View Full Version : Skipped the basics?

01-03-2012, 02:18 PM
My son appears to have "skipped" some basics and I'm not sure if I should fight his attitude about doing the "baby" work to cover them. He reads on a second grade level but doesn't know phonics rules or blends very well. Like what sound the "ea" sound in Bead makes for example. Or in a word such as hate there is an e on the end so the A says it's sound.

Is this something he'll pick up on over time or should I go back and work on these blends and rules with him to help him get better at sounding out words?

01-03-2012, 02:47 PM
My son had a really hard time learning the phonics rules. I try to just point things out when he gets to them, hoping he will pick it up over time. He reads about a year behind his age range, but it's still improving.

01-03-2012, 02:56 PM
Because of my dd's reading struggles, I'm a total taskmaster about reading. Just warning you ahead of time ;)

My ds learned to read with sight words. I know it works with some kids but here's the translation here: ds HATED HATED to read. He found it exhausting. He would mix up words while reading, so struggled horribly with comprehension. For us, I equated it to trying to hold two pictures in your mind at the same time: one of the word, one of what was going on in the story. FTR- ds read well ahead of grade level, so that certainly wasn't an issue.

I used Don Potter's page- there is a link there to blend phonics. Yep, he thought they were babyish as well, so we went through them as quickly as we could. His spelling is MUCH better now, he reads more easily and with more interest (still doesn't love it, but his comprehension is WORLD'S better). He's in fourth and doing a phonics workbook, too. No, he doesn't like it. But it is HELPING. Ds understood lots of phonics rules on his own, but some were a surprise to him (just because he could easily recognize boy-toy-joy-boil-oil-toil, didn't mean he realized the 'oy' sound was spelled o-y or o-i)

So if your child was mine, I would absolutely push it. I'd be understanding, but do it anyway. Sometimes the medicine tastes like crap, but there is a purpose for taking it.

Just my thoughts.

Don Potter (http://donpotter.net/ed.htm)
Blend Phonics Page (http://donpotter.net/Blend%20Phonics.htm)

01-03-2012, 03:43 PM
I'm with you. I often waiver between trying to make sure they get it all drilled and foundation laid and letting it be more organic. It's tough to know for sure. Like almost everything, I try to find some sort of middle ground.

01-03-2012, 04:22 PM
My dd is an excellent reader, but lousy speller (possibly lazy speller). I have her sitting in on the All About Spelling lessons with her brother (1st grade, not a great reader). Although I don't recall ever learning phonics (I am 50 and was in grammar school in the 60's), I am (and have always been) a great reader and speller.

I am definately in the camp that if your kid hates it, you risk turning him "off" from learning. How old is your son?

01-03-2012, 06:11 PM
My son is 5, he will be 6 in February. He's reading on a 2nd grade level at approximately 75-90 wpm but if he comes across a word he doesn't know he has to be told what it is unless it doesn't have any complex blends.

I think I will push a little on this. I am an excellent reader and always have been. Was reading Steven King in 6th grade because I was bored with the age appropriate reading stuff and my mom gave in. LOL. I am also a great speller. My husband is an avid reader as well but not so wonderful on the spelling. I don't want to turn him off to reading or learning by making him go back to the stuff that he views as "baby stuff" but I think it's important enough that he needs to get it.

I wonder what he would be capable of reading wise if his phonics was more up to speed!

PS-- I know he's 5 and still a baby but he's been 'stuck" at this same point for a while now. He learned his letters and numbers at 2. Sounds at 3. 100-200 sight words by 4. And reading on a 2nd grade level at 5 but we're still at a second grade level and I think part of that is the missing base. He taught himself to read essentially on Starfall but appears to have outgrown it.

Off to go check out that Don Potter link!

01-03-2012, 06:28 PM
If he's only 5, maybe you could try Starfall. I never taught my son to read at all, but he could read simple words at 3, and has been able to read Harry Potter-type stuff since he was 6. I never did phonics because it seemed irrelevant when he was in Grade One.

However, I overheard him telling a 6yo friend (who does not read yet) to go to starfall if you want to learn to read. He spelled it out for her and everything, because he really wanted to make sure she tried it. It was extremely cute.

I did use parts of a phonics program with my daughter, who read at a more "normal" time (age 6-7ish), but she is NOT the type to memorize rules for anything. At All. Ever. The program drove us both insane, so we dropped it. Now she can read extremely well, has great vocabulary, but her spelling is still weak.

01-03-2012, 06:34 PM
He's five. He's not "stuck," he's processing and organizing. Really. Let him be at the level he's at for awhile. Kids don't need to constantly progress at the same rate. For most kids, that would be impossible anyway.

01-03-2012, 08:10 PM
Yeah, they grow in spurts, development, learning, height - all of comes in spurts

01-03-2012, 11:03 PM
He's five. He's not "stuck," he's processing and organizing. Really. Let him be at the level he's at for awhile. Kids don't need to constantly progress at the same rate. For most kids, that would be impossible anyway.

I only say he's stuck because he's getting frustrated recently with his own inability not in that I expect him to move forward at a continuous rate. I figured he was just working on something else but he WANTS to read better and can't seem to get past this point if that makes sense? Maybe I'm not explaining it well.

01-04-2012, 02:09 AM
I know what you mean by stuck...

That being said..They sell phonics books up to grade 8. Get him a phonics program that doesn't have an age/grade printed or start him on grade 2 or something.
Also, just say the rules to him when he needs them yourself...."when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking"...."and E at the end makes the vowel long"...
Also, Evan Moor and American Education Company and many others sell Spelling books for preschool up to grade 8--again, get the first or second grade levels.

I have taught numerous children to read and I can tell you from experience that you must think of a triangle with Phonics/Spelling/Vocabulary working together--without them, regardless of age, children will inevitably hit a "wall" with their skills to read any further. I also wouldn't fret the method, either. I've taught poor children and rich children of different genders and races in four different cities and all the parents claimed their kids were this way or learned that way and ALL OF THEM were taught to read the exact same way in approximately the same period of time. Having taught my own child and other children that I am affectionate for--I can tell you the process is different (than a stranger's kid) due to expectation, distraction and other factors of the home. But the principles are the same.....

I would get spelling and phonics workbooks and call it his "vocabulary lessons"....if you get my drift. But, he's (nearly) six...he's not missing anything. Due to his lack of understanding how to learn other newer and bigger words....he's reading at the pace in which he can memorize words. I would bet money that the attitude comes from confusion and frustration. Since he can "read" and especially if he's been told he reads 'above level' and he's frustrated that he can't or that no one no longer wants to just tell him the words like he's accustomed. He's confused because he has to learn something he already knows--I mean, if he's been praised on being a great reader--why does he need to learn how to read, again? If I'm wrong, just ignore me..I've probably read too many psychology books, lol. But, it probably wouldn't hurt to tell him that now that he's in big kid school that he has do to "LANGUAGE ARTS" 2-3-4 days a week if pointing out that he's got an age 7 or 2nd grade at the top of the book doesn't give him the smiles.

BTW, I second TheWeedyRoad's excellent suggestion of Don Potter...especially if he's still recommending Alpha-Phonics.

01-04-2012, 04:27 AM
What about explode the code? They are cheap enough to try out (9 a book) and are working great for us. Some of the higher ones have more advanced sounds and it helps with spelling (lots of writing).

01-04-2012, 04:28 AM
(and you don't need the teachers guide) they are very much self-directed

01-04-2012, 01:38 PM
We are dealing with this same issue with 8 year old dd. She seems to have missed some math concepts, mostly drill stuff. It's causing a lot of drama. She also doesn't want to do "baby" work, but I don't see how else to make sure she gets this stuff. She also seems to have missed the boat on rhyming. She is terrible at it.

Oh and we found Hooked on Phonics to be a great asset to reading and learning all that phonics stuff.

01-05-2012, 11:56 AM
Progressive Phonics might help. Because they're designed for a parent and child to read together (though a kid with a good sight word vocabulary would probably be fine reading them alone), they're less stilted and contrived than purely phonetic readers.

http://www.tanglewoodeducation.com/bksrd.htm has a PDF "Really Reading" with a quick (20ish pages) overview of phonics.

For math, Khan Academy is aimed at older learners, and doesn't present in a babyish way, even on the earlier levels.