Sweet M. is in her third year at a school for LD kids . . . a school that has the reputation for being "the Harvard of LD schools" . . . We were thrilled when she was offered a spot, but last year was really tough for her there (more on that in a future post) and when we had her triennial neuro-psych evaluation done this past summer it was clear that she has been losing ground academically, and in other ways as well.
The most difficult thing is that despite the fact that she has an astonishing visual memory—and almost no verbal memory unless the words are learned as rote phrases—her school was using the Wilson Fundamentals reading program with her for two years. I think Wilson was simply too auditory-acoustic-phonetic based for her. She was really struggling every single night doing her homework. But like the trooper she is, she'd do it, no matter how hard it was for her.
After I read the neuropsych, I consulted with educational specialist Susan S. to get her advice on how I could help sweet M. learn how to read.
Susan told me to start a sight word program immediately (that was mid-October), so that's what we've been doing. I downloaded a set of Dolch cards. I got mine from Mrs. Perkins classroom, a retired first grade teacher's website, but these lists and cards are easy to find with a Google search.
We've been working through the Dolch list of sight words. We're almost done with pre-primer and primer. Now, just six weeks later, M. is reading the old Dick and Jane books from my childhood. And also, some Dr. Seuss books, such as The Foot Book. And, amazingly, she's now asking me to read aloud to her!! This would never have happened two months ago.
Thank you, Susan S. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Her teachers have also shifted their approach this year. Now they're using an old system called the Schwann (sp?) program, which is visually based.
So this two pronged approach seems to be working, but I want to learn more about visual phonics . . .