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Esse Quam Videri

Barton alternatives? PLEASE...

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Well, I got on the forum to post but saw the "Throwing in the Barton Towel" thread first, which I can completely relate to. Friends, we literally hate this program. Every single sentence and story is so very contrived and ridiculous. Here are some recent examples:

 

"When I put on my new silk dress, Jenny was a critic. She said, "The fabric is a bit shoddy. I expect it would be spiffy if you were not so skinny." 

 

"Once, when Henry did a fancy step, he got a kink in his biceps. When the tempo got frantic, Henry got frisky." 

 

"The snippy gals regret their gossip on campus about Patty and Tony." 

 

Imagine this day after day for years... It literally breaks my heart! Throughout every lesson, my daughter asks, "What's 'iffy'? What does 'snippy' mean? What is a 'fat midriff'?" I can just see her mind shutting down more and more every day... it's like she's forming the mental habit, "I won't understand anything I read. Just decode and sound things out, even if they make no sense. Just disengage and go through the mechanics." 

 

We follow CM educational practices, so everything else we do is LIVING, and I've seen that go so far for all of my children, including this one. Children learn with joy when their work is infused with ideas and meaning. This same daughter (9, severe dyslexic, working in Barton Level 4) is loving unabridged Pilgrim's Progress and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, for example. She listens and can narrate back with detail and passion. She has a wide variety of interests, loves to learn, and has an incredibly cooperative/positive attitude. 

 

Is there another program that isn't so... dead? Is there anything that can compare to Barton sequentially, but that's actually written with quality of ideas in mind? I can hardly take it anymore. 

Edited by Esse Quam Videri
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My son just howls at those. They are very contrived and sometimes the only relief we get is the hideous nature of the sentences. I laugh until I cry at times!

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We really liked the High Noon books we read—much less forced. But...it’s alao not practicing specific phonetic patterns so they were more relaxed.

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I love, love, love High Noon. I haven't used their entire program, just the books, but they are wonderful. Even using a limited set of words, they somehow manage to make the books interesting! I would bet that their full-on reading curriculum is excellent.

 

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

 

The Wilson program is fantastic, but the sentences are equally ridiculous/old-fashioned. Wilson was designed for older students/adults, so the words are sometimes too old.... like kidnap, gangster, buxom (I laughed aloud at that one).

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You can look at samples for All About Reading and see what you think. They’re decodable, and some places are forced or have strange vocabulary words, but it’s the best I have seen for decodeable readers and a pretty thorough scope and sequence.

 

There’s definitely nothing as bad as “fat midriff.â€

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You can look at samples for All About Reading and see what you think. They’re decodable, and some places are forced or have strange vocabulary words, but it’s the best I have seen for decodeable readers and a pretty thorough scope and sequence.

 

There’s definitely nothing as bad as “fat midriff.â€

 

We tried AAR early on, before we had an official diagnosis, and it moved WAY too fast for her. But perhaps now that she's worked through the early Barton levels, she could jump in easier? Anyone have experience with this?

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We really liked the High Noon books we read—much less forced. But...it’s alao not practicing specific phonetic patterns so they were more relaxed.

 

 

I love, love, love High Noon. I haven't used their entire program, just the books, but they are wonderful. Even using a limited set of words, they somehow manage to make the books interesting! I would bet that their full-on reading curriculum is excellent.

 

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

 

 

We're going to order these right away. Thanks ladies!

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We used both the full High Noon Intervention Reading Program and also their Sound Out Chapter Books (plus a few beyond the Sound Out level). Did it very intensively so that we were done with it in a year, and also my son was reading other books as well as HN about 4 months into work on HN. I posted more about this on that Throwing in the Towel other thread.

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PS The Sound Out Chapter Books _do_ practice specific phonetic patterns. (The order in which the phonetics are taught is different than in Barton.) After Sound Out Chapter Books level which correspond to the HN Intervention Program, the HN hi/low books use all phonetic patterns, but gradually add difficulty in other ways.

 

--------------

 

I gather that CVCe type words are over half way through the Barton sequence, whereas they are at Lesson 8 near the beginning of the HN sequence and part of the lowest ("A") set of Sound Out Chapter Books.. I expect that if you've done a bunch of Barton you could skip right to the first lesson of HN you have not done yet, or go very quickly through the first chapters as review and then slow down for new material.

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For AAR and moving too fast..... I know what you mean. I think it could go either way, it could still move too fast, or it may be better now. I think if there has been some “click†and new concepts are getting picked up more quickly, that could be good.

 

I have adapted some.

 

I also have a different circumstance right now... my 9-year-old is in school and he has had a lot of reading instruction in various ways, and he has serious gaps. So I’m using it partly to fill gaps.

 

Then I think it depends on what is hard. For both my sons, some words will be very hard for them to blend, but they have both gotten to a point where picking up new phonograms isn’t “so†hard compared to how it was when they were learning the alphabet sounds. They both pick up new sounds much easier.

 

Then I also have adapted, I just adapted a practice sheet where 3 patterns for 2-syllable words were mixed together, and I made separate practice sheets for each pattern and practiced them separately for a week, and then went back to the sheet where they were mixed together.

 

But with where my son is at right now, he is mainly learning new phonograms and it is enough practice for him, but he’s picking it up easier than he used to, he has had a lot of exposure and he often already knows some sight words with the new phonogram, and he has a lot easier time blending now.

 

Anyway I think it could go either way.

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Well, I got on the forum to post but saw the "Throwing in the Barton Towel" thread first, which I can completely relate to. Friends, we literally hate this program. Every single sentence and story is so very contrived and ridiculous. Here are some recent examples:

 

"When I put on my new silk dress, Jenny was a critic. She said, "The fabric is a bit shoddy. I expect it would be spiffy if you were not so skinny." 

 

"Once, when Henry did a fancy step, he got a kink in his biceps. When the tempo got frantic, Henry got frisky." 

 

"The snippy gals regret their gossip on campus about Patty and Tony." 

 

Imagine this day after day for years... It literally breaks my heart! Throughout every lesson, my daughter asks, "What's 'iffy'? What does 'snippy' mean? What is a 'fat midriff'?" I can just see her mind shutting down more and more every day... it's like she's forming the mental habit, "I won't understand anything I read. Just decode and sound things out, even if they make no sense. Just disengage and go through the mechanics." 

 

We follow CM educational practices, so everything else we do is LIVING, and I've seen that go so far for all of my children, including this one. Children learn with joy when their work is infused with ideas and meaning. This same daughter (9, severe dyslexic, working in Barton Level 4) is loving unabridged Pilgrim's Progress and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, for example. She listens and can narrate back with detail and passion. She has a wide variety of interests, loves to learn, and has an incredibly cooperative/positive attitude. 

 

Is there another program that isn't so... dead? Is there anything that can compare to Barton sequentially, but that's actually written with quality of ideas in mind? I can hardly take it anymore. 

 

 

To answer the first question: You might look into Lindamood-Bell’s LiPS program and/or Seeing Stars Program. I used parts of both those programs, combined with Barton. We needed LiPS first because my son (then 8) could not pass the Barton screen. Once he was able to proceed to Barton, we used Barton faithfully but not exclusively. We only used the first part of LiPS that teach how to detect sounds in words through how they are physically formed. The later parts of LiPS resembles the first few levels of Barton except they aren’t nearly as scripted and don’t have stories. Their Seeing Stars program has books and puts an emphasis on fluency. I used workbooks from Seeing Stars in addition to Barton for several reasons, one being that I wanted to provide some additional work to do so that his homeschooling at least somewhat resembled that of his siblings’. I also like the way Star Words workbooks introduce the most common words in English with very child-friendly materials that are appropriate for children with reading struggles, including possible comprehension issues. Plus, I’m fond of the silly cartoon cat, Ivan, who is often featured.

 

Now that said, I have met Susan Barton several times. She does not claim to write great stories; in fact, I believe she’d agree with your assessment that they are contrived.  She contrived them to emphasis phonics concepts from the lesson and to make sure the Barton student could read the words in paragraphs and stories before moving onto another phonics concept.

 

The Barton program goes in a specific sequence: teach a phonics concept using tiles, have the student demonstrate ability to read both real words and nonsense words on tiles, then show ability to read large print real and nonsense words on paper and ink, the write, then those type of words in phrases with other words and concepts that the student has already mastered, then write phrases, then read sentences, then write sentences, then finally read a story. And then it begins again, using those same steps for the next concept, then the next, then the next, for every single phonics concept in the English language through all ten levels of the program. Is it great literature? No. Is it a great program that helped my child learn to read so eventually he could go on to read great literature? Yes. And did I, (like you) expose my dyslexic child to great literature and Living Books by reading to him at other times of the day while we struggled for years through reading remediation for severe dyslexia? Absolutely!

 

Whatever methods you decide to use to teach your child with dyslexia to read, I strongly suggest you include vocabulary lessons in with decoding lessons. Understanding the meaning of the words is critical to reading comprehension.  I like the book “Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction†as it helped to augment my own education as a reading teacher.  When reading Barton stories or any other stories—use that opportunity to enlarge the student’s vocabulary! Outside of nonsense words, make sure the student understands that reading should make sense! Do not allow her to disengage while just working through the mechanics! Answer her questions when she asks what a word means--and if you don’t know, look them up together. There are several reasons why someone might struggle with reading: decoding is one, but vocabulary is another. The Seeing Stars program that I mentioned above includes teaching the meaning of very simple words that a child with language difficulty might struggle with. Lindamood-Bell also has another program for those with reading struggles called "Visualizing and Verbalizing" that specifically works on comprehension. Whatever method or materials you ultimately decide to use, if your child does not understand the meaning of the English words and phrases she is decoding, please stop and take the time to teach her what they mean instead of just powering through them as if they were nonsense words. 

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She actually tests quite high in vocabulary (likely because of all the great literature), but she does have an official 504 plan and all state tests are read aloud to her. She tests way above grade level in reading comprehension, too. The words she's not understanding in Barton are just not ones she hears-- midriff? Snippy? I don't think these will come up in a vocabulary program anyway :-). 

 

Has anyone successfully used AAR with a severe dyslexic, after some initial work in Barton? Before, when we tried it and it moved too fast, it wasn't the phonograms that she struggled with, it was the word lists. She could successfully sound out words all day long... but that was just it. It never moved beyond sounding things out. So to work on a word list every lesson until it was "memorized" was not going to happen. It felt pointless to continue moving forward with the assumption that she'd "mastered" a set of words that she hadn't. BUT, perhaps now I could look at it really differently, and if she doesn't get the word lists just throw them out completely. 

 

I have the advantage of a charter school that will provide any of the programs for me to try out... so I'm not down anything to explore another option. i DO want to use what is absolutely best for her in the long run, and if that's Barton, well okay. But I'm just curious to hear other voices and see if I haven't overlooked another option. It is helpful to hear from someone with a child with either severe or profound dyslexia, though, since I know it's uniquely challenging. 

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I can really relate. I follow a CM approach too. I have a 4th grade, 10yo in level 5. I also hated the goofy, forced vocabulary like in your example. And yes, lots of words my dd did not know the meaning of.

 

However, it's gotten better esp in level 5. Words are not so weird.

 

We don't do much Barton. Minutes per week, we spend a lot more time w/living books. Last year (at your dd's level) we did 15 min 3x/wk of Barton. So, it's forced and not living, but it's not much, and I don't feel like it is bringing down the quality of the living books we do read. And it really works. That's the reason I keep doing it.

 

At that early level (level 4), there just aren't that many words you can make w/the limited rules and phonics they've learned. It's temporary, and it will get better. Every time you start a new program, whether phonics, math, etc, you have to backtrack and you lose ground; personally I'd rather just keep going than switch.

Edited by Jenn in CA

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She sounds similar to my son. His vocabulary tested at 99.9 percentile, he narrates fabulously. He loves books, listens to audiobooks like a fanatic. 

 

I would stick with Barton. There is a hump to get over and level 4 is hard. My son is on level 7, and it is amazing now the words he can read. We simply treat Barton as a reading and spelling program, not a literature/stories program. We spend a short amount of time on it each day. If she wants to be able to read for herself with ease the books that you are now reading to her, then this is the best way to get there, IMO. "Snippy," "iffy" and "fat midriff" may not be in popular use today, but neither are many of the words in Pilgrims Progress or Shakespeare. The stories are purposeful and reinforce the concepts taught in the lesson. 

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Hi Esse 

 

Got a dyslexic kiddo - DS 10.5yo, reading on about a 2nd grade-ish level.  Never tried Barton, though I've looked at it (videos, website, etc.).  Done DIY phonics based instruction using Logic of English and AAS, and well, everything I could come up with.  Time has helped.  Repetition, especially with phonograms, syllable counting, sound counting, etc. has helped. More exposure and confidence and emotional maturity have really helped a lot too.  Captions on YouTube videos on Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies, really anything video game related have helped too!  

 

I did get AAR level 1 once - still too fast, and by that age too  baby-ish, kwim?  Not sure that will work for you at this point.   

 

It sounds like Barton is helping but the readings are ridiculous.  Can you bring in real books at this point?  Do it together - she reads and if she's ok with you jumping in at weird words (usually names) or multi-syllabic words with advanced phonograms?  Can you cut out the silly Barton readings and substitute (maybe at a different point in your daily routine....) other books?  Or just read the words for her that she doesn't know - seriously, my kiddo doubts himself every time he sounds out a word he doesn't know due to vocab.  Meaning, he'll say it correctly, it won't make sense to him, so he'll try again another (wrong) way...sigh.  The dyslexic lack of confidence. Midriff would make him flip his lid. Just sayin'. ;)

 

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Stevenson reading has a lot of repetition and is very incremental.  They also have interesting memory aid ideas in the teacher's manuals. They have extensive samples, you can see if it would work for you.

 

http://www.stevensonlearning.com/stevenson-reading/

 

Also, try AAR again, age can make a difference.

 

Finally, I would try the first 6 of my syllables lessons and then Webster's Speller, the syllables have been helpful for my students with dyslexia.  I would over learn the syllabary and work as my syllables program directs, but switch to the full Webster's Speller when it start to get difficult, it is actually very incremental when you use the entire thing.  My syllables program is not incremental, but Webster's is and the syllables program teaches you how to use it and many things in the first 4 to 6 lessons should be review for you.

 

http://thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

 

http://donpotter.net/pdf/websterspellingbookmethod.pdf

 

Toe by toe is an interesting book, it has a check system where you have to get things correct 3 days in a row before moving on.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/Toe-Structured-Multi-Sensory-Reading-Teachers/dp/0952256401/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520123283&sr=8-1&keywords=toe+by+toe&dpID=410gmcWKyIL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

 

Here is their website with samples:

 

https://www.toe-by-toe.co.uk

 

Edited by ElizabethB

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