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Re: Helping 8 year old at home

Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:28 pm
by maizie
brady5 wrote:Following his assessment the Ed Phyc reported that my son "is experiencing specific learning difficulties of a dyslexic nature. These are in both the auditory and spacial domain. he has a weak short term memory and therefore struggles to retain a sequence of digits or letters with more than four elements in them." I understand the auditory problems as highlighted above and I understand the poor short term memory but I dont really understand the spacial domain.
I would understand problems in the spatial domain to mean that a child had poor awareness of the relationship 'in space' of one object to another. For instance, if asked to jump over a line s/he might start the jump much too early and land on the line, or start too late and be on the line before the jump starts. Or, if they had to catch a ball they would be unable to judge where it was most likely to finish its trajectory and hold out their hands in the wrong place. On paper, if they were given a circle and asked to place a cross in the centre they would place it to one side or another of the centre. Quite what this has to do with reading I am not sure, though I can see it could affect writing.
brady5 wrote:In foundation 2 he was taught Jolly Phonics but had a lot of trouble when it came to blending the sounds together.
Is he able to blend sounds now? Was there any emphasis on blending in the Easy Read programme?
brady5 wrote:Today he asked how to spell octopus. I asked him to breakup the sounds oc-to-pus, to which he replied oc-do-bus, although he can say octopus as a whole word quite clearly.
That is not too surprising as /t/ and /d/ are very close, one is 'voiced' and the other isn't; /p/ and /b/ are very close too. Is he generally able to distinguish between sounds, though? You clearly recognise that he needs to be able to identify separate sounds for spelling - is his hearing OK? I wonder if that is why the assessment said that he had difficulties in the auditory domain? Did the Easy Read programme do any work on hearing the individual 'sounds' in words? It is a trained skill which doesn't come naturally. If your son has hearing problems he may need to be thinking about the 'feel' of each sound and how he produces it (lip position, tongue position & airflow) in order to discriminate them.

Has the Easy Read programme introduced the 160ish common spellings for the 44 sounds? If you are not sure, have a look at this chart on the RRF home page which gives an overview of the 44 sounds and the most common ways of representing each of them.
brady5 wrote:He has done well on Easyread, but I do feel that he is not confident enough to read independantly from books
It would be helpful to know in what way he is not confident enough to read independently. Does he, for example, struggle to work out unfamiliar words?

I would thoroughly recommend the ARI books for reading practice and to extend his learning.

For spelling I have seen Apples & Pears (the companion to Dancing Bears) recommended.

If you feel able to answer my queries we may (because I hope a few more people are going to join in here!) be able to give you more specific help and advice.

Re: Helping 8 year old at home

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:13 pm
by maizie
brady5 wrote:At the level we are on now, one day he decodes the story through the picture charactors and the next day we read the same text with only the words. We can click on the word to display the charactors if my son has trouble sounding out.
Hmmm. I wonder if he is relying more on those characters for decoding than he is on letter/sound correspondence knowledge? It is my experience, with many children, that children are reluctant to read because they find it hard. And they usually find it hard because they really are not secure with their letter/sound correspondences so are not confident about decoding.

Right, these are what I was looking for, assessment sheets ... et%201.pdf

The above link links to a sheet with the common correspondences and exemplar words (so that it is easy to work out what the lettrs are representing even if you are not too sure yourself!) ... sounds.pdf

This is similar but with no exemplar words. To find out if he really does know the correspondences (rather than being reliant on the characters) ask him to give you the sound(s) for each letter or group of letters. If he struggles with this it will tell you which ones he needs to learn (without the characters!).

I'm afraid I am not expert on the physical production of speech, but you can get a fair way on common sense - experiment with each sound and note what you need to do to produce it. If you knew a tame Speech Therapist it would be a great help ;-)

When you are asking him to identify the sounds in a spoken word it is best to try and break the word into individual sounds; your 'octopus' would be o,c,t,o,p,u,s. If he actually says 'b' for 'p' you can either try to help him to pronounce the sound correctly, or you could say that, for him, the sound 'b' can be spelled with a 'p' sometimes!
brady5 wrote:Sometimes he will add sounds which are not there when he is trying to blend. B's and T's are the main culprit. I dont know why he does this.

Children very often do this when they are trying to memorise the sounds rather than reading them off the page. This might seem a bit difficult to understand. I'll try to explain. Some children sound out the word, then look away and try to blend the sounds from memory. This is not reliable as they don't always remember the sounds in the right order, and, they put sounds in which aren't there, or, they miss out sounds which should be there. There is no need for the sounds to be memorised, all the child has to do is read them, repeatedly if necessary, and blend while looking at the letters. You could try 'progressive blending', where the child builds up the word bit at a time e.g. 'happy', decode & blend the first 2 letters, 'ha', when that is secure, add the next sound, 'happ', when that is secure, add the next 'happy'. Less chance to add in or leave out sounds. Always get him to re-read the word once he has worked it out, it helps to get it into long term memory.

Re: Helping 8 year old at home

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:58 am
by maizie
brady5 wrote:I have worked through the sheet with the common correspondences and exemplar words. I first asked him to read the words and then asked him what the sounds were.
Aahh. The sheet with the exemplar words was for you! Never mind.

He needs to be able to respond to each grapheme (letter or group of letters) with all the sounds that the grapheme represents and to be able to run through those choices when he encounters a written word that looks unfamiliar.

Saying 'until' for 'unit' is a bit complicated because there are two things going on there:

1)If he had the sounds for the letter 'u' established as /y oo/(human) and /u/ (bun) he should have tried them both with the word 'unit'. I presume that 'unit' is in his speaking vocabulary, if it is he would have recognised it when he tried it with the /y oo/ sound.

2) The fact that he got most of the rest of the word wrong tells me that he was guessing it, not reading off the graphemes from left to right. I find that children do this quite a lot when they don't have the habit of sounding out and blending all through the word firmly established. Given what you have said about his early reading experiences I would suspect that the school was not rigorous about insisting that all words were sounded out and blended this way so he's developed a guessing habit. It is not too late to do anything about this, you just have to be tough with him for a while! One of your best weapons is covering up the word he is guessing and disclosing it grapheme by grapheme, so forcing him to decode it properly.

I was very impressed with the example of the passage he read. There's not much wrong if he can manage that, just needs some filling in of his gaps in phonic knowledge and lots of practice in decoding all through the word. ARI will be very helpful.

Re: Helping 8 year old at home

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:12 pm
by maizie
brady5 wrote:Maizie, I think I would be rubbish myself at responding to the grapheme without the exemplar words :oops:
That's why the crib sheet with the words on was for you, not him :lol:

You sound as though you are doing all the right things.

I'm not too convinced by the Easyread programme (I think it looks unnecessarily complex), but it has provided a structure for you and has obviously worked to a large extent.

Do keep us posted on how he progresses.