The Reading Dilemma

One of my biggest concerns when starting home school with my daughter was teaching her how to read.  It is the basic skill to be able to learn more and learn on your own.  I decided that I would register with an online school located in our town.  They gave me a lot of books and easy lesson plans (I eventually didn’t go back because I needed more flexibility in the curriculum).  My daughter did good in kindergarten, did really well in 1st grade, and has soared in 2nd grade.  Yet she is a typical developing kid.  How do I begin to teach reading to my son who has a speech delay and difficulty in articulating words.  Reading is based on being able to manipulate those sounds with your mouth.  So much fun!

My son knew his alphabet sounds using one of those Leap Frog fridge toys.  At first I decided to try to use the curriculum that I received from the online school.  It was too difficult for him to grasp.  The curriculum had the child identify the sounds in the beginning, middle, and end of words before actually teaching reading.  The lessons went on to identify a specific sound in one word out of three.  He was frustrated to tears and I was frustrated to tears.

I am blessed with a friend who is a teacher at a very small, classically based school.  She recommended the book Phonics Pathways.  It is one book.  No teacher’s guide and no worksheets.  The recommendation is to just start out 10 minutes per day.  Learn a page and go on.  Nice!  Sitting still is not a talent for my son.  We started off.  He was getting the concept.

Then some family members who had used Hooked on Phonics said that it would be great for my son.  I should try it out and they still had their curriculum.  So I stopped the Phonics Pathways and switched him over mid year.  It is a good program.  I wouldn’t say it was a great one.  They have the child learn sight words with music.  The words were 3 to a flash card.  The difficulty was that once the words were out-of-order in the books my son couldn’t recognize them.  Also they were really big sight words like “sometimes” and “review”.  Yah, that is going to go over well when a child has trouble even saying “six” clearly.  I gave it a 1 1/2 months before I called it quits.  My son did enjoy the musical way of learning but he wasn’t learning.  And the program jumps between easy and hard concepts instead of building up to the harder stuff.

Today was the first day that we are back to Phonics Pathways.  We jumped right into the book and my son did 4 pages in the span of 20 minutes.  He need a little help but I think that this is our book.  We will have to go through the summer to keep up his skills but it will be worth it to have my son reading and eventually talking more clearly.

I was able to get Phonics Pathways from my local library!  I am all for free resources when home schooling!


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