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Horton Hears a Who, Math Playground, Reading Programs

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, March 14, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 21 March 14, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Horton Hears a Who!
Winning Website
-- Math Playground
Reader Question
-- Reading Programs?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss

One of my very favorite books, 'Horton Hears a Who', has been
made into a CG animated movie that is opening tonight in theaters!
If you have access to the book, consider enjoying it with your
children before going to the movie. (There is a free digital
version below, if you don't own the book or can't get it at the

'Horton Hears a Who' is a wonderful, life-affirming story. Read
the summary and find great activities at the links below:



Here is a FREE animated digital version of the original story
you can download to your computer -- available thru March 31st.

And here is the movie site for trailers and more:

Enjoy! :-)


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Start piano at home with your child
Book and numbered stickers. Free DVD.
Come see all the fun songs you can play.
Download and print any book $9.95



Winning Website

Math Playground - http://www.mathplayground.com

Online or offline, this is a great resource for teaching and
reinforcing elementary math concepts. Kids can play a variety
of games, moms can create worksheets, and there are even video
answers/tutorials to math questions submitted by kids.

-- Cindy, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am homeschooling my 10 year old son who is in 4th grade. He
has had extreme difficulty with learning to read. His reading
level is still at about a beginning 2nd grade level. He was
tutored by a private reading specialist last year and has been
tutored this year at our local Christian school but still is not
reading on grade level and reads very slow as well. I am trying
to discern if he needs another approach to learning to read or if
there are some other issues involved. Testing has not revealed
any disabilities. A friend recommended that I check into 'The
Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading' and someone else recommen-
ded that I check into 'The Wilson Reading Program'. I wanted to
know if anyone has used either of these programs with a struggling
reader and if either of these programs worked for their child."
-- Kelly in PA

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi Kelly -- This is my first time to answer a question with this
newsletter. I hope this helps. I have a nine year old who struggles
with reading. This past summer we were blessed with a tutor that
is a teacher by design and not default. We are using the Wilson
Reading Program. We love it! We are on step 4 out of 12. He is
still a slow reader but his confidence is so high he will try to
read anything.

Pray for God's answer for your son. Continue to read to him aloud
or books on tape are another good way for him to enjoy reading."
-- Lisa in Tn


"Hi Kelly -- Many years ago (my son is 28 now), Luke was having
a hard time reading. He was slow, and pronouncing words was hard
for him. He was in first grade at public school, and it was a
big deal to the teacher and him. He is a perfectionist even
today, but back in school, if he couldn't get it done in the
same amount of time as the others, and do it perfectly, he just
refused to do any work. Reading was one of those things.

What we did was begin reading scriptures as a family, with each
of us taking our turn reading a verse until the whole chapter was
finished. Luke's reading improved rapidly, for he not only read
out loud, he also read along with what others were reading.

Scriptures have large words in them, and somehow he really got
into pronouncing them. Can't say he has a great love of reading
today, but he has read all the Harry Potter books; he and his
wife read aloud to each other. Their 4 year old is getting to
the age of wanting to read, so we are really getting with it
teaching him his alphabet and numbers. They just moved here
from Florida and haven't really done anything with him as far
as schooling has gone (and his mother is a certified but unem-
ployed teacher). He loves homeschooling with my 2 granddaughters
and I. Good luck, and give God's Word a try!" -- Jan in MO


"Kelly -- I am a reading tutor and I use the Wilson curriculum.
It is an excellent way to re-mediate reading, spelling, comprehen-
sion, and fluency. Have you had your son formally diagnosed? I
would suggest a full evaluation to begin with, to assess what his
disability is. Ask for educational strategies at this evaluation.
Then look for a tutor that will work with you on a reading pro-
gram. Wilson has workbooks that can be used for home and tutors
can assign specific reading for practice. There are no quick
fixes with reading. I have worked with students for 2 years or
more. My other suggestion is to not penalize your son for his
lack of reading ability. Read to him, give him tests orally, do
projects that allow him to express his knowledge and find ways
for him to still learn his material without reading. This may be
more work for you, but he must keep learning to keep up with his
grade, even if he can't read the material. Also stress vocabulary;
since he is not reading much on his grade level, vocabulary
development is very important. This will help him develop con-
cepts and higher order thinking skills that most students get
from reading." -- Renee in VA


"I think I would recommend that your son go to an ophthalmologist
who specializes in vision therapy. Here is a link that could help
you connect to eye doctors in your area:

Vision therapy was highly effective for a couple of my children
when their reading was not improving. It is hard to tell exactly
what it is that is slowing some children down. One of my daughters
had good eyesight but her reading didn't improve until I took her
to an eye doctor that specialized in vision therapy. Unknown to
me -- and to the reading specialist -- her eyes jerked around while
she was trying to read. A few months of therapy and her reading
improved." -- Lori K.


"I adopted a 4 year old with what I termed 'auditory processing
deficit'. He had real difficulties saying words and couldn't even
use he/she -- everything was 'it'. We had him tested but opted to
enrich him ourselves. In kindergarten, I stumbled across the book
'Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons', and we started the
15 minute lessons. This is a child that was expected to be diffi-
cult to educate. By lesson 77, he was reading full pages of text.
The method is DISTAR, a direct teaching method where you read
exactly what you're told to say, and then wait for the response.
The book was at our local library; I ordered mine for about $20
from Barnes and Noble. I have many acquaintances who have used
the book in 2nd grade to 'fill in the gaps'. DISTAR was tested
on 3rd grade non-readers and found to be the most effective method
of several tried. It's all one-on-one so you won't hear about it
in regular classrooms. By the way, my son was in regular school
until 6th grade, but his attention deficit and behavioral issues
forced us to pull him out of school. He is now a happy 10th
grader, doing high school work but taking a long time to do it.
But reading has not been an issue for us since 1st grade! I thank
God that we found this program because I don't think he could have
learned to read in the classroom without my supplementation."
-- Susan T.


"I would try 'Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons' by
Siegfried Engelmann first, then move on to Bonnie Dettmer's
'Phonics for Spelling and Reading' (out of print, but available
used online or at curriculum sales). Be sure to read aloud to
him -- there are many great reading lists out there. If you
enjoy reading, he will enjoy reading. It may take time, but be
consistent and patient and he will eventually 'get it'."
-- Kathy G.


"Kelly -- A friend of mine has been using Wilson with her son,
the same age as yours. It's worked wonders for him. She bought
it because a highly acclaimed school that helps kids with reading
difficulties uses it. The school is $40,000 a year! The students
get an hour of individual time with a teacher using the Wilson
system each day and people are tripping over themselves to get
their kids into this expensive school! Everything I've read says
that if a child isn't 'getting' reading, use an Orton-Gillingham
approach -- and Wilson is that approach." -- Heidi


"Kelly, I have had success with Bonnie Dettmer's 'Phonics for
Reading and Spelling'. I started all of my children with this
program. We first worked through the 'Explode the Code' books
A, B, and C (where they learn the sounds of the alphabet) and
'Explode the Code' book 1(where they learn the vowels). We then
work on the phonogram cards from the phonics program. We review
them daily and add 3 new ones as they master the cards. At the
same time we are working through the Explode the Code series at
their own pace. For extra practice we play 'The Phonics Game'
1-2 times a week." -- Cindy

Answer our NEW Question

"I am looking for an in-depth American history curriculum for
5th/6th grade. I'd like for it to span the two grades. My son
in an average, but not avid reader, and likes history. I want
him to continue to enjoy history, but I don't want to bog him
down with too much extra reading." -- Kari


Do you have an idea for Kari?
Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

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