps.  I can pick high interest books.

 

 

What grammar programs have been successful with your kids?  I have let grammar slide.  He knows the parts of speech well. I'm not going to do any more grammar this school year, but I'd like to be thinking about the fall.

 

 

ETA:  The above is in addition to the current spelling work.  And, he can write a paragraph.  If he writes without help, it will be super simplistic.  If he writes it orally, he can craft a good paragraph around an idea. 

 

Edited by 4blessingmom
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I was thinking today of how to tweak our routine for January.  

    1. Listen to Audiobook, following along with paper book.

    2. Give oral narration that Mom scribes.

    3.  Type up that narration from Mom's handwritten copy.

    4.  Edit for spelling & grammar with help.

    5.  Copy in cursive.  

 

That hits all the bases.  We can break up the steps.  I can pick high interest books.

 

 

 

 

Paula, I like that plan well enough to steal it.  :cheers2:

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I tried to post here yesterday and my laptop suddenly shut down for some bizarre reason.  Anyway, your mileage may vary but all 5 of my kids are/were dyslexic to varying degrees and this is what worked for us:

 

1.  Definitely do not rush a dyslexic kid!  Give him that extra year.  It will do him no harm at all and allow him longer to bloom.  My oldest son went through an amazing developmental jump from age 13 to 14.  It was miraculous!  So that could happen to your child too.

2.  Seriously consider vision therapy (and occupational therapy if your child has trouble with handwriting).  Vision therapy was so helpful to all my kids and it was the miracle my now 16 yo needed to learn to read (which happened right before he turned 10).  My oldest son was diagnosed dysgraphic and a year of OT helped him enormously, not only with writing but with reading speed and self-confidence.

3.  No spelling program worked with my kids.   The thing that really solidly helped them was me posting spelling rules every week (or 2 or three weeks. . . ) and reviewing them at breakfast time (or my kids would even review them on their own often). This was coupled with copy work every morning.  The hand written copy work was absolutely essential for my kids to get things to click.  Handwriting is different from typing.  It engages the brain in a different way and that way was necessary for my kids.

4.  Typing is great and despite what SWB says, spell check is wonderful!  However, typing and hand writing are two different things and BOTH need to happen on a regular basis for improvement.

5.  Reading out loud is a different skill than reading silently.  For my kids making them read out loud wasn't very helpful and made them hate reading more (they liked listening to me read out loud).  But giving them something interesting to read in short bouts and then coming back to me to narrate was much, much more helpful.

6.  Join Learning Ally to get textbooks on audio and to get advice about how to get into colleges with dyslexia. https://www.learningally.org/

Edited by Faithr
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As posted up thread, many OG based programs (like AAS) move too quickly/make too many leaps for some dyslexics. Have you looked at Barton? Barton Reading and Spelling will help remediate reading, spelling, writing and grammar. It comes with training DVDs and an incredibly well laid out manual so even a layman with no specialized training can implement it. Lots of support for tutors on the website as well. It has 10 levels but you can sometimes cover 3 levels in a year. The levels don't just remediate basic skills. They take you through in depth prep for High School level material.

 

Touch Type Read and Spell is a typing program specifically designed for dyslexics and pairs well with Barton. It really has been an amazing fit for both kids.

 

Fix-It Grammar (new, not old version) coupled with IEW for writing/grammar in more depth may help as well, will certainly give more systematic and indepth instruction, pair well with Barton after Level 3 and they are recommended by Susan Barton.

 

Two dyslexic kiddos here, one of which also has dysgraphia. I really recommend all of these programs. Oh, and the new Dragon software is supposed to be MUCH MUCH MUCH easier to use (theoretically takes only 15 minutes to set up, no more need for extensive training) but I have not tried it. They are offering a special right now for those with older versions but I don't think it can be accessed through the normal website. Not sure how to get it but I will look around.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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For my dyslexic DD, one of the things that really helped  (last year -- early middle school) with writing was doing a paragraph a week -- trying out different methods.  Like one week using Dragon, one week dictating to Mom and then editing by self, one week dictating to Ipad and then writing while listening to own dictation.    Different weeks were also spent on various writing helps -- such as editing your own work.  Little time was spent on spelling or grammer other than as part of editing, I would often read her work back to her and pronounce words as they were written rather than what I knew she meant (I did have several side tracks into spelling or grammar frenzies -- but none of them made any difference that I could tell).   None of this wasn't really done purpose (other than me just freaking out about her lack of writing ability) but it really made a huge difference to her -- much of which I attribute to just the weekly practice -- but also some to the different methods giving her options to get her thoughts into words (dictating to Ipad and scribing her own writing was by far the best IMO -- but not her favorite).   When we started -- straight into writing was like reading a 2nd graders work.    By the end of the school year (on good days) she could go straight into writing her thoughts and have a decent paragraph.  Not as good as what she would say -- but decent.

 

Just writing that makes me think I need to get back to doing that :D

 

 

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I'd second Merry's post. 

 

Mostly I want to say that as a diagnosed dyslexic myself, you will probably never defeat the spelling monster.  It will be less of a problem or more of a problem, but they will still have those days where a word just looks wrong and no matter what you try it doesn't look right.  I once spelled which four different ways in one document, all phonetically correct, but only one was the correct spelling.  But it wasn't that I didn't know how to spell the word, it was that whatever wires got crossed in my mind that blocked me from recalling it at the time.  Annoying.  I've been able to spell a simple word perfectly one day, struggled and looked it up, verified it and still felt it "looked" wrong the next, to being able to spell it perfectly again the day after.  Very annoying.

 

Despite it I have done well in life.  I am just very upfront about my problem with spelling when at a job interview, with all the spell check situations these days most people didn't care.

 

If I were you spend less (but not eliminate it) time on spelling and more on typing/composition. 

 

Heather

 

p.s.  I'd recommend Barton for children who stuggle with reading.  For those who just need help in spelling I'd go with AAS.  Their are those who finish Barton and still do AAS or other spelling programs.  That said AAS moves quickly and needs to be slowed down for most dyslexic students or they just end up overwhelmed. 

 

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I have looked into Barton.  We've done years of Spalding and when I realized it wasn't working my first move was to study O-G and we then used a much cheaper O-G program....the name of it is escaping me right now, but yes, we've btdt.  My ds has visual processing quirks, and he didn't really read until we did Dancing Bears Reading which combines visual tracking/decoding skills in with the phonics.  In fact, many of the activities in DB are similar to what he did in vision therapy.

 

 

 


Touch Type Read and Spell is a typing program specifically designed for dyslexics and pairs well with Barton. It really has been an amazing fit for both kids.
 

 

That is $$$$!!!!!!

 

We have Read, Write, Type and Word Qwerty by www.talkingfingers.com  Is TTRS significantly different?  RWT is juvenile in comparision, I can see, but the $$$!!!

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I have looked into Barton.  We've done years of Spalding and when I realized it wasn't working my first move was to study O-G and we then used a much cheaper O-G program....the name of it is escaping me right now, but yes, we've btdt.  My ds has visual processing quirks, and he didn't really read until we did Dancing Bears Reading which combines visual tracking/decoding skills in with the phonics.  In fact, many of the activities in DB are similar to what he did in vision therapy.

 

 

 

 

That is $$$$!!!!!!

 

We have Read, Write, Type and Word Qwerty by www.talkingfingers.com  Is TTRS significantly different?  RWT is juvenile in comparision, I can see, but the $$$!!!

I haven't used the other typing program so I can't compare them.  I didn't pay full price for TTRS.  I got a discount through Homeschool Buyer's Co-op.  I think there is a special going on right now.

 

https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/touchtypereadspell/

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We started out kindergarten with SWR, and we worked at that for 2.5 years.  I studied O-G obsessively as I began to realize that he was not picking things up.  He began reading with Dancing Bears, which takes a different pedagogical approach. I think I need to stick with that synthetic phonics style for him.  He is picking up the spelling and improving in reading....just at the speed of molasses uphill in January.

 

I have taken a year of streamlined and oral everything in order to focus on just learning to read.  He was 9 when we did that.  It worked.  It makes me nervous to do that this late in the game.  As it is, we already do most of his composition work orally and he copies it.  (CM style)  For a typical child, I don't feel this would be enough.  For him, it is what he can do. 

 

I'm going to start having him review spelling by having him type out the sentence dictations.  Great idea! Simple!

 

Is it in the budget to get to an OG tutor three times per week?

 

I am not familiar with Dancing Bears but I have to tell you, at 7th grade there are two things you NEED to do.

 

1. Remediation.

2. Minutes spent reading.

 

 

I promise I don't say this lightly.  My 16yo DS is a moderate.  My 10yods is severe.  My 13yodd is mild.  My 4yodd is most likely severe/profound.  My almost 6yodd is yet to be determined - probably mild/mod.

 

We didn't find out about DS (16) until his freshman year.  I would not spend time "trying" programs.  I'd either use Barton (so it's ENTIRELY laid out for a novice parent) or I would pay a tutor - at any cost.

 

At the end of the day his reading is going to profoundly inhibit his college plans.  You can make a plan for high school, but the better way would be to take 7th and 8th and remediate.  Then minutes spent reading will directly correlate to success per current studies.  DS (16) was reading a minimum of 2 hours a day his 8th and 9th grade years.  He is not a superfast reader HOWEVER we can get accurate tests because he can read enough, although there are accomodations for that.  But do know that he is taking his first year college classes this year and there is no getting around some of the reading (and unfortunately for him as he is severely dysgraphic) writing necessities, nor will there be with employment papers, tests, applications, workload.

 

At the end of the day, accomodations are not sufficient.  And I don't say it lightly as I try (and try and try) to make DS (10) proficient.   Having two years right now BEFORE high school is a boon.  Remediate, remediate, remediate, read, read, read, read.

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Is it in the budget to get to an OG tutor three times per week?

 

I am not familiar with Dancing Bears but I have to tell you, at 7th grade there are two things you NEED to do.

 

1. Remediation.

2. Minutes spent reading.

 

 

I promise I don't say this lightly.  My 16yo DS is a moderate.  My 10yods is severe.  My 13yodd is mild.  My 4yodd is most likely severe/profound.  My almost 6yodd is yet to be determined - probably mild/mod.

 

We didn't find out about DS (16) until his freshman year.  I would not spend time "trying" programs.  I'd either use Barton (so it's ENTIRELY laid out for a novice parent) or I would pay a tutor - at any cost.

 

 

I'm not a novice parent.  I've been remediating him for years.  And, I think O-G has its own blind spots. I don't think it's the best fit for him.  If I thought Barton would help him, I'd make that investment.

 

Private tutoring?  It's an hour away, and very $$$.  They use O-G strictly. 

 

I promise, I'm not "trying" programs on him.  I'm using only techniques (for spelling & reading) that are tried and tested on *him* and are known to make forward progress without excessive stress on him.  Dancing Bears Reading and Apples & Pears Spelling are programs written in the UK for dyslexic students.  The approach is called Synthetic Phonics, and is worth a look-see b/c it does thoroughly cover skills that I think O-G misses.  (Sound Foundations)  I pull technique from both O-G and Synthetic Phonics with my ds. He's going to struggle with spelling no matter what I do, but what I do is measure the worth of our lessons by what he retains and can use the next day, the next week, in his dictations. I'm tweaking to HIM, not chasing currics...goodness, no! He's making progress, but it's too slow to "be remediated" by 9th grade.

 

My concern, moving forward, is juggling his asynchronous needs.  How do we teach a child to write when his spelling is several grade levels below his ability to compose ideas?  I believe it is possible to remediate while teaching those higher level LA skills.  We are at the point where I'm not so comfy dropping everything for the sake of remediation. He has an emotional need to do more mature work. 

 

The physical act of handwriting is not his idea of fun, but he can write just fine.  His copywork is quite nice.  Writing falls apart when spelling independently enters the picture.

 

We will be bumping up reading reading reading.  2 hours a day is probably a good goal to adopt for him.  

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My concern, moving forward, is juggling his asynchronous needs.  How do we teach a child to write when his spelling is several grade levels below his ability to compose ideas?  I believe it is possible to remediate while teaching those higher level LA skills.  We are at the point where I'm not so comfy dropping everything for the sake of remediation. He has an emotional need to do more mature work. 

 

The physical act of handwriting is not his idea of fun, but he can write just fine.  His copywork is quite nice.  Writing falls apart when spelling independently enters the picture.

 

We will be bumping up reading reading reading.  2 hours a day is probably a good goal to adopt for him.  

 

Several methods:

 

1, he writes orally--he speaks, you scribe. If he's frustrated with Dragon, this might be a way to go. After you scribe, he copies everything (not all in one day, but at a pace that's appropriate for him). Another option--my dd uses the email function on her kindle fire--she speaks her rough draft, uses similar commands to Dragon (ie, "new paragraph," punctuation etc...), and then edits.

 

2, teach him keyboarding. If he can type his thoughts, spell check will correct the things it recognizes. You'll have to go through and help him with words it doesn't recognize. Keep working on handwriting at times though, to build up stamina there.

 

3, he handwrites but teach him to put an approximation of a word with an underline when he's not sure how to spell it, and move on. Afterwards, he can go back and check spelling and get assistance. I'd help a lot with those words--if you make it too hard to start, he won't want to use his vocab. This encourages him to use his vocabulary but not get so hung up on words he can't spell. 

 

4, partnership writing. He writes, but when he hits points of frustration, he can speak and you scribe. You can be there to help with tough words. Or, he brainstorms out loud first, you make notes and help him develop a structure. Many of the difficult words he might want to use may come out in that brainstorm session, and you can include them in the notes. Then, he writes from the notes.

 

It's a lot of back and forth for these kids that struggle not only with spelling, but also with organizing ideas, grammar, or other aspects of the writing process. Don't expect to get a ton of papers done, but give him lots of opportunities to write and help as much as he needs. You'll feel like you're helping too much in the earlier years, but as he gets older, he'll do more and more of it on his own. I wouldn't revise every paper--give him opportunities to freewrite and get ideas out, and let him choose one paper a month or so to rewrite--and then give plenty of time to work on that rewrite, know that it will take several drafts and lots of input from you. It's a lengthy process. That's another reason not to revise every paper--it's just too heavy a load at first for a student with this many struggles, but if they can choose one they are interested in after several weeks of freewriting, then they get experience both with revision and with the original writing process. 

 

Of course, keep working on the spelling in small chunks daily--it does get a bit easier as you go, as they master more words. 

 

Know that this is a process that will take years, and try not to let it freak you out that he struggles along the way. One thing that helped me relax was the idea that if my son needed to take remedial writing in college, so be it. That's why they have those classes. Obviously that's not our goal, but some kids need the extra help, and it's there. Writing struggles are not a life sentence. As it turned out, my son didn't need remedial classes--it really is amazing how they can grow over the next several years. Your son will get there. 

Edited by MerryAtHope
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His birthday is January. 

 

So he will turn 13 next month? Then he is the correct age for 7th grade. My ds's birthday is in February. He is also 12 and in 7th grade. If you call your son a sixth grader at his age, then that means he "would have" started kindergarten when he was 6, turning 7.

 

If your son is fine with being in 6th grade, that's great, but other people will perceive him as "behind." I would leave decisions about changing grade until later in high school. I have heard that many boys make a real developmental leap around age 14, and then your son may resent being "behind."

 

Our daughter was a year behind her agemates in school (she was adopted at 11 and not ready to be with her agemates), and she really, strongly disliked it by the time she was a sophomore.

 

My son is also dyslexic and struggles with writing. I would not put him back a grade. I would not want a 19 year old senior. 

 

You might look at WriteShop for writing. We just started using it, and already I'm seeing results with him. I plan to build interest-based lit courses in high school and let him use audiobooks if necessary. We use Ginger for him to type much of his work on and MegaWords for spelling. My son is not exhausted after a MW lesson; if your son is exhausted after a lesson of your program, the maybe he need a change. We also do a roots study (something inexpensive I bought from Teachers Pay Teachers) and that has improved his reading and spelling a lot. He will continue to work on spelling through high school, as we are on book 2 of 8 books. I don't see ever being able to use a packaged English course for him because his skills are all over the place in various things. I'm just going to keep plugging away. He has also worked through a CD rom-based program called Lexia that is specifically for dyslexic kids, and that has also helped him a lot.

 

My goal for my son is for him to be able to write a research paper by the time he is a senior. I'm not concerned if other people think that's late for that skill. I want solid basics before I worry about long assignments.

Edited by TaraTheLiberator
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So he will turn 13 next month? Then he is the correct age for 7th grade. My ds's birthday is in February. He is also 12 and in 7th grade. If you call your son a sixth grader at his age, then that means he "would have" started kindergarten when he was 6, turning 7.

 

If your son is fine with being in 6th grade, that's great, but other people will perceive him as "behind." I would leave decisions about changing grade until later in high school. I have heard that many boys make a real developmental leap around age 14, and then your son may resent being "behind."

 

Our daughter was a year behind her agemates in school (she was adopted at 11 and not ready to be with her agemates), and she really, strongly disliked it by the time she was a sophomore.

 

My son is also dyslexic and struggles with writing. I would not put him back a grade. I would not want a 19 year old senior. 

 

My fear is that he will turn 18 and decide that he is done with school forever. He is strong-willed, and I could see him getting a taste of a real job and refusing to finish high school if graduation were 18mo away instead of the next May.  kwim.  That is my biggest "No" factor in keeping him back. I'm pretty set on taking a relaxed frame of mind (for myself mostly) and thinking of him as 6th grade while keeping a highschool acceptable transcript that year that is either 8th or 9th.  Then, as long as we remain homeschooling, he can choose to graduate at 18 or stay an extra year if he chooses.  His math is on -target, so that is encouraging.  I found a conceptual physics text book that looks perfect for either 8th/9th.  History - he's a history buff.  The sticky wicket is writing.

 

 

You might look at WriteShop for writing. We just started using it, and already I'm seeing results with him. I plan to build interest-based lit courses in high school and let him use audiobooks if necessary. We use Ginger for him to type much of his work on and MegaWords for spelling. My son is not exhausted after a MW lesson; if your son is exhausted after a lesson of your program, the maybe he need a change. We also do a roots study (something inexpensive I bought from Teachers Pay Teachers) and that has improved his reading and spelling a lot. He will continue to work on spelling through high school, as we are on book 2 of 8 books. I don't see ever being able to use a packaged English course for him because his skills are all over the place in various things. I'm just going to keep plugging away. He has also worked through a CD rom-based program called Lexia that is specifically for dyslexic kids, and that has also helped him a lot.

 

My goal for my son is for him to be able to write a research paper by the time he is a senior. I'm not concerned if other people think that's late for that skill. I want solid basics before I worry about long assignments.

 

I didn't write a real research paper until my Sr. year.  I do remember doing many 5 paragraph essays from 7th grade up, but no research paper.  

 

I will look into WriteShop and Megawords and Lexia.  

 

It's good to know we aren't the only ones doing spelling through high school.

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It's good to know we aren't the only ones doing spelling through high school.

 

When we finished MegaWords book one, my son said, "Yeah! One down, three to go!" (Apples and Pears had four books.) He was horrified when I told him that MegaWords has eight books ...

 

(I did tell him that if he worked on it steadily and with a good attitude, we would probably be able to finish by end of 10th/sometime in 11th.)

 

He doesn't love doing spelling, but he does love not having to ask me how to spell every word he ever writes, and he also loves not being made fun of by other kids for his spelling. At summer camp a few years ago, a girl sent him a letter through the camp mail and then made fun of his spelling in the letter he sent back. Little brat.  :cursing:

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I'm not a novice parent.  I've been remediating him for years.  And, I think O-G has its own blind spots. I don't think it's the best fit for him.  If I thought Barton would help him, I'd make that investment.

 

Private tutoring?  It's an hour away, and very $$$.  They use O-G strictly. 

 

I promise, I'm not "trying" programs on him.  I'm using only techniques (for spelling & reading) that are tried and tested on *him* and are known to make forward progress without excessive stress on him.  Dancing Bears Reading and Apples & Pears Spelling are programs written in the UK for dyslexic students.  The approach is called Synthetic Phonics, and is worth a look-see b/c it does thoroughly cover skills that I think O-G misses.  (Sound Foundations)  I pull technique from both O-G and Synthetic Phonics with my ds. He's going to struggle with spelling no matter what I do, but what I do is measure the worth of our lessons by what he retains and can use the next day, the next week, in his dictations. I'm tweaking to HIM, not chasing currics...goodness, no! He's making progress, but it's too slow to "be remediated" by 9th grade.

 

My concern, moving forward, is juggling his asynchronous needs.  How do we teach a child to write when his spelling is several grade levels below his ability to compose ideas?  I believe it is possible to remediate while teaching those higher level LA skills.  We are at the point where I'm not so comfy dropping everything for the sake of remediation. He has an emotional need to do more mature work. 

 

The physical act of handwriting is not his idea of fun, but he can write just fine.  His copywork is quite nice.  Writing falls apart when spelling independently enters the picture.

 

We will be bumping up reading reading reading.  2 hours a day is probably a good goal to adopt for him.  

 

 

Is there a chance there is more than dyslexia going on here?  Working memory/executive function?

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My concern, moving forward, is juggling his asynchronous needs.  How do we teach a child to write when his spelling is several grade levels below his ability to compose ideas? 

 

 

You can work on writing separately from spelling.  The idea of creating structure for essays, pulling out support from reading material (even if listened to on audiobooks and or minimizing reading short pieces, i.e., articles), the development of a thesis, being able to word and construct a strong thesis, being able to construct an outline that creates structure, being able to fill that out with support.... Much of it can be done orally.  

 

That said, I have virtually no experience with Dragon.  Is that a possibility?  

 

I'll also say that DS was diagnosed his 9th grade year.  We did take the year off and work almost entirely on remediation and not do *any* reading and language arts.  We did SWB's history on audio, we found computer and audio sources for science with an outside class for solely labs, we did audiobooks.  He had worked through WWS in 8th grade.

 

I can only relate my personal experience, but he had a fairly significant "jump" in ability that we just couldn't have seen in 7th grade.  He's a junior this year and took Composition I this year at CC.  Final grades came back this week and he did get an A.  She focused on structure, thesis, support.  

 

Spelling is separate from writing.

Some disagree with me.  But then again, some folks think spelling can be completely remediated.  I don't.  I don't think any moderate to profound kid can be remediated to spell perfectly.  I think the ones that spell well have an incredibly memory.  DS tested above grade level on spelling this year.  When we did his diagnosis testing and he had to spell nonsense words, he spelled below a 4th grade level.  However, that's an aside, I do believe in remediation.  But I think you would do well to study how to construct an essay, even if you did it orally, or did a year of just oral narration of structure.

How much writing has he done already?  For example, if you were to ask him to narrate the main idea to you, could he?  Could he provide support for those ideas using excerpts or examples from a book, even if it's from an audio book and an oral narration?  Now, if you switch it up a bit and ask him to provide a thesis statement and support that could provide three main statements for three body paragraphs, could he do this?  Could he provide examples and/or support from sources?

 

This could be oral or from a book.  I'd second Dragon on this one so that you have a written piece to edit so he can see what information is extraneous as you edit.

 

I should think this alone is more than sufficient for 7th-8th grade.  And while I think it's really good to be thinking ahead (and even further than high school/college too because accomodations are very tricky at a job) at the same time it's very difficult to forecast what level of ability DS will be at after two years of remediation.  With a full 1.5 years left, how long do the programs  you're using take to completion?

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You have gotten a lot of really great advice, so I don't have much to add. We just got a formal diagnosis on kiddo in the late fall, so I can give you my "hindsight is 20/20" thoughts. 

 

If I had known the extent of what we were dealing with I would have really focused a great deal more on the executive functioning skills in middles school and put a heavier emphasis on typing. We worked steadily through middle school on spelling; it will always be a trouble area for my child. We worked on A&P through middle school (finished the last book sometime in the spring of 8th). My kid has been taught the tools for decoding and had a very strong O-G inspired base, so it isn't a matter of not having those skills, the short term memory and processing speed deficits have a huge impact on the ability to consistently and accurately apply those skills. Spell check is great, but if your kid does not have the ability to slow down and check that the word chosen is actually what they want, it is kind of a double edged sword. For example, my child wanted to spell "emergency" and missed it, instead of choosing the correct word he chose "emergence" instead. I would work on using the tools that will help him be successful in high school effectively. Things like mind-mapping or outlines or whatever he finds useful to corral thoughts, start figuring those supports out now and really practicing with them. It is hard to figure those out while trying to learn high school level material. 

 

One other area I think I should have focused on more consistently and heavily in middle school was nonfiction reading. My child is a voracious reader and I think I missed the extent of how his disability was impacting his reading. He does and did read lots of nonfiction, but he probably could have used more direct side-by-side reading a text with me using passages from Read Works and working on close reading strategies. We have made use of audio books this first semester. We also read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn doing a great deal of shared reading, sometimes having me read an entire chapter at bedtime and audio books. I used this book as a example of how a book may not have a difficult reading level, but because of the style and dialect may be challenging. It encouraged him to utilize additional strategies in reading that I hadn't made him use much in middle school because he could and did read, but I didn't realize the extent of his struggles.

 

I do not have a bunch of BTDT advice, so I really have no idea how it will play out for my kid. I think ultimately slowly and steadily working on skills is the best we can do. Oh, I would also be certain your child can write a five paragraph essay. We did do a lot of that in 8th grade and while there are still a ton of gaps in writing ability, he can get his thoughts down in a (mostly) coherent manner. We are still working a great deal on refining and how to edit, but at least generating sentences is not the huge obstacle we are trying to overcome.

 

 

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What we have done/ plan to do in futrue

6-8Th grade

 

1. Big focus/ prioity reading remediation until ninth grade reading level was acheived ( for us, that meant finishing Barton level 8)

Learning Ally for everything....fun reading, history,science, lit

Other equally big focus on Math and hands on learning... Annimation, tech classes, robotics...

Daily..must do 15 minutes Mavis Beacon typing....goal to type 30-45 words per minute

 

2. Ninth grade reading profiency achiveved: reading independently and ramp up time by 10 minutes per week, until they could read 2-3 hours a day 30-40 minutes at a time. Start with books at 3/4 grade level and every 3 months bump the level up and font smaller as able.

 

This covers history science, lit, and fun books...lots of fun living books). We did some light narration, but not much writing. Fifteen minutes of copywork and Mavis Beacon typing were done daily.

 

3. We work on grammar with writing(outsorced). At that point, they can type, which makes writing revisions so much easier. We like a program that does daily revisions. I have to say that I am not overly concerned about spelling. We work on it,but our emphasis is probably more on the tools to assist rather than complete proficiency. We have been surrounded by science/Math oriented people and engineers for years. Few enjoy writing and most are horrendous spellers, yet they are successful in their fields. My kids enjoy writing. Both older kids are getting A's in 4 year/ Cc essays.

 

This has worked pretty well for us. Late eighth grade/ ninth grade seems to be the sweet spot for writing. They do papers in History and English in 10th grade or possibly the very end of ninth. They learn the MLA format . We dicussed lit , history ect. I usually read the book and then used cliff notes or somesuch for discussion helps from 8th grade up. We work on note taking in 9-10 with online lit/history lecures and time management. Hth

Edited by Silver Brook
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Is there a chance there is more than dyslexia going on here?  Working memory/executive function?

 

 

Yes!  Just a hunch, but I believe EF is lacking beyond what a typical child his age lacks.

 

He has severe asthma, and I also wonder if his bad school days are not related to bad O2 days. That would make sense.  He's got a lot going on.  He manages to stay on top of his asthma meds without more than a reminder.  I check every night, and he's usually already taken care of it.  Other things though...he has trouble keeping a room straight, keeping track of time, thinking through the most efficient order in which to do his chores and other activities, etc..

 

 

You can work on writing separately from spelling.  The idea of creating structure for essays, pulling out support from reading material (even if listened to on audiobooks and or minimizing reading short pieces, i.e., articles), the development of a thesis, being able to word and construct a strong thesis, being able to construct an outline that creates structure, being able to fill that out with support.... Much of it can be done orally.  

 

That said, I have virtually no experience with Dragon.  Is that a possibility?  

 

Yes, we own Dragon.  He just doesn't like it.  I intend to push him on that anyway though b/c I think it will be good for him in the long-run.

 

 

 

 

I'll also say that DS was diagnosed his 9th grade year.  We did take the year off and work almost entirely on remediation and not do *any* reading and language arts.  We did SWB's history on audio, we found computer and audio sources for science with an outside class for solely labs, we did audiobooks.  He had worked through WWS in 8th grade.

 

I can only relate my personal experience, but he had a fairly significant "jump" in ability that we just couldn't have seen in 7th grade.  He's a junior this year and took Composition I this year at CC.  Final grades came back this week and he did get an A.  She focused on structure, thesis, support.  

 

Spelling is separate from writing.

Some disagree with me.  But then again, some folks think spelling can be completely remediated.  I don't.  I don't think any moderate to profound kid can be remediated to spell perfectly.  I think the ones that spell well have an incredibly memory.  DS tested above grade level on spelling this year.  When we did his diagnosis testing and he had to spell nonsense words, he spelled below a 4th grade level.  However, that's an aside, I do believe in remediation.  But I think you would do well to study how to construct an essay, even if you did it orally, or did a year of just oral narration of structure.

How much writing has he done already?  For example, if you were to ask him to narrate the main idea to you, could he?  Could he provide support for those ideas using excerpts or examples from a book, even if it's from an audio book and an oral narration?  Now, if you switch it up a bit and ask him to provide a thesis statement and support that could provide three main statements for three body paragraphs, could he do this?  Could he provide examples and/or support from sources?

 

Yes, he can orally narrate fairly well.  He can find the main idea.  Composing a thesis statement and 3 main points just haven't been taught yet.  I think he could with guidance. He's good at drawing conclusions and comparing/contrasting across the curriculum.  We've let that grow CM style.  Greater organization via narrations are a logical next step.

 

 

 

This could be oral or from a book.  I'd second Dragon on this one so that you have a written piece to edit so he can see what information is extraneous as you edit.

 

I should think this alone is more than sufficient for 7th-8th grade.  And while I think it's really good to be thinking ahead (and even further than high school/college too because accomodations are very tricky at a job) at the same time it's very difficult to forecast what level of ability DS will be at after two years of remediation.  With a full 1.5 years left, how long do the programs  you're using take to completion?

 

Spelling - He's on the 3rd grade level and it goes through 8th.  We won't take off summers for spelling or reading ever. If we do one level per year, it will work out to be 12th grade.

 

Reading - We are simply buddy reading at this point.  He finished DB Reading.  I am giving him the DORA test and so far he's scored low on word recognition.  I think we'll do some exercises to just practice those sight words. He knows the phonics, but speed is his issue.  I can make up more lessons like DB if need be, using words he'll see in future reading assignments.  I might spend my Christmas break doing that.

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