Jul 102014

14 PROVEN Orton Gillingham Reading Program Choices

When your child is falling behind in reading, you don’t want to mess around with ineffective reading programs. While there are MANY great reading programs on the market, many are NOT effective for kids with dyslexia. For kids with true dyslexia, an orton gillingham reading program is often the best type of program.

Whether your child has true dyslexia or not, Orton Gillingham reading programs for dyslexia are a great choice. The programs listed below are proven dyslexia programs. They are proven by research to be effective for teaching reading to kids who are diagnosed with dyslexia.

Insights about Choosing Orton Gillingham Reading Programs

Whether or not a specific Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia will work for YOUR child depends on your child’s individual learning needs. Therefore, it’s good if you can pay attention to the specifics of each program. Notice what types of activities each program uses for teaching reading.

Each Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia is a little bit different in its teaching focus. If you know your child’s learning style  before choosing an Orton Gillingham Reading Program, you can choose a reading program that teaches the way your child learns EASIEST.

If you pick a program that matches your child’s learning style, and that makes learning easier, then you won’t have to repeat teaching as many times before your child learns to read. Your child will also enjoy the lessons more (or at least, hate them less 😉 ).

Reading “The Dyslexia Help Handbook for ParentsDyslexia Help Handbook for Parents book dyslexic dyslexie books” before purchasing any Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia can help you chose the right program for your child. It could save you money if it prevents you from buying even one Orton Gillingham reading program that isn’t right for YOUR child. 😉

What Orton Gillingham Reading Programs Teach

Orton Gillingham reading program choices teach phonemic awareness through explicit, direct instruction. Effective instruction for overcoming dyslexia begins with the most basic elements, which are the phonemes.

Proven Orton Gillingham reading programs for dyslexia cover every reading detail. The Orton Gillingham Reading method is specific, sequential, and multi-sensory.

Reading about the Orton-Gillingham methodology and other Orton-Gillingham reading programs can help you better understand the O-G method, which are the heart of most dyslexia programs.  Be aware, no single Orton Gillingham reading program is the “best” for teaching every child who has dyslexia.

Learning Styles and Orton Gillingham Reading Programs

To help your child, it helps a lot to know your child’s individual learning preferences and needs. Then pick an Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia that matches your child’s learning style.

orton gillingham reading programorton gillingham reading program

For example, if your child is a kinesthetic or tactile learner, pick an Orton Gillingham reading program that uses a lot of air writing, finger tracing, or other active ways of practicing.  If your child is a visual learner, having colorful imagery included in the teaching materials helps.

If you have the money, and are willing to teach your own child, you can use a scripted Orton Gillingham reading program listed below. These programs have comprehensive and heavily explained insructions. They help parents teach own their kids by following the instructions.

These Orton Gillingham Reading Programs are often used in schools. They are a bit more expensive than programs listed on our Reading Remediation at Home page, but these are proven programs that work for many kids.

Choices For A Scripted, Proven, Orton Gillingham Reading Program for Dyslexia:

The ABeCeDarian Reading Program

This Orton Gillingham reading program is popular among homeschooling moms. It is less expensive than many of the programs. Several learning abled kids’ moms have had great outcomes with ABeCeDarian. They find this Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia easy to use. It has provided great progress for their kids.

All About Reading

All About Reading and All About Spelling

These are cost-effective, easy to follow Orton Gillingham reading programs. AAR and AAS tell you what to do and when to do it. The program also tells you what to say as you’re teaching. Again, these programs are favorites among learning abled kids’ moms because they are easy to follow and cost effective. AAR and AAS combined will provide a top-notch Orton Gillingham reading program to help you teach your child to read.

Barton Reading

This Orton Gillingham Reading Program is somewhat expensive. Parents like it for its clear instructions and thorough reading instruction. It is one of the Learning Abled Kids’ moms’ favorites.  Barton provides great reading progress for most kids.  If you want an excellent Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia and can afford Barton, many parents love Barton.

The New Herman Reading Method

The “old” Herman program is the initial method used with our son. The Herman Reading program has been available for a number of years. Renee Herman was a great help to me in figuring out how and why our school’s reading resource program wasn’t working. This dyslexia program has lots of how to instruction to help you teach your child. This Orton Gillingham Reading Program is one of the better ones for a kinesthetic, tactile, or an active learner.


As described on the SPIRE page, is an Orton-Gillingham fellow’s program.  It has been tested and refined over a number of years.  SPIRE is more ideal for auditory learners than for active learners. This Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia has been modified over time to include the most recent research and best practices.

Wilson Reading

Wilson Reading is a tried and true classic Orton Gillingham Reading Program. It has been around for decades. The Wilson Reading program is used by a number of private schools for teaching children with dyslexia. The program is not as heavily scripted as some of the programs, so this program is a good choice if you’ve had Orton-Gillingham training.

**Saxon Phonics

Saxon is a strong, well-developed reading remediation program. It is also one of the less expensive Orton Gillingham Reading Programs. It includes all materials, teachers guides and student books. This program is a great value.
Saxon Phonics on Amazon.comorton gillingham reading program
Complete Saxon Phonics Intervention, Home Study Kit at ChristianBook.com
Buy Other Saxon Phonics Program products at ChristianBook.com
View Other Materials for Teaching A Child How-to Read at Christianbooks.com
View Reading Comprehension Resources at Christianbooks.com

**LiPS from Lindamood-Bell

LiPS is the same program used at Lindamood-Bell centers. It’s also in use by many private organizations that teach reading. You can order LiPS through Gander Publishing. The kit is expensive, but the program works with most children who struggle with phonemic awareness.

LiPS is a little complex to use. However, if you can read and understand the instructions, it is cheaper to do the program yourself. Having the program offered by the Lindamood-Bell Centers is extremely expensive. Not all children respond well to their parent as their teacher though. So, if your child needs a lot of phonemic awareness training, you may want to look for a provider.

Software-based Dyslexia Programs:

Research shows that the MOST EFFECTIVE way to teach a child with dyslexia to read is to use a direct teaching program (those listed above) and a computer-based practice program. By combining the two teaching methods, your child will have repetitive practice to help him master reading.

A child with true dyslexia requires 200 to 300, or more, repetitions of practice with each single phoneme. Therefore, it’s a rare parent or teacher who has the time and patience to repetitively teach each phoneme that many times. Using a computer program can give your child all of that practice. A computer is also infinitely patient! 🙂

The BEST time of day to use one of these practice programs is right before going to sleep at night. Why? Because research shows that your brain continues to process whatever happened right before bed. That means learning “sticks” better when you study right before sleep. If you have your child use an Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia right before bed each night, then phonemes continue to be stored in your child’s memory. That equals better learning.

Each Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia below is computer-based. Some of them are online, so you can use those programs anytime, anywhere. Others are loaded onto a computer via software download or a CD. Having a program you can practice anytime, anywhere can add flexibility to your child’s learning.

Proven Software-based Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia options:


Earobics is designed to teach a child with auditory processing issues. It helps the child “tune in” to key sounds in words and teaches phonemes in relation to print. It also builds concentration and the ability to attend to sounds within words. Some kids can’t “hear” the individual phonemes in a rules based program, so Earobics is a better place to begin for some kids.

**Fast ForWord Early Literacy

The Fast ForWord program, like Earobics, begins with Phonemic Awareness as a starting point. I’ve not seen nor used this program, but many people say it is excellent. It has a LOT of research behind it. Fast ForWord is one of the top computer-based choices.


This program focuses on basic concepts, Following Directions, Phonological Awareness, Auditory Memory, and Sequencing. HearBuilder has research that supports its effectiveness. They also have affordable pricing for HOME users. There is built-in progress reporting, so you don’t ever have to wonder whether your child is progressing through the program. The reports are also great for homeschoolers who have to provide evidence of their child’s work. This program is written for K-8th grade students. However, I think it’d be alright for a high school student who isn’t prone to complaining loudly. The graphics are not overly babyish, which is a complaint some older students have about other programs. Overall, HearBuilder would be a good practice program to use on a daily basis.

**Lexia Reading

Lexia is the program we used. HOWEVER–It has changed and now meets Common Core standards, and they also added TIMED exercises. The timed items are frustrating to kids with a slow processing speed. IF a neurologically slow processing speed is something your child has, this program isn’t likely to be your best fit.  Lexia has numerous different practice activities within 5 levels. The program is very thorough. It begins with basic vowel sounds, and progresses 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

“This is a multi-sensory reading, spelling and penmanship program. It builds associations between symbols and sounds in the English language. The program uses self-paced repetition. It uses the close association of visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements to improve kid’s language skills.” This program has computer-based and app-based practice. It is a great technology-based, multi-sensory dyslexia program.

Prolexia Ultra Phonics Tutor

This program is great for practicing handwriting and phonemic awareness together. Learning these skills together can help streamline your child’s educational day. Having a shorter day is a great benefit for both you and your child! That said, I HIGHLY recommend getting their “light pen” to use for practice. Using the pen-type of pointer will help your child develop handwriting skills more directly. If your child uses the mouse for the pointer device with the program, the writing skills will not transfer as well to pencil and paper.

You may also want to check out the Free Multisensory Reading and Dyslexia Programs online. Those programs are a good way to engage your child in extra reading practice. There are also great audio-visual or hands on programs you can use as dyslexia programs.  You may also want to check out:

Best Homeschool Curriculum for Kids with Dyslexia, ADHD, or other Learning Disabilities

Dec 022013

My oldest child’s reading level jumped 3+ grade levels, from a 10th grade equivalent to a 13+ grade equivalent (college level) during our third year of overcoming dyslexia through homeschooling. Here are the programs and instruction we used during our third year of homeschooling:

OUR THIRD YEAR Overcoming Dyslexia through Homeschooling:

We used Earobics daily throughout our summer following the second year as part of our “Power Hour”.

*Power Hour* is a means for us to spend one hour on academics each day of the summer. Having a “Power Hour” keeps the children’s skills from regressing, and helps them maintain or move forward a bit. The children were expected to work one page in a math book, read one chapter in any book of their choice, write one journal paragraph about what they read, and complete one lesson in Earobics. (The first year, Lexia’s S.O.S. was used as part of our Power Hour.)

For our third year of overcoming dyslexia through homeschooling, we engaged in a LOT of independent reading practice, and worked through the entirety of Earobics (started again at the beginning) and continued with the Megawords series. For our independent reading practice, we used Sonlight’s “World History” readers, which held my child’s attention quite well.

Summary of Overcoming Dyslexia Through Homeschooling:

If you’ve visited our program pages for each of our three years, it sounds like our program was a lot of work.  It was, but it has paid off handsomely. My children are now reading well above grade-level and doing excellently in their college-level studies.

For my child with significant dyslexia, reading is now one of his strongest subjects. He scored a 24 on the ACT when he was in the seventh grade, where the average for a high school graduate scores a 21. I couldn’t be more pleased! Mastering spelling to above grade-level was more difficult and I explain the best spelling methods elsewhere on this site (I need to find that link and post it here for you!) As a cautionary side note: Spelling often remains as a significant weakness.

This program I designed for my boys won’t work for everyone, and your child’s needs may be quite different. My child was diagnosed with “true dyslexia”, which is a lack of phonemic awareness and short-term memory deficits. He also has executive functioning disorder, as well as with Ocular Motor deficiencies.

At this point, although I continue to see some ‘short circuits’ from time-to-time, my son’s dyslexia has been eliminated as a factor in reading! By carefully considering your child’s individual diagnosis and needs, you can find success for your child too!

Best Wishes,

overcoming dyslexia through homeschooling

Nov 052013

One of the Benefits of Homeschooling is that it helps kids make BETTER academic progress.

Research shows that kids who are homeschooled have higher academic achievement than kids taught in virtually all public schools. This is equally true for kids with learning disabilities.


Answer: Smaller class sizes and perfectly tailored programs for your child’s individual needs.

We ALL Know research shows smaller class sizes equal better educational results. Research also shows one-on-one teaching keeps kids academically engaged–ESPECIALLY if the child has attention or focus difficulties.

Can you imagine how much more your child would learn if his teacher taught him one-on-one? What if the teacher paid attention to whether YOUR child was academically engaged with his learning? You CAN help your child stay on task at home. In a traditional classroom, your child can daydream unnoticed for long periods of time.

Instructionally, kids who struggle with learning can learn much BETTER when homeschooling includes perfect programs for the child’s needs. The freedom to pick PROVEN programs for your child is one of the great benefits of homeschooling.

YOU can choose to use PROVEN programs like these:

Proven Programs for Reading Disabilities (reading disabilities).
Engaging programs for Kids with ADHD or Dyslexia (audio-visual learning options).
Programs specifically designed for kids with dysgraphia (wriing disabilities).
Programs written specifically to help kids with dyscalculia (math disabilities).

When you choose great programs that are perfect for your child, and teach your child at home, your child can make BETTER educational progress. It’s a rare school (very rare) that can provide a more tailored education for your child’s individual needs than you can. 😉

The third of great benefits of homeschooling is learning in the “zone of proximal development.”

What in the world is the zone of proximal development?

It is your child’s PERFECT point of learning..
It’s learning that is not too fast, AND not too slow.
Learning is not too far ahead, and not leaving your child behind.

In public school, a teacher has a lesson plan and an agenda. She teaches Lesson A today and Lesson B tomorrow, and Lesson C the next day, and so on. What if your child didn’t understand Lesson A? Your child develops HOLES in his learning foundation!

For example, if the lesson is teaching the vowel sounds, what if your child doesn’t grasp the sound for the letters “a” and “e”? It’s a common problem for kids with dyslexia.

If the lessons move forward, teaching every letter sound, but your child hasn’t learned ALL of them, he’ll have a difficult time with reading. If he doesn’t understand “a” and “e,” how will he read cat, hat, bed, and sled?

With the perfect zone of proximal development, you can teach your child the sound of “a” until he learns it. Then you can teach the sound of “e” until he learns it. You ONLY move ahead when your child learns the content so there are NO HOLES in his learning. Zero learning holes for your child is one of the GREATEST benefits of homeschooling when it comes to building a SOLID academic foundation.

Additionally, you can move ahead as SOON as your child masters the content. In a classroom, a teacher may spend more time teaching a concept than your child needs, so he has to sit through boring repetition when he “gets it already.”

In other words, the zone of proximal development means YOU can always teach your child at his perfect point of learning. You can teach him at that perfect point of learning in EACH subject. Your child can zoom ahead in one subject (like science or math) even if he is struggling with another subject (like reading or writing). This means your child WILL be ahead of where he’d be if you leave him in public school.

Have doubts about the benefits of homeschooling?

Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling Your Learning Abled KidBenefits of HomeschoolingDo you wonder what the realities of homeschooling are right down to whether you’ll end up screaming at your kids, or how in the world you’d be able to teach topics you barely know?

The primary purpose of “Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” is to help you decide whether homeschooling will work for you and your family. The book is written from the perspective of someone who never intended to homeschool her children. The fears she had are addressed one-by-one as she discusses the benefits of homeschooling she discovered along the way.

This book will help you understand the benefits of homeschooling a child with learning challenges and what it is *REALLY* like! I had a LOT of misconceptions before we began homeschooling. Those misconceptions had me shaking in my shoes at the thought of homeschooling. If only I had KNOWN the benefits of homeschooling a learning abled kids, I would have taken the leap SOONER.

The vast majority of my thoughts about homeschooling turned out to be quite wrong though. I was totally oblivious about most of the benefits of homeschooling.

I know there are other parents like me and you. Many of us think about homeschooling, but we have significant doubts about our ability to provide effective instruction. We have doubts about personal coping skills (patience, organization, etc). We also have doubts about whether homeschooling is the best thing for our child(ren) or not.

My fears were all based on ignorance. If I knew the benefits of homeschooling in the beginning, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time in a fearful state of indecision! I hope to help you be better informed about the benefits of homeschooling and realities you’ll face with homeschooling through my book.

What this book WILL tell you..

Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling provides insights into how homeschooling and the homeschooling community really work. The book will help you understand why homeschooling parents seem so patient and saintly. If you’re like me, you think it must take a saint to homeschool, but I knew I was no saint. Surprisingly, patience and diligence came WITH homeschooling. That was one of the many surprising benefits of homeschooling I discovered.

Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” will explain to you the dynamics of homeschooling that make it so your child is more willing, ready, and able to learn. Automatically have less stress, and why you are likely to be more patient than you expected, are a couple more benefits of homeschooling that are explained in the book.

“Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” will also explain how you can teach your child ANYthing, even if you don’t know it yourself. There are all kinds of options and opportunities available to homeschoolers. And you’ll learn the research-based reason why you are likely to have more success teaching your child than a teacher in public school who holds a Master’s Degree. You wouldn’t expect that, but it is one of the research proven benefits of homeschooling.

Read Reviews of “Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” left by other readers and notes readers have highlighted as important pieces of information in the book.

What this book will NOT tell you..

Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” will explain the specifics of how to get started homeschooling. It will tell you precisely how to find the rules for your state.

This book will not give you a list of specific groups that you can join, but it will explain how you can *find* those groups and connect with other homeschoolers in your area.

Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” will not tell you specifically which curriculum you should use, how to structure your school day, explain lesson planning, or other details of actual homeschooling. The book is mostly about the unexpected benefits of homeschooling with a heavy dose of encouragement included based upon personal experience.

The Next Step Towards Homeschooling Your Learning Abled Kid

If you decide you need more detailed information about the benefits of homeschooling, then your next resource should be signing up for the Learning Abled Kids’ “Getting Started Homeschooling” newsletter series. I’ll send you a series of emails that will step you through the process of getting started homeschooling your child.

If you want to connect with moms who can share first-hand the benefits of homeschooling, then you can join the Learning Abled Kids’ Facebook group or our Learning Abled Kids’ Yahoo! Group.


Oct 012013

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Funnix Beginning Reading and Funnix 2 Program

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Math Missions: The Amazing Arcade Adventure – Grades 3-5

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Manic Math is a crazy-fun collection of high-quality, highly-entertaining Math games that will have your kids hooked and learning Math without them realizing it.  A crazy-fun collection of high quality, highly entertaining games that will have your kids hooked and learning Math without even realising it!

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Aug 222013

Is Homeschooling and Socialization a Problem?

The underlying tone of many of the NCLD FAQs would lead you to believe you’ll be cheating your child of a proper education or socialization if you homeschool. Nothing could be further than the truth! Homeschooling and Socialization go hand-in-hand to create GREAT educational outcomes for Learning Abled Kids.

The NCLD’s question: “Will home schooling deny my child the full range of social interactions and experiences with peers and adults that is so important to the development of a well-balanced personality?”

The NCLD question implies that a child is at risk of not having a well-balanced personality if you homeschool. However, there are many issues and problems in public schools that demean a child and lower the child’s self-esteem. In fact, socialization fraught with bullying, low educational expectations, etc. can harm a child, as we experienced first-hand (read our story).

The NCLD is doing the public a disservice by propagating the myth of social issues among children who are homeschooled.

What does the research show about Homeschooling and Socialization?

Research shows “home-educated children, whether thinking passive or aggressive thoughts, were more able to control their emotions and act in a socially acceptable way than the schoolchildren who: ‘had a tendency to act on their feelings, not their understandings.'” (Romanowski, M H. (2006) Revisiting the Common Myths about Homeschooling. Clearing House. Vol. 79 Issue 3, p125-129. 5p.  Accessed at http://ehis.ebscohost.com/eds/detail?vid=2&…)

This same research article by Romanowski says, “Despite an intuitive feeling that home educated children are likely to be lacking in social interaction and suffering academically, a growing body of research shows that home-educated children can excel academically and are generally socially competent.”

Your Learning Abled Kids’ BETTER Question About Homeschooling and Socialization:

What you should ask your self instead is: Am I able to provide opportunities for my child to experience social interactions with other children and people in the community on a regular basis?

Being homeschooled generally means the child is being taught in a loving environment by a parent who is passionate about both their child’s well-being and educational outcomes. As such, the parent wants what is best for her child and she will seek out social opportunities for her child.

Doing so is quite easy these days with homeschooling being more common and more widely accepted. A parent who wants to involve her child in social activities need only go as far as the nearest Internet access to search for “homeschool ” or “homeschool ” or “homeschool ” to find organizations, learning co-ops, and activities for her child.

Given the close parental supervision of homeschooled children while on social outings, a child who is homeschooled is much LESS likely to experience bullying, belittling, and suffer from low self-esteem brought on by the cruelty of loosely supervised bullies in school. The kind of socialization received in public school, particularly by children who are ‘different’ in any way or who have learning disabilities, is by no means universally positive.

In fact, my experience shows that ‘socialization’ as it takes place in public school is far more devastating to children with learning disabilities than Homeschooling Socialization. In fact, public school bullying decimated my son’s self-esteem, and slowly over time, his esteem was recovered through Homeschooling and Socialization opportunities where kids treated him with kindness and inclusion.

As is generally the case, the perceptions of educators and professionals who advise against homeschooling are SELDOM based upon any factual research but rather a simple, personal bias against homeschooling. Sadly, such is the case with this NCLD article about Homeschooling and Socialization.

Aug 012013

Learning About Learning Styles and Strategies for Teaching is Important for Your Child’s Success

There are four main learning styles and strategies according to the most popular learning styles model. The learning styles are auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic. Your child will learn best through one or more of these learning channels. You can help your child become a successful learner by teaching him through his primary learning style(s).

When you see programs say they are “Multi-sensory”, that means the instruction utilizes all of the learning styles and strategies for teaching in each lesson. Also, Multisensory teaching is of benefit to all children.

Auditory learning activities include reading, listening, hearing, etc. These are the learning styles and strategies used for teaching used in a typical school classroom.

At first you may confused because you may think, as I initially did, that reading is solely a visual activity. Reading is an auditory activity because it involves the language center of the brain and language processing skills. They are both auditory in nature. When you read, you “hear” the words.

If you suspect your child might have dyslexia, you should know our neuropsychologist told us “Not all visual learners have dyslexia, but children with dyslexia are visual learners.” Thus, a child with dyslexia will do better with visual teaching tools rather than learning through lecture, reading, and writing. SO, if your child has dyslexia, considering his learning styles and strategies for teaching him will be important for learning.

Children with dyslexia take in information through watching – videos, movies, plays, demonstrations, etc. They pick up TONS of information from their daily environment. Because of their visual learning style, children with dyslexia often enter school as BRIGHT, gifted kids, eager learners, but soon get labeled otherwise because they are now being taught through their weakest learning path. If you have a child who has “true dyslexia”, then you will want to seek out instruction that primarily teaches towards the visual learning style. Most children have a primary learning style, and a secondary style. Instruction will be most effective if it includes all learning channels, but must include the child’s primary learning style if it is going to be effective instruction.

Manipulatives are excellent for kids with a kinesthetic learning style, tactile learning style, and visual learners. The manipulatives are visual, hands-on and moving. They would not be as effective for a child with visual processing difficulties though. If your child has any of these learning styles and strategies for teaching with manipulatives is something you can do, go for it! They will probably help your child learn more easily.

A child with visual processing problems would learn more effectively from the auditory and kinesthetic learning channels. For children with auditory processing problems, the visual and kinesthetic channels are most critical for content learning. A child with significantly impaired movement might find kinesthetic learning activitiess the most difficult to use.

The key is to know what learning styles and strategies for teaching are most useful to your child. Then teach towards your child’s preferred learning styles.

Most children can learn to some degree through each of the channels.  If your child is taught through all channels, he will have maximized learning because what your child doesn’t get from his main learning style, he may get from another.

Thus, the most effective instructional method for teaching *ALL* children is multi-sensory instruction.  If you’d like to know more about developing multi-sensory lessons for your child, please visit our Free Multisensory Instruction Training.

Whatever your child’s learning styles and strategies for teaching you use, computer software can serve most children well. Using computers for educational practice drills is proven by research to be an effective reinforcement to learning.

Many companies are making learning fun, interactive, both visual and auditory, and providing robust computer solutions for learning. Using computer software can be an excellent way for children with an auditory or visual learning style to learn any topic. My main source for Educational Software is Amazon. They have a huge variety of programs available, including educational apps, so you’re likely to be able to find some program that meets your needs in Amazon’s Educational Software section.

Additionally, you might want to consider learning posters as a way to provide good visuals for your child. Good colorful posters of processes, cycles, categories, etc. can be worth a thousand words to a visual learner. The Learning Abled Kids Educational Posters for Learning store has a huge collection of educational posters. You can check out the variety at our educational poster store.

The easiest online tools to use in determining learning styles are Abiator’s Online Learning Styles Test 1 and Test 2. I LOVE these tests because the questions are relatively easy to answer, the scoring is automatic, and the results also give tips for the specific learning style. The tips are great for helping you teach your child.

Another tool I like is the Memletics Learning Style Inventory which asks a series of questions, then scores the results, and indicates your dominant and secondary styles. This inventory uses seven learning styles: Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social, and a Solitary learning style. While the styles vary from the widely accepted four styles, this inventory’s additional segmentation provides a more in depth profile.

A simple online version is the Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic tool developed specifically for assessing learning styles in high school students. You can utilize the questionaire, including the scoring guide, at this link for the VARK Questionaire for Younger People. VARK also has other tools for assessing learning styles that you may find helpful.

Determine your child’s learning style, then teach towards your child’s specific learning style strengths. The table below provides you with ideas for teaching to each of the primary learning styles. Many times a child will have overlapping styles and many of the activities apply to more than one learning style.

Read Aloud Books
Panel Discussions
Informal Discussions
Lectures & Speeches
Books on Tape
Radio Broadcasts
Music & Songs
Movies & Videos
Maps, Charts, Graphs
Field Trips
Computer Software
Models & Dioramas
Math Manipulatives
Letter Tiles, Scrabble
Computer Software
Arts & Crafts
Hands-On practice
Field Trips
Arts & Crafts
Clay modeling
Math Manipulatives
Computer Software

Jul 312013
weather science

Whether your child loves learning about weather or you want your child to study weather science, I hope your child will love these sites. Exploring weather science through these sites can teach your child about weather in a fun, interactive way.

The sites below are ideal for auditory, visual, or audio-visual learners. However, the interactive sites should also work well for kids who are tactile learners.

Weather Science Sites for Kids to Explore:

EPA’s Global Warming Kids weather science site – Climate and the greenhouse effect are the main topics covered by this EPA site. Vocabulary pop-ups and pronunciation guides are great additions for teaching your child weather words. They will let your child accurately learn about weather concepts. Drawings will help your child if he is a visual learner. Animations are available too, but require that you have a Macromedia Flash Player on your computer.

Miami Museum of Science’s Hurricane: Storm Science – Hurricanes and killer storms are covered through interactive images. This weather science site provides online activities that will interest most elementary and middle school kids. The text is geared towards upper elementary or middle school. However, it will be enjoyed by almost any age child who wants to learn about storms. Check out their information on making a weather station too!

National Hurricane Center for Kids – The first link here provides great information for elementary aged children. However, the National Hurricane Center website also contains educational information for every level of learner. For more advanced weather science information for your older child, check out the items under the menu option “Learn About Hurricanes” on the main Hurricane Center website.

NOAA Education Weather – This site has a resource section for teachers. It also has tons of content for kids. This site has information about all forms of weather. It also has free resources that can be ordered or downloaded, and content at a variety of levels. The NOAA offers a “Weather School“. It also offers a “Storm Watch Center” which will help your child understand weather prediction.

The Weather Channel’s weather science blog – This blog website has all kinds of videos, photos, and articles about a wide variety of weather topics. Since it is a blog, the site is most suitable for undirected, exploration learning. The topics are not presented in any particular order, but it’s fun to look through the article topics and look at the ones of interest. I like “8 Weird Things That Have Shown Up on Radar“!

Jul 312013

Venomous Marine Animals Lesson Plan

venomous marine animals

1) Purpose:

Students will learn about venomous marine animals, the nature of venom, and the treatment of envenomation.

Students will conduct an experiment to learn / demonstrate how proteins such as venoms can be denatured and will explore venomous creatures through research and reporting.

2) Venomous Marine Animals Science Goal(s)

Students will be able to name at least six venomous marine animals, with at least three being sea creatures, and will be able to name the animal habitats and geographical locations.

Students will be able to define coagulate, denatured, envenom, protein, toxicologist, venom.

Students will be able to explain what happens when heat is applied to envenomated victims and why we would want to apply the heat treatment.

3) Venomous Marine Animals Science Lesson Objectives:

Students will successfully perform egg activity.

Students will look up and write down definitions for given vocabulary words.

Students will participate in classroom discussions.

Students will complete worksheets and specify an animal to research.

Students will write a two+ page report on the venomous animal they researched.

Students will present a short oral synopsis of the animal they are reporting on.

Students will participate in treatment planning (through extension student reports & group activity).

4) Target Audience:

High school level Biology class.

5) Materials and Resources:

  • raw eggs – one for each pair of students
  • bowls or glass beakers – one for each pair of students
  • table
  • spoons – one for each pair of students
  • heated water
  • compresses – one for each student
  • dictionary access
  • Computer Internet access and/or Library/Research time
  • Worksheets

6) Venomous Marine Animals Science Anticipatory Set:

Write in LARGE, colorful letters on the board:  jellyfish with tentacles + hot liquid = ?  

The answer students will learn: “denatured venom”

7) Venomous Marine Animals Science Lesson:

Step-by-step instructions for teaching Venomous Marine Animals Science lesson.
a. Explain:
Toxicologists report that venoms represent some of the most complex chemical compounds in nature. There are many fish species with spines capable of injecting venom. This ability is nearly always a protective mechanism, but is occasionally used for incapacitating prey. The spines may be concealed, as in the stonefish, or displayed, as in the lionfish, as a warning to predators. Many venoms are actually proteins and as such can be denatured through special techniques including heat treatment.

b. Show the film: Secrets of the Ocean Realm episode “Venom!”, or create small groups to research venomous sea creatures on the Internet or in the library.  Have them recall geographical locations of these creatures.

c. Have students call out the venomous sea creatures they recall from the film or research.  Write these on the board.  Responses may be coral, jellyfish, sea urchins, lionfish, sting rays, or others.  Have them recall information about the ocean habitat for each creature listed (coral reef, ocean floor, tidal region, etc)

d.  Explain: There are ways to treat envenomation of a victim.  One way is through heat treatment.  You all are about to be envenomated by an egg!!  We must subsequently prepare our denaturing treatment!

e. Perform the experimental denaturing treatment activity.

f. Explain: Venomous animals are common among insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles.

There are no venomous birds, and only one venomous mammal-the duckbill platypus of Australia. (The latter has venom glands in its hind legs and delivers its venom by scratching with specially adapted claws.)

Explain that each student will choose an example from these groups to write a report on, to share with the class, and will have one week for library or other research.  Tell students to consider the potency of venoms, how the animals deliver them, what their purposes are, as well as information about the geographical location and habitat of the animal.

f. Hand out Venomous Marine Animals Science worksheets.

g. Explain to extension students they will become “team leaders” for an “Envenomation Rescue Group”. They will need to research alternative methods of treatment other than heat application and lead a rescue planning session with their group in two days.  Assign student groups with each “team leader”.  On the day of discussion, each group will discuss alternative treatment plans, decide which treatments they will use and why, and decide what course of treatment they would prefer if they were envenomated.

They will develop a presentation to be given on Friday. (Students may work on independent research and/or in their Envenomation Rescue Group as daily activities.)

8) Guided Practice:

Venomous Marine Animals Science Experimental procedure:

1. Have students break an egg into a bowl/beaker and remove the yolk using a table spoon. (Tilt the beaker in order to make removal easier).

2. Save the white in the beaker. This white, a protein compound, will be used to represent the venom of a marine animal.

3. Now, using volunteers from among the students, carefully pour the “venom” onto the backs of hands or arms. (These limbs are the ones most commonly envenomated during accidental contact with marine animals.)

4. After soaking the compresses in hot water (not scalding!) apply the hot compresses to the envenomated areas. After a few moments, remove the compresses and observe the results. What has happened to the “venom?” Is it now more readily removed from the limb?

Explain Venomous Marine Animals Science:
Most fish venoms, being proteins, are readily denatured by the application of heat. In much the same way the egg white solidifies when heated, venoms coagulate under heat treatment. This coagulation inhibits their circulation under the skin, in the case of punctures by spines or injections by fangs, and allows their ready removal in the case of surface stings such as delivered by jellyfish and corals.

9) Independent Practice:

Students will complete the provided worksheet and choose an example from among insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles to write a report on and to share with the class. They will have one week for library or other research.  Students must consider the potency of venoms, how the animals deliver them, what their purposes are, as well as report information about the geographical location and habitat of the animal.  Reports should be at least two full double-spaced, typed pages, font size 12.

10) Assessment of Learning:

Verify student mastery of content or measure student progress.


Point Value

Full participation in egg-speriment.


Worksheet completed and definitions for given vocabulary words.

Each vocabulary word 5 points: 30

Discussion question: 10

Participated in classroom discussions.


Two+ page report
on the venomous animal (30 pts)

Venom nature: 05

Venom purpose: 05

Habitat Info: 10

Venomous Marine Animals Geographical Location: 10

Presented a short oral synopsis of their animal.


Participate in treatment planning (through extension student reports & group activity).

10 Bonus

Total Points


Other Considerations for Venomous Marine Animals Science:

11. Venomous Marine Animals Science Subject connections: Geography (location), Reading (research), Writing (report), Public Speaking skills.

12. Venomous Marine Animals Science Accommodations:

Let students work in pairs on egg-speriment.

Have an assistant read research content to students or have books on tape available.

Provide a scribe to take dictation of students’ worksheet and report content.

13. Venomous Marine Animals Science Modifications:

Let students explore eggs – provide a large bowl and apron.  Practice

“gentle” egg handling, observing changes when pouring hot liquid in with the eggs, etc.

Let students look at or read basic books on sea creatures.

Provide students with pictures of sea creatures.  Teach them to identify the creatures.

14. Venomous Marine Animals Science Extensions:

Have students research articles regarding envenomation by marine animals at:

American Family Physician’s Poisoning, Envenomation, and Trauma from Marine Creatures (p.3-6).

eMedicine’s Echinoderm Envenomations Treatment.

Prepare comments regarding effective treatment choices other than heat therapy. 

Assign each extension student an “Envenomation Rescue Group” to lead. Have them lead their group in discussions regarding rescue choices. Have the group decide what course of treatment they would prefer if they were envenomated!

Jul 312013

The Water Cycle for Kids : Options for homeschool science

water cycle science kit

USGS Water Science for Schools – A complete guide for studying everything about water including the water cycle. From the chemical make-up of water, to rivers and streams, experiments, water supplies, and water usage, this site contains virtually everything your child will want to know about the water cycle and water supply on Earth.

BBC’s Rivers and Coasts – The water cycle, how rivers and coasts change, and the affect of rivers and coasts on the lives of people. There are printable worksheets and some animated graphics, but the site is primarily linear learning using a “next” feature to page through the informational content. This site is well-suited for elementary or middle school aged children to learn about the water cycle.

Environmental Protection Agency’s Ecosystems – site for kids to explore acid rain, watersheds, preservation, and protection of our natural resources. Additionally, there are links to other interactive sites for exploring ecosystems. While this site isn’t specifically about the water cycle, the information is primarily regarding the importance of clean water for man, animals, plants and the preservation of our world. Also check out the EPA’s water cycle animation.

Hydropower – Electricity from Moving Water – A website about energy resources, both renewable and non-renewable. Hydroelectric power is explained with graphics that help children see concepts. The explanations are thorough and reluctant readers will benefit by having the content read to them. This site will help your child why water and the water cycle is important for people in additional ways.

Tsunami Animations – Students interested in water phenomenon may also be interested in tsunamis or tidal waves. PBS’s Savage Earth animation contains text explaining how a shift in the earth’s plates can cause a tsunami. The Office of Naval Research’s Ocean in Motion animation explains how earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes can all cause large waves. The site provides in depth information about oceans and waves.