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Ds was reading independently at almost 8 years old. He had a "reading explosion" at that age-went from Bob Books to fluency in a matter of days.

Up to that point the only reading education we did was the Hooked On Phonics program. We were *very* relaxed about it, taking almost 2 years to complete all 5 levels. At the end he wasn't a "reader", but he could sound out very simple booklets like the Bob Books.

At that point I stopped doing anything about reading. I think he was 7. At some point he became upset that he could not read the instructions for a gameboy game. I remember that being the first time it bothered him that he couldn't read.

Not sure exactly what happened~he reversed into total non-reading for several months. At a store one night dh said if there was any book ds wanted to read he would buy it for him. Ds found a Dr. Seuss he wanted, read it, and they bought it. He read it fluently, out of the blue, just like that.

He had a winnie the pooh book on audiotape that he listened too daily. A couple of days after the Dr. Seuss incident, he was sounding out words in a match Pooh book, and something clicked. He got it. The voice on the tape, the words on the page...fluency...the way words should sound...the fact that reading fluency is, above all *MEMORIZATION*. You didn't read all the words in this post, for example. You have memorized so many words and reading patterns you only need to glance at the sentence and know what it says.

Really ds just had so many little experiences, over time, they added up. In between he didn't ever seem to progress. Then all it once it came together for him and he could read. There was really no gradient or incremental pattern.
 

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P.S.

Hooked on Phonics was a great program IMO. It didn't make ds a reader, but it really grounded him the concept of letter sounds. It's very easy, because it's mostly audiotapes and flashcards, and ds loved the chanting songs. It really helped him identify the oddities in English as well, which was VERY helpful later. When he did read, I think many things we'd sung/chanted in years past swam back into his consciousness.

We also did a little chant, for years, that was probably the single most helpful "teaching" thing I did with ds. I think I made it up. Very plain, like this:

A says "Ah"....B says "Buh"....C says "Cuh"....D says "Duh"....and so on, to a slow clapping chant. We did this in the car a lot.

Later on when ds got stuck on a letter I'd say "Chant it out" and he'd go "G says.....GUH!!!!". It was SO helpful to him.
 

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I made up the "B" says "Buh". I can't remember how Hooked On Phonics (HOP) said it.

This never caused problems for ds. I'm not sure how you can say the short "B" sound without ending in a slight "uh". I learned letters with an "uh" sound and it didn't confuse me. I'm sorry this is causing problems for your dd. There are many different types of reading learners.

I think ds mostly learned to read by memory. I'm glad we did HOP but it did not make him a fluent reader. HOP seemed to give him basic reading rules that he applied later, when he was ready to read. Fluency seemed to happen for ds as the result of auditory memorization. Ds knew (from many books on tape), how his stories should sound. He also knew what the words should say. He is a strong auditory learner. He is a natural mimic and has always loved to copy voices and tones and expressions.

For a long time, ds was only fluent reading ALOUD. For him reading was so much an expression of what he heard. He could regulate his reading if he could hear himself.

I know some schools of thought frown on memorization, but our experience was that it has a place. Ds knew phonics rules, and I think knowing them before he could read meant he had no resistance to phonics. Once you know how to read phonics seems boring. Memorization made him fluent, but he could fall back on phonics to sound out new words~this was fluency~part memorization, combined with skills to sound out new words.

It sounds like we did something rigorous but we definitely did not. Most people go through HOP in a year or less. We took 3 years and only did the stuff ds found tolerable. We did nothing else.
 
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