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curriculum advice for 11yo beginning reader - cross post


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Hi all, I am beginning tutoring my daughter's 11yo friend this week. She is mid way through 5th grade at a local school however has a 1st grade reading level. She also has some problems in math however is only about a year (according to the school) behind there rather than 4 years in reading, I will work with her on math but for now we will focus mostly on reading. There are no known learning or vision issues and she has been tested for both. Her mother also had similar learning issues while at school and she ended up leaving school at age 14 completely illiterate so clearly there is something going on in this family. Mum has since taught herself to read and has completed some further education. Dyslexia is potentially an issue with both mother and daughter but I have not yet spent enough time with them in an educational setting to evaluate that possibility. She was however tested for dyslexia through the school (and apparently it was ruled out) however they did suspect dyslexia at some stage.

 

So I am after some advice on curriculum please. We need to start at the very beginning with reading. She does not yet know "th" or "ch", only knows short vowel sounds and apparently does not know that some letters (like c or g) can make more than one sound. What reading or phonics programs would you recommend for a beginner 11yo? I have AAS and we will start there for now as I have it on my shelf ready to go but what else should I consider? Are there any evaluations you would recommend that I can download and give her? We will see how we go for the next few months but if needed they will take her for further evaluations outside of the school to see if there are any learning disabilities that were not caught through the previous testing.

 

As to math, apparently she is strong in some areas but has some significant holes in her understanding which are preventing her from moving forward. I will evaluate where those holes may happen to be and we will focus on those areas. Are there any curricula you can suggest for working on specific problem areas or would I be better just moving through a full curriculum? I suspect we will have to back up several grade levels here to fix the holes.

 

Thanks

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AAR may work. It is an Orton Gillingham program and that is the type of program a dyslexic person would need. Barton Reading and Spelling is another one... it is even more intensive than AAR.

 

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AAS is dramatically under-powered for that situation. You're dealing with severe, clear, obvious dyslexia, and it's a situation that really is the kind where kids become discouraged and drop out.

 

Observation. If you could get a reading tutor or psych to administer the CTOPP or compel the mother to get the ps to eval again, the dc would CLEARLY be diagnosed. The new standard is for dyslexia to be diagnosed before 1st grade. The old, old, old standard was 3rd. Anyways, if they took the time to get that done, she would be eligible for the National Library Service, which is an ASTONISHINGLY VALUABLE thing to have.

 

Is this child listening to audiobooks? Every day she's not reading and not listening to audiobooks, her language is falling behind her peers. This means that not only is she struggling in reading, but her language (vocabulary acquisition, sentence complexity, etc.) is falling behind, meaning she'll struggle even when she does begin reading. Audiobooks are THE way to bridge that gap, and tech is a long-term thing needed for severe dyslexia. The NLS will give her access to almost LIMITLESS audiobooks. They will send her a device for free. My ds has one and we use it a lot! They also have an app (BARD) that she can use on any device that takes apps.

 

So keeping the dc from evals and gaining access to the NLS would be a TRAVESTY. Please beg the mother to do evals.

 

Yes, begin with the Barton pretest. She may not even have the precursor skills to do ANY program well. And no, don't use AAS/AAR on her. Your worst case scenario here is that she begins and gets discouraged and gives up. This does not have to be HARD. Using an underpowered tool that doesn't have enough helps is making it HARD when it's already hard. So me, I would sell something, buy Barton, get it going. But I would do the pre-test first to make sure she doesn't need LIPS/FIS first. She very well might. 

 

The other thing you need to do, no matter what program you use, is work on RAN/RAS and working memory. It's something you could begin right away, and I would require them to do the RAN/RAS exercises daily at home. Do it with colored dots and digits. I've shared pages or you can google to find some. Huge, huge, huge dividends from this, and it's like 5 minutes a day. 

 

If she can get copies of the previous testing, there may have been a CTOPP. The CTOPP includes a RAN/RAS component. Good RAN/RAS scores are highly correlated with strong readers, so it's the little thing that is so worth doing.

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I know I'm slamming AAR/AAS, but AAS is NOT a reading program. AAR is an OG variant and explicitly teaches reading. It's OG for a more mainstream situation. So if you were saying you had AAR and the kid was young and maybe had some window of time, I think people here would be like yeah, your choice, you've got some time. 

 

AAS is a SPELLING program. I used it with my ADHD dd after VT and I LIKE it. I'm not saying AAS is bad. But to do spelling to learn to read (like SWR, WRTR, etc.) relies on them being able to infer and generalize. You're missing SO many things there she needs. Honestly it's a travesty. If you had AAR, we'd just say oh, probably not the strongest path. But you're not even ON the path with AAS.

 

Buy Barton. I'm not meaning to be harsh. I'm just saying really, if you like the person, buy Barton. And if you're not gonna buy Barton, go refer her to the Scottish Rite or another literacy program with free tutoring that uses actual OG. OG is what the dc needs. It's clearly dyslexia, and it's clearly severe. 

 

That dc, in the hands of a good reading tutor, like ANYONE, any hack with Barton, anyone trained in ANY variant of OG, could gain 4 grade levels of reading in one year. You aren't gonna get there with AAS. It's not the right tool. It's not giving you what you need. 

 

So if you like the woman and actually care, buy Barton. Sentiment is not enough. You need a powerful tool. Barton is fully scripted, brilliant, and shockingly inexpensive if you sell off the levels as you go. 

Edited by OhElizabeth
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Many people use Barton in such a situation.  I looked at materials that a friend had, and I think it is good--but not the only possible choice, and for my own child, not the best choice for him personally.

 

We very successfully used High Noon Reading Intervention and Sound Out Chapter books program ww.highnoonbooks.com -- I think. ( It took one full year of intensive work to go from non-reading to reading kid novels like Percy Jackson series. You probably can't give the intensive time we put in, but I think the program now has a computerized part that might help for the dc to work on it several times per day even without you.)  It is extremely well suited to an older beginner IMO. Plus some added things that may or may not suit an 11yo such as Talkingfingers.com (typing with added help toward reading/phonics practice, since it says type /sss/ --giving the sound to find the letter for, not the letter name).  If Talkingfingers did not seem too babyish or low level, that could also help add time and practice when you are not available. 

 

The British program Dancing Bears is also considered to be appealing to older children, but my sense is that unless especially appealing to a particular dc (you can look at samples of it and High Noon online and so can she) there's not an especially good reason to use it if you are in USA.

 

How did the mother finally learn to read? That might be useful info for what could work for the dd.

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I know I'm slamming AAR/AAS, but AAS is NOT a reading program? AAR is an OG variant and explicitly teaches reading. It's OG for a more mainstream situation. So if you were saying you had AAR and the kid was young and maybe had some window of time, I think people here would be like yeah, your choice, you've got some time. 

 

AAS is a SPELLING program. I used it with my ADHD dd after VT and I LIKE it. I'm not saying AAS is bad. But to do spelling to learn to read (like SWR, WRTR, etc.) relies on them being able to infer and generalize. You're missing SO many things there she needs. Honestly it's a travesty. If you had AAR, we'd just say oh, probably not the strongest path. But you're not even ON the path with AAS.

 

Buy Barton. I'm not meaning to be harsh. I'm just saying really, if you like the person, buy Barton. And if you're not gonna buy Barton, go refer her to the Scottish Rite or another literacy program with free tutoring that uses actual OG. OG is what the dc needs. It's clearly dyslexia, and it's clearly severe. 

 

That dc, in the hands of a good reading tutor, like ANYONE, any hack with Barton, anyone trained in ANY variant of OG, could gain 4 grade levels of reading in one year. You aren't gonna get there with AAS. It's not the right tool. It's not giving you what you need. 

 

So if you like the woman and actually care, buy Barton. Sentiment is not enough. You need a powerful tool. Barton is fully scripted, brilliant, and shockingly inexpensive if you sell off the levels as you go. 

 

 

While I don't agree that Barton is the only option for  kids with reading LD, and not necessarily the best option for every such kid, I do certainly agree that AAR/AAS is a mainstream program and is not suitable.

 

 

 

Another program to mention is Language! -- but it is less easy to implement for home use than the 3 I mentioned in my post above.

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Oh yes, totally agree. I'm not meaning only Barton, just that Barton would work, would be open and go, and would be infinitely more powerful and more appropriate than AAS. 

 

The child really should have testing. The op has no clue what her starting point is to know if a given program is a good starting point. The ps does so much with whole language and sight words, even what the dc appears to be reading could be memorized. A CTOPP would sort that out. The op also has no clue if there are language deficits, etc. Thorough evals would include a CTOPP, language testing, IQ, achievement testing, etc. It would also give her information on STRENGTHS, so they can begin working to her STRENGTHS and not only talking weakness. 

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Many people use Barton in such a situation.  I looked at materials that a friend had, and I think it is good--but not the only possible choice, and for my own child, not the best choice for him personally.

 

We very successfully used High Noon Reading Intervention and Sound Out Chapter books program ww.highnoonbooks.com -- I think. ( It took one full year of intensive work to go from non-reading to reading kid novels like Percy Jackson series. You probably can't give the intensive time we put in, but I think the program now has a computerized part that might help for the dc to work on it several times per day even without you.)  It is extremely well suited to an older beginner IMO. Plus some added things that may or may not suit an 11yo such as Talkingfingers.com (typing with added help toward reading/phonics practice, since it says type /sss/ --giving the sound to find the letter for, not the letter name).  If Talkingfingers did not seem too babyish or low level, that could also help add time and practice when you are not available. 

 

The British program Dancing Bears is also considered to be appealing to older children, but my sense is that unless especially appealing to a particular dc (you can look at samples of it and High Noon online and so can she) there's not an especially good reason to use it if you are in USA.

 

How did the mother finally learn to read? That might be useful info for what could work for the dd.

 

Just to rabbit trail a minute, can you tell us more about how you did this? I know you've talked about it before. 

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The student needs a full evaluation. I'm vexed by the wait and see attitude.

 

Barton Reading and Spelling has pre-tests that you could administer, so maybe start there.

Op posted on general board before. She is in Australia. Melissa added some good comments. Dyslexia apparently is not given the attention that it gets in U.S., which makes everything a lot more difficult.

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Op posted on general board before. She is in Australia. Melissa added some good comments. Dyslexia apparently is not given the attention that it gets in U.S., which makes everything a lot more difficult.

 

OP, it is good of you to advocate for this family and help with tutoring. Don't let the best be the enemy of the good if you don't have the luxury to parse it all out. However. what kind of advice do you think would be helpful in the context? For instance, is it helpful to list particular professional or at-home tests and particular curriculum with pros and cons? 

 

I know someone living in the US who is from Australia, and the little I know about her experience with dyslexia testing and remediation in Australia is really not encouraging. I am sorry!  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

To everyone else--maybe people well-versed in dyslexia could vet some Australian organizations to see what seems to be evidence-based or not. Would that help, OP? I see these organizations for search results: https://www.google.com/search?q=australia+dyslexia+resources&rlz=1C1KYPB_enUS597US601&oq=australia+dyslexia+resources&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.4903j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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Op posted on general board before. She is in Australia. Melissa added some good comments. Dyslexia apparently is not given the attention that it gets in U.S., which makes everything a lot more difficult.

This. The school will not acknowledge dyslexia and will not help.  OP and friend are in Australia and OP's friend has had virtually NO help from the school.  The system just isn't set up to assist, apparently.

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Barton will sell to people overseas and do pdfs I think. You get her online videos. 

 

That's frustrating that Australia is hard to get services in! Well that explains it at least. In the US, they'd have significantly more rights.

 

She could email Barton to see if there are any Barton-trained tutors in Australia. There are other systems and materials too. Rats, Learning Ally doesn't have lists outside the US. ADA Accredited Training Provider | Dyslexia Association Australia  Looks like there's an org. You can call them and start networking. 

 

Yeah, that DA in Australia might be your best hope. They're saying they get lots of requests. The mom or you or both could go to one of their trainings. It looks like there are some coming up with openings. The idea of training is that then you can use ANY materials you have access to.

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For someone in Australia, maybe Dancing Bears would make more sense to look at first. I didn't realize the location.  I'd drop the Language! option entirely since it has very heavy materials.  I imagine that both Barton and High Noon would ship overseas...   

 

 

I'd use whatever there is online to preview as much as possible and try to decide what would be the best fit.

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Just to rabbit trail a minute, can you tell us more about how you did this? I know you've talked about it before. 

 

 

Unfortunately it has been years now and details are getting less and less clear.  If anyone is good at doing google site searches, I may have posted more details closer to when we did this--maybe around 2013.  

 

Basically, I used the High Noon Reading Intervention materials (Teacher and Student parts) exactly as scripted in the teacher materials except for one part that didn't fit ds (I think it had to do with hand motions related to the learning or something like that, but he did better without that).  We built up gradually from one 5 minute session the day the materials arrived in late spring or early summer of 2012, to several 15 minute sessions per day and in various places indoors and out.  7 days per week. No breaks till he was reading fluently.  I called them for help a couple of times also. (one help was to tell ds that reading is like playing basketball with a lot of parts that have to be learned and then put together, so that he could equate doing the boring exercises and over and over practice with ball playing drills...shooting, dribbling, passing. )

 

I made notations of where in the HNRI books each set of Sound Out Chapter Books would fit, and as soon as we got to that point added in the SoundOut Chapter books.  We used ALL the sets of Sound Out books and went through the whole group at each level until ds reached fluency. By using All of them, it was a while from first time through one till a return so that actually reading tended to happen rather than memorizing.

 

We tried one of the workbooks that go with the Sound Out books, and ds enjoyed it, but for him it did not seem to give as much benefit as the reading practice did, so I did not get more of them....  I wish though in retrospect that we had used the spelling materials along with the reading materials.

 

By fall when ds did get to have his PS evaluations, his reading was  good enough to not qualify for services in reading, but he did qualify for written expression issues and got some extra reading help put into his IEP. There was a gap between his PS service writing time and reading time during which we could use the school's computer lab, and it is there that he did the Talkingfinger's program (we only have dial-up at home).  The PS gave extra reading practice using a program called Treasures and we used Language! a bit at home, but not as successfully as the HighNoon.  In spring of 2013 ds went to a book fair and got 3 books, one of which was Riordan's Red Pyramid, which he was able to read with an occasional help.  At that point he was reading fluently at or above grade level and choosing to read a lot and the 7 day per week drills etc stopped.

 

DS did some audio learning such as with SOTW audio during the 2012-13 school year. And math got done. But the big emphasis for that whole year till the Red Pyramid stage was reached was intensive reading remediation.  (Again: multiple 15 minute per day sessions, 7 days per week, no breaks.)  It was a combination of a right program for the particular child and intensity of delivery that I think worked so well.

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Pen, thanks for sharing that! Not only is what you used interesting (I had looked at them before when you had mentioned them), but HOW you used them. It's not a stage we were at before. We needed to do more language work to get it all to come together. I'm still really cautious, because it seems for him like the language piece is holding him back more than decoding. But I'm watching it and find the approach you used, with the multiple, brief sessions, really intriguing. It's how we've done other things in our house, so it's definitely a good strategy. 

 

Thanks! :)

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I used the first book of Dancing Bears with DD12 (who is dyslexic), and I would not recommend it in this situation.

 

It does not teach phonics. It really doesn't. It teaches morphenes and then practices fluency. The fluency is the main point, and the other instruction is pretty minimal. We found it helpful for working on DD's word guessing habit, because it forces the student to look at only one sound at a time in each word (the remainder of the word is covered by a card that the reader moves along to expose each morphene to view when it is time to sound it out.)

 

So it helps teaching how to sound out words. But it does not teach phonics in the explicit way that an OG program would. Because this girl's dyslexia sounds severe, she likely needs a more intensive program that digs in further.

 

I thought that Dancing Bears might be good for DD, because it is a non-phonics approach, and we were having such difficulty with making progress with phonics programs. But what she really needed was a more intensive, therapy level approach to phonics, and we eventually found her an OG tutor.

 

She has made really good progress with OG.

 

OP, since I didn't use therapy materials myself at home, I can't make a recommendation. But I think the reason that Barton works is that the program trains the parents/tutors how to teach via the OG method. I think something like that would be very valuable in your circumstances, as the tutor.

 

 

Edited by Storygirl
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Pen, thanks for sharing that! Not only is what you used interesting (I had looked at them before when you had mentioned them), but HOW you used them. It's not a stage we were at before. We needed to do more language work to get it all to come together. I'm still really cautious, because it seems for him like the language piece is holding him back more than decoding. But I'm watching it and find the approach you used, with the multiple, brief sessions, really intriguing. It's how we've done other things in our house, so it's definitely a good strategy. 

 

Thanks! :)

 

 

I tried to keep track of this thread so if anyone asks again I can try to find and link it.

 

Use of multiple brief sessions was definitely important. Though ds considered 15 min to be loooong!

 

 It still works best for a lot of things, though has been hard as he gets older to get him to do it.  There is research to back up greater effectiveness of multiple short sessions for learning in general, but I can't point you to it.  I know it was extremely important and that any time past 15 minutes per session was basically a waste. (Ds does not have an ADHD diagnosis, but does have behaviors that fit that, so that also added to need for short sessions.)

 

I'm not sure what your ds's language issues are. We had already worked on some things prior to dealing with the reading remediation such as visual issues, and ds had had an IEP for speech and language issues at around age 2-4.  While disappointing that remediation of vision issue did not lead to ds reading, trying to have fixed reading while his eyes were still drifting (amblyopia) would probably not have worked well.

 

My ds and yours may have very different actual manifestations of  "reading LD" problems so the same approach may not work equally well for both.  DS has had a major decoding problem, and is not good at learning rules. So the repetition of common patterns from HN worked well for him.

 

He still cannot read nonsense words to speak of, and he cannot follow an audio book along with text such as whispersync. Both of which I think your ds probably can do if I recall from other posts.  

 

Ds's  comprehension was excellent, but decoding was a mountain. Also he had trouble discerning differences in some letters, not just the typical b, d, p and q, but r and v; t and f; and some others also. And a hard time with typographic and font differences.

 

Practicing a set of words like fin, tip, lid, etc. if it were a short i practice was hard and tiring since figuring out what was an f or t was hard, so in that sense, 15 minutes really was hard.  But I should add that sessions were 15 min, but only reading the sound out books actually was 15 minutes on a single thing. otherwise there was a lot of variation with a few minutes on one task and a few minutes on another.  

 

Also, ds liked to do timed reading practices and to try to beat his own time, which was helpful.

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Pen, ds has autism, and yes while everyone agrees it's dyslexia plus autism, I would say it's also kind of different. The decoding is challenging, and he stalls out without explicit instruction. For him, even when he is able to decode the words and has drilled them to fluency (as words, phrases, and in sentences), he still might not understand them. His language levels (what he basically understands and can say) regress when we pull intervention and improve with very direct intervention. 

 

So there was a point when he could read "A frog sat on a log" and have NO CLUE what he had read. He couldn't understand it, couldn't draw a picture for it, didn't understand it. He still is considered to have issues with WH-question words, even though he superficially seems to understand them. He has IEP goals for them. He doesn't understand or use the IQ-appropriate grammatical constructions. He does now understand pronouns and prepositions, but we worked on them. 

 

So even if he tries to read something on his current decoding level, he doesn't really understand it. If I want him to really UNDERSTAND something and be able to talk about it (like say Bible lessons), I drop the reading level significantly. So the problem now is that the decoding level and the grammatical level match. He doesn't really understand what he's reading, so he'll say it's too hard, even though it's not by decoding. We reran the CTOPP and DAR at the end of 1st (because he wasn't reading, because I was flabbergasted) and he was decoding at a 3rd grade level and reading passages and answering multiple choice questions at a 6th grade level. The person just said well it's dyslexia, make him read. But when I let my ABA worker do forced reading, he began saying he hated reading! So at that point I pulled the books from the room (yup, very controversial) and told them to stop forced reading.

 

Now he reads Calvin & Hobbes for pleasure. It has picture supports, and I think picture supports for short amounts of text are developmentally appropriate for him. We had a thread a while back about using books with picture supports plus more typical literature that, again, has been broken down into small chunks. When you go to something like a decodable reader (Barton's, anything), you lose that picture support.

 

For him, the picture support isn't about decoding, because he has adequate decoding. Not where I want it, but adequate. He actually learns pretty readily anything taught explicitly. 

 

He's just strange and different in that, I guess. I'm letting him roll with the Calvin & Hobbes. He reads it of his own volition and he no longer says he hates reading. Dd went through a long, long period of heavy reading of comics, and she's now a stellar, stellar reader. 

 

I've got an IS (intervention specialist) coming Wednesday, and we're going to review where we're at and talk plans. It's just tricky with the autism, because everything is delayed several years. Like take spelling. Barton wants you to pair them, and I've never had the sense it was on his radar, that it mattered to him. Now, just in the last bit, I've been thinking he's ready to engage with that. We had done bits (in Barton, with some of the AAS lessons), but it just wasn't needful to him. Like when you're ready you're ready, and when you're not it's just not the right time. 

 

It gets tricky for me with the reading, because I don't want to fail to give enough prompting or structure if the issue is really just needing more practice. However I think there's development there, language readiness, just click readiness. So I tend to give opportunities, try a little something, see what happens, back off if it's not right. 

 

So to answer the quiet question, yes he has issues with decoding. Nothing moves forward without Barton and explicit instruction. It just has gone pretty well with him and not been torture. He doesn't have any developmental vision problems (that I know of) and we did tons of RAN/RAS work. So once I got good tools, it was relatively easy. Getting over the hump to get ANYTHING going was rocket science, but once we got it going it was good. I bribed him with huge playmobil sets. Like if he completed a level of Barton, he would get a huge playmobil boat or something. :D

Edited by OhElizabeth
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Ok so from all the above it seems like barton is what pretty much everyone recommends. I will talk to her mum about it. If it was my own child I would 100% buy barton immediately however this is not my child and I don't want to fork out heaps of money and then have the situation change.

They are very limited in their options, both for tutoring and for assessments, we live in a rural area and to get more in depth assessment than she has been given in school will require traveling to the city over 4 hours away (which will happen if needed, they want this sorted). The tutoring situation for a child with such difficulties is the same and clearly that can't happen on a regular enough basis to be beneficial. So they are pretty much stuck with me, it is either me or a local university student, and at least I have some experience with dyslexia and teaching reading to a dyslexic student as both myself and my 10yo have mild dyslexia. I also have more experience tutoring however just not in reading, I usually tutor highschool and university mathematics and biological sciences.

I also really need to sit down with her one on one and just see where she is at, what she is struggling with, what she just has not been taught/learned I have done no assessments on her at all and am just going off what the school and her mother have reported and from hearing her reading twice in a non-educational context. We will sit down together in a couple of days and see where we are at. While I do believe we are dealing with dyslexia here in both mother and daughter I am hoping that it actually is not severe and that the extent of the problem is due to the circumstances. This child was always a little behind in reading however she was making progress, in second grade she was reading at a 1st grade level and actually beginning to catch up with her peers once she started in a remedial reading class but then they had a major family tragedy and she lost her older sister, after this she regressed in all areas including learning and behavior and basically lost a couple of years of schooling due to the family situation and her emotional state. Now she and the family are back on track emotionally but she is so far behind that she has no hope of catching up in a regular classroom, the class teacher just cannot cater to a child who is 4 years behind her peers and she is missing some important instruction to enable her to make that reading leap required. We will see how things progress. If I have to buy barton for this child I will pay for it out of my own pocket if needed, I will do what it takes and her family are prepared to do whatever they can afford to do to help get her back on track.

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LEK, I'm sorry, we are not dealing with dyslexia so I have no advice to offer. I hope you sort things out and I applaud you for taking this on. Many kudos to you!

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Hugs to the family and that poor child.  Losing a sibling is just hard.

 

While this is being sorted out, she needs exposure.  If audio books work for her, she needs (preferably) noise canceling headsets and books to listen to, both fact based and fiction.  She needs exposure to knowledge and exposure to vocabulary and grammar and ideas and concepts and all the other things that her peers are getting by reading.  If there is access to documentaries, go with those as well.  Share with her mother that while the physical act of reading is important, it is not the only way to learn.  Expose her to other ways of learning while remediation is worked on separately.  Remediation is important, yes.  Exposure is even more so.  Days are ticking by.

 

 

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I'd like to hear what works, what doesn't too. Lots of people besides the ones on this thread have used Barton, so if you go that way, posting on this board with Barton in the title may get some more ongoing responses as you move along.

 

I did not realize how different Australia was in terms of learning disabilities. It is a real eye opener for me.

 

Best of luck!

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Thanks all, I will talk to the mum about audio books and documentaries, I completely overlooked that when talking to them yesterday. As mum has very limited reading abilities herself and is only just literate enough to function in society she does not read to her girls, she is not able to do so, so even if the reading situation was not do drastic audio books would still be a great idea for this family. Both mother and daughter have been suspected of dyslexia but it is not widely acknowledged here and in school testing "ruled it out" for both, however it seems that is the standard response, there are many homeschoolers who have pulled their kids out at ages 8-10ish because they still cannot read only to find out that these kids have severe dyslexia despite being tested in school and being told there was no dyslexia at play. The mother was told when she was at school that she would never learn to read due to her dyslexia and then several years later they decided she was not dyslexic and instead was labelled "too lazy to learn", sigh, things for this entire family may have been very different if the mother was given proper instruction and intervention as a kid. Luckily this child is desperate to learn and really wants to catch up so hopefully her desire to read will help the process. I will keep you posted on how things are progressing.

 

Frankly this has all been a real eye opened to me too, how can the school keep kids in a class when they are 4 or more years behind in some areas and not make a single accommodation to those children; no individual learning plan, no assistance, no remedial teaching, nothing! The school is not doing a single thing to help this child or teach to her level at all. When her mother asked what they were doing to help catch her up they could not figure out why she would ask such a thing, they are doing nothing at all and will not help her in any way, she is past the K-2 age grouping when they offer very minimal remedial teaching, if you are past that age group there is nothing they will do. This system is beyond broken.

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Wow, that's honestly astonishing. Your education system sounds barbaric, primitive, under-funded, and simply out of date. Even in the US, where we slam the school system all the time, I could easily get an SLD Reading diagnosis on my ds in K5. Seriously, K5. And this poor dc is 11 and they won't diagnose? That's how it was 20 years ago here. It shouldn't be like that now.

 

As a thought, will the mother come too? The mother and dd can encourage each other. It will be good for both of them, and it's never too late to learn! But yes, please please please use only something MEANT for dyslexia. You're going to have ONE CHANCE emotionally with this child. You can't bank on her going well the first curriculum wasn't good enough, try another. So you want to get her connected with a system that is MEANT for severe dyslexia. It can be a tutor, if you can find one through that dyslexia org. It can be Barton. It can be whatever you get a hold of, so long as it starts at the very beginning and is MEANT for severe dyslexia.

 

Have you seen Barton's interview on WHY she developed Barton Reading? She was not a professional educator or in this as a career. She was in computer programming or something, and she got this call from a relative asking if she could help her nephew. This nephew was in a very similar position to your friend's dc. The boy was a teen, completely unable to read, and he had a GIFTED IQ!!! She has an interview where she talks about the effects of that on his self-esteem, on his confidence. It's why it's so good that we have books now like Dyslexic Advantage to let you talk about STRENGTHS with them while you're also working on this weakness. And it's why it's so important not to dilly around with anything that isn't meant for dyslexia. You want to go big guns, all the way.

 

Did they do the Barton pre-test? I'm guessing they fail it. Have they had their hearing tested? Any speech problems? The reason it matters, is because many people are going to fail the Barton pre-test and not even be ready to begin Barton. They may need foundational work in hearing and distinguishing sounds even be ready to go into Barton or another OG-based program. LIPS is very good, and now there's a fully scripted program Foundations in Sound (FIS). Either way, the Barton pretest, which is free and simple for you to administer, will tell you that starting point. No matter WHAT program they want to use, the info from that pretest will be good information. 

Students | Barton That's the pretest link.

Interesting video interviewing Barton - The Learning Challenges Board - The Well-Trained Mind Community

 

(2) Shifting From a Deficit Based Perspective of Dyslexia :Susan Barton - YouTube

 

 

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Well I'd love to hear how this goes as you work with them! I hope you're able to get some materials and keep us posted, wow. This could TOTALLY CHANGE their lives. 

 

As far as tech, do they have any? Iphone? Kindle fire? Something with dictation? Do they know that now most tech has accessibility features and will read the web pages to you? So like if they had an ipad, they could turn on the accessibility feature, and it would read the whole screen to them. You can also have it read portions you highlight. Works for web pages, emails. Ben Foss has great videos on how to do this. Think how hard that would be to want to help your kids but not to be able to access the information we have so readily available by reading. And even as you teach them, it's going to take a while. That teen will still go through the same steps of learning as a young child would. So really, getting access to some tech PRONTO could be huge. 

 

Does Australia have something like our version of the National Library Service? I'll bet that dyslexia org would know. Here, you can qualify for the NLS when you have a print disability (vision, dyslexia, etc.). Then you get access to all their free audiobooks, audio magazines, etc. It's really tremendous. So if Australia has something like that, it would be something to pursue. There's also librivox (free) and TTS (text to speech). My ds has autism too, and he really glazes over with TTS. He'll listen, but it just zones him out. But for a lot of people, TTS is fine. My dh uses VoiceDream sometimes and he uses things on his mac (dictation, etc.). So it's just stuff to look into.

 

Ben Foss has a book Dyslexia Empowerment Plan and videos on how to do speed ear reading. If the dc is cognitively normal and has no language deficits, she'd probably be ready to do this. You can increase the rate of the TTS or audiobook playback very slowly, very intentionally. You can do it for the accessibility feature on the iphone or whatever too. So emails, audiobooks, EVERYTHING can slowly be cranked up. They get it to chipmunk speed (3X), and BOOM they're now EAR reading at the rate excellent readers EYE read. So then you have neutralized the disability by finally letting them take in information at the same pace as their peers. If they only listen at regular speed, they're still taking in less. It's something they can work on, a goal to work toward. And Ben Foss' point is that anyone who can ear read email on chipmunk speed is COOL. Like totally flip this from being only about disability and change it to accessibility, it being ok to do things lots of ways, bridging the gap, making this happen. 

 

I don't know, I just found him really inspiring. I like that approach for my ds, the attitude of ok let's use ALL our tools, not just one, that eye reading is not the ONLY VALID WAY to take in information. With dyslexia that severe, might be good to be putting that all on the table. Then they can choose what tool they want in the moment. A complete approach, kwim? 

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Ok so from all the above it seems like barton is what pretty much everyone recommends. I will talk to her mum about it. If it was my own child I would 100% buy barton immediately however this is not my child and I don't want to fork out heaps of money and then have the situation change.

They are very limited in their options, both for tutoring and for assessments, we live in a rural area and to get more in depth assessment than she has been given in school will require traveling to the city over 4 hours away (which will happen if needed, they want this sorted). The tutoring situation for a child with such difficulties is the same and clearly that can't happen on a regular enough basis to be beneficial. So they are pretty much stuck with me, it is either me or a local university student, and at least I have some experience with dyslexia and teaching reading to a dyslexic student as both myself and my 10yo have mild dyslexia. I also have more experience tutoring however just not in reading, I usually tutor highschool and university mathematics and biological sciences.

I also really need to sit down with her one on one and just see where she is at, what she is struggling with, what she just has not been taught/learned I have done no assessments on her at all and am just going off what the school and her mother have reported and from hearing her reading twice in a non-educational context. We will sit down together in a couple of days and see where we are at. While I do believe we are dealing with dyslexia here in both mother and daughter I am hoping that it actually is not severe and that the extent of the problem is due to the circumstances. This child was always a little behind in reading however she was making progress, in second grade she was reading at a 1st grade level and actually beginning to catch up with her peers once she started in a remedial reading class but then they had a major family tragedy and she lost her older sister, after this she regressed in all areas including learning and behavior and basically lost a couple of years of schooling due to the family situation and her emotional state. Now she and the family are back on track emotionally but she is so far behind that she has no hope of catching up in a regular classroom, the class teacher just cannot cater to a child who is 4 years behind her peers and she is missing some important instruction to enable her to make that reading leap required. We will see how things progress. If I have to buy barton for this child I will pay for it out of my own pocket if needed, I will do what it takes and her family are prepared to do whatever they can afford to do to help get her back on track.

 

 

Suggest you do sit down one on one before you decide on what to buy.  Have her look at online samples, do assessments, whatever you can find online of samples from the possible programs (though Dancing Bears now that it was explained not to be phonetic, not longer sounds like an option).  If you have some mild dyslexia yourself, make sure you will be able to work with Barton materials as a teacher (I think there is also an assessment for checking that).

 

I sort of doubt that this is going to turn out to me a minor problem, but hope you are right about that. IF so, and also IF she fits the description of a generally smart child, but with reading trouble, then, there was a one volume, not very expensive option, that I learned about via HighNoon (though it is sold via Amazon etc. too)--cannot recall the title, but something like tools for accelerated literacy or something like that with age 9-21 as part of title.

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Pen, ds has autism, and yes while everyone agrees it's dyslexia plus autism, I would say it's also kind of different. The decoding is challenging, and he stalls out without explicit instruction. For him, even when he is able to decode the words and has drilled them to fluency (as words, phrases, and in sentences), he still might not understand them. His language levels (what he basically understands and can say) regress when we pull intervention and improve with very direct intervention. 

 

So there was a point when he could read "A frog sat on a log" and have NO CLUE what he had read. He couldn't understand it, couldn't draw a picture for it, didn't understand it. He still is considered to have issues with WH-question words, even though he superficially seems to understand them. He has IEP goals for them. He doesn't understand or use the IQ-appropriate grammatical constructions. He does now understand pronouns and prepositions, but we worked on them. 

 

So even if he tries to read something on his current decoding level, he doesn't really understand it. If I want him to really UNDERSTAND something and be able to talk about it (like say Bible lessons), I drop the reading level significantly. So the problem now is that the decoding level and the grammatical level match. He doesn't really understand what he's reading, so he'll say it's too hard, even though it's not by decoding. We reran the CTOPP and DAR at the end of 1st (because he wasn't reading, because I was flabbergasted) and he was decoding at a 3rd grade level and reading passages and answering multiple choice questions at a 6th grade level. The person just said well it's dyslexia, make him read. But when I let my ABA worker do forced reading, he began saying he hated reading! So at that point I pulled the books from the room (yup, very controversial) and told them to stop forced reading.

 

Now he reads Calvin & Hobbes for pleasure. It has picture supports, and I think picture supports for short amounts of text are developmentally appropriate for him. We had a thread a while back about using books with picture supports plus more typical literature that, again, has been broken down into small chunks. When you go to something like a decodable reader (Barton's, anything), you lose that picture support.

 

For him, the picture support isn't about decoding, because he has adequate decoding. Not where I want it, but adequate. He actually learns pretty readily anything taught explicitly. 

 

He's just strange and different in that, I guess. I'm letting him roll with the Calvin & Hobbes. He reads it of his own volition and he no longer says he hates reading. Dd went through a long, long period of heavy reading of comics, and she's now a stellar, stellar reader. 

 

I've got an IS (intervention specialist) coming Wednesday, and we're going to review where we're at and talk plans. It's just tricky with the autism, because everything is delayed several years. Like take spelling. Barton wants you to pair them, and I've never had the sense it was on his radar, that it mattered to him. Now, just in the last bit, I've been thinking he's ready to engage with that. We had done bits (in Barton, with some of the AAS lessons), but it just wasn't needful to him. Like when you're ready you're ready, and when you're not it's just not the right time. 

 

It gets tricky for me with the reading, because I don't want to fail to give enough prompting or structure if the issue is really just needing more practice. However I think there's development there, language readiness, just click readiness. So I tend to give opportunities, try a little something, see what happens, back off if it's not right. 

 

So to answer the quiet question, yes he has issues with decoding. Nothing moves forward without Barton and explicit instruction. It just has gone pretty well with him and not been torture. He doesn't have any developmental vision problems (that I know of) and we did tons of RAN/RAS work. So once I got good tools, it was relatively easy. Getting over the hump to get ANYTHING going was rocket science, but once we got it going it was good. I bribed him with huge playmobil sets. Like if he completed a level of Barton, he would get a huge playmobil boat or something. :D

 

 

They sound like they have very, very different situations.

 

In addition to things you mention above, if your sig. info is recent, then your ds is still younger now than my ds was when we started the intensive reading remediation I described above.  So, yeah, developmental issues would be quite different even without the autism piece just due to age differences.  And then different again b/c mine was not dealing with an ASD piece at all, let alone that as a central issue.

 

Also likely very different, my ds was at a point where he was emotionally distressed about not being a reader. So finding a program where he could make as speedy progress as possible and which had a very strong hi/lo component as well as even an appealing look and story lines for a pre-teen were issues for us (and maybe for the child in Australia who needs a program) that weren't probably issues present at all when you would have started, and still probably not issues for your ds now.

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They sound like they have very, very different situations.

 

In addition to things you mention above, if your sig. info is recent, then your ds is still younger now than my ds was when we started the intensive reading remediation I described above.  So, yeah, developmental issues would be quite different even without the autism piece just due to age differences.  And then different again b/c mine was not dealing with an ASD piece at all, let alone that as a central issue.

 

Also likely very different, my ds was at a point where he was emotionally distressed about not being a reader. So finding a program where he could make as speedy progress as possible and which had a very strong hi/lo component as well as even an appealing look and story lines for a pre-teen were issues for us (and maybe for the child in Australia who needs a program) that weren't probably issues present at all when you would have started, and still probably not issues for your ds now.

 

That was extremely helpful, thank you! You're so right that whether it's reading or spelling or whatever, the point is that we give him what he's ready for, what he's realizing HE wants. And what you're saying makes total sense that your ds was maybe older, at a different place, and wanted it. My ds is really content with his current level of reading. A year ago he did not describe himself as a reader at all, and now he does, limiting it exclusively to Calvin & Hobbes, environmental print, and reading over people's shoulders, lol. So really, he's telling us the amount he's ready for developmentally. 

 

I feel a lot better thinking about it that way, thanks.

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