Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Snuggle Babies

This weekend we went down to Eagle Pass to visit Juan's grandparents.  We took my 11 year old niece, Arrieanna with us on the trip to help with the kids and have fun.  Jovi and Arrieanna shared a bed in our hotel room.  This is a conversation Juan and I overheard in the early morning hours:

Arrieanna, very sleepy says, "Jovi, move over to your side of the bed.".
Jovi says, "But I like to snuggle.".
Arrieanna replies, slightly annoyed, "Just move to your side.".
Jovi says, "Ok...  I know, you can come on my side of the bed to snuggle.".
Arrieanna ignored the offer.

My children love to snuggle with someone while they sleep.  We have finally gotten them out of our room at night, but it took till last month.  Corbin was always crawling into bed with us and Jovi would try to do the same.  Our answer at the time that was only marginally successful was setting up blankets on the floor beside our bed for them to sleep on.  Corbin still climbed into our bed most nights and I was often too tired to move him back down to the floor.  We finally decided last month that the blankets had to go and the kids HAD to stay in their beds.  Or compromise was that if the woke up at night and needed someone they could go and sleep in each other's rooms.  This has worked really well for us, we rarely get a child coming into our room at night and the kids seem happy.  They are usually in Jovi's room when we wake up.  I wondered about this till Juan told me what he saw one night.  Jovi had woken up, gone into Corbin's room, woken him up and she was prodding a very sleepy Corbin through the hall to her room so he could sleep in there with her.  I guess Jovi prefers her room to Corbin's room. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jovi's Reading Journey

I wrote this as a post on a forum and wanted to remember it.

We did ETC last year and on the days I had dd do it, we did NOT do handwriting. I, personally did not find that ETC was enough for dd's phonics instruction. I have tried a LOT of phonics programs. Reading does not come naturally to dd, but she wants to learn so here is what I've tried, hopefully you will see something you can use:

Bob Books: dd could memorize them, but I learned that she couldn't hear separate sounds within a word so I looked for something to help with ponemic awareness.

Phonemic Awareness In Young Children has tons of easy to play games that help children hear beginning, middle and ending sounds in words, they play with rhyming and sylables too. A lot of the games require a larger group as it is a classroom program, but some can be done with just one student and some of the games are fun enough that the whole family can enjoy playing. We did not use the whole program, but I know what we did helped dd. *This is NOT a reading program, there is no written component, but it is an EXCELLENT listening program*

Next, dd could hear specific sounds in words, but couldn't blend them, the above program works with that, but I also started using Phonics Pathways. The book stats out VERY simply, we drilled her short vowel sounds and played their blending game over and over. Then she stated doing the "lessons", reading a page a day. We stopped after all the CVC pages were read because even though she could read short vowel words, she lacked fluency. Every word was laborusly sounded out no matter how many times she saw it.

We stopped phonics pathways and switched to www.starfall.com. I had the books and student workbook and I used that along with the online books and games. I had her read a book a week and by the end she was reading each one fluently and it was transfering to other things she read and best of all she loved reading time each day. BUT once we started into the vowel combo books it wasn't enough practice for her, she was getting confused and the rules were not transfering to other things she read.

We switched to The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. We skipped the beginning and got through digraphs, she was progressing, slowly, but she hated it. Reading was no longer fun and now a chore.

A little bit after I started using OPGTR, I got All About Spelling. I really like this program. It includes phonemic awareness, it teaches ALL the sounds for every letter, alphabetical order and dd enjoyed it. I know others have used it to teach reading and could see how it would be very effective doing so. I was using it for spelling, but saw dd's reading ability increase too. But I wanted a reading program to complement my spelling program, I didn't want to use it as the reading program too.

This year we have started using PAL: Reading. I LOVE this program. I warn you, it is teacher intensive, but it is SO effective. Supposedly you are able to take a total non reader to reader with this program except there is an underlying assumption that your child knows their letter sounds and there is no direct instruction on blending, but it is perfect for where my dd is now. It really focuses on vowel combos, it introduces them through poetry and there are LOTS of folder games. By the end of the program, I have confidence that dd will be able to read most children's books and early chapter books. She will also have been introduced to a lot of poetry, new vocabulary and some grammar. I highly reccomend this program if your child can't seem to get past reading short voewl words, it is great!