Phonics Programs “Behind” Sight Word Programs

                                   “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”                                                                                                                                                                                              “Bob Books”

TIMEFRAME. My son was ready, but the “watch, then do” perfectionism was interfering.

MEANINGFUL. I knew he had to be READING quickly.

NOT DUMBED DOWN. I skipped any of the stuff he would think was “stupid”. This is a problem with Bob Books for some creative learners.

SUCCESS-BASED. The visual cues involved in this system I think plays on the visual style needs of the right-brainer in that it took away ALL exceptions, so there was no “making mistakes”, which they hate.

INDIVIDUALIZED. I didn’t MAKE him do it the way the system had it laid out . . . i.e., always have finger under the word and sound out each, and then the second time, say it fast, etc. He could read it any way it worked for him, fast, sounded out, whole word, etc. The Bob Books are set up to let it work for you whatever way you like. I didn’t use any parent tip instructions.

PICTORIAL. I let him look at the pictures for the story and I did not make him read that story over and over again. Bob Books have pictorials with their mini phonics lesson, and the story corresponds literally with the words.

“HARD” BIG WORDS BEFORE “EASY” LITTLE WORDS. I think it clearly showed him that there were some words (particularly those Dolch words) that just had to be memorized and not only made no phonetic sense, but no visual sense, either. Words like “the,” “of,” “has,” etc.

VISUAL CONTEXT. The system creates stories with visuals right away and it put any words learned in the context of a picture. In this way, since the system is about creating stories, they started off with a bunch of easy-to-visualize words because it would be important for the story. Interspersed were the necessary “filler words” that were difficult to visualize, so these were brought up all in context.

WHOLE TO PART. They fade the visual phonetic cues after sufficient time has passed that our creative learners would have the words visualized and part of their sight word repertoire, and enough knowledge was gained that it appeared that my son wasn’t using the information phonetically, but as a way to look at large chunks of words and know as a whole how it would be pronounced, particularly when in context of a story. So, it didn’t have to end in a part to whole way, but literally, he used the system to create a whole to part knowledge of learning to read.

SELF TEACHING. Once you get the rhythm of the “lessons,” my creative learners were able to use the manual without my help, if desired. The Bob Books were used by one of my children independently, who became a reader afterward.

11 responses to “Phonics Programs “Behind” Sight Word Programs

  1. Pingback: The Natural Development for Right-Brained Children | The Right Side of Normal

  2. Hi,

    I was curious, if dyslexics learn better with whole word, why don’t they excell in public school where whole word methods are mainly used? How is what your are saying different from public school whole language methods?

    Thanks, Tabatha

    • From my understanding, most public schools use phonics. However, that said, even though many right-brained learners prefer sight word based instruction first, the time frame is still the most important. They BEGIN to learn to read, typically, between 8 and 10 years old. So, HOW they learn and WHEN they learn both have to be factored in.

      • That is so not true. Whole word is the worst thing for dyslexics, it makes them worse…And public schools do teach phonics but they are either embedded or scattered, not the same as explicit systematic phonics ONLY, which is what dyslexics need…..Pam

        • So much to write about, so little time (I see another post coming from this). Thanks for sharing your opinion, Pam. I’ll have to respectfully disagree that I think dyslexic readers need a systematic phonics only program in order to learn to read. There’s just so much other stuff factored into the issues dyslexic children face. One of the things I was glad to see the Eides admit in their recent book, The Dyslexic Advantage, is that many dyslexics end up with a “strange reading pattern” specific to them after years of remediation. I really feel it’s a result of our manmade attempt at “fixing” something we don’t fully understand. I feel strongly that the right-brained information is the missing link. It MUST be factored in to fully support these misunderstood learners.

    • Agree 100% Tabatha…..

  3. Wow, I feel so relieved, Cindy! I’ve been guilty about not choosing to pound phonics into my struggling learners over the years. It just did not work! Instead, I read with them, and to them, not putting any time-frame on
    when I expected them to learn. My two right-brained children learned to read
    late, but were extremely creative and imaginative! Spelling followed the reading for them. Their learning progressed according to the right-brain “schedule” you have described. Now I can move forward confidently with my eight-year old, who is “slow” to read, and nurture her creative gifts, while teaching her to read in a way that makes sense to her wonderful right brain.
    I was about to purchase an expensive phonics curriculum, but I think I’ll proceed as I did with my other “dyslexic” kids . . . and this time, without guilt!

    • Your instinct was spot on, Mary! It makes me happy that you can continue trusting it. Isn’t it interesting how times have changed in such a short time where you might have felt more pressure to purchase an expensive curriculum? Thank you for sharing your story!

  4. I have been working with struggling learners for 17 years, which stemmed from desire and frustration at my then 10 year old not being able to read. This after I had used 5 (yes, FIVE) complete phonics programs! At this time I learned about brain training and my son was coached using Wehrli Performance Training. ( learning fitness) He progressed so fast that I begged to be trained. I was and have been using this method for the past 17 years. About three years later, I began to learn about right brain learners and began adding and modifying a very good phonics program I found which is no longer in print. I color code, tell stories, use tactile methods, do sound songs, exercise to sounds and spelling, etc. This, along with Performance Training, has been a win-win situation for every child I have worked with.
    The bottom line is, whatever it takes is what you do. I would never, ever, throw out intensive phonics. BUT, there is a way to teach it without “shoving down our children’s throats”!
    I also never, ever do old fashioned tutoring without Performance Training. So many people focus on content, and forget they are teaching children, not curriculum. It is vitally important to study the child and figure out what they need.
    Love this site, by the way! Just found it!

    • I’m glad you found something that worked for your son, Tina. It would certainly be interesting to see how his reading process would have looked if you had known my information about the natural learning process for right-brained children. I still believe that intensive intervention is a rare need versus a common one, especially as it pertains to right-brained learners. I think they are very misunderstood in how and why and when they learn, and if that is addressed, we would find many more who come to reading joyfully using their own ways to do so that is quite different than what is found in school.

      I hope my information will positively add to your interactions with creative children!

  5. I would like to thank you for the valuable information you shared online , i have 2 boys , 1 LB , 2nd RB , all the symptoms you mentioned is eactly what’s happening with my son . photographic memory , learn by whole makes amazing cubes(robot) i was shocked when he did that , schooling here in Kuwait , only concerned with LB skills , and anyone who is “delayed” is considered a “slow learner” . im using flash cards with my son
    and great progress going so far . thank you very much your a gr8 mother and i really feel what u have ben through .

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