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  1. #1

    Default Just Reading or formal Curriculum?

    I have a newly 6 year old. He is reading at a guided reading level H. Can I just keep having him read, or do I need a curriculum? He also plays "Teach your Monster to Read" but I know that isn't a curriculum, just some practice. He just started the 3rd level. And how much does he need to read a day if we don't follow a formal curriculum?

  2. T4L In Forum Oct19
  3. #2

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    Im not sure what "guiding reading level H" is, but if youre doing well with just books, why change?

    And dont discount apps as "just play".... kids learn through play, and I know its my little ones ipad, not me or Hooked on Phonics, that has been teaching him to read.
    That kids do it without thinking of it as schoolwork is great.
    And you are reading with him, what is it that you worry about missing?
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3
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    My homeschool thoughts are - If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and it sounds like your kiddo is cranking along just fine. If it were my child I'd let them keep doing what you are doing now. I'd reevaluate in 6 months - is he making progress (no leaps and bounds necessary, just little baby step progress)?

    I personally think a phonics run through at some point is helpful, but no rush necessary. In my experience n=2, kids who are natural readers don't need an intensive program. Explode the Code might be something you want to look into when the time comes.

    I don't really have an answer for how long he should have to read a day. One thing we did was to have a family reading time when my kids were younger. We'd all pile on the couch with our books and read. They could read whatever they wanted, so often times there were picture books just to look at. It worked well because I was right there to answer any questions. I think we started at about 15 minutes a day. I also used to put DD in charge of reading signs everywhere we went. That worked well for her.

    Also like Alex's mom said computer games are learning. I'm convinced DD taught herself to read by playing on Starfall while I was working with her brother.
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsmom View Post
    Im not sure what "guiding reading level H" is, but if youre doing well with just books, why change?

    And dont discount apps as "just play".... kids learn through play, and I know its my little ones ipad, not me or Hooked on Phonics, that has been teaching him to read.
    That kids do it without thinking of it as schoolwork is great.
    And you are reading with him, what is it that you worry about missing?
    Guided reading is just a way to categorize the difficulty level of books, it's the system our local school district uses. Then you can gauge what books might be instructional level, vs easy. I find it helpful because library "easy readers" are all over the place. If it is too hard for him he gets frustrated very easily. I've got an app that I can scan the isbn number and if it has been leveled it tells me what level.

    He was doing the Hooked on Phonics app, but he hates the books that go with the 1st grade lessons. They are too long, hard, and pretty boring. I agree with him.

    You both are probably right about the games helping. He will stare at an iPad for hours at a time if I let him. (I don't).

  6. #5

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    I would worry less about pre-assigned reading levels and just read more with him. Leveled readers are generally very blah in content. Some say that they build up beginning readers' confidence, but they have destroyed it for my oldest daughter. For a long time, she would check if a book had 'Easy Reader", "Level 1" etc etc before even opening it.

    You can take any book he (or you) like and read it with him - he reads all the words he knows and you read the rest, or he reads a sentence/paragraph and you read one, or whatever works for you. Also, I often read a book aloud to my kids a few times, and then just left it for them to look at on their own. Worked like magic - they still remembered all of the harder words from the story, and the story, so they could re-read it by themselves.

    But I would worry about him getting frustrated with reading - might be a sign that he wants/needs help with his reading skills. Is he a perfectionist who wants to decode every single word? Or can he skip over to follow the story?

    Also, how is his writing and spelling? You can always catch up on some missed phonics instruction through spelling - the same skill, just approached from the other side.
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oksana View Post
    I would worry less about pre-assigned reading levels and just read more with him. Leveled readers are generally very blah in content. Some say that they build up beginning readers' confidence, but they have destroyed it for my oldest daughter. For a long time, she would check if a book had 'Easy Reader", "Level 1" etc etc before even opening it.

    You can take any book he (or you) like and read it with him - he reads all the words he knows and you read the rest, or he reads a sentence/paragraph and you read one, or whatever works for you. Also, I often read a book aloud to my kids a few times, and then just left it for them to look at on their own. Worked like magic - they still remembered all of the harder words from the story, and the story, so they could re-read it by themselves.

    But I would worry about him getting frustrated with reading - might be a sign that he wants/needs help with his reading skills. Is he a perfectionist who wants to decode every single word? Or can he skip over to follow the story?

    Also, how is his writing and spelling? You can always catch up on some missed phonics instruction through spelling - the same skill, just approached from the other side.
    If he doesn't know a word when he first looks at it, he really doesn't like to try to figure it out. He frequently can do it if he tries, but he is more likely to just say, "I don't know, can we put a bookmark?" instead of trying.
    If I encourage him to chunk it, or sound it out, 9/10 he figures it out, or I'll just tell him if he still doesn't know it. If there are too many of those on a page, my encouragement is not enough to keep him reading.

    His handwriting is terrible. I believe in the benefits of invented spelling, so we are holding off on regular spelling until later.

  8. #7

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    IMHO, kids need a curriculum until they're able to read a Frog and Toad style book (that's at level K) at the least and often until they can read a Magic Treehouse level chapter book (that's at M, more or less).

    In other words, I think you'll see better progress and build a better reader with a program.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
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  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    IMHO, kids need a curriculum until they're able to read a Frog and Toad style book (that's at level K) at the least and often until they can read a Magic Treehouse level chapter book (that's at M, more or less).

    In other words, I think you'll see better progress and build a better reader with a program.
    Do you think something along the lines of Reading Eggs or Time4Learning could work? He is resistant to "lessons" from mom, but the computer or iPad he LOVES. I did just try to do the free trial with Reading Eggs this morning, but he accidentally hit wrong answers when moving the mouse and the placement test put him at a too easy level and it was boring. I don't know how to change that.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamalump View Post
    Do you think something along the lines of Reading Eggs or Time4Learning could work? He is resistant to "lessons" from mom, but the computer or iPad he LOVES. I did just try to do the free trial with Reading Eggs this morning, but he accidentally hit wrong answers when moving the mouse and the placement test put him at a too easy level and it was boring. I don't know how to change that.
    I personally don't feel like computer based programs do as good a job, but many would disagree. I know a number of families that swore by Reading Eggs (I'm sure there's a way to fix that, but it's been so long since we used it that I wouldn't know). Obviously there are other resources, like Teach Your Monster, Starfall, ABC Mouse... I haven't seen any that are as thorough as an O-G style programs like All About Reading, Logic of English or even Explode the Code. But keeping the relationship solid is important too, and he's young and he's basically on grade level, so that's far from behind so it's not like it's time to buckle down and worry or anything. I think you should do what works for you guys right now. I mostly meant, I think most kids still need some sort of a systematic approach at this stage. But it can come later with a good phonics based spelling program to "sweep up" the knowledge. Honestly, I would say reading aloud is massively more important for future literacy than anything else you could be doing right now with phonics anyway.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
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  11. #10

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    I think you will get a more solid base, less guessing, and less "I don't know that word" if you use an actual curriculum. Logic of English or ALl About Reading- go at his pace, and don't be afraid to read anything. My kids don't normally like 'reader' books, so we use those anthologies from school (my MIL has 2 full 1st grade ones, she's a retired teacher), as well as other fun books (she has more than a normal library ), and we go to the library weekly.

    Of the apps we've tried, Reading eggs probably worked the most with phonics, but my DD didn't seem to really like it. We tried a 2 week sample, and my DD was around lesson 80-100-ish in her reading level on there. I think she found it boring and too repetitive. I also noticed that if I wasn't sitting with her, she would tend to just hit the buttons until she hit the right one. We've done TYMTR, and she liked it much better. It has the sight words (trickies), and does some phonics sounds, but I didn't hink it had enough real instruction and practice before moving on. Same for Starfall.
    Mom to 5 great kids~

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Just Reading or formal Curriculum?