Language Arts: Reading Program
Have the child sound out words in which the decoding unit has been put in color. You can make your own word lists or use the ones I made from my Right Brain Phonics Reading Book and taught from in my resource room reading class. To make it easier for the child to remember the decoding unit I used phonics picture cards that I made that have the sound (au/aw) embedded on the picture that gives that sound (a picture of a saw). These cards are available in the store. Reading and actually sounding out lists of words in color is the most important part of this remedial program as reading directly out of a book does not get the words into their memory. Depending on the age and ability of the child, read as many lists as you can before his or her eyes glaze over or they start to make silly errors. This indicates to me that they are too tired to go on with the task. When presenting these phonics sounds in real words with a small class, or individually, I would have the child sound out the words on about three-to-four pages of the Right Brain Phonics Book. The next day, I would do the same thing with those four pages and then add a new page of sounds to work on. The next day, I would review the previous pages, possibly deleting one or two that are very easy now, and then add a new page. I followed this pattern for the week. As I consistently continued this pattern of working on sounds in a whole word all year, by the end of the year the children were reading words at the end of the book -- often much harder words than were being presented in their reading books. By the end of the year this reading program along with the daily brain integration exercises and once a week Brain Training sessions will very often yield a two-year increase in reading skills in one year. I have seen this happen many times during my many years teaching.
Remember that if the child sounds out a word incorrectly your comment is "could be." Then, bring out the picture phonics card of that sound for him or her to consider (or write it out larger) and put the hard part of the word in color. For example, if the syllable "jec" as in the word "objection" is very hard to get, then write out "jek", and have him or her sound that out. Then, change the "jek" to "jec" and have him or her say that. If he or she tries to guess at the words, take a card and only expose one syllable of the word at a time. If he or she is still guessing, then "back out of the word" by reading the last syllable first and going forward in the word. When all the syllables have been read independently, have him or her read it forward. After a child has read all the pieces of a word, have them say it as a whole word and talk about the meaning of the word (if it is not known). For example, the child will say "con spire." If they say "con spir" then say "could be..." and highlight the "e" and "i" in the same color. Remind them that the "Power Ranger E" has the power to make the vowel before it say his or her own alphabet name. Write "ire" separately and have him sound that out, then "back out" of the word and have him or her put the "p" in front of the sound of "ire." Then, have him or her put the "s" sound in front of the sound "pire." Now he or she can sound out the whole word and you can talk about the word’s meaning. This process of "backing out of a word" works extremely well for a child that is having trouble with blends (spr; gl), as is the case with auditory processing problems. Start at the back of the word and read the sounds forward: that way, the errant sounds that have "glued" in your child's head are actually deleted. When you don't give verbal cues but instead use pictures, color, and re-writing the hard part of a word on a large piece of paper you help the child build scaffolding for him to figure out a word. The child discovers the connections and then will have the necessary skills to apply that method to the other words he or she reads. This process of independence does not occur overnight but will absolutely occur if you are faithful not to give verbal clues, but rather visual ones. Remember that this child has an auditory processing problem and verbal cues do not stick: that is why the regular phonics programs have not worked for your child even though they work for other children. You will be rewarded with a look of satisfaction on the child's face when he or she has figured out the word by using these steps.
This process of reading words out of context with the decoding unit in color should take about 20 minutes of your daily remedial reading time (depending on the age of the child). Don’t skimp on this time: the accumulation of words in the child’s memory bank only occurs with consistent (daily) work on words.
Remember: the words in the Right Brain Phonics Reading Book are for reading only – not spelling.
Dictate about three-to-four words to the child from the list of words that he or she has read that day. For example, all short "o" words or all words with the "ar," "au," or "tion" sounds in them. Write whatever words you read in the word lists for that day in a notebook and date them -- you will see a big change by the end of the year. Your child will get a point for each word that is sounded out correctly; not necessarily spelled correctly by sight. Ignore the words that are written incorrectly. The points will add up to a predetermined reward; give the reward right after the exercise. For example, three points could equal three less math problems that day, fifteen minutes on a computer game, or a quarter. Remember that this process is very difficult for a child with an auditory processing problem so an immediate reward is very helpful at first to help the child give forth his or her best effort.
As this becomes easier, increase the number of words dictated. When you reach multi-syllable words, have the child first clap the syllables and then make lines to indicate the number of syllables he or she hears in the word. Next, have the child write the syllables on the lines. Remember that "ir,” “ur,” and “er" sound the same and will be a correctly sounded-out word no matter what the actual spelling is. We are not ignoring spelling in the whole school day: we'll take care of the correct spelling using our visual method later on. This daily dictation process is just to help a child with an auditory processing problem learn how to hear individual sounds and sequence them in a word, not necessarily to learn spelling since the majority of the words in the English language are not spelled phonetically (if you haven't noticed). Don’t be discouraged if this process is harder than the reading because it typically is and takes months to see even the slightest progress -- but, the progress will come as you do three-to-six words like this daily.
If the child or group of children you are working with are beginning readers then you will need to teach Sight Words in a way that will actually stick. This means that we will have to use something other than black and white words and repetition: this didn’t work before, so it won’t work now, especially when we are trying to make a two-year growth for this child in one year. The key here is to superimpose the name of the word onto the word. For example, the word “city” could have cars and trucks going around the letter “c” and the “t” have a tall building drawn onto it. The “y” could be a bridge with cars going across it. This is all done on a card in rich color. After the child takes a picture of the word with the name imprinted on it in picture form, you can then present the word in black and white. They will see/visualize in their mind’s eye the picture that gives them the name of the word. This is a very effective method even though it is much more involved than what we have taught before. You can start with the list of the most commonly-used sight words if a child is a non-reader or you can choose the sight words from the reader they are presently in (would, laugh, friend, etc.). I have made 36 of the beginning sight words in picture form like this and these cards can be purchased on my website. Many times I have worked with a child who could not read one word, but at the end of a one hour session he or she could read at least eleven words by using this pictorial method.
I would quickly peruse the reading passage and then make a list of all the difficult/tricky words in the reading passage. Write these words on a large piece of paper then read the words together and review them quickly before the child is about to read. This way, the child will have fewer interruptions in the oral reading process and will “sound smart” to him or herself. If the child hesitates with a word while reading, you can casually point it out to him or her on the paper. If the child still doesn’t get it, then tell it to him or her. Put the list of tricky words you have made on a “Word Wall” and practice reading them every day. By the end of the week, you will have about five lists on the wall. By this time, the child knows most of them well. For the ones that still aren’t sticking, you will need to put some more “Velcro” on – in terms of a picture or more color – that will help him or her remember the word.
You are now effectively depositing words in the child’s word bank in a way that will stick, which enables him or her to become a capable reader.
We want to view oral reading as a piano recital. The audience is the child, as he constantly assesses how he sounds when he reads. A piano piece is practiced many times before a recital, so the words in a passage to be read will be practiced in isolation before the reading. I would quickly peruse the reading passage,and then make a list of all the difficult or “tricky” words in the reading passage. Write these words on a large piece of paper. Then, read the words together and review them quickly before the child is about to read. This way the child will have fewer interruptions in the oral reading process and will “sound smart” to himself. If the child hesitates with a word while reading, you can casually point it out to him on the paper. If he still doesn’t get it, then tell it to him. Put the list of tricky words you have made on a “Word Wall,” and practice reading them every day. By the end of the week, you will have about five lists on the wall. By this time, the child knows most of them well. For the ones that still aren’t sticking, you will need to put some more “velcro” on, in terms of a picture or more color, that will help him remember the word. You are effectively depositing words in the child’s Word Bank in a way that will stick, which enables him to become a capable reader.
Because these children are all experiencing auditory processing problems that make the learning of sight words difficult for them, we can make much greater progress by teaching them from a phonetically-based reader that has as few sight words as possible. When a child reads a book with many sight words, he or she will either try to sound out all of the sight word, have you tell him or her the problematic word, or just guess at the word – this is a very defeating way to read. A careful choice of which reader your child is using makes a huge difference for a struggling reader. Choose a reader that has very few of these stumbling block words at first to help the child feel independent and successful in reading.
The most success I have had in teaching dyslexic children (and other struggling readers) is by using the Merrill Readers by McGraw/Hill’s SRA department. These readers have the fewest sight words in them of any reading program I have seen in my 30+ years of working with bright, struggling readers. By using the Merrill Readers, the child can sound out just about every word in the book. It has no pictures to help the child guess, nor does the book move along too fast into introducing many words, especially sight words, as almost all other reading programs do. These readers only remediate reading through the third grade level. My experience has been that after they can read at this third grade level, I can use any good basal reader (a reader that has controlled vocabulary). You can order these books by calling 1-888-SRA-4543, online at www.sraonline.com or www.pafprogram.com/merrill (1st-3rd grade only). You can get them used at a much reduced price at www.biblio.com, www.amazon.com, or www.vegsource.com/homeschool, or even on eBay.
The first reader, which is designed for the non-reading child, is I CAN. In this book, only the short sound of "a" is in the stories along with a bare minimum of sight words. The stories are simple (The cat sat on the mat.) but very rewarding for the child to be able to read a whole book semi-independently.
The second book is DIG IN. This book uses the now-familiar short "a" words and adds the short "i" words. The whole book contains stories using only these two vowel sounds (no blends, no long vowel sounds, and about six sight words) so the child is not pushed too fast and continues to build on success.
The next readers are CATCH ON, GET SET, STEP UP, LIFT OFF, TAKE FLIGHT, and BREAKTHROUGH. The Skills Books are consumable and give extra practice in working with the same words that were in the readers. This remedial program is always done along with the Right Brain Phonics Reading Practice Book, where the phonemes and decoding units are in color. Use the Right Brain Phonics Cards to help them remember the vowel sounds.
To order the Merrill Readers online at $4-5 a book (used), it is most helpful to use the ISBN numbers:
Search online for the ISBN numbers and an assortment of choices to purchase used Merrill Readers should present themselves to you.
These remedial books are only from first through third grade. After the student has mastered third grade books, he or she can then read books from any other publisher because he or she will have a large base of words that are already known. Read a page or short story in this book two or three times a week at first (not the same story) while they are learning many words from the Right Brain Phonics Reading Program. After a while, the child can read from the book everyday. Remember: with these great kids you cannot teach reading effectively from a book as they have already developed a dislike and distrust of books. Teach the words first, from lists. After they are successful in this, have them read them out of a book. Before they read a story, be sure that you have pulled out all the "hard words" that you think they will struggle with and write them on a paper. Read these words first; then, when the child reads them in a book, he or she will "sound smart." Think of reading out of a book as a "Piano Recital" as I mentioned before: we want to prepare them to sound good -- to themselves, most importantly -- because they have made negative assumptions about themselves and their reading skills that we want to prove wrong. This is a great adventure in teaching and you will enjoy it as you see your child's confidence grow.
Teach the sight words in the Merrill Readers as spelling words by jazzing them up with color and picture and putting them up high for the child to take pictures of the word. These sight words have already been made with the meaning imbedded on the word if you don’t want to make them yourselves. You can order them from my store. You’ll find that the words are so rich in color, picture, and story that not only will the child remember how to read them but spelling them will be easy because they stick in a child’s photographic memory.
If your child has a reading problem or mild dyslexia he or she may be able to use the readers from www.gophonics.com. These books introduce sight words and phonemes faster than the Merrill Readers but the stories are more interesting. You do not need to order the Phonics Games, Workbooks, or Teacher editions: all you need is the reader. Follow the plan that is outlined here with the Pre-Reading, etc.
This exercise is only to be done if the child needs it.
If the child you are working with can read a passage well but does not remember what has been read then it would be very helpful to do this exercise with the child. Spend five-to-ten minutes each day to train the child to “convert words to pictures,” which is what reading comprehension is all about. Have the child sit facing you with his or her eyes in an upward position, ready to make a “movie” or “pictures” of a reading passage in his or her head. Read a short, descriptive passage and stop after each sentence. Inquire about the picture the child has made. Make sure the child includes the colors, size, location, etc. After you have read the entire passage aloud, “rewind” the film and have the child tell you all the pictures they have. This daily practice will bring powerful results!
To see a demonstration of this very effective technique, you can order my “Teaching The Right Brain Child” DVD and receive a bonus teaching manual with it. The video also includes the visual spelling technique, right brain phonics, vocabulary, math, right brain study skills, sight words, and more!
I taught children in second-through-eighth grades in the Resource Reading Room that were at least one-and-a-half years behind in reading. These were bright children that had a reading block. They did not respond to the addition of more oral reading, practice with reading sight words, or working in a phonics book: they needed a totally different approach to reading. Most of them were considered Dyslexic while some had a milder reading block. When I used the method outlined above faithfully for four days a week, every year I saw a minimum of two years growth in reading -- as did my colleagues that used this same method. It requires very little purchase of material -- no worksheets -- but additional work from the teacher. It is so worth it. By using the exercises and weekly Brain Training sessions, you will help remove the reading block that the child is experiencing. By using the right brain teaching strategies, you will be giving the child scaffolding so he or she can figure out words and, more importantly, feel smart right away.
I encourage you to put away your preconceived ideas about remediating reading. Remember: if they were working, you would not be seeking another method. Why did I use this program only four days a week? On the fifth day, I did the all important Brain Training from the Brain Integration Therapy Manual. This caused visual and writing reversals to disappear and auditory problems to be overcame. I couldn’t have made the changes in these children without Brain Training. Be faithful to the Brain Integration Therapy program: you will see wonderful results.
Daily Lesson Plan Overview
Language Arts: Reading Program
2. Decoding Practice
4. Sight Words
6. Oral Reading
7. Reading Comprehension Training
Language Arts: Writing Program
1. Writing 8 Exercise
2. Handwriting Exercise
4. Paragraph Writing