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Reading Program for an Older Student

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So, we are looking for something to work with my 13 year old son, who most likely has undiagnosed dyslexia,  over the summer.  (We have done testing through the school and they showed enough signs of it to get a SLD designation.)   He was homeschooled up until 3 years ago, and I homeschooled him again due to covid but through a school program this last year but he was in the school for two years.   I wasn't working with him on phonics this year, save through our spelling program (AAS), but we were reading a lot together so I go he is reading pretty well but still missing phonics concepts.   He doesn't know what to do at all when he hits -ough and -eigh words, for instance.  I know those can make different sounds but it's not that he's choosing the wrong ones...he doesn't even know what sounds those make at all).   The program we were using when we were homeschooling several years ago is now too babyish, and doesn't go that far in it's phonics concepts anyways.  

I'm wondering about a remediation program for older kids.   Not Barton.   I know it's good but its expensive, even used, and he's already getting tired of using tiles in AAS (we've been using ASL fingerspelling for the multi-sensory aspect in stead, save for initial teaching, since he's learning sign language).  I just need something that covers the phonics concepts we're missing.   It would be nice if there was  test and we could just focus on what he doesn't know because while he's behind he is reading.

Any suggestions?  We will mainly be working this during the summer.  

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I don't know if this will help, but it's a site I keep in the back of my mind.  Mostly because they have a ton of free resources and readers right now, even if their print materials are expensive. They are meant for older children, mostly.  https://www.phonicbooks.co.uk/advice-and-resources/free-teaching-resources/free-mini-books-for-home-school-use/

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I really like the Fast Track from Sound Foundations (Dancing Bears/Apples and Pears) for older kids. It has a dry British humor that makes it appealing even when the content is very easy. You can download the teacher's guide samples (and honestly, they're enough to teach the program from along with the student books) and get an idea of whether it would be a good fit. 


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I would go with Wilson. They have an assessment so you can see what the student is missing. You could buy that ($30) and then buy the other materials based on the results. 

You could do it with the teacher's manual, the student readers at the right level, the student workbooks at the right level, and the sound cards. It will end up being a couple hundred bucks overall.

I know what you mean about him just not knowing what sound the letter combinations make. Kids with SLDs in reading don't naturally pick up that "igh" makes the long I sound just from reading many "igh" words. They need to be explicitly taught, over and over (and over) again until it's solid. This seems to surprise a lot of teachers I've worked with, but it's perfectly typical for kids with reading difficulties. 

Don't skimp on having him spell. Practicing spelling is probably the best way to improve reading.

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Rewards, hands down


It is not phonics though. It focuses on prefixes, suffixes and syllables.

Fast Track/Dancing Bears was helpful too (that dmmetler recommended above).  We did that before Rewards so it might depend on what level your son is reading at now which would be better. 

For my dyslexic, the phonics never stuck no matter the program (even Barton which she HATED!!!! and did nothing to improve her reading -- although according to Barton's philosophy we just didnt spend long enough at it) -- looking back (as she heads off to college) the things that helped her most were things that gave her different ways to attack the word.  

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Posted (edited)

My syllables lessons are designed for older children, it teaches phonics to a 12th grade level, you can work through it in 10 hours:

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

Marcia Henry's Words is also good:


And, Logic of English Essentials online is now free, it focuses on high level spelling. You need to watch everything in the lower videos, even things that seem simple, she has a different way of explaining things. For example, there are things you need to know even in the A to Z phonogram video, it goes over all the sounds of every vowel, from the title it looks like something you could skip.



Edited by ElizabethB
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