Talk to me about delayed reading instruction - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-24-2009, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is just 6, I am fine with letting thing happen on their own, DH is not. DS shows lots of readiness. Can sound out a word to spell. Has a desire and is proud when he does read. He is able to read some random things. He knows most if not all the sonds of letters. Dh wants to see some gentle progression tword reading (ie me doing something). I don't think ds would enjoy 100 easy lessons. I picked up a set of begining readers by Nora Gaydos with short vowel CVC words. I thought these would be a good start for him as he can easily sound out more complicated words that he wants to spell/write. He seems to be overwhelmed looking at three letter words. He starts out sounding things out well but then by the third letter he guesses wildly or changes the intial consant .

I would love to hear ideas, suggestions, reasons to wait (need research to back up for dh), have I skipped a step that would be bennifical? Is it learning style related (I have not yet figured out what LS ds is)? Perhaps he is having trouble with is visual interpratation, if that makes sense? I should mention that I have an out-put disorder very simmillar to dyslexia I read very well and alot with great comprehension but I am a terribble speller, i mix up the order of words and numbers.

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Old 03-24-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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I am never sure what people mean when they uise the phrase 'Reading instruction". There are lots of ways to appropriately assist children in leanring to read. Imo, exploring print together, playing games, talking about why you write or read etc is reading instruction.

I did not delay exploration. I also think some children enjoy formal stuff like 100 Easy Lessons and get it, and some don't. If you try something and it's not helpful to the child or whatever, you can leave and do something else.

Older kids who are struggling might need a more formal approach, which might be 'direct instruction' using a curric based on the child's particular need.
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am using the word instrution in terms of someting formal (i.e. 100 easy lessons, hooked on phonics etc).

We do lots of exploration and ds grasp of letter sounds, text having meaning etc has all come from our natural exploration wich i would be content to continue. If dh were to have it all his way ds would be working through a formal reading curriculum, so what I am tring to do is find the middle ground.

That said dhs insecureties are making me insecure. I am beginig to worry that we'll do it wrong/make him hate reading /damage him by teaching reading to early....I know, I know, it seems silly when I type it out

ugggh maybe this just makes no sense! I was so hope ful those stupid beging readers would be the answer-DH get to see progression, DS continues developmentaly appop. exploration, I don't have to be coersive

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Old 03-24-2009, 07:27 PM
 
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So, to get us on the same page, so to speak, has your DH has actually stated that he wants to see instruction in the form of a formal program that's been created by someone else? What you said was "Dh wants to see some gentle progression tword reading (ie me doing something)," and that, to me, doesn't particularly mean it would need to be part of a program or curriculum. You'll be seeing progression without all that structure through the type of things UU mentioned.

You say "Perhaps he is having trouble with is visual interpratation, if that makes sense?," but I don't think of a 6 yr. old who "Can sound out a word to spell; has a desire and is proud when he does read; is able to read some random things, and knows most if not all the sounds of letters" as someone who's having trouble. He's in the process of learning to read, and he's already showing progress... You are doing something. And when I think back to when I was 6, I can't see that he's particularly behind anything I was doing!

Be careful that you and your DH have an understanding of how homeschooling is going to work - because it he's going to be second guessing you all long the way, that could get to be pretty trying. Yes, he's the father, and yes, he should be able to help with decisions, but he may be jumping into this inappropriately right now with too little information and understanding to really be able to make clear judgments, whereas you're the one up close and personal with the process that's going on. I'd make sure to read A LOT to your son - lots of wonderful, beautiful, books he'll love, and have lots of wonderful picture books around for him to peruse on his own. If it turns out later that he has a processing problem similar to yours, you can deal with that - you seem to be doing just fine, and I'm sure he can too.

Maybe you can print out some of this for your DH to read:

Here are tips from the authors of The Home School Source Book on how they helped their four now grown children learn to read: Learning to Read

Here's an article by a child development specialist and mother of four now grown homeschooled children on "Raising Readers at Home."

Here's an article by a UC Berkeley professor of psychology, author of The Scientist in the Crib, on How We Learn.

Here's a freshly updated and very inspiring article, Reading: Slow and Gentle - a mother's story about the amazing academic success of a son who was struggling with reading not long ago.

And here are some MDC threads that have tips:
learning to read
need help figuring this out
"I have a 7 yr. old non-reader" support group

Lillian

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Old 03-24-2009, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you, thank you, thank you, lillian
Quote:
What you said was "Dh wants to see some gentle progression tword reading (ie me doing something)," and that, to me, doesn't particularly mean it would need to be part of a program or curriculum.
agreed, this the is compromise between DH and I, if dh had his druthers (am I inventing a word here?) he would be more comfy with a reading curriculum. Part of the problem is I do see the progress, dh not so much, I think I was just hoping to skip to the point where I can say "look DH ds read these three books this week"

Quote:
Be careful that you and your DH have an understanding of how homeschooling is going to work - because it he's going to be second guessing you all long the way, that could get to be pretty trying. Yes, he's the father, and yes, he should be able to help with decisions, but he may be jumping into this inappropriately right now with too little information and understanding to really be able to make clear judgments, whereas you're the one up close and personal with the process that's going on.
yep! That is what we are working on. I have wanted to HS since before DH and I got married so he has had lots of time to get up to speed on that but only discovered US after ds1 was a toddler and while I thought dh understood it and agreed with it he has changed his mind so we are renegotiating and still very much trying to find our path.
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You say "Perhaps he is having trouble with is visual interpratation, if that makes sense?," but I don't think of a 6 yr. old who "Can sound out a word to spell; has a desire and is proud when he does read; is able to read some random things, and knows most if not all the sounds of letters" as someone who's having trouble. He's in the process of learning to read, and he's already showing progress... If it turns out later that he has a processing problem similar to yours, you can deal with that - you seem to be doing just fine, and I'm sure he can too.
I really needed to hear this I think, Ok I know, I am being paranoid.:

Quote:
Here are tips from the authors of The Home School Source Book on how they helped their four now grown children learn to read: Learning to Read
Here's an article by a child development specialist and mother of four now grown homeschooled children on "Raising Readers at Home."
Here's an article by a UC Berkeley professor of psychology, author of The Scientist in the Crib, on How We Learn.
Here's a freshly updated and very inspiring article, Reading: Slow and Gentle - a mother's story about the amazing academic success of a son who was struggling with reading not long ago.

And here are some MDC threads that have tips:
learning to read
need help figuring this out
"I have a 7 yr. old non-reader" support group

Lillian
:Thank you so much:

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Old 03-24-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I'm looking through my bookmarks, and just came across these:

Teaching Our Children to Write, Read, and Spell, by a Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrician, Susan R. Johnson


Home Education Magazine's page of links and articles - HEM Takes a Closer Look at Reading

More coming. Lillian

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Old 03-24-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Fairy4tmama View Post
I have wanted to HS since before DH and I got married so he has had lots of time to get up to speed on that but only discovered US after ds1 was a toddler and while I thought dh understood it and agreed with it he has changed his mind so we are renegotiating and still very much trying to find our path.
Suggestion - strong suggestion - if you haven't already begun to speak of all this in terms of the word "unschooling," don't. Just forget about that word and go about discussing natural learning processes as they come along. Just take one thing at a time - your husband doesn't need to be trying to take in a whole philosophy with a name that probably sounds scary to him. It's just not necessary. Even my son didn't realize there was any particular term behind the way he grew up - actually, I didn't even have one other than what felt like a natural instinct to give him space and respect. After he was grown, he said to me one day, thinking he was telling me something I didn't know, "You know, there's a word for it - 'unschooling.' " My mouth fell open. We'd never talked about it - it simply wasn't an issue. We had just gone about living our lives; he had gone about learning; I had gone through my periodic anxiety attacks (although not as much as his dad), and he had just bided his time till they passed, while he did his thing. He and his friends, all unschoolers, had never had any reason to discuss any of it either - it wasn't a big deal of a movement then. And it doesn't need to be anything you need to be trying to educate your husband in - just put one foot in front of the other as you go, and comment on all the cool and inspiring things that you observe in your son as you go. He'll get it. Lillian

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Old 03-24-2009, 08:02 PM
 
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We recently purchased and totally love the Starfall game. It is available on the Starfall website. Playing the board game will help your son pick up more words as he goes along and it will allow DH to "see" progress as he plays the game with DS. And its fun. I alter the rules a bit. When I pick up a card, DS reads it instead of me reading it.

We have similar misunderstandings at our house. But I just keep doing what I want to do. I know our son is learning.

Kathi

:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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I am of two very conflicted minds about reading instruction. We started with Waldorf, so we were all about delayed reading instruction. And, between the waldorf folks and the unschooling folks I got lots of "just read to them and they will learn when they are ready" advice. I was ok with this until my 7yo non reader turned into an 8yo non reader. At about 8 1/2 I decided I needed to research how the brain learns to read. There is tons of new research about reading that has developed with the use of brain MRI. Reading is not the same as walking or talking. It is a much more recent human activity, and it is not hard wired in the same way. As it turns out, some people utilize different parts of their brains while reading. So, while a percentage of children will pick up on reading early with seemingly little help at all, and another percentage will pick it up with just basic instruction, there are also those for whom direct reading instruction is really necessary.

The problem is, unless you have an early reader, you don't really know what type of kid you have. As soon as I started direct reading instruction with my 8yo, it was clear that that was exactly what she needed. She worked through the hooked on phonics program and it all began to make sense to her. I don't think she would have learned to read well (and by "well" I mean understanding the phonograms and being able to see them in words, sound out unfamiliar words and spell words properly) if I had not provided direct reading instruction.

Now, your child is only six, so you have lots of time. But, I do think it is worth acknowledging that at some point a more formal phonics program may be necessary. The fact is, the majority of Americans don't read well. And, for me, being a merely adequate reader was not sufficient. I wanted my dd to have wonderful world of language fully open to her. I do think she benefitted from very little formal academics in the early years, but I also think that by age 6 1/2 or 7, there is no harm in providing more formal reading instruction.

So, maybe you could split the difference with your dh. Explain to him that you are gently introducing reading skills by playing sound games etc, but that you are also researching how to best expand on those skills as your child gets older.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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As it turns out, some people utilize different parts of their brains while reading. So, while a percentage of children will pick up on reading early with seemingly little help at all, and another percentage will pick it up with just basic instruction, there are also those for whom direct reading instruction is really necessary.
I was definitely the type of child who never would have picked it up without instruction, and so was my son. So I just want to be sure to make it clear that I don't have anything at all against reading instruction - it's just that I don't feel it needs to be as highly structured or formal and packaged, or pushed early, as it often is.

Lillian
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Dakota's Mom,& jessicaSAR your posts are so very helpful: I love MDC!

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Old 03-24-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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I was definitely the type of child who never would have picked it up without instruction, and so was my son. So I just want to be sure to make it clear that I don't have anything at all against reading instruction - it's just that I don't feel it needs to be as highly structured or formal and packaged, or pushed early, as it often is.

Lillian
Lillian, I totally agree that reading instruction is pushed to early. I just think the "don't start early" and the "just let it happen naturally" arguments get conflated. These are two very different positions, and each needs to be examined on it's own merit.

I think not starting too early was a benefit to my dd. But, the Waldorf approach in 1st and 2nd grade was too haphazard and not formal enough.

So I guess I am an advocate of good quality, research based reading instruction that starts about age 6 or 7.

Is that splitting hairs too much, lol ?
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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my dd 6.5 likes to spell she learned how to do that before reading. read that spelling comes before reading for her it is true. she now can read simple books on her own and sound out to spell words : she is a weird one she likes to say the alphabet by their sounds

progress for each child is different just tell you dh what he can do and has learned that day/week. NO even better let your ds tell/show him...:::
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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she is a weird one she likes to say the alphabet by their sounds
This is actually a very important skill. That is why nursery rhymes are so good for young children, because they play with the sounds of our language, and help children really hear those sounds. Infants are completely focused on the sounds of words. But, once we hit age 1 or 2, meaning becomes much more important than sound, and we sometimes forget that hearing the sounds in words is still important. In some ways reading instruction would be easier if kids learned the alphabet as symbols for sounds rather than as letter names. Hearing those sounds will also help her become a good speller.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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My DD, age almost 5, can also sound out some words and "spell" them (in quotation marks because she omits all vowels) but she can't read anything. I think it's not all that uncommon for some kids to be able to write words before they can read them. If that's what your son is doing, you might be interested in Spell to Write and Read. It's about as far from unschooling as you can possibly get, but you don't have to do it every day or make it stressful. That's what I got for my DD, although I just received it and we haven't started yet or anything.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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This is an excellent thread.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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I wrote:
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...some need to know the letter sounds - that was all I needed, and all my son needed.
I should have mentioned the process of then learning how to blend those sounds, and then the few simple phonics concepts such as an e at the end of a word making the vowel long. But there's not really all that much to learn - or at least that wasn't my experience. - Lillian


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Old 03-25-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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Something I've been meaning to say - I think the expression "delayed reading instruction" that's so often used might be misleading in that it implies there's a generally agreed upon time when it normally should be done, and that not doing it at that time is "delaying" it. Lillian
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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Lillian, I think we need to draw a strong distinction between what actually is research-based and what educators have been told was research-based. The schools have followed the fads all willy-nilly for years and the way they justify their haphazard approach to education is by saying it's all based on the latest and greatest. The reality is that it's usually just not true.

And since I said I told you all I haven't even started homeschooling yet, I think I need to explain, however, that I've read tons of actual research into different educational methods and the results they produce. A few things are certainly true and actually are verifiable according to research. There's really no basis at all for the idea that referring to the research is useless since the schools say *everything* they want to do is based on research. There is research out there that is both valuable and informative and parents should study it.

As to the whole word vs. phonics argument...it's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that phonics is superior. The research on that is pretty much definitive. The only people still disagreeing are the ones who sell whole word curricula and the ones who believe that all learning occurs without instruction. Some people will learn very wel by the whole word method. Most people won't learn well that way. It's really not in question at this point.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:35 AM
 
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Lillian, I think we need to draw a strong distinction between what actually is research-based and what educators have been told was research-based. The schools have followed the fads all willy-nilly for years and the way they justify their haphazard approach to education is by saying it's all based on the latest and greatest. The reality is that it's usually just not true.
I think that's probably very true - good point.

But I'm trying to figure out what happened to my post that you're responding to here - my response to Jessica - it just seems to be gone. But in it, I mentioned a number of different ways I've personally known of children learning to read - and some of them who simply taught themselves without phonics instruction were able to maintain high level reading way into college. I couldn't have done that, and my son couldn't have done that - but it's done...

Lillian
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:50 AM
 
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But I'm trying to figure out what happened to my post that you're responding to here - my response to Jessica - it just seems to be gone.
Well, I wondered if I was more tired than I realize from the event I just put on this past weekend, but I've looked all through this thread, and all the numbers from 1 to 20 are there, and my post about the various learning-to-read styles I've heard of directly from parents is gone .

I used to argue the value of the phonics method till I was blue in the face in forums like this, and be blown down by many people who insisted they and their children had learned to read in other ways that worked much better for them. So while research may seem perfectly clear in its conclusions, I'm a lot less likely these days to embrace it in isolation from all the things people who have been up close and personal with their own homeschooled children have to say. - Lillian

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Old 03-25-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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I think that's probably very true - good point.

But I'm trying to figure out what happened to my post that you're responding to here - my response to Jessica - it just seems to be gone. But in it, I mentioned a number of different ways I've personally known of children learning to read - and some of them who simply taught themselves without phonics instruction were able to maintain high level reading way into college. I couldn't have done that, and my son couldn't have done that - but it's done...

Lillian
lol I don't know. I don't disagree that some people can do it. Some people can also tell you what day of the week it will be on March 23, 4028, without thinking on it for more than 5 seconds. They just happen to be the exception and not the rule.
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:38 AM
 
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I used to argue the value of the phonics method till I was blue in the face in forums like this, and be blown down by many people who insisted they and their children had learned to read in other ways that worked much better for them. So while research may seem perfectly clear in its conclusions, I'm a lot less likely these days to embrace it in isolation from all the things people who have been up close and personal with their own homeschooled children have to say. - Lillian

You might as well say that no one should ever research anything at all, because there are always (or almost always) exceptions to every rule. It seems to me that you're essentially willing to say that all the available data is completely meaningless and I simply cannot agree with that. It's not meaningless at all! But no point in belaboring it anyway. We have to agree to disagree, I think. I'm happy to let parents choose to teach however the heck they want. I'm just not happy to let them say that, since they know of an exception to the rule, the rule is meaningless.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:05 AM
 
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You might as well say that no one should ever research anything at all, because there are always (or almost always) exceptions to every rule. It seems to me that you're essentially willing to say that all the available data is completely meaningless and I simply cannot agree with that. It's not meaningless at all! But no point in belaboring it anyway. We have to agree to disagree, I think. I'm happy to let parents choose to teach however the heck they want. I'm just not happy to let them say that, since they know of an exception to the rule, the rule is meaningless.
No, I'm not saying it's meaningless - I'm saying it's part of the picture, and it's the piece I'm personally most familiar with.
Here are other pieces:
How My Children Learned to Read
Two Brothers Who Learned Differently
Four Children Now Reading
Persephonics

I've had lively debates with some of these people on the issue, and the conclusion I'm come to is that there are simply a lot of different facets to the learning of reading. Phonics worked for me - but it's not the be all and end all for everyone.

And maybe why current research on this doesn't reflect and include these other ways of thinking is that it hasn't included the homeschool community - maybe the researchers are not familiar with all the alternatives that get pursued outside of institutional settings. It's not necessarily a matter of lining up look-see or whole word or phonics curricula against one another, but about individual families working things out in their own unique ways.

Lillian


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Old 03-25-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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It would be really interesting if the homeschooling community were somehow included in reading research. It is true that virtually all of this research is school-based, since that's where most of the kids are. And, as was pointed out, even while the whole language/phonics debated raged, schools rarely had a coherent method on either side. Even as it has become increasingly clear that certain types of phonectic instruction are the way to go, schools and teachers find it hard to really make wholesale changes in what they are doing.

Homeschoolers are interesting on two fronts. The first is the more unschooling crowd that Lillian is referencing. There are lots of stories on homeschooling boards of children seemingly learning to read virtually overnight at later ages. These would be really interesting to research. Although, if you read MDC you see an enormous number of postings about 2 and 3 yo readers. I think these are really the exception, and either MDCers are disproportionately precocious, or more likely, we don't really remember what age we learned to read, and are just repeating the stories we have been told. My Uncle insists that his daughter was speaking in complete sentences at six months. I think he just doesn't remember having small babies all that well. And, of course there are also many homeschoolers whose children are still struggling to read at ages 7 and 8, but, they may not be posting about it quite as much as the more advanced readers. Don't we all love to post about our children's successes.

The other group of homeschoolers who would provide interesting research material are those who have stuck to more classical, traditional phonectic approaches to reading all along. It would be interesting to see if the rates of reading difficulties vary when this population is compared to the schooled population.

What I find most interesting in the reading research is that there is a clear population of students who struggle to read regardless of background. There are many who are struggling because they have had almost none of the exposure to language that they need, but there is also a group that has had a rich, literate environment and that still struggles. So, it is not necessarily the case that providing the right environment is enough.

Anyway, I am being too long winded, but there is a great website here

http://www.childrenofthecode.org/

that has tons of interviews with researchers in this field. I found the information here really fascinating and a good jumping off point for doing my own research.
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:03 PM
 
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Lillian, I think we need to draw a strong distinction between what actually is research-based and what educators have been told was research-based. The schools have followed the fads all willy-nilly for years and the way they justify their haphazard approach to education is by saying it's all based on the latest and greatest. The reality is that it's usually just not true.

And since I said I told you all I haven't even started homeschooling yet, I think I need to explain, however, that I've read tons of actual research into different educational methods and the results they produce. A few things are certainly true and actually are verifiable according to research. There's really no basis at all for the idea that referring to the research is useless since the schools say *everything* they want to do is based on research. There is research out there that is both valuable and informative and parents should study it.

As to the whole word vs. phonics argument...it's been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that phonics is superior. The research on that is pretty much definitive. The only people still disagreeing are the ones who sell whole word curricula and the ones who believe that all learning occurs without instruction. Some people will learn very wel by the whole word method. Most people won't learn well that way. It's really not in question at this point.
In many ways, I agree with you. I have read research on both sides of the reading debate (my master's degree was in reading instruction). I can argue equally well for phonetic instruction and whole-word instruction. I agree that the schools go with what is in vogue. For many years that was whole-word (really, look-say) instruction. Some of the students thrived, many learned how to read, and others (like an older cousin of mine) lament because they never learned phonics. Now, the tide has turned and phonics is the way to teach reading. Actually, it's touted as the only way to teach reading. Many students thrive with phonics instruction. I've personally seen it. But, there are those who don't. (I'd argue that more thrive with phonics instruction than whole-word instruction, just to be clear.) Unfortunately, those who do not often get let behind and struggle for years with reading. I've personally taught them. In school settings, if you are not reading fluently by 2nd grade, you are a detriment to the school as most states begin standardized testing by then. Schools panic.

I think that attitude has seeped into the homeschooling community. We hear the push for reading by 6 or 7 through the media, though friends/family members who are teachers or were teachers, or through friends/family members in the school system. Even curriculum focused on homeschoolers tends to focus on phonics instruction. Classical education is based on early phonics instruction being the key to raising good readers.

We started early (well, about 4 1/2 to 5 years) with phonics instruction. We made sure ds#1 knew all his letter sounds, moved onto word families with short vowels, blended consonants, etc. We started the Explode the Code first book. He did great with it, but when we'd try BOB books, he struggled. He could spell phonetically, but not read phonetically. I have since done more research and realized ds is much more of a visual-spatial learner. Reading for him is whole-word. If he were in school, were a very well researched phonics-based instruction were taught, he'd struggle. He'd be in reading classes because at 7 1/2 he is still learning to read beginning primers. Pushing phonics on him at home, no matter how much research there is to support it, highly frustrated him and threatened to make him turn-off to reading (when in fact he LOVES books and LOVES stories and LOVES learning).

So, while I agree with you about the need to do your research as homeschoolers, and really seek out true research, we also need to really listen to our children. That is something that we can afford that isn't afforded in the school system. When you have 20, 30, 35 students in a classroom, it is very hard to structure any learning to individual needs. You go with what works for most and hope the others catch on along the way. At home, we can go with what works individually for our children. There isn't any real harm in necessarily starting phonics instruction at age 5 or 6, but if there is resistance, we, as homeschoolers, need to respect that resistance and go back to the drawing board. We ended up stopping all reading "instruction" until this current school year. Even then, it wasn't until a month ago that I found readers that seem to work with ds#1. He's still a bit reluctant, but we are slowly pushing forward. As we learn whole words, I am throwing in some phonics instruction too, if anything, to help eventually with his writing.

But, phonics versus whole-word instruction is not a closed-cased, regardless of what the research seems to say. There are still many children out there that will not learn with phonics instruction because their brain is not wired that way. And though the majority of students do well with phonics instruction, that does not mean that whole-word instruction should be thrown out with the bathwater. Some curriculum creators are trying to address this, for instance Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy Hall with Four Blocks approach. But, even that will have its limitations for children who are whole-word learners. It is a better approach, though, than straight phonics instruction.

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Old 03-25-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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We started early (well, about 4 1/2 to 5 years) with phonics instruction. We made sure ds#1 knew all his letter sounds, moved onto word families with short vowels, blended consonants, etc. We started the Explode the Code first book. He did great with it, but when we'd try BOB books, he struggled. He could spell phonetically, but not read phonetically. I have since done more research and realized ds is much more of a visual-spatial learner. Reading for him is whole-word. If he were in school, were a very well researched phonics-based instruction were taught, he'd struggle. He'd be in reading classes because at 7 1/2 he is still learning to read beginning primers. Pushing phonics on him at home, no matter how much research there is to support it, highly frustrated him and threatened to make him turn-off to reading (when in fact he LOVES books and LOVES stories and LOVES learning).

So, while I agree with you about the need to do your research as homeschoolers, and really seek out true research, we also need to really listen to our children. That is something that we can afford that isn't afforded in the school system. When you have 20, 30, 35 students in a classroom, it is very hard to structure any learning to individual needs. You go with what works for most and hope the others catch on along the way. At home, we can go with what works individually for our children. There isn't any real harm in necessarily starting phonics instruction at age 5 or 6, but if there is resistance, we, as homeschoolers, need to respect that resistance and go back to the drawing board. We ended up stopping all reading "instruction" until this current school year. Even then, it wasn't until a month ago that I found readers that seem to work with ds#1. He's still a bit reluctant, but we are slowly pushing forward. As we learn whole words, I am throwing in some phonics instruction too, if anything, to help eventually with his writing.
I think this is a really interesting example, and just goes to show that it is hard to design a reading program that works for everyone. I also think it is an example of how the argument for phonics gets conflated with the argument for early academics. So, the question is, was it the phonics that didn't work for your ds, or was it that he was too young altogether at 4 1/2 to 5?

It has been the case that many who have argued for a phonetic approach to reading (and I would point out here, as I am sure you know, that there are different ways to do phonics and the current research shows that many schools doing phonics are not doing it in the most effective way) have also argued that reading instruction should start in pre-school. That is where I disagree. I think 6-7 is the perfect age. And, phonics can still be taught to fluent readers through spelling, especially since we know that there are many fluent readers who cannot spell well. So, I am adamant about wanting to split these connected arguments. Delayed reading instruction can still be pro-phonics (ie delayed until age 6 or 7).

Does your ds still resist phonics now that he is 7 1/2?
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:40 PM
 
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I think this is a really interesting example, and just goes to show that it is hard to design a reading program that works for everyone. I also think it is an example of how the argument for phonics gets conflated with the argument for early academics. So, the question is, was it the phonics that didn't work for your ds, or was it that he was too young altogether at 4 1/2 to 5?

It has been the case that many who have argued for a phonetic approach to reading (and I would point out here, as I am sure you know, that there are different ways to do phonics and the current research shows that many schools doing phonics are not doing it in the most effective way) have also argued that reading instruction should start in pre-school. That is where I disagree. I think 6-7 is the perfect age. And, phonics can still be taught to fluent readers through spelling, especially since we know that there are many fluent readers who cannot spell well. So, I am adamant about wanting to split these connected arguments. Delayed reading instruction can still be pro-phonics (ie delayed until age 6 or 7).

Does your ds still resist phonics now that he is 7 1/2?
I totally agree with you. I taught phonics to my fourth graders - it helped not only their fluency with multi-syllable words, but also their spelling. (The phonics was more geared towards their level and included learning many suffixes and prefixes, including their meaning.)

Ds still resists some phonics. (He really resists too much in-your-face instruction. He would love to unschool; I compromise and try to choose me-directed approaches that are respectful to his learning style(s).) He can sound out short vowel words, including words with consonant blends and digraphs. He's learning long-e rules (and exceptions). But on a whole, he recongizes words in their entirety. When he gets to a word he can't read (he hasn't memorized/learned yet), and it's one he can sound out, I encourage him to. But, I can still see "holes" in his ability to sound it out, blend it, and read it. We play with the words from his reader in spelling activities (ABC order, writing them in "boxes" that match the shape - I use graph paper). And, I will probably start doing a few other activities with phonics-type instruction. But on a whole, we focus most of his reading practice on whole-word instruction.

And it irkes me to no end that phonics instruction (or reading instruction at all) is so directly linked to early academics. But, that is how most all "research" is applied, not only in educational settings. The researchers find something that works, at least most of the time, and then start applying the concept to totally new situations without doing any new research.

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Old 03-25-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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I think that the book The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading might be good for you to look into. I switched to it after trying to use the 100 Easy Lessons book with my oldest and neither of us liking it.

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Old 03-25-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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So, while I agree with you about the need to do your research as homeschoolers, and really seek out true research, we also need to really listen to our children. That is something that we can afford that isn't afforded in the school system. When you have 20, 30, 35 students in a classroom, it is very hard to structure any learning to individual needs. You go with what works for most and hope the others catch on along the way. At home, we can go with what works individually for our children. There isn't any real harm in necessarily starting phonics instruction at age 5 or 6, but if there is resistance, we, as homeschoolers, need to respect that resistance and go back to the drawing board.
Yes! That's what I was trying to say. One thing we can say, those of us who have been in homeschooling circles for a long time, is that we've heard a variety of ways in which different children take on reading and thrive, and also about the processes and successes of those who struggle. But our children have the benefit of being able to be the center of the process, rather than being lined up around a preapproved process. - Lillian
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