Knowing that every child is different, I’m hoping some experienced moms can share their experiences and offer me some insight!
My 7 yo son is taking quite a long time to learn to read…we’ve been at this now for well over a year. I am using the whole language approach along with CM methods and feel it’s a very complete method. He knows some sight words and some word families. We’ve been learning whole sentences from interesting books. He’ll get to know those sentences well, but when taken out of context, will not be able to pick out a word he just *read* from the book. We play games, review with flashcards, make sentences, learn sight words, and spell words using manipulatives. If he’s just not ready to read yet and/or this back and forth is a normal learning process, I’m okay with that. But is there a way to know that it’s not my teaching that is the problem? Or will a child who is ready to read be able to learn those skills with any decent method?
What exactly do you mean when you say you are using whole language and CM methods? What exactly are you doing? Are you teaching any phonics? Can you give us an idea of what you do in a lesson? One of the major weaknesses of “whole language” as commonly practiced in the US in the last 30 years is a real barrier to recognizing words out of context. I don’t know if this is what you are doing or not from the description you have given.
I was going to ask the same thing as Bookworm. Are you teaching any phonics? For some kids it’s a must, for my second… not so much, she’s definitely a whole word type of girl, but if I would have tried that with my first, she probably still wouldn’t be reading… And even though my second picks up whole words VERY quickly, we are still learning blends and such, just not as tediously as I did with my first.
We practice sight words until they are learned using flashcards and manipulatives; when reading books, I will ask him to identify words he knows; I have him dictate a story to me and work on reading it back to me; I have him circle words he knows from his own stories that I have typed; we learn words from sentences in a book he enjoys using the Delightful Reading/CM approach, learning sight words + any word families that come out of those words; we play simple games that require reading colors; he has a word bank that we practice reading through; I make sentences out of words he knows. This is a sample of what we do…I’m sure we’ve done other things but this will give you an idea. Obviously, we don’t do all of this all of the time, but these are some of the activities we’re using.
My son has been slow to read as well – in public school, the teacher wanted him to repeat kindergarten because he had not progressed in reading. We returned to homeschooling instead – and I went on with 1st grade math and went back to kindergarten reading. This year we did 2nd grade math and 1st grade reading. He turned 8 in Feb., and he is coming along slowly with reading. If we had stayed in pub school and repeated a grade, he would have just finished 1st grade and he would be at grade level. I do think there is a wide range of normal for reading readiness in children.
If you want to introduce some phonics work into your teaching, I can recommend Progressive Phonics. It is FREE. It has downloadable booklets, or you can read them on the computer. My son enjoys them because we read them together. I like this program because you don’t have to feel that you spent soooo much $$$ on it that you are stuck with it. Some of the phonics programs are soooo expensive. We are now reading little readers like Little Bear and Dr. Seuss, and I have a Scholastic at home phonics program that was given to me that we are working through. We also spend some time reading through booklets from the progressive phonics.
I would suggest adding in some element of phonics instruction. I don’t think phonics alone, or whole word alone, is the best approach. That, of course, is just my opinion.
I found the book ‘Reading Reflex’ to be very helpful for this. It’s not very phonics-y in that it doesn’t go through the ‘rules’ of phonics, but teaches the concept of sounding out words for words that can be sounded out. If a child can’t sound out words, they are limited to words they have already read or been taught.
I would agree with the rest of the advice. Does your son know all his letter sounds? I always start there and work until the knowledge of all the sounds is solid. Then we move on to blending, basic words, then short sentences. Once there is some fluency we move into sightwords as they come up in text. To learn letter sounds we do all sorts of multisensory activities as plain drill can be boring and not very motivating. If there is a problem in grasping the basic letter sounds despite alot of exposure there could be some sort of learning issue that needs to be addressed.
I also agree with the above. I also have the same problem with my daughter. I just think some kids pick things up faster than others. My daughter however seems a little more simple minded and doesn’t seem to me to get things even when she is asked. So, I will just keep plugging away.
We do Hooked on Phonics. I bought it for my older children at a thrift shop. We have the whole program and it seems to help but it is slow.
I also let her go to “Starfall.com” she listens to the nursery ryhmes and does the phonics on the website. I use this as practice and she seems to know it. It just doesn’t always click for us at home when we are reading.
I hope this helps…. Blessings!
Oh, I almost forgot… Maybe look at Sue Patricks workbox system. She has a way of teaching that helps them learn. She also uses a “Hot Dot Pen” This is a great tool for teaching. I am going to use it more this year. It seems to work with her better. She loves the pen.
Just a thought but you might want to try it…. 🙂
Reading Reflex is a great program that I used with 2 of my dc, one of which is a great reader, and I used that exclusively. Well, I did use Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, but not for too long, then switched to RR.
I’d be using it with my youngest ds, but I loaned it to a friend who loaned it to another friend whose dc really needed the book/supplies. I’m currently using Delightful Reading with a RR twist. The ideas in that book have really made sense to me and I can’t give up their way of explaining sounds or the the way a parent/teacher may guide the child during the lessons.
Hope that helps.
Kids all learn differently, but I can share our experiences; just know that I have no clue how they mesh with CM methods for teaching reading, as that wasn’t on our radar at the time. My daughter (now 19) learned to read on her own, at 4, presumably recognizing words but able to decode as well. I really didn’t teach her, but she watched me work with her older brother. By contrast, he, and the other four boys, didn’t start reading until the middle of their 7th year. Each one of them really NEEDED phonics instruction, and we found the Explode the Code books worked well in our family, followed by the Pathway Readers. We started in K with Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code to identify the letters and sounds, and then followed them with the rest of the Explode the Code series, up through 2nd grade or so, or until I felt they had phonics down pat. They’re short lessons, easy, fun and the kids always enjoyed them. I am a strong believer in phonics; having been taught with an experimental sort of whole language approach during the ’70s (different from what you’re doing, I’m sure, it was strange), I believe that my spelling suffered terribly for it for many years.
While there are different methods that are more or less effective with different children, I do believe there is sort of a developmental readiness that must be there before any method would work; it’s sort of like beating your head on the wall until then! So sometimes we’d take a bit of a break from the reading lessons for a week or two, and try again in a bit, keeping up with the phonics work.
I would agree that phonics instruction would probably help. I firmly believe in giving children the tools they need to be able to figure out how to read and spell words for themselves and this is what phonics does. I recently came across these free talks about the “Logic of English” in which the speaker proposes that English phonics make more sense than we think they do – I believe she has also written a book on the same topic. I’m still working through it all, but I thought I’d share it as interesting food for thought, espcially since there have been several phonics-related threads that have popped up here recently.
Here is the link to the talks – scroll down to Denise Eide – Logic of English pt1 and pt 2. http://www.societyforclassicallearning.org/index.php/resources/media/15-2011-conference-recordings
While I would also recommend adding in some phonics and working on those letter sounds to make sure he has those down, I also think readiness is key. It is not uncommon, for boys especially, to be a bit later with reading. My ds9 is only just starting to really read things on his own, FINALLY! 🙂 I just had to be patient. He also loved the Progressive Phonics recommended above, especially the beginning level with dod the dog, sid the snake, and so on. He recently asked me if we could read those again. Starfall and Literactive are a couple of free online reading programs he enjoyed, as well. All of those would give you some fun phonics without having to purchase more stuff. 🙂
Hi blkateri14… I have two granddaughters, 11 and 4, that I homeschool. I also homeschooled my daughter (their mom) K-12. I used phonics! I did all the reading in the beginning, pointing under each word I read. I taught the alphabet, first in order, then mixed up, making sure they could recognize each letter. Once they accomplished that, I began the sounds of each letter. Consonants first, then vowels. Then I combined a consonant followed by a vowel until all combinations were mastered. After that I made the small words such as “can” “sat” “dig” etc. Next, I introduced word families. Once mastered, I introduced vowel combinations such as ea, ie, ei, ee, etc. I also use A Beka’s phonics and language books. I love them and find them to be a powerful supplement. A Beka also has great reading books that I used only K-2. Now we read only classics… The 4yo and I take turns with paragraphs….We are currently reading The Bobbsey Twins on a Ranch. Hang in there! Your 7yo will learn to read 🙂
The only program for teaching reading that has made sense to me is Spalding. Now everything else I look at seems complicated.
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