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Get it done, faster moving phonics curriculum?


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My 8 yo dd has been "learning to read" for about 2-3 years now.  It took her about 2 years to learn her letters and sounds.  She spent a lot of her early years in and out of hospitals, so she has dealt with many learning delays.  She's now to a point where she is home most of the time, and she only has to go to hospital about 1-2 x / month for clinic.  We have worked on AAR Level 1 throughout this past year.  She has made "okay" progress.  She still can't read things outside of the curriculum when asked, though.  We still have some of Level 1 to finish, and we already own level 2.  I feel like if we keep moving with AAR, it will be another year or two before she's reading well.  It moves slow.  I understand why it moves slow, but I need to get her up to speed sooner.  I don't want her inability to read to effect her other studies.  I believe she is finally "ready" to start reading.

I would love to hear any suggestions of a quicker paced reading curriculum - that doesn't have a lot of components.  She doesn't need lots of worksheets, word flippers, games, etc.     We don't need lots of bells and whistles and extras to keep track of.  My older daughter used MFW K and 1st to learn to read, and it was great.  I've thought of buying MFW 1st grade just so I can have her go through that.  She would be reading by the end of this coming year.  I'm guessing there are other cheaper options, though. 

Note :  She has been followed by an ophthalmologist since birth.  She has had glasses for 6 years, and she has seen specialists at Duke that have told us exactly what she can and can not see.  We are not asking her to read anything that would be difficult for her to see. 

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Have you looked at Dancing Bears? It isn't fiddly, with lots of parts. Just the workbook, cursor, and flash cards for sounds. And unlike MFW's phonics, it's specifically designed for children who need extra help learning to read. It's been helpful for both my girls. We follow it with REWARDS Intermediate (for multisyllable words). 

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Two things came immediately to mind:

Phonics Pathways by Delores Hiskes doesn't have anything broken down into lessons; so you could easily just pick and choose and go at the pace that you decide.

Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise does have the instruction broken down into lessons - but you could easily accelerate/compress the instruction as you see fit. 

Both options are cheap and no extra moving parts - just the one book.  And of course you'd supplement with other reading material to build fluency.

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Thank you for the suggestions so far. I think I should take a second look at Phonics Pathways. I like the idea that I can just pick up at the lesson I feel is most appropriate and move forward. I have looked at it before, and it didn’t seem like you had to learn a new method to teach it. I think our library has it.

Dancing bears looks interesting, but I don’t like the idea of progressing through various levels. I like that PP is one book. 

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Abecedarian is very efficient. We started in December and worked through short version A, B1, and B2 between then and June. A is Kindergarten level, B1 is first, B2 is second. it has been nothing short of amazing. Before this we did AAR1, which took more than a year and she still wasn't really reading. We also tried Phonics Pathways, Ordinary Parent's Guide, and Dancing bears. 

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8 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Abecedarian is very efficient. We started in December and worked through short version A, B1, and B2 between then and June. A is Kindergarten level, B1 is first, B2 is second. it has been nothing short of amazing. Before this we did AAR1, which took more than a year and she still wasn't really reading. We also tried Phonics Pathways, Ordinary Parent's Guide, and Dancing bears. 

This looks great. I wish I would have heard of this a year or so ago. It seems like there is an A and B book to work through for each level, including workbooks and readers to buy. My dd would probably place in level 2 since she can read CVC and has been introduced to Th, sh, ck. 

I’m not sure that I want to make the investment in all of the materials at this point, though. That said - I will continue to look at and consider this. Do you know if there are any samples online that I can look at?  I saw that you can download the level 1 teacher guide, but I’d like to see the workbook as well. 

Thank you for sharing this. I think this is what so many people are looking for, but they end up using AAR because it’s more we’ll known. 

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9 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Abecedarian is very efficient. We started in December and worked through short version A, B1, and B2 between then and June. A is Kindergarten level, B1 is first, B2 is second. it has been nothing short of amazing. Before this we did AAR1, which took more than a year and she still wasn't really reading. We also tried Phonics Pathways, Ordinary Parent's Guide, and Dancing bears. 

This looks AMAZING.  Sadly, I've never heard of it.  Like the OP, we've done AAR 1 for 18 months now with little success.  My 7 yo (8 in Nov) is reading CVC words, some blends, but it just hasn't clicked yet.  I actually bought MP's 1st grade core with their phonics set for the first half of her second grade year.  But I sure do wish I had seen this first.  It looks like just the fit for her.  Thank you for sharing it!

17 minutes ago, Bay Lake Mom said:

This looks great. I wish I would have heard of this a year or so ago. It seems like there is an A and B book to work through for each level, including workbooks and readers to buy. My dd would probably place in level 2 since she can read CVC and has been introduced to Th, sh, ck. 

I’m not sure that I want to make the investment in all of the materials at this point, though. That said - I will continue to look at and consider this. Do you know if there are any samples online that I can look at?  I saw that you can download the level 1 teacher guide, but I’d like to see the workbook as well. 

Thank you for sharing this. I think this is what so many people are looking for, but they end up using AAR because it’s more we’ll known. 

OP, I totally understand your issue, and I'm right there with you.  AAR worked for my other kiddos, but definitely not for my current beginning reader.  It's incredibly frustrating to make such minimal progress when she works so hard.  Like your daughter, I also think mine would place into level B.  Here are the samples I found (scroll towards the bottom): http://www.abcdrp.com/level-b-2-1

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Ktgrok or anyone else who knows ...  what is the best way to order ABeCeDarian?  Their website suggests Amazon, but shipping is crazy!  (It doesn’t qualify for Prime shipping). (These prices are obviously subject to change, but are current pricing for 7-5-18). 

B-1 Teachers Manual - $15.95

B-1 Student WB - $17.75

Aesop reader - $5.00

sub-total - $38.70

SHIPPING - $11.97 !!!! (Ouch!)

Total - $50.67

And, this is only the cost for level B-1.  Any other ordering suggestions?

 

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CLE. I taught my three older kids to read with A Beka and that was very effective, but it did have a lot of components. Then came child #4. We went through about 4 different phonics programs in 2 years and she still didn’t know all her letters and really really struggled. But CLE taught her how to read. It’s not pure phonics, it combines phonics and sight words, which I discovered is really what she needed.

just my $0.02.

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AAR is an amazing program so I’d strongly recommend sticking with it. It’s very slow going at first and AAR teaches in an unusual order at first so you will be limited in what you can read at first but it’s worth it. My DS knew all of his letter sounds and we had done the AAR Pre level but he had no idea how to blend. AAR was agonizingly slow at first. We did maybe one lesson broken up over a week. Then ever so slowly it started to click. It laid a great foundation. In AAR2 we moved faster and then quickly sped through the program. The great thing about AAR is that you can go at your child’s speed. If they get it you can move forward. If it’s a trickier phonogram for them slow down. AAR2 is where you will finally be able to introduce more outside books which is great. My DS loves to read and reads well which is why I’m so glad I stuck with AAR. Once it clicks you can speed it up and match her readiness. DS took forever on AAR1 but after that we finished 2-4 in about a year or so.

I added a few things in the beginning before it clicked that you could check out. DS really benefited from Memoria Press First Start Reading. They teach writing along with reading. At first it’s simple CVC words and then moving on to Silent E. The font is very large. You don’t need the TM and the books are pretty cheap and available at Rainbow. You could start at whatever point she needs practice with, so skip the first ones if she’s passed that. 

We also did the I See Sam readers on an iPad so it’s great to do wherever you are. That gave him a lot of confidence and was great practice. Large font and very colorful. 

DD is doing the Veritas Press Phonics Museum app and loves it. She’s just getting to CVC on it so I’m not sure how advanced it’s going to get but they have a free trial if you want to check it out. 

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Thank you for the suggestions.  Some of these seem very interesting.  I've spent some time reading up on the various methods.  I think, at this time, the two that stand out to me are Phonics Pathways and ABeCeDarian.  I am not interested in attempting anything that will make her feel like she's "starting over".  I need to make her feel encouraged so she feels like she's moving forward.  I'm also not interested in investing a lot of my time learning a new method.  If we were just starting out or had other little ones to teach, I would consider some of these.  They look great.

PHONICS PATHWAYS - I like this because it's simple.  One book.  We can start on the page where I feel we need to and just move forward.  I'm not sure it will give her enough practice, though.  I did find lesson plans from Cornerstone Confessions blog that includes recommended readers to go along with the PP lessons.  Does anyone know if the Explode the Code workbooks would match up to this or if there are any others that would offer additional practice?

ABeCeDarian - I really like the looks of this.  The teacher's manual is scripted, and the workbook seems to give good practice without being crowded and overwhelming. I also like that it doesn't have cut, paste, color activities and games.  These seem to confuse her instead of help.  I'm not happy about the cost of shipping, but I will try to call the company.  For some reason, the prices on Amazon are higher than the company website. (Ex. Workbook is $17.75 on Amazon, but only $10.95 on the ABCD site).

It seems like I have some work and thinking to do.  As always, I appreciate the wisdom and experience of this group!

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Writing Road to Reading is probably free at your library. Hard to get much faster than that. It's not leveled but is going to throw everything at her, so as long as there's no SLD, it should bring her up to where she can be very quickly. Many kids will jump 4 grade levels in a year with it. 

SWR would be the swankier version. Both SWR and WRTR preceded AAR/AAS, which we didn't have back in the old days. The teaching is sound (if that mattered to you or you were worried about that), but they just throw the kid in and get them there. It's how I taught my dd to read. I started with WRTR and went to SWR. SWR has more perks, but you wanted fast, which makes around the corner at the library or on amazon for $17 a good deal. :)

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I am sharing *very* helpful Abecedarian links.  

The Error Correction Guide 

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57891644bebafbbe871a567f/t/57a50013b3db2b8908e9ba45/1470431254769/ABCD_ErrorCorrectionPractice.pdf

(And the “free support materials” page http://www.abcdrp.com/download-samples-1/)

And the Error Correction videos:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-RbA3VKeQXw

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=06yj-onS7kY

I used Abecedarian Level B with my older son.  It was very good for him.  He needed a lot of work on fluency which is found in other resources, this is more focused on decoding.  Iirc in the introduction it says it is more focused on decoding, other resources may be needed for fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.  That is fine — in many ways it is nice it is focused on decoding and doesn’t have everything sprinkled together and diluting the decoding.  But my son ended up having more fluency and comprehension needs than I thought, so I mention it.  

Edit:  from the free support materials — I also found the placement test, and the blending and segmenting supplement helpful.  I did also use the speed drills as they came up in the lessons.  

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On 7/5/2018 at 7:57 AM, Bay Lake Mom said:

This looks great. I wish I would have heard of this a year or so ago. It seems like there is an A and B book to work through for each level, including workbooks and readers to buy. My dd would probably place in level 2 since she can read CVC and has been introduced to Th, sh, ck. 

I’m not sure that I want to make the investment in all of the materials at this point, though. That said - I will continue to look at and consider this. Do you know if there are any samples online that I can look at?  I saw that you can download the level 1 teacher guide, but I’d like to see the workbook as well. 

Thank you for sharing this. I think this is what so many people are looking for, but they end up using AAR because it’s more we’ll known. 

Not exactly...book A is for kindergarten. There is the regular one, and then there is the short version one. For a child that did AAR1 and is very fluent with what they know you could probably move on to level B1, which is first grade. Level B2 is their second grade book. So just one book per grade level. BUT if she is NOT totally fluent on what she has learned, I'd make the investment to do Book A short version first. The short version moves much faster, and is for kids that do know the material but need more practice before moving on. The program designer is available via email for placement help, and whenever you have questions. He even offered to do a free Skype session with me when we hit a bit of trouble with B2 and multsyllable words. There is a set of readers for level A, and then for B1 there is just one booklet of Aesop's fables rather than a set of books. 

I have a TON of photos of Short A, B1, and B2 on my facebook profile, that I've made public. I'll link them below ?

 

 

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Oh yes, the extra free materials on the abecedarian website really are important. We did a review page from their about 3 times a week, at least, at a separate tme from the lesson. Or sometimes we did stuff from there instead of a lesson. The fluency pages and the I Spy pages are really great. 

He also recommends "Quick Reads" which you can find used on Amazon for practice reading. They are non fiction little books, with passages on a variety of themes, at various grade levels. You can look on the publisher website to figure out level then find cheap used ones ? 

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Not a specific suggestion, but reading just takes longer to click for some kids than others, even if they don't have health or learning issues.  My 5 oldest kids can read now.  Two of my kids jumped in when they were younger (4.5yo and 6yo) and were reading well within 6 months.  The others were older.  Two of them had a much harder time and it took them years to become fluent.  Switching programs might help, or you might need to just give it more time.

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45 minutes ago, Lisa in the UP of MI said:

Not a specific suggestion, but reading just takes longer to click for some kids than others, even if they don't have health or learning issues.  My 5 oldest kids can read now.  Two of my kids jumped in when they were younger (4.5yo and 6yo) and were reading well within 6 months.  The others were older.  Two of them had a much harder time and it took them years to become fluent.  Switching programs might help, or you might need to just give it more time.

True. My oldest didn't click until 2nd grade, and he was an older 2nd grader with a summer birthday. But his struggles were very different than my daughters...he just wasn't interested/ready versus she was interested, had the basics it seemed, but couldn't make progress. 

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I think you should reconsider switching.  AAR has small steps.  For kids that fly through, the cards will be mastered quickly and the fluency sheets will be mastered on the first try.  Stories will be read fluently after the first go-round.  That results in doing one or more lessons per day.  So it is not how fast the curriculum moves, but how fast the child moves that determines the pace of the curriculum.  It sounds like this is not how reading is going for you’re daughter.  Moving to a faster-paced option that doesn’t have the little steps to build fluency might be a good way to shoot yourself in the foot.  Maybe I am misunderstanding though.  Are you looking for a faster phonics program or a reading program that’s is based on sight words so that she can read grade level books sooner?  

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I like both Phonics Pathways and Abecedarian.

But, I would work her though my syllables program for a quick overview of all the phonics you need to sound out anything to a 12th grade level, then follow up with whatever phonics program you like best to get in the needed repetition.  You can print all that you need or there is a workbook you can order instead to go with it.  It does have associated games, but you can do without them.  

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

 

 

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See, I think that the  "I See Sam" readers are a magic solution!   :)    I have two older children who are dyslexic, and NOTHING (nothing!) was helping them to learn to read until I found these books.  I think coupled with some of the teaching strategies in AAR, they are like a magic one-two knock out punch for teaching reading.  (I also sometimes used the notched business card that is taught in dancing bears to make the child look at each phonogram and say the sound.)  

I like them because not only do they teach phonics, but they also build in practice with reading.   (Plus, it is fun practice.   Not fluency sheets or flashcards.)    When you first look at the samples, they are going to look like any other phonetic reader.   I actually dismissed them for years because of this reason.  However, they are very different than any other phonetic reader I have ever encountered.   The phonics is slowly, slowly, slowly drip fed to the child and then reviewed, reviewed, reviewed in the text.   

You can give the placement test (read the instructions on this page for older child ), but my recommendation is to always place on the easier side so the child can build confidence.   

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On 7/4/2018 at 1:31 PM, Bay Lake Mom said:

My 8 yo dd has been "learning to read" for about 2-3 years now.  It took her about 2 years to learn her letters and sounds.  She spent a lot of her early years in and out of hospitals, so she has dealt with many learning delays.  She's now to a point where she is home most of the time, and she only has to go to hospital about 1-2 x / month for clinic.  We have worked on AAR Level 1 throughout this past year.  She has made "okay" progress.  She still can't read things outside of the curriculum when asked, though.  We still have some of Level 1 to finish, and we already own level 2.  I feel like if we keep moving with AAR, it will be another year or two before she's reading well.  It moves slow.  I understand why it moves slow, but I need to get her up to speed sooner.  I don't want her inability to read to effect her other studies.  I believe she is finally "ready" to start reading.

I would love to hear any suggestions of a quicker paced reading curriculum - that doesn't have a lot of components.  She doesn't need lots of worksheets, word flippers, games, etc.     We don't need lots of bells and whistles and extras to keep track of.  My older daughter used MFW K and 1st to learn to read, and it was great.  I've thought of buying MFW 1st grade just so I can have her go through that.  She would be reading by the end of this coming year.  I'm guessing there are other cheaper options, though. 

Note :  She has been followed by an ophthalmologist since birth.  She has had glasses for 6 years, and she has seen specialists at Duke that have told us exactly what she can and can not see.  We are not asking her to read anything that would be difficult for her to see. 

Spalding.

When I taught Spalding in a one-room school, with children first grade through high school, all of them (including the youngest, who was just beginning to read) were reading *at least* two grade levels higher by December (we started in August).

Spalding has  no bells and whistles (which is why some people don't like it, lol). You teach from the manual (Writing Road to Reading), and you use the phonogram cards, and your child writes on actual paper (although an 8yo could use the composition notebook). When your child is ready, she reads from good trade books (books you'd find at the library). One manual, one set of phonogram cards, a sewn composition book, less than $50.

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On 7/6/2018 at 11:33 AM, domestic_engineer said:

@Ktgrok So what do you think sets Abecedarian apart from other programs?  Why do you think it worked its magic for your daughter?  You've got me super curious now!

 

A few things. One, it has them thinking about sounds in a different way, breaking down each word into phonemes, and sorting them by phoneme, underlying the phonemes, etc. That is really important for orthographic mapping. Two, it gives more practice on fewer words at a time than say, AAR. AAR fluency sheets were a full page of all different words. That was NOT enough practice for my DD to map each word in her brain for it to become automatic. Because each word was only seen once per page. The Abecedarian fluency pages have the same 8 words over and over, shuffled in various orders. That provides the needed repetition for her to actually start to map that word n her brain so she becomes fluent with it. It's also MUCH less frustrating for her. SO much less. 

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I'm another recommending the 'I See Sam' readers. With my oldest - who struggles with language - it was his lightbulb moment. Lots of repetition and practice of basic words but for him he was reading a real book and that made a big difference.

For my younger daughter - who similar to yours in that she was quite ill when she was small, has been in the hospital quite a bit, and spent years in the learning letter sounds stage - once that finally clicked (which I will admit did involve days of her watching The Letter Factory and Preschool Prep's Phonics with her younger brother, I tried so many other things but that really seemed to help her click) I used Phonics Pathway at first but she found going back and redoing pages very frustrating so then, alongside the I See Sam readers, I used Ultimate Phonics free word and sentence list. We could hop right in, skip or double up on lessons, and because it has a lot of repetition using the sentences she was getting the review she needed without getting frustrated and the word lists were great in working on and checking her knowledge of certain phonemes. She would her I See Sam book, answer the comprehension questions, do her penmanship work, take a break to read her word list and sentence and then she'd pick a sentence or two for copywork. It was simple and it really helped her move along far faster than she had before. It did take her a bit over a year to finish at her pace but it worked really well for her. 

I do also highly recommend the above ElizabethB's resources particularly the concentration as another good way to review sounds and reading. 

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For my kids I used 100 easy lessons and I see Sam readers when we needed a pause. I also used that combo for my 8 year-old sister and it worked well!

I've been eyeing easy peasys learn read program  and it seems like another option that is a quick pace but good.

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I think I would be looking at WHY she is making slow progress.  If she has had so many health issues, I would be concerned about a program that makes too many leaps.  I love Spalding, but it wouldn't have worked for my dyslexic kid.  I taught it in a classroom and used it with my older daughter, so I'm very familiar with it.  I love the way it teaches word analysis, but there's the issue of remembering WHICH phonogram goes with each word and such.  My younger kid just didn't have the memory for that to work.  At all.  Tying reading to spelling and handwriting ability would have slowed my kids too much.  Even my older one, who didn't have any learning issues, wasn't ready for Spalding and the handwriting required when she was ready to learn to read at age 4.  We started it after she'd learned to read, around first or second grade age.  

Stuff I'd think about in this situation:  I See Sam series, Webster's speller with Elizabeth's online phonics lessons, Headsprout was expensive but worked really well at getting both my kids reading pretty quickly, even my dyslexic.  I followed up with Funnix 2 for my dyslexic kid afterwards.  I also liked Time 4 Learning's fluency practice in their second grade language arts program, which we did after Headsprout.  What I did with my dyslexic kid:  15 minutes word study with Webster's speller/ decoding unfamiliar or nonsense words (sometimes we played games), a lesson in Headsprout followed by Time 4 Learning or Funnix 2 (did on different days), 15 minutes or so reading from an easy reader.  We did a few levels of I See Sam, but when she got more fluent, she liked Mr. Putter and Tabby, Frog and Toad, all those level 2-3 books.  We also spent a few minutes practicing phonograms every day.  We did a few workbooks here and there (some of CLE's Learning to Read, some Explode the Code, etc) but it was more to keep her occupied than real instruction.  I didn't find out my kid was dyslexic until she was 7.5 or so, by which point she was reading pretty fluently.  Not awesome at decoding, but she had cracked the code well enough to do most stuff.  She still needed an Orton Gillingham program for spelling.  

If I had to do it over again and knew she was dyslexic from the start, I might have just used Barton.  I don't know if that would have been the right choice, because it IS slower, and my kid did manage to get reading relatively quickly.  But if your kid took 2 years to learn letters and sounds, I would be really suspicious about dyslexia.  Have you tried the assessment on the Barton webpage to see if she has the phonemic awareness needed for an OG program yet?  I would see how she did on that.  

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My son with ADHD was similar. We used Explode the Code online program. It skips them past things they already know and works them slower through things that they need more help on. It is automatically adjusting. My son went from not reading at all to reading chapter books in a semester. We purchase through Homeschool Buyers Co-op for a very discounted rate.

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On 7/7/2018 at 11:59 AM, Ktgrok said:

A few things. One, it has them thinking about sounds in a different way, breaking down each word into phonemes, and sorting them by phoneme, underlying the phonemes, etc. That is really important for orthographic mapping. Two, it gives more practice on fewer words at a time than say, AAR. AAR fluency sheets were a full page of all different words. That was NOT enough practice for my DD to map each word in her brain for it to become automatic. Because each word was only seen once per page. The Abecedarian fluency pages have the same 8 words over and over, shuffled in various orders. That provides the needed repetition for her to actually start to map that word n her brain so she becomes fluent with it. It's also MUCH less frustrating for her. SO much less. 

 

Did you use and would you recommend the Abecedarian reader for B, Aesop?

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16 hours ago, RoseS8 said:

 

Did you use and would you recommend the Abecedarian reader for B, Aesop?

Yes! But DO follow the directions and read it to them first, then they read it, each time you do a new story. 

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Try adding in components like Earobics and other such things directed toward auditory processing and reading fluency. I am actually finding I am having more luck making things up as I go than strictly using a program. A family member gave me a book of Phonics that basically is a bunch of list words (with pictures) for various phonics. Then, we read from real books (we own readers, but I prefer real books and I think they do too) and I will read words they don't get. Or I will read a few pages and then they will read a page. That way, it keeps them interested in the story because they don't have to struggle all the way through, but get to practice a few pages in between.

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