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So DS2 will be K age this year. He's been with us for 8 months now, and has picked up an astounding amount of English. He isn't really ready for traditional kindergarden subjects quite yet. But I'm thinking ahead, trying to figure out what would be a good fit for him in the coming year.

Our family does relaxed homeschooling, and we do use curriculums and some workbooks for some subjects. With my other children I've used ETC for phonics (and handwriting
), and it's worked really well. But I don't see ETC being a good fit for DS. There are so many pages where children are expected to see a picture, name/identify the picture, then figure out the sounds based on the name of the picture. I just don't think DS has the knowledge to identify many of the pictures.

So I guess what I'm looking for is a slow-moving, gentle phonics program that doesn't require the child to identify the names of lots of different objects. Any suggestions?
 

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What about just working on phonemic awareness rather than phonics? Learning rhymes and playing games with sound would help lay a foundation for reading later -- once his overall understanding of English is more advanced.

For example, playing a game where you separate the sounds of a simple word that he understands such as "cat" by saying making the sounds /c/ /a/ /t/ and letting him blend them into "cat." This is a purely oral game -- just sounds, not written letters.

There is a book called "Phonemic Awareness and Young Children" that has tons of ideas. It is sort of "prephonics." These are skills that most kids who grow up in a language rich environment acquire naturally, but that some kids need specific help with. (One of my DDs had speech and language delays and these kinds of things did not come naturally to her, I can see how an ESL kid might have the same issues.)

After that, she used "Reading Reflex" (which was a great fit for her) and eventually ETC. From what I've read, if a child starts reading instruction before their grasp of English language is solid, they are more likely to have reading problems, but if they wait until they are older to start reading instruction and their language skills are better, they quickly catch up with their age mates. This wasn't in a homeschooling book, but on a book on hearing problems and children (I can't remember the name of the book).
 

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At Desta's request, we have been using a phonics workbook (I think it is Spectrum Phonics). It, too, has a lot of pictures of things that Desta can't identify. I have, however, found this to be a huge vocabulary builder for her, so ETC might actually be helpful for your son in that respect. Desta also writes the name of the object underneath its picture to give her more of an idea of how things are spelled. She has already figured out that "sounding it out" isn't much use once you get past hat, bat, and cat.

Namaste!
 
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