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#1 of 54 Old 12-31-2008, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious if you used a program? If so, which one? Did you like it or not? Any advice on how to start would be appreciated!
thanks
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#2 of 54 Old 12-31-2008, 09:44 PM
 
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I used 100 Easy Lessons for my son. I tried when he was newly 6 and he could not do it. Tried again when he was close to turning 7 and he flew through the lessons. He'll be 8 in a couple of weeks and I'd guess that he's reading on between a 3rd and 4th grade level.

My daughter is 5 and got about halfway through it so far, but now is at a standstill. I'll wait until the summer, most likely, to see if she can finish it.

We're relaxed, but not unschoolers.
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#3 of 54 Old 12-31-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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I taught her myself using the McGuffey Primer. My DS started using the Click N Read program and then after about 35 lesson transferred over to doing the McGuffey with me.
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#4 of 54 Old 12-31-2008, 10:17 PM
 
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We used the free starfall site to learn the letter sounds at a really young age. Past that we just read a lot of books that the boys found to be most interesting. It happened to be Calvin and Hobbes... a lot of Calvin and Hobbes!!! Because we read it so often my son started to memorise certain strips. He naturally started off with ones with very few words and then progressed to the point where he could read anything he wanted. I also have a little unit called the royal road device that someone gave me from an old calvert curriculum package. That was fun to use. It has a card with slots in it.... you pull through really long strips with one side being word beginning sounds and the other being word ending sounds. So as you pull it through it would say " dot, got, hot, lot etc as well as blends. The best part was that there were a ton of nonsense words as well as a few naughty words in there. The boys had a ton of fun with that. Not how they intended for it to be used I am sure!lol But if you know of anyone who used that curriculum, it is a fun thing to get your hands on.

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#5 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 12:45 AM
 
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I did buy a HOP kit but it was 100 Easy Lessons that clicked well with us. I expect my 5 year old to finish in February and my almost 4 year old may take a bit longer.
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#6 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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DS1 (5) knew his letters and sounds from the LeapFrog Letter Factory DVD and the other LeapFrog DVDs.

In September, I purchased a subscription to Click-n-Kids for $29.95 through a free homeschool co-op after DS tried out the free sample lessons. It's been great. We started at around lesson 10 or 11, and around lesson 22, everything clicked. DS1 is reading very well right now...and very eagerly. He's reading much better than I ever expected him to... sounding out words, etc. We're close to lesson 40. I think there are 100 lessons total, but I don't know if we'll end up doing them all or not.

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#7 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 02:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did buy a HOP kit but it was 100 Easy Lessons that clicked well with us. I expect my 5 year old to finish in February and my almost 4 year old may take a bit longer.
What is a HOP kit?
thanks
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#8 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 02:55 AM
 
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We used no program. Lots of me reading aloud to the kids, and I answered any questions that came up as they began to get curious about cracking the code. Other than that I simply provided a range of materials and trusted that they'd find their path to literacy when the time was right. My kids have all ended up being great readers, and passionate about books.

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#9 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 03:23 AM
 
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What is a HOP kit?
thanks
I'm quite sure it's Hooked On Phonics ...
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#10 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 03:35 AM
 
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We used no program. Lots of me reading aloud to the kids, and I answered any questions that came up as they began to get curious about cracking the code. Other than that I simply provided a range of materials and trusted that they'd find their path to literacy when the time was right. My kids have all ended up being great readers, and passionate about books.

Miranda
Exactly this. DS1 watched LeapFrog Letter and Word Factory videos and played around on Starfall. I never formally taught him to read, he learned on his own.
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#11 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 03:55 AM
 
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#12 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 06:10 AM
 
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When choosing books to read with your DC, pick the ones with the largest text. It helps them to follow along. IMO, most picture books have text that is much too small. I would thumb through the picture books and choose only those with the largest text. Then read them over and over. Familiar books will help them to pick up patterns in our language. When they know some of the words, they can begin to pick them out on the page.
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#13 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 11:23 AM
 
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Exactly this. DS1 watched LeapFrog Letter and Word Factory videos and played around on Starfall. I never formally taught him to read, he learned on his own.
Same here. Ds also used Headsprout for a while.
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#14 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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My dd learned her letter sounds through working through the alphabet with me in the preschool years, but mostly from starfall.com. Once she knew her sounds, we moved on to a book called Phonics Pathways, which was a good guide for me in "what do I introduce first/next?" because I never learned phonics and had no idea what it was about! We worked through that book, skipping a lot as she was faster than the book was laid out, and once she could blend easy 3-letter words we started reading "BOB books" together. It gave her so much confidence that she could read a book. We've continued with the rules of phonics, practicing sight words from reading, and reading BOB books (going higher in difficulty) and now she's really got the hang of it.
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#15 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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Our youngest child has gone from learning her letters and their sounds to reading easy beginner books (Hop on Pop, etc.) to suddenly reading much more difficult chapter books. I'm at a loss to explain how she suddenly made so much progress; it seems like magic or a huge developmental leap. With years of reading exposure--I'm convinced any kind of repeated, basic exposure would have worked--she was simply developmentally ready to read. From what I hear, that's how it happens for most kids. But I should tell you about the exceptions, because other parents can learn from our experience.

Our two oldest kids, OTOH, have some degree of dyslexia--research shows that 20% of the population has this--so reading didn't come early or easily for them. I wish I had known how to recognize the signs of dyslexia earlier (as early as age 5), and I wish I'd known that because my BIL is dyslexic, this greatly increased the chances that my children might be. (Research shows that there is a strong genetic link.) Before we recognized the dyslexia, I tried a lot of things with our oldest ds, including unschooling (first), HOP (briefly), 100EZ Lessons, readers, but for awhile his progress was very slow and his spelling was awful. He did not choose to pick up books and read them on his own like other children. Then suddenly, just about or before age 10, something seemed to click and he read Tom Sawyer and all the Harry Potter books. I had also learned about Orton-Gillingham phonograms (for an example, see http://www.questforlearning.com/phonograms.htm ) and O-G spelling rules, and familiarizing ds with these really helped him with spelling. It could be that his reading got better, in part, because of O-G, or that much of it was developmental; he tests as gifted in some areas, so he might have learned to compensate. His dyslexia is probably mild; more severe dyslexics usually need more rote instruction.

Our middle dd was a lot like ds at first--she had trouble at first remembering or recognizing word families and non-phonetic words, and the progress seemed very slow to me. I already knew from ds that things like HOP wouldn't work for dd, but we still did not recognize the need for rote O-G instruction early (and, let's face it, rote instruction can be boring for both child and parent!). We did begin to incorporate O-G instruction earlier for her (she is almost 3 1/2 years younger than ds), but I did not do it on a very frequent or regular basis. As a relaxed homeschooler, I kept thinking that something would suddenly click for her as well. But she is now 10, and she is still struggling with spelling and rarely choosing to read on her own, so we began to implement more regular (albeit mercifully brief) O-G instruction. It seems to be helping her a lot. For us, the program All About Spelling --while a spelling program and not strictly a reading program--is very user friendly, and it's not just for dyslexic children. Our youngest (age 7) sits in on the lessons and benefits from the phonograms and spelling rules as well. Some people say that dyslexic children instructed in O-G often become more knowledgeable about spelling rules than other "normal" school-instructed children. (For e.g., I found spelling easy, but before O-G I didn't know many of the reasons for spelling words the way we do. So I have been enlightened!)

Orton-Gillingham is strongly backed by research; not every spelling and learning-to-read method is.

Please excuse the lengthy post. I just hope this helps parents with children who fall among the 20% who do not learn to read virtually automatically.
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#16 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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With Katie Grace, we were enrolled in a K12 Cyberschool and used their program for 4 months. Then we jumped over to The Ordinary Parent's Guide tO Teaching Reading, which I really, really like.

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#17 of 54 Old 01-01-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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my dd learned to read with a combination of "explode the code" workbooks, and www.headsprout.com, and "bob books" (then we switched over to other easy readers).

we also used www.readingeggs.com. ...it didn't teach her anything new (a repeat of headsprout really). she just loved it, so we used it.

hth.


oh...i forgot. we started basic phonics (what sound each letter makes) through the leapfrog dvd's. we first used "the letter factory" and then moved onto "the word factory". both videos are really great!!!

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#19 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 03:03 AM
 
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DS2 asked me to get him a book from the library so I could teach him to read. 100 Easy Lessons was what they had. We went through 65 lessons of it and he got bored with it. A year later I discovered him reading at a much higher reading level than he should be. He taught himself. I don't really know how.
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#20 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 03:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks everyone. I got the ordinary parent's guide to teaching reading from the library so I think I will start with that, and I just placed holds for those dvd's (leapfrog ones) too!

I also bought the first bob books.

He is working on letters and sounds, but is moving quickly, so I guess I'd better get reading on what to do next! I like a plan
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#21 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 07:06 AM
 
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just a word of warning.

totally depends on the age.

just because they learn the alphabets early - say by 2 - 2 1/2 AND show signs of being ready to read - dont expect it to happen right away. something about their brain needing time to process. there may be a waiting time of one to two years if not more before they read. it took my dd 4 1/2 years between knowing the alphabets and seriously reading both of which she taught herself.

seriously i would not teach reading - unless your child shows any interest. interest enough to sit down and willing to go through books. some may show interest in reading but its not really there yet. so they may throw the book down in frustration. you might be right and know they CAN do it. but dont force it.

seriously reading is like magic. once they really want to learn they can make HUGE progress in a month. its almost they understand things in superfast speed what they previously might have spent days over.

imho - children should not be taught to read unless they are hounding you - whether that is at 4, 7 or 10 years old.

in fact i think reading is one of those things that dont need to be taught. neither for that matter addition or subtraction. they just figure out the basics on their own.

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#22 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 07:38 AM
 
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my dd learned to read with a combination of "explode the code" workbooks, and www.headsprout.com, and "bob books" (then we switched over to other easy readers).

I also recommend Explode the Code. It is challenging and great for getting kids to really look at similar words and distinguish among them. It is also quirky enough to stay somewhat interesting, and it is based on teaching about the Orton-Gillingham phonograms as well. (Again, Orton-Gillingham is strongly backed by research; not every spelling and learning-to-read method is.)

For non-dyslexic as well as dyslexic kids, the phonogram approach to learning sounds in the English language is so much more accurate, so much more helpful with learning spelling, and makes so much more sense than standard phonics. For example, the O-G phonogram approach recognizes that the letter "i" makes three basic sounds when it stands alone: the short i of "it," the long i of "bicycle," and the e sound of the second i in "miniature." (The letter y, when acting as a vowel, does the same thing.) Even S makes more than one sound (think of miss, his). It also teaches things like when to know the letter C will sound like a K and when it sounds like an S (i.e., before the letters e and i), and when to use "ck" in a word instead of just K or C. With most basic phonics programs, kids learn a limited version of the sounds that letters make, and some spelling rules that are not always true and might have many exceptions, and then they are hit with the puzzlement of the many confusing English words (through, laugh, some, was, etc.).

It is good to learn from hearing other parents' experiences with their children. So many beginning homeschoolers are so sure or confident about theories or methods that they have read about, but they are later humbled when it doesn't work 100% for a particular child. I loved reading John Holt's books when my kids were young, and I'm glad many children learn to read the way he described, but it's also good to know what to do if yours is one of the 20% or so who don't fit that mold.
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#23 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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My son loved everything and anything to do with the alphabet. He was the one who wanted to learn about it at a young age, so I followed his lead.

I concentrated on the sounds the letters make. After he mastered that, I would use a magnadoodle to write 2 and 3 letter words on it. I would then sound it out myself to show him how to do it.

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#24 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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just a word of warning.

just because they learn the alphabets early - say by 2 - 2 1/2 AND show signs of being ready to read - dont expect it to happen right away. something about their brain needing time to process.
ITA. My dd knew all of her letter sounds by almost 5 years old (later than most kids we know) and we started simple blends just after she turned 5 when she was ready. But we would have waited til 6 or 7 if she still wasn't ready.
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#25 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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I wanted to throw another book in the ring-- I can't believe I forgot it! It's called "Teach a Child to Read with Children's Books".

OP, how old is your child?

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#26 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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just a word of warning.

totally depends on the age.

just because they learn the alphabets early - say by 2 - 2 1/2 AND show signs of being ready to read - dont expect it to happen right away. something about their brain needing time to process. there may be a waiting time of one to two years if not more before they read. it took my dd 4 1/2 years between knowing the alphabets and seriously reading both of which she taught herself.
Ditto ditto ditto. Mine knew the alphabet and the sounds early but it still took (thinking) about two years from the point at which he could sound out 3 letter words until he could do it strongly. And then about two more years until he could read fluently. He now reads very well. We did not use a program. We answered questions, read aloud, etc. He had to work it out himself. Although I should say that he turned out to be a whole words reader so our brief attempts at explaining phonics kind of went over his head. Phonics instruction is not the best method for all children; it wasn't for me either.

IMHO, age 4 is an extremely common age for children to ask to learn to read. For many of them, maybe even most of them, their desire to read is not equivalent to their ability to read. At this age, I reassured my son that he WAS learning to read (that starts with letter recognition, really) but that it takes a lot of time. I reassured him that I also had to learn to read and that it took time for me too, that I didn't read at 4, etc. I'm just saying this because I think that if we hear our child expressing a desire to read and we immediately follow up with a program, it could cause immense frustration for that child if the child is not developmentally ready and able to read.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. What Meemee wrote struck a chord with me. The path to reading can have big twists and turns in it when we don't expect it. My child appeared to be ready early but apparently wasn't ready until average or even late and now he reads above level. FWIW, I did sit down with him at one point with "100 EZ lessons" but after the first lesson, it became very apparent that this wasn't going to work for him AND that it was causing both of us to feel frustrated. We ditched the program at that point. He learned to read when he was ready, because he lives in a print-rich environment with parents who are avid readers. HTH!
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#27 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to throw another book in the ring-- I can't believe I forgot it! It's called "Teach a Child to Read with Children's Books".

OP, how old is your child?
He's four and a half. I am not too worried about him having to read anytime soon - I just want to begin the process and go at his pace. He is not interested in letter formation/printing too much and I am not even thinking of spelling at this point. I am just looking at letter sound/recognition and helping him to sound things out.

I don't think I am going to follow a program per se - more so I want a program for me so that I understand what comes next. I am already running into 'difficulties' when explaining some letter sounds b/c I don't 'know' the rules (or how to explain them).

thanks everyone for your opinions. I don't know that I totally agree with some of you but this is my first so what do I know
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#28 of 54 Old 01-02-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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seriously reading is like magic. once they really want to learn they can make HUGE progress in a month. ...in fact i think reading is one of those things that dont need to be taught. neither for that matter addition or subtraction. they just figure out the basics on their own.
If all of your children have no dyslexia, you might tell yourself that is the case for everyone. But there are some people who have never learned to read (a relative of mine, e.g.) because they were severely dyslexic and lacked proper instruction. So, if a child is having any difficulty at the "usual" reading age, it is good to familiarize yourself with the signs of dyslexia so that intervention might help the child prevent later frustration. A good site for learning more is http://www.dys-add.com/symptoms.html#sum .

(Susan Barton also has a tragic story about her nephew, a gifted but dyslexic child, who was in high school and stuck at the 2nd grade reading level--after trying every intervention they could find--before they found the proper reading instruction method for him.)
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#29 of 54 Old 01-03-2009, 04:04 AM
 
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If all of your children have no dyslexia, you might tell yourself that is the case for everyone. But there are some people who have never learned to read (a relative of mine, e.g.) because they were severely dyslexic and lacked proper instruction. So, if a child is having any difficulty at the "usual" reading age, it is good to familiarize yourself with the signs of dyslexia so that intervention might help the child prevent later frustration. A good site for learning more is http://www.dys-add.com/symptoms.html#sum .
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another reason could also be vision issues. tracking problems.

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#30 of 54 Old 01-03-2009, 05:18 AM
 
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I wrote about how my first daughter learned to read on my blog HERE. She continues to devour books with enthusiasm.

My second daughter, just turned 5, is taking a much more leisurely path toward becoming a reader, but I can definitely see progress which makes me believe even more in unschooling. My 2 year old son may be following his older sister's footsteps as he is already excited about letters, pointing them out and trying to name them.

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