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Another Curriculum Question!


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Everyone was so helpful with the question about preschool, I thought I'd throw another question out to you all!

DS is 7, second grade. I started him in Abeka 2nd grade this past fall, but it was tooo redundant, too boring for him and really too easy, which surprised me. He is already a reader but I think he needs a little more in the way of phonics because he still stumbles on words at times that he should be able to sound out. Then I tried Explode the Code, but that quickly became too easy. It's really strange. I can't place him. It's like the workbooks and all the phonics exercises are too easy, but the actual reading of books still trips him up sometimes. Plus he says he doesn't like to read, so he doesn't readily pick up books to practice.


So I guess I need some suggestions on resources for developing fluency and reinforcing phonics rules without overkill.


What I'm planning to do is to continue with the Abeka workbooks, but according to my own schedule rather than their IG. I was also looking at Reading Pathways I think it is (The book after Phonics Pathways). What do you think? Other suggestions? Then of course practicing reading on his own and me reading with him every day as well.



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Then of course practicing reading on his own and me reading with him every day as well.


This is the best you can do. There is nothing like practice.

Also let him follow you along as you read - so he can watch you read the words and hear it at the same time.

When he is reading to you, when he comes to a word that "trips him up" just tell him what it is and

move on. Many times with these boys it is the effort of sounding out that frustrates them.

Keep these times when he reads aloud short, kids find this very tedious.


You could also try books on CD that he can listen to and read along at the same time - Magic Tree House

series is available on CD. At one point in the series the CDs run out, but the books continue.

If he is hooked on the story he might just continue reading without the CDs to help him along.


There is nothing like curiosity or interest as the big motivator in reading. Find books that he really,

really loves. Science books from the library, animals, machines, dinosaurs, solar system. Books

with lots of pictures and few words, such as Usborne books, children's encyclopedias.


Sonlight has wonderful readers, you could read a section and then have him read the next

section - not necessarily aloud, just quietly to himself. Walk away to attend to something else in the

house, and then to check if he really read it, ask him what to tell you what you missed.


I hope these suggestions help.

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Kids read comfortably a level below what they can decode. If he's at say a 2nd grade level for phonics, he might find his pleasure reading is only the most simple things (beginning readers and 1st gr level). I'd surround him with those, continue the phonics, and see what happens. If you want phonics and reading instruction in a more compacted, accelerated format, you might look at SWR/WRTR. WRTR would be at your local library. I taught my dd to read with SWR, which gives them all the tools upfront, and when she started reading, she just took off and never looked back! Once he can do it easily and well, he'll enjoy it, never fear. He's just at the uggy stage right now.

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Here's what we've done with Abeka (I've used Abeka for 3 dc now, and know what you are saying about the redundancy).


If you're trying to follow the curriculum guide for phonics, toss it (err, set it aside). Just use the handbook for reading, as needed, to reinforce sounds (the advanced sounds at the back -- do not worry about the easier sounds, your son most likely knows).


If you have the Letters & Sounds Workbook, again, skip everything that he knows. Only use the portions your son is struggling with. If you aren't sure, just have him answer some portions orally and do a "spot check."


Abeka is known for lots of drill and repetitive work -- which is great, if you need it. It's also geared towards a classroom situation, so some of it can be considered more "busy work" -- to keep students occupied while in school. Skip the portions you don't need, and utilize the portions that you do. FWIW, the 2nd grade phonics materials get a lot less used in my family than the 1st grade.


Do the reader aloud. Watch for repeated mistakes. Sometimes my 3 readers make mistakes because they simply aren't really paying attention to what they are reading. If your son makes a mistake, just ask him to go back, and look closely at the word in question. If he doesn't get it the 2nd time, remind him of the sound/word and make a note of the blend (if it's a blend issue) or the sight word, and practice that the following day using the handbook for reading.


Also, the reading material is only too difficult if it doesn't pass the 5-finger rule (five mis-read words on one page) OR, your son is becoming frustrated. If neither of these apply, your son is doing fine and just needs some reminders and a little encouragement.


After we finished the Abeka Grade 2 Materials, I have this computer-based "Master Reader" program from Hooked On Phonics we got at Costco a few years ago -- the children work through that (they think it's a lot of fun).

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Reading to him teaches him how it's supposed to flow and sound. Let him start and tap you on the arm when he's ready for you to read, then you tap him back when you're reading for him to take a turn. Start out a paragraph at a time or a two at a time and build up from there.


That really helped my oldest. She hated reading and is reading books she would have cried over a couple of years ago.


I'll let some of the more experienced moms chime in about phonics instruction. My daughter did Saxon phonics in K at ps. We did Saxon Phonics 1 our first year homeschooling. By the end of the year, she was bored with phonics. She was readng fluently and above grade level. We haven't done phonics since. Just lots of reading. I'll remind her of the suffixes and different rules when she has trouble sounding a word out, but that's about it. She's really done well.




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Reading to him teaches him how it's supposed to flow and sound.







I went through a difficult time with my son struggling to read (my situation is different from yours because your son can read). My son was not reading. I put aside the phonics and read to him everyday. I mean Sunday to Saturday. I read the Bible in the morning and stories for bedtime stories.


I also wanted to suggest memorization. I had my younger and older sons memorize poems and Bible verses. I realize that what this does is it helps them to learn proper pronunciation without the formalize phonics. They are hearing the sounds for reading and they are pronouncing it for memorization.


In my searching, I found that two things that definitely helped to improve my children's reading: memorization of poems and Bible verses and reading aloud to the child.


Blessings in your homeschooling journey.





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