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heres_a_llama

Trying to decide between LOE and AAR

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Hello! We're trying to decide which direction to head in regarding an OG phonics program. I know LOE and AAR have both been used successfully for many families and I'm sure we could be successful with either one. I'm just trying to figure out from the beginning if one would be better suited to my son. He has severe articulation delays (3%ile), loves to move around, and is a bit "young" for his age (aka socially immature).

I was thinking LOE because I've heard it does a better job of explicitly teaching how the mouth makes certain sounds in the beginning of Foundations, my understanding is that its lesson plans involve more physical activity games, and that it teaches all phonemes of a phonogram together (which I think my son would do better with, but that's just a hunch).

My husband is more inclined to use AAR because it's now in color, the program's readers look more thorough, we've read that LOE moves quite quickly (too quickly for some), and because he thinks our daughter (1.5 years behind her brother) would enjoy AAR better, thus we'd have better chance to reuse the curriculum and potentially save some money.

Are there any families who started working in one and then found the other was better suited to their child? Would you mind describing what kind of learners you have, and which program they personally did better with? Are there any others that you would recommend that aren't from a Christian publisher? A friend sent me The Ordinary Parent's Guide To Teaching Reading, but I don't think it's well suited to my son - I don't think he has the straight-forward, just get it done, black and white type personality that it appears (to me) to work well for. Any recommendations, insight, etc would be much appreciated.

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1 hour ago, heres_a_llama said:

Hello! We're trying to decide which direction to head in regarding an OG phonics program. I know LOE and AAR have both been used successfully for many families and I'm sure we could be successful with either one. I'm just trying to figure out from the beginning if one would be better suited to my son. He has severe articulation delays (3%ile), loves to move around, and is a bit "young" for his age (aka socially immature).

I was thinking LOE because I've heard it does a better job of explicitly teaching how the mouth makes certain sounds in the beginning of Foundations, my understanding is that its lesson plans involve more physical activity games, and that it teaches all phonemes of a phonogram together (which I think my son would do better with, but that's just a hunch).

My husband is more inclined to use AAR because it's now in color, the program's readers look more thorough, we've read that LOE moves quite quickly (too quickly for some), and because he thinks our daughter (1.5 years behind her brother) would enjoy AAR better, thus we'd have better chance to reuse the curriculum and potentially save some money.

Are there any families who started working in one and then found the other was better suited to their child? Would you mind describing what kind of learners you have, and which program they personally did better with? Are there any others that you would recommend that aren't from a Christian publisher? A friend sent me The Ordinary Parent's Guide To Teaching Reading, but I don't think it's well suited to my son - I don't think he has the straight-forward, just get it done, black and white type personality that it appears (to me) to work well for. Any recommendations, insight, etc would be much appreciated.

Another option: Spalding. It's the original: the manual (Writing Road to Reading) was written in the 50s. To teach the Spalding Method, you only need a one-time purchase of the manual and a set of phonogram cards. You'll use with all children who ever live in your house and need to learn to read and spell. 🙂  Spalding is infinitely flexible; you can move as slowly or as quickly as your little persons need to move.

I prefer the fourth edition of the manual, which you can still find if you search (the sixth edition is the current one; you can still use it, but it refers to the teacher guides all.the.time, and the teacher guides are unnecessary for hsers).

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I've only used LOE.  It worked well for me with my first child when I had no idea of how to teach a child to read.  I like the methods of teaching phonograms and spelling rules.  I did do too much when my daughter was in K.  I tried to do an entire lesson every day, and it is often too much.  LOE even says that they aren't designed to do one lesson per day, more like 2-3 per week.  I am apparently programmed for 1 lesson per day and it was a difficult adjustment for me (but that is true in many curricula, some are a lesson per week).  I am using for my 2nd child and am finishing Foundations D soon.  I have not used Essentials and don't plan to.  For my 2nd child, I've been much less rigid on length of lessons.  I do what is reasonable to me and save the rest for the next day.  I have grown so much! 😄 So for my 1st child, we did Foundations A-C in her young K year and did C again (to review after summer break for more intense D) and D for grade 1, and for my 2nd child, we did A & B for K then C & D for 1st.  The kids really like the workbooks.  They are very colorful and fun and will often look ahead and laugh at the pictures.  I and they like the Doodling Dragons, Whispering Whales, Knitting Knights books to supplement.   I like the way they progress their letter formation.  We did cursive.  Overall, I'm happy with it, but I've learned what to skip too.  It is scripted which is helpful if you are new to teaching but it can be difficult if you feel committed to read each line and play each game (which I initially felt).  I'm not much of a gamer so did skip some of them.  I'm starting the methods with my 4 year old, learning letter sounds, etc.  I guess I only wish that I would have started earlier like this and started slower, but I hadn't planned to homeschool either.

I don't know learning styles.  My kids seem to learn via any method.  My son is less interested in school and disliked the physical act of writing more, but I think the program worked well with both children.  My son did struggle more with speech.  He didn't pronounce R, sometimes L and SH and CH very clearly.  I really liked that they explain how the mouth and tongue should form the sounds.  His speech is great now.  I used the methods with my 4 year old, and his pronunciation is great also.  I also don't see an reason why LOE won't work for my 3rd child.  So far, he has only been learning phonograms, doing matching cards, Doodling Dragons, and just started teaching cursive strokes.  I love the textured cursive cards.

I have looked at All About Spelling a couple times and didn't like it and generally found it weak, but I don't remember specifics.  I don't recall ever considering AAR, so I don't know how to compare.  My kids have liked the readers pretty well, but we also supplement with a lot of other reading.  In grade 1, my daughter also did the Bookshark Level 1 reading.  My son has been doing the Pathway Readers this year, some of the Bookshark level 1 reading, and we get tons of library reading.   We have a big basket that is always full and we always get books at each reading level and for read alouds.  In my opinion, kids need more reading practice, so I don't think LOE's readers are enough (1-2 readers a week).  I don't know how this compares to other programs.  Bookshark certainly had a lot more reading, and it was tied into their history program so was kind of accidental, but great.  We have had a lot of happy accidents in homeschooling.

How old are your children?  I have a friend that taught all 4 of her kids to read (at age 4) with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  I have another friend who really likes Abeka phonics but that is Christian.  Have you read TWTM?  There are a few others recommended in there.

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We love Reading Lessons Through Literature, another Spalding spinoff with less moving parts and simpler application.

I felt that some of the spelling rules and phonograms were a little convoluted in LOE.

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We are long time Orton-Gillingham/explicit phonics fans. I was taught Spalding as a child in the public schools in the eighties. I taught my now grown children to read with both The Writing Road To Reading (WRTR) and Spell To Write And Read (SWR) before there were so many options. We also prefer non-religious curriculum but like I said, options were a lot more limited when my older kids were little and we were able to secularize SWR. It is an option but these days I think there are better options for secular explicit phonics curriculum, namely AAR and LOE.

I've used both AAR and LOE. My middle children (now teens) used AAR to some degree when it was still fairly new. Honestly I didn't like it. It felt like it had so many moving parts that it was hard to keep up with and honestly it was AAR that felt like it went too fast to me. Like there wasn't enough practice so I had to come up with my own for my second youngest son who didn't catch on as fast as AAR thought he should have. My second youngest daughter who also used it some would have done fine with any reading program. She could already read on a second grade level when she started kindergarten so her phonics lessons were more or less making sure she didn't have any gaps in her phonics knowledge than actually teaching her to read. It is very possible that a lot has changed with AAR since I last used it but when it came time to get a reading program for my youngest son who is quite a bit younger than his older siblings, None of the other programs that I had tried or used with my older kids made me excited to teach one more child how to read.

LOE wasn't around when my older five kids were little but I wish it had been. It really is my favorite OG/explicit phonics program to date. I have already purchased ahead for my youngest to complete the entire program and he's only in Foundations B at the moment. I would love to keep this around for any future grandkids so that either my children can use it with them or they can do it with me. I've even toyed with the idea of doing some tutoring with this program. 

My youngest son has childhood apraxia of speech he was in year round weekly speech therapy from the time he was 2 years old until he turned 6. His speech therapist was amazed at the progress he was making in phonics and reading his last year of speech therapy despite the apraxia. HE "graduated" out of speech for the time being as his speech, while not perfect, was age appropriate after 5 years of therapy but he will likely need to go into it again in a year or two but LOE has really helped him continue to work on his articulation and phonemic awareness issues from the apraxia. SWR also does the explicit teaching of how to produce the sounds but I really like the fun way that LOE does it better. I also prefer the phonemic awareness and extension activities in LOE to the ones in SWR.

The activities in SWR do the job but I will be the first to admit, they are B-O-R-I-N-G. LOE recognizes that not only does learning to read and practicing reading not have to be boring but that lots of kids learn better when they are active in their learning. While some of the content does seem fast, it is easy to slow it down for the child that needs it. My son son ripped right through Foundations A in a semester but we are having to slow down in Foundations B. We aren't going to finish it in this, the spring semester of his kindergarten year but I'm fine with that. We break each lesson into manageable bites for his attention level and we just do what we can do. Currently we are only getting through 1, maybe 2 lessons a week with some extra practice thrown in during the week for concepts that he struggles with. There is no issue at all going this slow so that he doesn't get overwhelmed. Don't get it in your head that you and your child must complete an entire lesson in a day to do the program "correctly" and you will be fine. Even the author states that you should only complete a lesson in a single day if your child is able to and it should probably be broken up throughout the day rather than in one long block.

Having used or looked over almost every OR program out there, LOE is hands-down my favorite. It's easy for me to implement, my son loves it despite having speech problems that could hinder his ability to learn to read and judiciously picking and choosing what components I buy and what I substitute with something cheaper or free, I've been able to keep the cost far below the cost of buying the bundles. I really have only bought the teacher's manuals and the workbooks for it, I've made or substituted the other parts and pieces with things I already have. For example, we already had a nice personal sized white board with primary lines so we use it rather than buy the special LOE one. It hasn't been a problem at all using it. I know there is a lot of hype about LOE in the homeschool world but I believe it really is deserved for this program.

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9 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

My youngest son has childhood apraxia of speech he was in year round weekly speech therapy from the time he was 2 years old until he turned 6. His speech therapist was amazed at the progress he was making in phonics and reading his last year of speech therapy despite the apraxia. HE "graduated" out of speech for the time being as his speech, while not perfect, was age appropriate after 5 years of therapy but he will likely need to go into it again in a year or two but LOE has really helped him continue to work on his articulation and phonemic awareness issues from the apraxia. SWR also does the explicit teaching of how to produce the sounds but I really like the fun way that LOE does it better. I also prefer the phonemic awareness and extension activities in LOE to the ones in SWR.

Having used or looked over almost every OR program out there, LOE is hands-down my favorite. It's easy for me to implement, my son loves it despite having speech problems that could hinder his ability to learn to read and judiciously picking and choosing what components I buy and what I substitute with something cheaper or free, I've been able to keep the cost far below the cost of buying the bundles. I really have only bought the teacher's manuals and the workbooks for it, I've made or substituted the other parts and pieces with things I already have. For example, we already had a nice personal sized white board with primary lines so we use it rather than buy the special LOE one. It hasn't been a problem at all using it. I know there is a lot of hype about LOE in the homeschool world but I believe it really is deserved for this program.

Thank you for your insight! My son hasn't been diagnosed with Apraxia, but he'll be four in late August and we're still working on phonemes that are typically mastered when children are two (medial p and initial m!) I'd say he's only 25% intelligible to anyone other than me. Knowing that it worked well with your son gives me encouragement. 

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I've used Loe A-C and AAR 3 and 4.  Hands down my kids preferred LOE.  I have it saved for my baby 😉 I sold the AAR, and my current 7 year old flat out refused it- she hated it!  We just dud about 1/4 of level 3, then I just switched to having her read the stories only.  I don't understand why it gets such great reviews.  I've had 3 kids use it, none liked it.  

 

A few things to keep in mind- loe doesn't have enough of the readers, so you will need to use your library or buy some readers.  The games in loe are real games, like old maid, go fish, ect.  My kids played all the time!  I did like the fluency sheets in AAR and think they would probably be great for kids who take a little more to review and gain reading fluency.  The AAR activities were very boring to my kids-we ended up skipping them and using ideas I'd gained from LOE instead.   

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You can buy the game book for LOE and use it with any Spalding style curriculum.

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7 minutes ago, Slache said:

You can buy the game book for LOE and use it with any Spalding style curriculum.

 

I have never seen a separate game book from LOE.  What is called?

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FWIW I love AAR and have found it very easy to tailor to the child. You can speed it up or slow it down as needed. How would your son feel about paper games? My kids have loved all the games like flipping eggs and feeding words to an animal. AAR is usually an explanatory lesson followed by a story read in the next lesson that incorporates the new phonogram. They have an app now to use if you want to skip the tiles. I think it’s a great program. I also like to add in more written instruction so I added in First Start Reading by Memoria Press. The lessons don’t line up and I don’t try to make them. I found it helpful for my older DS when he was doing AAR to have the practice of writing along with the lessons in AAR and I’m doing it again with DD.  

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I used LOE A-C.  By the time DD arrived at level D, she could read everything in D, so we dropped it after 4 weeks.  I didn’t enjoy LOE because it was expensive and the readers are lame.  I started purchasing readers from other programs so DD could practice reading.  Her spelling lagged behind her reading, so LOE spelling was a miss for my child.  My eldest is dyslexic and used Wilson Reading for 5 years with an O-G tutor.  I found myself modifying the LOE materials to teach DD.  If I were to teach reading again, I’d use either AAR or Abeka phonics. 

OP, since you mentioned the speech issues, your child may need Lindamood-Bell’s LiPS (LMB) course prior to any reading instruction.  Maybe ask your child’s SLP if they could use the LiPS materials with your child.  BTW, your child does not have to attend a LMB center to use their products.

Edited by Heathermomster

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We had debated between AAR and LOE here and ultimately went with LOE because
(1) I was taught whole language and really did needed my hand held navigating phonics
(2) It tells me where my mouth should be for most of the sounds, and as someone who is partly deaf and on occasion verbally destroy whatever word I want to say, this helped
(3) It was an all-in-one program. I didn't have to hunt down other studies for at least a couple of years!

My daughter fell in love with LOE. We split it up as A&B for Kindergarten, C for first grade, D for second grade however she had plans of her own and is going to finish D easily by the end of first grade. The games, phonogram work, spelling, comprehension tests, really made her into an amazing reader, and an amazing speller (and helped my spelling!) They have readers that come with the program and they are certainly just not enough in my opinion. We used the additional readers list and started a rotation (repeating the books over as she passed each lesson) to help build fluency and practice. Otherwise, the program is amazing and I'm looking forward to starting again with my second child come fall. 

https://www.logicofenglish.com/foundations/book-suggestions (List of Additional Readers that I highly suggest.)

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I honestly think you should choose what program *you* want to teach. They are both good, they will both do the job.

For me, AAR totally works with my personality. It's just the complete package and I do not feel at all that it's too many moving parts. In fact, quite the opposite. I feel like it's the easiest, least stressful curriculum that I'm doing right now. I have taught 5 kids to read with AAR, and I love it. And not just read, LOVE to read and my oldest boys consistently score 99% on state tests, and always have. There is something about seeing it, manipulating those tiles (or the app-which is amazing), seeing the flashcards, doing the little games, the fluency (it works) and the gorgeous, cute readers-jealous they're now in color!  It's just all there. Cut out the activities, put them in a page protector, and you will never do a single thing to prep again. I just pull out the binder, the cards, the teach manual and go. 5 seconds tops. And, yes, you can speed up or slow down depending on your kid. Sure, there are some lessons that are easy. We welcome those. The ones that are hard we split into 2 days-you just do what works for you. But this program words, hands down.

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