Jun 092014

Got a child who HATES reading or a reluctant reader who needs to practice reading skills?

Cool Reading Games can engage your child in learning, especially your child is a reluctant reader or has dyslexia.

If your child has ADHD, dyslexia, or another learning disability, using these cool reading games will engage your child in learning. The more your child has exposure to cool reading games, the more the games will help build your child’s reading skills.

Below, I have shared several online cool reading games. The programs are listed in three sections:

Be aware, many of the free and paid reading games designed for typical learners may not check to see whether your child has mastered each reading skill before moving forward in game play. Therefore, when using these cool reading games, you’ll want to check out the features to see if the program moves forward with reading skill mastery. You may be fine using the program, but it helps to be aware of the forward progress in the program.

These cool reading games can be used as as Homeschooling Curriculum for Kids with Dyslexia, ADHD, or other LDs. They’re best used to let your child practice reading skills. However, your child will need a proven reading program to TEACH reading skills before practice with cool reading games becomes practical.

Have your child practice with one of these cool reading games for at least 20-30 minutes per day.  Tending towards 30 minutes will bring the most meaningful benefit. If you break your child’s practice into two 15 minute segments, that would be ideal. That’s because research shows a child tends to remember the first thing and last thing taught in a lesson.

Also, using one of these cool reading games as a bedtime activity will help your child learn more faster. Research shows whatever you do right before bed continues to be processed by your brain. Therefore, using one of the cool reading games as a bedtime activity could seem like fun for your child, but his brain will continue processing the reading. That is a learning bonus for YOU because your child will learn to read faster!

Free Reading Games for Kids: Helpful for kids with dyslexia

cool reading games

These cool reading games are good for anyone who is not homeschooling. These particular reading games are good if you don’t need any kind of progress reporting. These free reading games are good for regular reading practice.

Starfall Reading – A free public service program to teach children to read with phonics. Starfall’s systematic approach uses phonics in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice to help children learn to read.

Reading is Fundamental Reading Planet Game Station – Fun reading games designed to enhance reading skills more at the word-based level than at the phonemic awareness level.  In other words, a child would build reading skills here after the basic decoding skills are in place.

Jumpstart Reading Games – A fun, free site with cool reading games for K-5

Knowledge Adventure Reading Games – Great site with the ability to select grade level and subject.  Easy site to use.

PBSKids’ Reading Games – Basic reading skills with All KINDS of games. However these cool reading games aren’t organized in any particular order. It’s a great place to visit just to play around.

Phonics Vowels – This is an app that focuses on teaching vowel sounds and vowel combinations.  Given that vowels are core elements of every word, working on vowel mastery can help any child develop better reading skills.

Paid Online Reading Programs for Teaching Children with Dyslexia:

If your child has a reading disability, you’d probably be better off paying for a program designed to insure concept mastery. These programs track your child’s progress as he progresses through the program. These programs are similar to many cool reading games. However, they follow a specific sequence of learning for kids with dyslexia.

Fast ForWord via Gemm Learning – Fast ForWord is a great program for any child that has significant Phonemic Awareness difficulties accompanying difficulty with reading. The Fast ForWord program is usually provided through a provider who oversees your child’s use of the programming. Gemm Learning company has an option that allows your child to use the program on your computer at home. Gemm then provides oversight and consultation. Fast ForWord is an excellent and proven program.

Nessy – is truly one of the cool reading games that is interactive. Kids love it! It’s a great step-by-step program. Your child has to follow the progression of steps that take him through a logical progression of learning. The information on their Evidence of Results page speaks mostly of the proven nature of Orton-Gillingham Methods, structured multi-sensory phonics teaching, as well as how much kids LIKE the program. There is study data for Nessy that used before and after testing. The testing showed “students on average made a gain of 1 year after 18 weeks of using Nessy Reading,” however the study appears to have been conducted with typical kids. Therefore, the program’s effectiveness specifically for kids with significant issues with dyslexia is not established yet through the study data they cite. BUT, if your child LOVES the program and uses it on a daily basis, it is likely to provide reading skill benefits. The program is sequential and explicit in teaching reading and spelling skills. It is based upon Orton-Gillingham methods. Nessy could be a cool reading games choice for your child.

Starfall Kindergarten Reading and Language Arts Curriculum – This program is great. Just be aware it is targeted at Kindergarten level students.  It’s great for a child who requires remediation at the lowest reading skill levels. However, it is likely to be too “babyish” if your child is third grade or beyond. Therefore, if you know your very young child is likely to have dyslexia, start from beginning using a program like Starfall’s Kindergarten program. Then graduate to cool reading games targeted towards older students when needed.

Computer-Based Reading Programs for Learners with Reading Disabilities or Dyslexia:

Language Tune-Up Kit (LTK) – The Language Tune-Up Kit is based upon the proven Orton-Gillingham methodology. It provides comprehensive reading instruction beginning with sound-symbol correlations. It includes sound blending, syllables, sight words, etc. The Language Tune-Up Kit is a comprehensive reading practice program designed specifically to help children with true dyslexia learn the essential elements of reading skill.

Earobics – This is the program we used with my sons for their foundational reading skills.  Earobics is a dynamic interactive program that includes cool reading games. It is great for developing early reading skills. It’s great for establishing initial phonemic awareness. This is not a comprehensive reading program though–it is designed for auditory-phonemic training more so than as a reading solution. If your child has speech-language issues or has difficulty properly hearing or speaking sound/syllables in words, then Earobics is a good place to begin.  Your child must have proper phonemic awareness in order to develop reading skills. The old edition of Earobics for older students is available through Christianbook.com. (Earobics is not a “Christian” program. It’s just offered for sale through them). Be sure to pay attention to compatibility with your computer BEFORE purchasing.
The new edition is designed for younger kids. It is available through Houghton-Mifflin.

Lexia Reading At Home – This is one of the programs we used for reading remediation in our homeschooling.  My boys worked through the Lexia program in its entirety, twice! HOWEVER, you should know this product has been updated for common core. It now includes timed practice elements. I’ve had several parents report to me their child is reduced to tears because he/she can’t get past the speed-based drills (they are for reading fluency). There is a workaround. You can email Lexia to get help bypassing the speed drills. Just be aware, if your child has a slow neurological processing speed, this may not be the best program choice for your child. That’s just a heads-up for you. 😉

** The Lexia Reading Core 5 program is designed for students in preschool through 5th grade. The “Lexia games for kids sometimes seem like play, but they’re learning too! Older students will use the Strategies” program. Be sure you select the proper program so the lexia games will be appropriate for your child. To purchase a one year subscription, click visit Lexia Reading At Home online (NOT an affiliate link).

For additional resources, check out the “Home School Curriculum for Learning Disabilities” Resource page for options you can use at home.

Online, Cool Reading Games for Practice by Typical Learners:

These programs usually include progress tracking. If you’re homeschooling, tracking can be helpful if you need documentation of your child’s program or progress for your homeschool portfolio. For anyone who is not homeschooling, the documentation can be important when setting IEP goals with your child’s school.

Kabongo – This is an interactive, online, reading skills program.  They have free “try it” options with cool reading games you can play to see if you like the program.  As a way to engage an active audio-visual learner in reading practice, this is a great site for keeping kids engaged. Your child won’t really feel like he is studying reading!

Reading Egg is growing in popularity. It is being used in schools as a “Response to Intervention” platform.  The program is not specifically designed as an Orton-Gillingham reading program for children with learning disabilities in reading or dyslexia. However, it is an engaging, interactive, online set of cool reading games you can use to get your kids practicing reading. Whether or not your child makes adequate progress with the program will likely depend upon the type and severity of your child’s learning disability.

Word Magic – this isn’t “online,” but it is an app that can be used anytime, anywhere. It is a great program.  Word Magic is ideal for kids between the ages 3 to 6. However, I think these cool reading games would appeal to children as old as 9-11 depending upon the child. “It is an excellent application for kids to have fun with words and their spellings. Word Magic is very ideal for parents since it engages kids while driving, in the airport or while waiting in the restaurants.” It’s a very inexpensive app well worth having available for your child’s reading and spelling practice.

General Curriculum Options for Poor Readers:

The programs listed below are programs that aren’t cool reading games. These are general learning programs for kids who struggle with reading. The programs can be used to help your child learn even though he can’t yet read (very well). The programs have captions. The captions can help your child understand reading skills a bit better. (It keeps you from having to read everything aloud to your child.)

Odysseyware from Global Student Network (GSN) As a first choice, I’d HIGHLY recommend Odysseyware. This learning platform includes teaching videos. There is also audio narration of the pages. It also has a highlighted text-to-speech ability. The text-to-speech reader emphasizes (bolds and enlarges) each word as it is read. Having the animated highlighting lets your child follow along with the reading. The highlighting helps a child who is developing reading skills.

The variety within the Odysseyware lessons includes audio, visual, and the highlighted text . These combined modes of learning create a varied learning environment.  The audio-visual nature of the program is likely to hold the attention of kids with ADHD better than standard curricula too. You can request a demo of the Odysseyware. If you like it, you can buy a one-year subscription that will provide your child with unlimited access to their courses. If your child finishes one course, he can just move on to the next!

I hope these options will help you find a great practice program for your child. When our kids dislike reading, anything we can do to engage them is worthwhile!

Jun 042014

We’ve known for decades:

Orton Gillingham Approach Reading Programs are effective for teaching children with dyslexia to read:

If your child has been diagnosed (officially) with dyslexia by a qualified neuropsychologist, psychologist, or psychoeducational evaluator, then you probably need to use an Orton Gillingham reading program for homeschooling to teach your child how to read.

The Orton Gillingham (O-G) method was devised by Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham. It is a multisensory method used to teach children with true dyslexia to read. The orton gillingham approach is not a reading program. However, there are many reading programs available that use the Orton Gillingham approach.

In order to find an effective reading program using the Orton Gillingham approach, you first need to know the essential components of the teaching method.

The Orton Gillingham approach incorporates the following criteria:

  • Comprehensive – every detail of phonology is taught – every letter, every sound, every sound-letter combination, rules for spelling, rules for decoding, frequency of words using rules, etc.
  • Explicit instruction – every detail of phonology is taught outright – there is nothing that is bypassed in the instruction.
  • Direct instruction – Every detail is taught directly to the student.
  • Multi-sensory – Each piece of instruction is taught multiple ways using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (movement) based teaching.
  • Mastery – Each piece of instruction is taught until the student can automatically recall the sound-letter combinations, decoding and spelling rules, syllabication, etc. without hesitation.

SO, when you are searching for an Orton Gillingham reading program, be sure the program is comprehensive, teaches content auditorily, visually, and kinesthetically. The program should be detailed and explicit in directly teaching your child. It should also have built-in mastery checks that you can use in assessing your child’s level of automatic recall.

There are some programs that have visual and/or auditory components, but NOT kinesthetic components.  While these programs work to a degree, they will not work as well as programs where teaching also incorporates some kind of movement, like finger spelling, clapping, toe writing on the carpet, large writing on a big chalkboard, etc.  If your child happens to be a kinesthetic learner, and many children are, then a program that does not incorporate large-body movement will not be the best program for your child.

As a key step, you will want to assess your child’s learning style to know what type of learning activities serve your child best.  If your child is primarily a visual or auditory learner, you’re in luck! Virtually all Orton Gillingham reading programs use visual and auditory components or activities.

Thus, when you are looking at programs, carefully consider how thorough the reading program is in using the Orton Gillingham approach.  Orton Gillingham reading programs that are widely used among homeschooling families who are working to overcome dyslexia include (in no particular order):

Direct Instruction Dyslexia Reading Programs:

orton gillingham approachorton gillingham approach

Computer-based Dyslexia Reading Programs to be used in ADDITION to Direct Instruction:

If you’d like an Orton Gillingham app for reading practice, Sound Literacy is one that uses virtual letter tiles for teaching. “Sound Literacy provides a parent with the basic building blocks (elements) that written words are made of – letter and letter combinations, prefixes, suffixes, and bases. With the added ability to create any combination used to explain how words are structured, spelled, or pronounced the possibilities are endless.”

In addition to the resources above, check out our “Home School Curriculum for Learning Disabilities” Resource page for a wider variety of homeschooling curriculum for dyslexics.  There are numerous Orton Gillingham reading programs available on the market.  You just need to be aware of your child’s learning style. Then pick a reading program that includes activities for your child’s primary learning style. If the program is also based upon the orton gillingham approach, the reading program you choose should be a good fit for your child.

Dec 022013

During our second year of homeschooling to overcome dyslexia, my oldest child’s reading level jumped 4 grade levels from a sixth grade equivalent to a 10th grade equivalent. Here are the programs and methods we used during our second year of homeschooling:

OUR SECOND YEAR Overcoming Dyslexia through Homeschooling:

For our second year of overcoming dyslexia through homeschooling, we used Sonlight’s “Non-Western Nations of the World”, their fifth grade level curriculum. We continued with each child reading an entire chapter aloud on a daily basis. By the end of the year, each child’s reading fluency and reading speed was significantly improved.

During the second year we continued using the Orton-Gillingham reading program, the Language Tool Kit. I had each child memorize every phoneme, the alternate spellings, and order of frequency of use. All of this information is on the cards in the LTK card deck. These drills were completed by having me call out a sound, and the child responding with all of the possible letter representations, in order of frequency of use.

Additionally, I used the spelling rules from The Writing Road to Reading and had each child memorize each spelling rule. One spelling rule was added to the “Memory Cards” each week, and the cards were studied every day. Spelling is an ongoing challenge, but my child did rise from the second percentile in spelling to the 27th percentile. This was a great increase given the total ineffectiveness of other spelling programs we’ve tried. The Writing Road to Reading is an Orton-Gillingham reading program.

The second year of overcoming dyslexia through homeschooling, we repeated Levels 4 and 5 in Lexia Learning’s S.O.S. for reinforcement. Afterwards, we used “Simon Sounds it Out” software offered by Don Johnston. This is another game-like edutainment program which helps a child sound out words for spelling and reading. We used Simon S.I.O. on a daily basis for about 20 minutes per day. We also have Earobics software which the children could use daily, but were expected to use at least twice per week.

For our workbook, we switched from Spectrum to Megawords. Our children like Megawords better, and the program is much more incremental. I’m not sure I agree with the order of concept presentation in Megawords. They begin with compound words, but that is a relatively small segment of the program in the beginning.

We moved into our third year of homeschooling to overcome dyslexia with great anticipation after the great progress our boys made during the first two years.

NEXT –> Go to the next section to see what we did for Our Third Year of Homeschooling to Overcome Dyslexia.

overcoming dyslexia through homeschooling

Aug 022013

Return to Questions

Q: Could you please tell me more about this Davis method? I would like to learn more about it. Can you give a Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review?

Disclosure: This Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review is based solely upon my understanding of the program based upon the The Gift of Dyslexia book and telephone discussion with one provider.

Also, in my personal understanding of clinically diagnosable dyslexia, it is a neurological, cognitive learning disability where a person lacks phonemic awareness. The person also generally has processing and memory deficits that make reading words difficult.

Throughout this Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review, I will use the word “dyslexia,” because that is the term Ron Davis uses to describe the condition he treats. However, much of what is being treated by the Davis Program itself is more deeply rooted in visual perception or “minds eye” issues. These issues are not the same thing as the learning disability caused by a lack of phonemic awareness that is called dyslexia.

That said, visual perception issues often co-exist with the traditional learning disability called dyslexia that stems from a lack of phonemic awareness. I believe they exist together because the brain biology is closely related for the two conditions.

You’ll also see in this Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review that the program DOES include some components that address the phonological awareness issues in true dyslexia.

This information is important to you because the effectiveness of the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program will depend upon the components of your child’s INDIVIDUAL causes for his reading difficulty. SO, let’s get on with the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review and talk about the different components.

Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review: Program Introduction

The Ron Davis Dyslexia Program has different components as explained in Ronald Davis’ Book: The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can’t Read and How They Can Learn.

Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review: Orientation Component

First, the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program has an “orientation” component. This is where your child is taught to focus his “mind’s eye” at a particular orientation point. It is kind of like teaching your child to look at a cube from one side only. He can’t pick it up in his mind or “wander” around all sides of the cube. Anchoring your child’s viewpoint involves teaching your child to keep his ACTUAL point of view rather than visualizing other sides of an object.

Kids with visual-perception based reading problems or dyslexia are often “three dimensional” thinkers. They can visualize all aspects of an object in their minds. They can pick up and turn and object around in their minds without ever touching it.

With the three-dimensional thinking, the letters b,d,p, and q are interchangeable. Kids with dyslexia are able to orient the “object” in any direction. They can turn or flip the letters in their minds and they all become the same! Other similar letters are flipped too. M and W, u and n, s and z, etc.

That is why many kids who have the visual-perceptual issues with their dyslexia have a lot of reversals in their writing. To them, the orientation of the letters doesn’t matter.

Therefore, the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Orientation piece is about teaching a child to remain focused on the target as it IS. They have to learn to see it as it is, not as it can be seen from some other angle. I don’t know if my explanation makes sense, but I hope it does.

Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review: Cross-body Patterning Component

Second, the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program includes cross-body patterning or doing activities crossing the mid-line of the body. For example, catching a ball with one hand while standing on the opposite foot, then alternating with the other hand and foot.

Cross-body Patterning helps build neural pathways in the brain that help the two hemispheres work together. I will confirm that our neuropsychologist also recommended cross-body patterning as a way to overcome developmental coordination disorder.

In the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program, the cross-body patterning seeks to build better integration of the two hemispheres of the brain. The brain processes involved in three dimensional thinking, recognizing letters, organizing and sequencing for reading, using the language center of the brain, etc. requires good communication between the two halves of the brain. Doing cross-body patterning exercises helps build the connections or communication between the two halves of the brain.

Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review: Clay Letter-work Component

Third, there is the learning with clay aspect. In this activity, your child works systematically through the alphabet. He learns the most-frequently used words by building them out of clay. Your child also learns the associated phonemes for the alphabet until he has achieved mastery of the letters and the words.

Although this clay work does address phonemic awareness to a degree, and it is a great multisensory activity, the clay work does not provide the same level of intense instruction as some other phonemic awareness programs. Less intensity equals slower progress.

For some kids with severe phonological awareness deficits, it is my opinion that better progress could be made with a proven Orton-Gillingham based program for overcoming dyslexia.

Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review: The Book

The Gift of DyslexiaRon Davis Dyslexia Program Review” is a very uplifting book and describes the Davis Method in the back. Although the “mind’s eye focal point” works best for children who have visual perception and attention issues, I also know people for whom the program has not provided any measurable benefit. It might have provided a little benefit, but not enough that they felt it was worthwhile.  Those for whom the program does not seem to work well are those with the deepest deficits in phonemic awareness, working memory, and processing speed.

Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review Summary

Within the Davis Method, the clay work is an excellent multisensory method for working through phonemes and frequent words. However, the program (as provided in the book) is not comprehensive in addressing all of the learning needs for children with the severe learning disability called dyslexia. The clay work portion of the program, along with the cross-body patterning, is well worth the effort for most children who have neurological issues. The program is likely to help children who have classical dyslexia to some degree, but I believe it is most beneficial for those who have letter orientation issues.

We DID use the “minds eye” orientation exercises with our son along with the other activities. I didn’t pay for the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Provider’s offering. so I don’t know what that experience would be like. Generally speaking, my son did enjoy the activities we implemented.

The clay work was too slow of a process, so it limited the number of letters we could work on each day. Generally speaking, I found the clay work to be an inefficient instructional method that was somewhat messy and took too long. As far as multisensory activities for practicing letters and sounds go, we much preferred other tactile materials such as soap in a pan, barefeet on carpet, large chalk on a traditional chalkboard, etc.

There is actually very little scientific evidence for the effectiveness of the Davis Program… All I could find was Anecdotal evidence provided by the Davis Dyslexia Correction Center. There are stories of the program working for some kids. For those whom the program meets their specific needs, the improvements seem to be dramatic. If interested, feel free to go read Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review “testimonies” of the program’s success.

I’ve not seen the Davis program recommended by psycho-educational evaluators or neuropsychologists in IDA meetings, L.D. Association meetings, Advocacy training, etc. or in any of the many evaluation reports I’ve read.

While the Davis Program may work for your child, it just as likely will not. It really depends upon the individual needs of your child. The question I would ask is, “How much of your child’s issues are centered around “maintaining a focal point” with a need for the types of remediation provided by the program?” 

A Davis provider/evaluator can “evaluate” your child, but the “evaluation” is narrow by industry standards. The evaluation relates primarily to the elements of the Davis Program. It is not a psycho-educational evaluation like you would receive at a neuropsychologist’s office. The Davis provider’s evaluation is primarily to see whether your child’s mind can “wander” around an object, how strong your child’s three-dimensional thinking is, and whether the Davis program itself will help your child with the issues the program addresses. It’s not a substitute for a learning disabilities evaluation.

As for the conclusion of my Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review, I’m neither for, nor against, the Davis Program. If it works for even one child, then that child should have the program. It may or may not be a great program for YOUR child.

My advice would be to go get a comprehensive neuropychological evaluation for your child. If your child’s evaluation results show there are developmental cross-body issues and/or visual-perception issues, then you might want to consider the Ron Davis Dyslexia Program as ONE program in your arsenal of solutions. I personally would not rely on the program as the sole solution unless the only symptom my child has was misorientations of letters and maybe some physical clumsiness.

Keep in mind, the foregoing Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review consists of my perceptions and opinions based upon my limited experience and knowledge of the program. My opinions are subject to change over time. 😉

If you’d like to leave a Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review of your own, feel free to leave a comment below. If you post a review, please be aware you are responsible for your own Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review content. Please remain FACTUAL, respectful, and maintain the privacy of individuals. 😉

Hope this Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review helps in some way!
Best Wishes,

Return to Questions

Aug 022013

Return to Questions

Q: I’ve heard the Lindamood Bell is good, but it is so expensive. Is it worth the money? Can you provide a Lindamood Bell review?

The Lindamood Bell platform is a well-respected set of programs that help kids with learning disabilities learn to read, comprehend, and do math (depending upon the program used). The Lindamood Bell programs have proven research behind them to document their effectiveness.

SO, Let me share with you my experiences with Lindamood Bell in this Lindamood Bell Review for you. My answer to the question is part Lindamood Bell Review, part personal experience, and partly an answer to the question about the cost/worth of the program.

Lindamood Bell Review : Our Evaluation Experience:

We had our child evaluated by the Lindamood Bell Center near us. We looked at the possibility of enrolling our son in the program. The environment was very friendly and the center director was quite knowledgeable. I actually LOVED the Lindamood Bell center and would have placed my son there without hesitation.

We paid a fee to have our son evaluated by the center. The results were clearly explained, and specific programs were recommended based upon the Lindamood Bell review of my son’s learning needs. I had no complaints about the evaluation and results explanation whatsoever. All of that was very professionally done.

Unfortunately, the cost of the program was well over $10,000 dollars and I felt somewhat like I was in a “hard sell” situation as they tried to convince me the program was worth the cost.

It’s not that my child’s learning needs wouldn’t be WORTH the money. His learning needs were priceless. Rather the price was far out of our reach. It was suggested we could take out a second mortgage on our home. Um. No. They do offer a financing program too, which is good because most ordinary families would have to finance the program.

There were also no guarantees that the Lindamood Bell programs would work for our child in the average time frame. If it took longer, that would cost more. SIGH.

Any individual child’s timeframe could be shorter than average, or it could be longer and cost more. There is no real way to gauge ahead of time how long it will take your child to complete the program. Again, the programs do have solid research behind them, so it could be worth the money if you have enough to pay for the program.

My Lindamood Bell Review Surprise:

I was also going to college at the time, getting my Master’s Degree in Instructional Design. That same summer, I saw a job posting on the college’s job board for an opening at the Lindamood Bell Learning Center. I went to check it out.

The job was temporary summer employment. The training was for 7-10 days. Then the new hires begin working with kids in the center. One week of training and you’re ready to teach kids. Somehow, I thought the people working with my child would have more experience than that. I didn’t expect there might be a college student who had been trained for a week providing a $10,000+ program for my child.

The Lindamood Bell centers do have people who work there year-round. They are no doubt highly knowledgeable and excellent at implementing the programs. If your child was placed with a well-experienced person, that person could probably provide excellent results in a shorter period of time.

In any case, when I read the notification and researched the job, I lost all interest in paying the hefty fees for someone at the Lindamood Bell center to work with my son. I figured I could get the instructor’s manuals and figure the programs out myself.

For your reading and Lindamood Bell review, I took a screenshot of this year’s similar job announcement. They have openings all over the country. You can read the announcement and decide for yourself whether you would meet the job criteria–In other words, could you learn how to use the program and implement it?

lindamood bell review

CLICK to see larger image.

Lindamood Bell review – My Personal Revelation:

If you wonder whether you can handle implementing the Lindamood Bell programs yourself: I’d say, “If you can read and follow directions, you can probably provide the program(s) to your own child.” 😉

With what I knew at that point, we decided to take a Do-It-Ourself approach with the Lindamood Bell programs my son needed. They have teacher’s guides.. So I bought a couple of them!!

I ordered Lindamood Bell Teacher’s Guides and Program Materials and implemented some of the programs at home. We also used materials from the Seeing Stars, LiPS, and Visualizing & Verbalizing programs.

LiPS and Visualizing & Verbalizing were the Lindamood Bell programs we used most heavily. We had good success with them. Some moms have had difficulty with the LiPS program. That generally seems to happen when the parent and child have difficulty working with each other. In such a case, paying a private tutor or the Lindamood Bell center might be a more effective solution.

I will also be totally transparent and let you know, I had already had Orton-Gillingham training. If you feel like you need training, Lindamood Bell does offer training, and it might help you to take their training. The training is a lot cheaper than the full-fledged program. Plus, if you get trained, you can make money working with other people’s children too. 

If you think you might like to arm yourself with their training, go to the Lindamood website and get on their mailing list.  They will send you brochures about upcoming training events as well as a catalog of their products. As I mentioned, you can order Lindamood Bell Teacher’s Guides and Program Materials online.

Trust me, using the Lindamood Bell programs and materials based on the Teacher’s Manuals works well enough if you can’t afford their first-hand services. The programs are not rocket science. If you can read and follow directions, you can probably provide the program for your child.

I’m sure the quality of our drill and practice wasn’t as intense as it would have been provided at the Lindamood Bell center. However, it was a WHOLE LOT cheaper for me to work with my own boys. We had good success using the programs.

Lindamood Bell Review Summary

I WOULD definitely recommend the Lindamood Bell programs to anyone. I am particularly fond of the LiPS program for any child who struggles with phonemic awareness. I continue to recommend LiPS and other Lindamood Bell programs to other moms for home use. I would give a positive Lindamood Bell review for any of their programs.

That’s my Lindamood Bell review based upon our experiences. Truly, I believe the Lindamood Bell programs are well worth the at-home cost if you have the time and ability to work with your own child. In terms of a child’s lifetime, even the center’s cost could be “worth it.” However, If you can’t afford the center’s program, don’t let that stop you from providing a Lindamood Bell program to your child!

I hope this Lindamood Bell review is helpful to you in making decisions on behalf of your child. If you’d like to leave a Lindamood Bell review of your own, feel free to leave a comment below. If you post a review, please be aware you are responsible for your own Lindamood Bell review content. Please remain FACTUAL, respectful, and maintain the privacy of individuals. 😉

Best Wishes,

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Jul 102013

SPIRE Reading Program For Helping Your Child Overcome Dyslexia

The SPIRE Reading Program was introduced to me during my Orton-Gillingham training. As parent, not a classroom teacher, I truly appreciated the clarity of the program and it’s solid, step-by-step explanations.

The SPIRE Reading Program uses a proven scope and sequence, is time-tested, and it’s a program that has been carefully developed over time.

S.P.I.R.E. (Specialized Program Individualizing Reading Excellence) was written by an Orton-Gillingham Fellow. It is a high quality, Orton-Gillingham-based reading program created specifically to teach children with diagnosable dyslexia how to read.

The Teacher’s Guides are scripted to provide good teaching support, so the program is usable by most people. Preparation for each lesson is simplified because the procedures are very consistent from one lesson to the next, which makes it a good homeschooling curriculum for teaching reading dyslexic children.

The S.P.I.R.E. reading system uses all of the sensory channels.  Thus, if you haven’t had specific training in Orton-Gillingham methods or multisensory instruction, be sure to visit the Learning Abled Kids’ Multisensory Instruction Tutorial.

You’ll want to understanding multisensory instruction because it is the heart of the SPIRE reading program.  (Understanding this type of teaching will help you know how to work with your child using any Orton-Gillingham reading program for dyslexia.)

SPIRE Reading Program’s Scripted Teacher Guides

If you are not trained in Orton-Gillingham methods, it will be essential for you to get and follow the instructions in the SPIRE Reading Program Teacher’s Guides.  Using the Teacher’s Guide for the Sounds Sensible Kit (Pre-Level 1) and each of the 8 levels will help you teach more easily because you won’t have to think up multi-sensory activities every day.

You must be sure to incorporate the multi-sensory aspects of the lessons into your teaching. If you don’t incorporate the multisensory activities into your teaching, the program is not likely to work. The key in any Orton-Gillingham reading program, including S.P.I.R.E., is in how well the multi-sensory elements are utilized within the program.

Reading Skill Mastery is Essential

Teaching your child to a point of mastery for each phoneme is also essential. Mastery means your child can immediately and automatically respond to prompts without hesitating to think about what his response should be.  Mastery is demonstrated when your child automatically responds.

As mentioned above, there is a consistent lesson format from lesson-to-lesson within the SPIRE reading system. If you look at the  S.P.I.R.E. 10-Step Lesson Format, you can see the types of activities used in the multi-sensory teaching and get a good idea of the amount of time you’ll be spending with each activity.

SPIRE Reading Program and Your Child’s Learning Style

You will find the SPIRE Reading Program is more Auditory than Visual.  And large-movement Kinesthetic elements are the least in number within the S.P.I.R.E. program.  Moving a tile or flipping through cards are kinesthetic, but not in such a way as to reinforce the learned element.

Tracing phonemes ON the card with a finger, tracing with a big toe on carpet or a bare finger on velvet would be much more effective as a kinesthetic activity, and can be added on to the program by you.

If your child is a kinesthetic learner, this program would not be likely to be the most effective program if you use it “as is” for your specific child.  When practicing the writing elements in the program, I would recommend making modifications to those activities to incorporate more effective kinesthetic activities, and most notably adding on large writing on a chalkboard mounted on a wall.

The SPIRE Reading Program is great for a child who is primarily an auditory learner.

It is still a great program for any child given you are aware of your child’s primary learning style and you incorporate additional activities into the program based upon your child’s needs. 😉

Overall, the SPIRE Reading ProgramSPIRE Reading Program is a great program and can easily be modified to include additional elements for a tactile or kinesthetic learner. Visual elements are included in the student textbooks and may be sufficient to meet the needs of a visual learner. By incorporating additional tactile and kinesthetic activities into the program, this program can become virtually the “perfect” Orton-Gillingham reading program.
See SPIRE Reading Program Pricing NowSPIRE Reading Program.
If your child is primarily a tactile or kinesthetic learner and you are not inclined to add in kinesthetic and tactile activities, I’d recommend against using this program.

If you aren’t sure of your child’s learning style, you can assess your child’s primary learning style by using the tools suggested in the short tutorial at: ../multi_sensory_training/page01-welcome.htm — It is free online and generally takes about 20-30 minutes to go through.

The SPIRE Reading Program scope and sequence is as follows:

Sounds Sensible Kit (Pre-Level 1) – covers mastery of 20 consonants and short a.

Level 1 – Short vowels i, o, u, e, ch, th, wh, ing, ong, ung, ank, ink, onk, unk.

Level 2 – ff, ll, ss, al, wa, qu, ck, tch, magic e, vowel+consonant+e.

Level 3 – so, he, fly, ild, old, ind, ost, oll, ay, -ed, suffixes, consonant syllable division, ou, prefix a-.

Level 4 – ea, oa, ai, ee, -le, oo, igh, ie.

Level 5 – soft c and g, er, ur, it, ear, wor, dge, s sounding like z, ow, oe, kn, or, ar.

Level 6 – a-, -a, -able, ph, ought, aught, ue, ew, tu, oi, oy, aw, au, ey, kn, wr, mb, gh, gu, -age, open syllables.

Level 7 – ct, ei, eigh, open sllable i, -tion, -sion, -ci, -ti, tu, -ture, -sure, -ous, -ence, -ent, -ance, -ant, -cy, -ency, -ancy, ui, eu, -er, -or, -ar, -ard.

Level 8 – ar, arr, ir, er, err, ur, dis-, mis-, pre-, pro-, re-, de-, ex-, -al, -en, -on, -an, -ain, -ine, -et, -ite, -ate, -ic, -ive, -ary, in-, im-, il-, ir-, un-, under-, sub-, con-, com-, cor-, col-, ab-, ad-, ac-, af-, ap-, per-, i sounding like y, ch sounding like k or sh, que sounding like k.

The S.P.I.R.E. scope and sequence was “refined over years of working with struggling readers.” As you can see, it builds in complexity and requires

When shopping for an Orton-Gillingham reading program for YOUR child, you have to know your child’s needs and your abilities before you can find the “right” program. Before continuing here, if you haven’t already been there, you might find it helpful to look at “How to find ‘Effective’ Orton-Gillingham Programs” to learn more about selecting a program.

SPIRE Reading Program Summary

I don’t know if that helps with your actual decision making about whether to use the SPIRE Reading Program, but it is what I know. 😉 S.P.I.R.E. is a solid Orton-Gillingham reading program, well worth using.

To consider other possible curriculum for dyslexic students, check out other Orton-Gillingham based reading programs here.

Best Wishes!

Jul 102013

Are you looking for homeschool reading programs for a child who has dyslexia?

Are you struggling to help your child overcome dyslexia?

This page will help you find a viable homeschool reading programs for overcoming your child’s dyslexia and point you to general homeschool curriculum options, Free Homeschool Curriculum options for teaching Math, Reading and Spelling to kids with ADHD, Dyslexia, or other learning disabilities, and free interactive multisensory reading programs  too!

Teaching your child to read, whether he has dyslexia, or not, can be frustrating, but given the right reading programs, it can be done inexpensively at home.

If your child has dyslexia, or you suspect he does, you will want to use one of the Orton-Gillingham reading programs. This page includes beginner reading programs as opposed to proven reading programs for teaching children with dyslexia to read.

Whether you are just starting to homeschool your child or you’ve been homeschooling for awhile, it would be helpful for you to screen your child for his current reading decoding ability and reading fluency level.

If you don’t have or can’t afford a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, you might want to use the Free Reading Assessments to access your child’s reading abilities. The tests listed are free.

If your child is a beginning reader, here are some free online reading programs for practice:

reading programsreading programs

If you are just beginning to teach your child to read, one of the best things you can do is use a systematic, direct teaching method. Great reading programs explicitly teach each phonogram to your child. The method mentioned above, Orton-Gillingham, may be the perfect choice, but that will depend upon your child’s specific learning disabilities.

Rainbow Reader Games is a printable reading games collection. This reading program can help make learning to read more fun, adds a multisensory element to reading practice. It will reinforce your child’s reading skills. These materials are a great way to add some FUN to reading practice! I recommend this reading program for any child–whether the child has reading difficulties or not. These materials aren’t designed specifically to teach reading, but they are a fun way to reinforce what a child is learning otherwise from systematic reading instruction.

If you’ve tried teaching your child to read, but your child does not seem to “get it,” if he can’t blend sounds together, or shows other signs of struggling with reading, there are any number of Orton-Gillingham reading programs you can use to help your child at home without spending a lot of money.

Reading Programs I recommend for home use:

reading programsAll About Reading is a new Orton-Gillingham reading program that is very robust, offering a comprehensive reading solution. It’s affordable as compared to a lot of reading programs. I even recommend the Deluxe Interactive Reading Kit as being IDEAL for use with virtually any Orton-Gillingham reading program. Get started with the Reading Level 1, and move into the levels that follow as your child advances in reading skill.

Logic of English has two programs. They are Foundations which is an Orton-Gillingham inspired reading program for ages 4-8 and Essential which is a comprehensive Orton-Gillingham inspired program for ages 8-adult. The Logic of English programs teach phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary using morphology, fluency, phonograms, spelling rules, the reasons for how words are read, and comprehension skills. The programs are multi-sensory programs.

The Click’N’Read program is computer based and makes an excellent reinforcement reading program. Kids find this reading program easy to use and the automatic tracking of progress is a great help to teaching parents. If you use a reading program such as All About Reading alongside a computer-based program such as Click’N’Read or Earobics, it can build your child’s reading skills faster.

Language Tool Kit & Manual, Grades K-5

**Language Tool Kit & Manual, Grades K-5
By Paula D. Rome & Jean S. Osman / Educators Publishing Service – The Language Tool Kit is an inexpensive kit that we used. It teaches based on Orton-Gillingham principles, and is designed for use by a teacher or a parent. This set contains 163 cards (4″ x 6″) in a white cardboard box along with the 32 page manual. One group of cards has spelling units printed in large type on one side, with the common and rarer sound equivalents on the reverse side in small type. Key words and spelling patterns are also listed. The salmon-colored cards are for the teacher’s reference, and the yellow cards are for extra practice with consonant blends. Grades K-5.

Teach Your Child To Read Method E-flash Cards by Glenn Doman is a reading program that may work for some children. It is based upon an e-Flash Card method.. The child works with flash cards on the computer to learn to read. This method is most likely to help build reading fluency as a child is able to recognize words.

S.P.I.R.E. Reading Programreading programs is a great Orton-Gillingham reading program as well. This program has a bit more beef to it, is easy to follow, easier to implement without much preparation. The program has been fine-tuned over a number of years and is one of the most well-developed programs you can purchase and use easily at home.  Click the link above to read a review of the S.P.I.R.E. Reading Program.

Writing Road to Reading: The Spalding Method for Teaching Speech, Spelling, Writing, and Reading Programreading programs – WRTR is a comprehensive Orton Gillingham reading program which will help your child make great gains if you can follow the program diligently. I will tell you, the program is overwhelming at first glance. However, after digging in and getting started, the program is not as difficult as it seems. This program is among the most comprehensive, inexpensive programs you can use. You can make your own manipulatives or buy one of the Reading Interactive Kits at AllAboutLearningPress.com. Buying a kit takes a whole lot less time and is relatively inexpensive.

Reading Reflex: The Foolproof Phono-Graphix Method for Teaching Your Child to Readreading programs – This is not my favorite of reading programs, but easy to understand and easy to follow. The RR program had some shortcomings in that it did not teach ALL of the phonemes when I last reviewed the program, but it did teach almost all of them, and has been updated. If it is still missing a few of the phonemes, they can be easily covered on the side. Additionally, when I had difficulty with some program materials ordered through the company, they were less than considerate and helpful, bordering on rude. Therefore, I suggest this program as one that is easy to follow.. it does have its merits, but it is far from my top choice.

If you desire simply to teach your child to read, and your child does not have disabilities, I recommend the book **”Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessonsteach your child to read” or the Explode The Code seriesteach reading. These are both systematic reading programs that work well for a child who has no known issues with phonemic awareness or auditory processing. They are both excellent reading programs, but the 100 Easy Lessons program often does not work all that well for children with true dyslexia or central auditory processing issues.

Scripted, complete reading programs:

There are some reading programs that are sold as “complete” kits, which can be purchased for a couple hundred dollars. These two programs are designed to take a child from non-reader to reader, and provide everything you need.

**Saxon Phonics – This is a robust and well-developed reading remediation program. It is also one of the less expensive programs that includes all materials, teachers guides and student books. No reading remediation program worth using can beat the value in this package! With the Saxon name behind the product, you can hardly go wrong.
Saxon Phonics on Amazon.comreading phonics
Complete Saxon Phonics Intervention, Home Study Kit
Other Saxon Phonics Program products
Other Materials for Teaching A Child How-to Read
Reading Comprehension Resources at Christianbooks.com

**LiPS from Lindamood-Bell – This is the same program used at the pricey Lindamood-Bell centers, and by many private organizations that teach reading. The kit is expensive, but the program is proven to work with most children who struggle. The program is rather involved, but if you can read and understand the instructions, or can afford to go to training offered by Lindamood-Bell Centers, it is a lot cheaper to do the program yourself. However, not all children respond well to their parent as their provider, so you’ll want to be certain your child is willing to work with you before you spend the money on this kit.

Reading Programs in the form of Drill and Learning Software:

ClickN READ Phonics – Children who are struggling with reading and children with learning disabilities can use this program, which is designed for ease of use, and is based upon solid teaching of reading skills.  Best of all, kids generally love this program. ClickN’ READ Phonics lets you buy the program for your child at a low cost and all subscriptions come with a 60-day money back guarantee.  If you hop on over there and give it a try using their demo program, you’ll be able to determine if this program may be a good fit for your child.

Earobics is designed to teach a child with auditory processing issues to “tune in” to key sounds in words, to teach them the phonemes in relation to print, and to build concentration (specifically the ability to attend to sounds within words). For some kids, they can’t “hear” (or recognize) the individual phonemes enough to be taught with a rules based program, so Earobics is a good place to begin.  We used Earobics (older kids’ version) as one of the early, foundational programs in my boys’ instruction and the program contributed to a great outcome in our homeschooling to overcome dyslexia.

Fast ForWord through Gemm Learning – This is a great program that works really well for kids with notable phonemic awareness difficulties. The program runs on your computer, uploads after your child’s session, and a Gemm learning specialist reviews your child’s work and progress. The additional level of guidance and oversight makes this a hybrid kind of program, but as far as your child’s work goes, it is totally a computer-based remediation program. You’ll like this option if you want support from a provider.

HearBuilder from Super Duper – This program works on phonological awareness up through 8th grade reading skills. It also works on memory skills, so it is an ideal reading program for a child diagnosed with clinical dyslexia who also has a deficit in working memory. The program also works on auditory memory and sequencing. The program is available online or as a CD-rom program for your computer. The cost is VERY reasonable and easily affordable as compared to many other programs.

Lexia Reading – This is the program we have chosen and have been sticking with. It has numerous different practice activities within 5 levels and has been instrumental in helping with basic spelling and reading abilities. The program is very thorough, beginning with basic vowel sounds, and progressing up through roots, prefixes, suffixes, and syllabication. This program is a great teaching tool when used on a daily basis.

Multisensory Reading, Spelling and Penmanship – “Multisensory reading, spelling and penmanship CD-ROM program builds an association between symbols and sounds in the English language through self-paced repetition. It utilizes the close association of visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements to help students improve their language skills.”

Children Learning Reading Sounds GREAT. Does it work? I don’t really know, but if you get the program and it works for you, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! If it works–really works–I would be excited to promote this program to Learning Abled Kids’ parents confidently. The program does seem to be built on what I know to be sound instructional practice in teaching reading–explicit, direct instruction in phonemes. Given it works, it might actually be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Read, Write & Typereading program
– “This 40-lesson adventure is a powerful tool for 6-8 year-old children just learning to read, for children of other cultures learning to read and write in English, and for students of any age who are struggling to become successful readers and writers. Children learn phonics, reading, spelling, writing, vocabulary, punctuation, and even keyboarding. Children see, hear, speak, touch, and move their fingers as they play each new level in this multisensory program.” Given that other programs are more comprehensive in their teaching of reading, I personally would recommend using programs that teach phonemes, sight words, decoding skills, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary in a progressive reading program designed to take the child to approximately a sixth grade reading level, rather than spending so much for a limited scope program. However, IF your child cannot learn sight words through other means, the Learning to Read Program might be what you need.

General Curriculum Recommendation:

Odysseyware provides an online, visual learning solution for students children of school age with Dyslexia or ADHD. The Odysseyware Learning Environment provides the use of text-to-speech with highlighted reading so your child can read along. The use of text-to-speech button provides your child the option to read, listen to, or read along with each presentation. Lessons also include videos, audio, video study tools, and interactive elements. There are a lot of explanatory videos in Odysseyware, and the other features mean kids with auditory and visual Learning Styles will be served very well by the program. Odysseyware allows your child to progress at his own speed, which will allow your child to achieve his greatest individual potential.reading program for kids

Be SURE to learn about additional options by checking out each of these resources:

Downloadable Workbooks:

The following workbooks are downloadable from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ by clicking on the link provided or entering the document code into the ERIC search box.

Phonics Plus, Book A (Levels K-1) – by entering ED429275 into the search box.

Phonics Plus, Book B: Short Vowel Patterns, Long Vowel Patterns –  by entering ED429276 into the search box.

Phonics Plus, Book C: Grades 2-3 – by entering ED441218 into the search box.

Spell, Say, and Write–A Synthesis of the Phonics and Whole Word Systems: A Beginner’s Workbook for School or Home Study – by entering ED370089 into the search box.

Jul 102013

If your child struggling terribly to learn which letters represent individual sounds, I have some free resources for you, but first you need to understand how these resources will help you.

Overcoming Dyslexia Requires Phonemic Awareness Training

Children with TRUE dyslexia struggle with phonemic awareness. 

If your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia by a neuropsychologist, psychologist, or other educational professional, then your child lacks phonemic awareness (PA).  PA can be taught, but it takes daily diligence to help your child overcome his struggles.

Picking a program that will actually work for your dyslexic child is challenging, but you can choose wisely by understanding the different types of programs.

Teaching Reading to children with dyslexia through phonemic awareness programs at home or in school is critical for overcoming true dyslexia. You may be confused by the different ways people recommend overcoming dyslexia, but how you approach your child’s difficulty should be based upon your child’s particular areas of deficit. No single program is going to be “best” for every child.

Reading programs can teach in several different ways. 

Which Program is Best for Teaching A Child With Dyslexia?

Learning by whole word recognition is the least likely to be successful for children with true dyslexia.  There are not many whole word recognition remediation programs, but one that I consider “whole word” is Reading Recovery, which many schools use, but which is often ineffective for children with true or severe dyslexia.

“The goal of “Reading Recovery” is to help children acquire efficient patterns of learning to enable them to work at the average level of their classmates and to continue to progress satisfactorily in their own school’s instructional program.”

Reading Recovery was the first program used to try to intervene my son’s reading difficulties, but it was totally ineffective.  Reading Recovery  was Jenny’s child’s first program, but the program was totally ineffective for her son too.

Simply put, for children who are diagnosed with true phonemic awareness deficits (dyslexia), Reading Recovery does not seem to work effectively.

The “best”, most universal form, of remediation is through “the rules” governing our language and by teaching phonemic awareness explicitly.

Phonemic Awareness

Beginning with phonemic awareness, the recognition that each word is made up of separate sounds called “phonemes”, this type of instruction tries to teach the child language as it relates to printed text from the most basic element up through complex, multisyllable words.  Specific, sequential, multisensory instruction that spells out every detail for reading decoding and encoding (which is spelling) is covered by every comprehensive Orton-Gillingham reading program.

Which program you should begin with will be determined by your child’s individual needs. You’ll need to determine, or know, if your child has phonemic awareness issues. You can get an idea of which approach you may need to take by asking your child how many “sounds” he hears in certain words.. for example “short” has 3 sounds.. /sh/, /or/, /t/ — that is a tough one though. A simple one would be “see”… it has two sounds.. /s/ and /ee/ or maybe “dog” having 3 sounds.. /d/, /o/, /g/. The key is whether your child can determine the specific spoken sounds in each word in order to sound out words when reading or to know which letters to write when spelling.

You can use pre-made phonemic awareness programs created for teaching children with dyslexia, or you can study the Orton-Gillingham methodology and teach your child yourself.  We used a combination of home created resources and purchased programs.

Free Phonemic Awareness Resources

If you need some free phonemic awareness tools for working with your child, I have just created some new ones to go with my new book, The Dyslexia Help Handbook for Parents: Your Guide to Overcoming Dyslexia Including Tools You Can Use for Learning EmpowermentDyslexia Help Handbook for Parents book dyslexic dyslexie books, which is available on Amazon.

The first resource is a table of phonemes that you can use as a checklist when teaching your child each individual phoneme.  Simply print the PDF file at learningabledkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/sec-phoneme-table.pdf and use it as your teaching guide.

I also have some Phonogram Tiles that you can print on cardstock, laminate with adhesive laminate, cut out and use for letter and spelling practice with your child.  You can find the Phonogram Tiles PDF at learningabledkids.com/downloadablepdfs/completesetphonemetiles.pdf.

Lastly, I have made some sight word practice cards.  You can print this PDF on perforated business card sheets with 10 cards per sheet, which you can buy on Amazon or at a local office supply store. That’s the easiest way to make the flashcards.  If you want to print the words on cardstock, you can use a paper cutter to cut the words into flashcards, but it is more difficult to make the cards a precise and uniform size. The sight word cards can be found at: learningabledkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/sight-word-cards-secd.pdf

Because auditory issues can be significant, If your child has little phonemic awareness, I’d lean towards **Earobics or **Fast ForWord Literacy to begin with. Be aware though, if your child has difficulty with auditory issues, he may find these programs very difficult (mine did) and may not like the program initially. You might have to set up some sort of reward system for completion of an activity or certain amount of time. (For example, If you work on the program for 20 minutes, I’ll read a book to you). Fast ForWord Literacy is also very difficult to come by on the open market and generally provided through trained providers.  Thus, it can be expensive to get your hands on a copy of the program for independent home use.  You may prefer to go to a paid provider anyway because they are trained to work with your child and the program in order to provide the best outcomes.

After the phonemic awareness issues are addressed, whether by using a program like Earobics, or through individualized therapy, you should be freer to choose from among various remediation programs. You may also want to read about the Orton-Gillingham methodology and Orton-Gillingham reading programs before you delve into program selection further.

Depending upon your particular circumstances, you may want to use private services, pursue services for your child at school, or help your child at home.   If you plan to do it yourself, check out recommended Reading Programs for Home Use. These programs are fairly inexpensive, based upon Orton-Gillingham methods, but depend upon your own dedication to providing the program. In some cases, you have to create or buy your own supporting materials. These programs are all viable and usable by anyone who can read, comprehend, and follow directions.

If you will pursue services from another provider, you can familiarize yourself with various programs at on our “Proven Packaged Reading Programs” page. These programs are more expensive, CAN be done at home, are complete, comprehensive, and have been proven to work.

phonemic awareness

Jul 102013

You CAN help your child overcome dyslexia at home using proven reading intervention programs!

I taught my boys to read at home, and lots of other parents have done the same.

All you need is a list of GREAT reading intervention programs to choose from and information about how to choose a program. This page will teach you about how to choose a great reading intervention program for your child.

Teaching your child how to read isn’t rocket science. It really isn’t.  All you need is to chose one of the quality reading intervention programs. If you get the right program, it’s not that hard to teach your child to read. It’s repetitive, but it is not difficult.

Your child’s school may want you to think “only a highly qualified person” can teach your child. Seriously though… If you can read, you can teach your child to read. I taught my son with severe dyslexia to read and it was a LOT easier than I thought it’d be.

If you’re going to teach your child to read at home, you’ll need to educate yourself about the method used for teaching a child with dyslexia how to read.  There is a specific method, called the Orton-Gillingham method (O-G). The O-G method has been proven to work when teaching children with dyslexia to read. O-G is the method I used.

To effectively teach your child to read, you need to know three things:

  1. You’ll need to know more about the Orton-Gillingham method (what it is).
  2. You also need to know what multi-sensory instruction is (it’s closely related to the O-G method).
  3. It is also helpful if you know your child’s learning style.

Orton-Gillingham Reading Programs involve providing instruction in ALL four learning styles simultaneously. The VAKT learning styles are at the heart of the Orton-Gillingham method. If you don’t know what multisensory instruction is, click on this link to learn about multisensory teaching.

If your child is a visual learner, your child needs to be taught using images.

If your child is a kinesthetic or tactile learner, he needs to be taught through movement or hands-on learning.

Children tend to learn through each of the channels at varying degrees.  Therefore, if you teach your child using multi-sensory instruction with a heavy focus on your child’s learning style, then learning will be maximized.

Using Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs to overcome dyslexia isn’t a quick road to reading. However, using O-G multisensory instruction is a way of teaching that will maximize your child’s ability to absorb the information as you teach.

The specific Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs that are best for your child will depend on the VAKT learning styles being used most heavily within the program. If the program’s teaching methods match your child’s learning style(s), then your child will learn!

The intensity of your instruction is a big factor in how well your child will learn to read. You can have the best O-G program on the planet, but if you don’t use it daily for a meaningful lesson length, then your child won’t make good progress.

Another major factor in how easily your child will learn to read is your child’s working memory strengths or deficits. Working memory problems make it more difficult for your child to remember your teaching. Cognitive Enhancement programs can improve memory issues, so they are highly recommended as a companion program when working on your child’s reading skills.

Intense, repetitive instruction is a big key for getting info into your child’s long-term memory.   Sometimes a child can require 300+ repetitions to retain the concepts he’s being taught. So, as I said earlier, teaching your child is repetitious, but it isn’t rocket science.

True Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs are based on teaching using all of the learning styles simultaneously. Some reading intervention programs only use one or two of learning styles. They may opt to use a single channel instead. Limiting the number of learning styles being used will eliminate at least one learning avenue. That is big issue if the learning style NOT being used happens to be your child’s best learning style!

Some reading intervention programs use a limited number of repetitions. They may have you teach your child the sound for the letter “b,” 10-20 times, but O-G methods require you to teach your child until your child learns the sound-letter combination. You may have to teach the combination 50, 100, or 300 times! (Hint, computer-based practice programs are GREAT for getting in the needed number of repetitions.)

If you choose one of the reading intervention programs that does not address your child’s primary learning style, your child will not learn from the program.  Reading intervention programs aren’t true Orton-Gillingham programs if they don’t provide instruction through each learning style. The program must includeauditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile elements. An example of this would be saying the sound of a letter out loud, while tracing the letter with a finger in a pan coated with liquid soap.

In my opinion, the best way to teach your child is to determine your child’s primary learning style(s) first. Then use ALL of the learning styles for teaching your child while using your child’s primary learning style most often.

No matter which of the reading intervention programs you use, you’ll have to provide *intense* repetition for your child. If you use ALL of the learning styles in your repetition, it can make teaching and learning more fun!

reading intervention programs

By changing activities every few minutes and presenting the phonemes in different ways, you will be able to keep your child engaged in your lessons for the necessary length of time.  Daily reading instruction is needed. A minimum of 40-60 minutes of one-on-one instruction per day is required to overcome any measurable level of dyslexia.

No matter which of the O-G reading intervention programs you choose, the program will start with the most basic aspects of reading instruction. You will begin by teaching your child to recognize the phonemes in both auditory and spoken forms. Once your child masters both hearing and speaking the phonemes, then his new phonemic awareness skills can be applied to printed text.

You also need to know that reading is primarily an AUDITORY activity. Many people think reading is “visual learning” because it is printed on a page, but the processing of the words being read happens in the language center of the brain. Fluent readers “say” words in their brains as they read. Brain scans, called fMRIs, show the language center of the brain is activated during reading. This is why deaf children typically have more difficulty learning to read, and blind people have less difficulty learning to read using braille.

It is not a piece of cake to teach your child how to read using one of the Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs. It takes time and a combination of programs. I combined about six reading intervention programs when I taught my sons to read.

I also took an Orton-Gillingham training course to be sure I covered all of my bases. Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs have been shown in numerous studies (over decades) to be effective for most children with dyslexia. If you can afford the training, I highly recommend it.

Are Reading Intervention Programs Necessary?

It’s important for you to know the following breakdown of reading disabilities:

  • 60% of kids learn to read with “standard” instruction (phonics or whole language – doesn’t matter – these kids will likely learn to read given any reading instruction at all).
  • 40% of kids struggle and need specific, detailed instruction in how to read.
  • Of those 40% who initially struggle, 10-15% will have significant difficulty learning to read. They require intense, specific, sequential, multi-sensory instruction (an Orton-Gillingham reading intervention program) to learn to read.
  • There are approximately 3% of children who will be unable to learn to read. Their IQs may actually be below average, not just pulled down to below average because of specific learning disabilities. Some kids have low IQ’s, but their IQ scores go up as they receive proper instruction.

Using one of the proven reading intervention programs with your dyslexic child can help your child become educationally successful!
reading intervention programs