My daughter Izzy is a bright, gentle, kind and artistic young girl.
She has not always had an easy go of it. Her birth was certainly traumatic and she was my only child born with a low APGAR. Hers was 1. Yet as we both recovered from that she nursed well and seemed to be hitting all of her milestones physically, mentally and emotionally.
Then when she was four years old, she knocked out all four of her front top baby teeth - which made talking sooo difficult. But it also affected her ability to hear and pronounce sounds and had an impact on her ability to learn how to decipher phonograms and put them together to learn how to read.
I am not a novice when it came to teaching my kids how to read. Although slow out of the box, Samuel is an excellent reader, Gabe writes song lyrics (and he could be a better reader if he would just read more on his own instead of reading to get by) and Noah is reading books on a high school level. I have even had experience teaching my oldest to read (another child with a traumatic birth). I blogged about our adventures with a reading specialist back in 2004.
I have also spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to read. You can read those posts:
Journey to reading here.
Reading, Reading Recovery and Reading Woes
One of my readers suggested that maybe she was just stupid. I don't think if she was stupid, nor do I think she has tracking issues or other eye problems. If she did how could she produce art like this:
But was clear to me is that every way that I knew of to teach her wasn't working and I had to find something that would work for her.
Last year I listened to a presentation at the homeschool convention by a woman named, Dianne Craft. She introduced me to an entirely new way to teach reading to Izzy. If you are interested in her entire program, I suggest reading her reading curriculum.
We have been doing this since Christmas and I have seen improvement. The biggest piece that I want to write about here is the use of side word cards. According to Ms. Craft, right - brained kids look at the letters in words and it just doesn't transfer from one side of the brain across into the other side for long-term storage. It's like a computer that wipes all the new data clean every night without ever writing something permanently on the hard drive! BUT... if you show the sight words with pictures, it sticks easily. The words and the pictures have to be integrated together. If you just have the word with the picture beneath it, it won't stick.
So we started with her sight word cards and to my utter amazement, Izzy learned all 32 words well within a week. These were words that I had been trying to get her to read and remember for years! and now she had them instantly. When the 32 words were learned Dianne Crafts' store didn't offer any more so I found hundreds of Sight Word Cards over at Child-1st Publications. I bit the bullet and bought the 306 word set, and she is about half way through them.
Some of our favorites are -
I think you can see from the examples how integrated the illustration is with the actual word. This is why they are so effective for my right- brained daughter. So far this has been life changing. With a little prayer and perseverance hopefully she can get up to grade level before high school.