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Excelarated SC1 Reading and Phonics

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    Excelarated SC1 Reading and Phonics

    Cheryl Swope, I took your recommendation to start my son on SC1 to give him a stronger foundation in basic phonics. He is 8 and can read cvc words quite well and he reads some sight words. However, he struggles with consistency. Once the long vowels are introduced he starts confusing the long and short vowels. He has his letter sounds down, but I don’t want to skip over the beginning content. How would you combine lessons to introduce the content more quickly, without overwhelming or boring him? What aspects of the beginning lessons of letter introduction are most critical?

    Re: Excelarated SC1 Reading and Phonics

    He can read CVC words, but can he spell them? If not, you might slow down a little bit, use dictation, emphasize middle and ending sounds (rather than only beginning sounds), and stay with CVC words for a little longer.

    You are right that you want to avoid overwhelming him by moving too quickly but also avoid remaining too long with mastered work. However, about 8 weeks ago you mentioned that he spelled "i gav mi luch tu a freb at skul," (I gave my lunch to a friend at school) so we know that he could use additional work encoding even those words that he can otherwise decode.

    More on spelling ...
    You mentioned previously can read not only CVC, but also CVCV, CVVC, and r-controlled words, so you might work with spelling these and reviewing with the multi-sensory lessons before you begin each day or week to keep these strong. Then introduce the long vowel only briefly, isolate it, review it, and end with success. Avoid ending any lesson with confusion, even if you must stop short.

    If spelling games and exercises only create more headaches over time, you might try something a little more inventive. Specifically, you might help him create a "village" of word patterns. If he can keep his word patterns together, this might help him see similarities and differences. Andrew Pudewa talks about this. You create one house for "-ill" words, one for "aCe" words, one for "-ir" words, etc. If your son is creative, he might enjoy this. Begin with CVC and expand incrementally.

    In other words, do what you can to keep the review interesting and novel, even though the knowledge and skills will remain the same until mastery. Which SC 1 Week are you teaching right now? If we know where you are in the program, others may have some help for you.

    Also, please remind us whether he has a tested diagnosis. You mentioned dyslexia previously. Did the assessment reveal anything further? Even if "only" dyslexia (that is plenty!), you might appreciate this book or, if you do not have the time or inclination for something quite so clinical, this resource for progressing from CVC to long vowels and teaching reading to children with reading difficulties.

    Most importantly to your initial question, do not feel as though you need to rush through this. When he seems to be having trouble, it is better to find new ways to review and solidify, rather than pressing forward. This is not easy, but it will help him in the end. Remember that it is only August 31, so you can take your time this fall with his reading and spelling. Few things are more important for him right now. Be sure that you continue to read to him and give him plenty of reading practice. The more he reads & is read to, even as you work on explicit phonics & spelling, the more everything will "click" for him. If we didn't mention this before, teach phonics and/or spelling at one time of the day. Save his extended oral reading practice for another, more relaxed time in the day, if needed. This helped my new readers immensely. Otherwise letters began to scramble if we kept any of the lessons too long.

    Remember to end each lesson with encouraging success, even if you need to conclude with review. He is blessed to have your help and perseverance!


      Re: Excelerated SC1 Reading and Phonics

      Thanks for the in-depth response. I so appreciate your wisdom and availability.

      I haven’t started SC1 with David yet. I’m still waiting for the Core Phonics book to arrive which is on backorder through our hs charter school.

      David hasn’t been formally diagnosed with dyslexia. I gave him a couple of online tests which confirmed by their standards that he has dyslexia. I was told that the charter school will provide further testing for him that should be more thorough and conclusive.

      David spells cvc words pretty well. He writes a few letters backwards and struggles with b and d. He reads cvc words hesitantly and sometimes reverts to guessing based on the picture. He spells all small long vowel words phonetically, but he reads them okay, depending on the vowel combination.

      I like your idea of creating homes for the letter combinations. I think he’ll enjoy helping me create such a “village.”

      Since I haven’t started SC1 yet, what components do you believe are essential and what do you think could be condenced for a child like David?

      On another note, for the past two years David’s SPED teachers focused much of their attention on sight words. As a result he knows most of the first 100. How much time would you recommend I spend on sight word recognition? How important are they?

      I think I’m feeling a little apprehensive and nervous since he has had such a hard time in school. I want this to be a positive experience. Thanks again for your advice and coaching!


        Re: Excelarated SC1 Reading and Phonics

        Ah, this is helpful! Thank you.

        The over-emphasis of sight words and under-emphaais of phonics is contributing to his spelling difficulties.

        I did not realize that you had not begin SC 1! You do not need to wait for Core Skills: Phonics to begin. You need the SC 1 lesson plans, Classical Phonics, First Start Reading books & Teacher Guide, and either clay, playdough, Wikki sticks, or pipe cleaners.

        If you proceed through SC 1 with him as written, I think you will be amazed at how well he will begin to learn. That is all you need!

        Consider also reading through Phonics from A to Z in your free time. You need not read this cover to cover, nor do you need to read this before you start, but find sections that 1) interest you, 2) pertain to what you are currently teaching, and 3) have the pictures of lips & mouth formations. Use the knowledge and suggestions in this treaaure-chest of a book throughout this year and next.

        This will be an exciting few months for him as his eyes are opened to a more phonics-based approach to learning to read. You can compare it to working on a car. If you try to work on a car with only a pair of gloves you can do a few things, but if you have a good, full set of tools, you can get the engine running well. Incremental, explicit, multisensory phonics with decodable reading practice will give him the tools he has never fully had in his hands.

        Set aside 30 minutes for lessons, 15 minutes for review & multisensory practice, and 15 minutes for oral reading every day. Divide this into two separate periods daily if possible, and begin. The world of reading awaits him!

        And you are welcome. We want ALL of our SC students to become good readers and good writers. We are happy to help --


          Re: Excelarated SC1 Reading and Phonics

          Dear Cheryl,

          I can’t thank you enough for giving me the support I needed to get starting on this homeschool journey with my son! He is thriving. Reading is still a challenge for him as it may be for some time, but he is gaining confidence and no longer dreads our lessons. Yesterday he looked up from his book and said, “I like to read!” Wow! I just can’t be thankful enough for your wisdom and help as well as the providence of God in directing me to MP and thus to you.


            Re: Excelarated SC1 Reading and Phonics

            What a lovely update. You are welcome!

            "I like to read" is music to our ears. Thank you for this, Sandilee. <3