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11-15-2006, 02:20 PM

11-15-2006, 02:59 PM
I don't know anything about these levels they are talking about but I have found a great website that is for learning to read that my daughter loves. It is called Starfall (http://www.starfall.com). There are games and stories that are for that age group and four different levels of the website.

11-15-2006, 03:01 PM
There are two kinds of reading programs. There is "whole language" where kids learn to recognize entire words, and there is "phonics" where children learn to sound out the words. Whole language programs often use context to teach children to read. If you don't recognize a word, you can guess what the word means by the context of the picture. Eventually, students learn to guess the word by the context of the rest of the sentence instead of a picture. Most schools use systems that blend the two different reading styles together.

I think it is a terrible thing we are doing to kids by assuming they should have certain skills by certain ages or grade levels. I was so sure that my son would never be "a reader" because he just didn't like it and wasn't good at it. Then all of a sudden in third grade he started reading like crazy. Now, at 14, we can hardly keep him in books. Pushing a child to meet "benchmarks" in the reading development process makes them feel inadequate. Instead, they should be learning to read what they like. Most teachers agree, it doesn't matter if they are reading magazines, or even comic books. Developing a love of reading is more important.

Please don't let the teachers or anyone else worry you. Sit at night and read with your children, something they like. In all of the studies of reading development, this seems to be the most important factor!

11-15-2006, 03:05 PM
sorry, accidental double post

11-15-2006, 03:13 PM
My company (family business) produces educational software, focused mainly on reading. We mostly market to schools, but I believe we have a home version. I am on the development side of things so I don't know any of the specifics regarding marketing and sales. The reading product in question is a phonics based learning system called "My Reading Coach". It is in use in thousands of schools around the country and we are starting to break into foreign markets as well. (such as Canada, Mexico, Ireland, UK ...)

You can learn more about it at our website: www.mindplay.com

I just checked and the old website is still in place. A brand new one has been in the works for some time now and will appear any day now.

11-15-2006, 03:16 PM
I don't know about the levels either.. my son just started kindergarten this year and I can't belive what all he will have to know before he can move on.. they want them reading and writing simple sentences.. so I'm kinda going through the same thing.. we read with him and he likes to "read" the story back to us... I know last week we had a list of 10 words the child had to learn to sound out and read for school... it took us such a long time to get this with him... it was so hard for him to blend the sounds together... he was getting so frustrated and I was thinking he will never want to read if its like this?? I also attended a meeting with the author of Beginning Steps for learning at home and at School (I checked Amazon and they don't offer it yet) and it seems like a good way to help them too... it can be so frustrating for the child and so overwhelming for the parent and child...

He does play the little vsmile games too where they have to match letters and sounds and abc orders up.. he enjoys that and I did check out the website above and it seemed nice to help them blend the sounds together...

I agree though don't let him become frustrated.. just continue reading with him and let him enjoy it.. talk with the teacher to see if she has any ideas... I really have been doubting myself this year with things that come up... things maybe I should've done differently to prepare him more.. but honestly I thought he was prepared for Kindergarten... most important thing to me is to keep him calm and not stressed out.. while I'm feeling very overwhelmed!! :rofl:


Lisa Kay
11-15-2006, 03:45 PM
:cheering: How wonderful that your school has a Reading Recovery program!

My oldest child is in first grade this year, and I was a first grade teacher prior to staying home with my kids. I cannot say enough positive things about Reading Recovery. The Reading Recovery teachers have very specific training that they need to go through. I have worked in a number of different schools with Reading Recovery programs, and I have always been impressed with the progress students are able to make.

Will your son be seeing a Reading Recovery teacher? Sometimes there are more students that qualify for RR than there is time to accomodate, as these are 1-on-1 sessions. So throughout the year as children graduate out of the RR program, others are able to begin.

If your child's classroom teacher and Reading Recovery teacher are doing their jobs, it should be easy for you to support your son at home. I have found Reading Recovery teachers to be an excellent resource...so be sure to ask that person for more suggestions about how to help your son at home.

I will include a few web sites here for you that I think would be helpful.

If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.

Just remember, reading should be fun! And the best way to become a better reader is to read, read, read, read, read! All children are different, and there is a wide age range for when children will learn to read. They don't all suddenly know how to read at age 6.5! So I would suggest helping him find easy books to feel successful with, while you still read other books to him as well. And if he has certain topics that he really enjoys (dinosaurs, space, animals, whatever...) be sure he has access to those books, even if they are not at his "level." He doesn't have to be able to read all of the words to enjoy "reading" a book.

Leveled Book Lists (http://users.oasisol.com/daireme/book.htm)

Reading Recovery Books (http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/children/recovery_textlevel1_3.html)

Reading Recovery Levels (http://users.oasisol.com/daireme/Reading%20Recovery%20Levels.htm)

Overview of Reading Recovery (http://connwww.iu5.org/cvelem/RR/index.html)

See if your library has this resource book for you to read. It's one that Reading Recovery teachers use. (http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Recovery-Guidebook-Teachers-Training/dp/0435087649)

Leveled Book Lists (http://home.comcast.net/~ngiansante/index.html) - A different system that uses letters instead of numbers to identify the levels, but the same basic idea. Very good!

Book List, Levels 1-20 (http://teachers.santee.k12.ca.us/carl/Document/Leveled%20Trade%20Book%20List.doc)

Reading Rockets (http://www.readingrockets.org/families) - a great resource for parents and teachers

11-15-2006, 04:02 PM
Adding on to Lisa Kay's list:

Bob Books series
Animal Antics series

Both series are obtainable at any book seller.

11-15-2006, 04:47 PM
edit:double post

11-15-2006, 04:47 PM
As a former nanny and preschool teacher, I can say that first of all there is SO much more to learn than when we were in school. The plus is, great-our kids will be smarter than we were! The downside (which GREATLY outweighs the good side IMO) is that we no longer teach fundamentals. The educational powers that be searched for the FASTEST way to get a kid through the program, not the most educationally sound way to teach them to learn for the rest of their lives.

The emphasis is on memorization not learning the path you must take to arrive at a conclusion. We do not learn how to multiply so much as we memorize times tables. We do not learn to read so much as we memorize sets of words deemed "necessary".

The end result is an educational system based more on test scores than education and children who are passed through the system without learning how to find the answers on their own.

Having said all that-the best way to get your kids to read is to involve them in reading games. One favorite (I called puzzle pieces) involved using blank index cards. Write the reading word on one side in large letters. On the other side I would write either a message such as EXCELLENT!, GREAT WORK! or a letter of a special treat. Then I would cut the cards up in strips each containing 1 or 2 letters and place them face up in incorrect order. I would repeat the word and allow the child to arrange the letters to spell it correctly. When it was correct they could flip the strips over to reveal either a word of encouragement or a letter. At the end of the game the flipped over "puzzle pieces" would be read by me with a great big hug and plenty of praise. The "surprise letters" would then be rearranged to form their secret word. For example- e-o-l-j-l would be rearranged to mean jello was for dessert that night or y-r-o-s-r might mean after dinner they had my undivided attention for a game of Sorry.

Just an idea, but every child is different. Anything is worth a try!!!

Lisa Kay
11-15-2006, 04:53 PM
Thank you so much.

I'm glad to help. :D I love the Reading Rockets web site - it has so much good information. Here are a few extra links from their web site in case you don't see them before heading to the library.

Recommended Books About Reading for Parents and Educators (http://www.readingrockets.org/resourceinfo/booksresources)

Tips for Parents of First Graders (http://www.readingrockets.org/article/7835) - with links to tips for preschool, K, 2 & 3

Find Great Kids' Books and Authors (http://www.readingrockets.org/books)

11-15-2006, 07:07 PM
It is called Starfall (http://www.starfall.com). I taught my grandson to read using Starfall and am working with my grand daughter right now.

It sounds to me like the school uses one method of teaching reading. Perhaps your Noah (I have one, too) may need some other ways of recognizing words. Some people are visual, some audio, some tactile learners. We have people here that can't use books to learn to knit, but the videos work perfectly. Others need a human being guiding their hands in order to learn. If we recognize that as adults there are different learning styles then why not for children?

It sounds like instead of teaching your son to sound out words (phonics) they are teaching see and say which is basically (simplified) memorizing words by recognition. IMHO it doesn't give a kid the tools necessary to problem solve and figure out other words.....

11-15-2006, 07:12 PM
My oldest son is 6 and is in first grade. I just had a parent/teacher conference the other night and they say he is a little behind in reading. He should be at level 6, but he didn't pass that benchmark (need 94% and he got 83%) so they tested him at level 4 and he didn't pass that either (less questions same number wrong), so she's got him at level 3. Personally, I have no real idea what these levels mean, other than they are the "Reading Recovery" levels and that by the end of the year he should be at level 18. They have "Reading a-z" levels that correspond to the reading recovery levels, and there is a website (that you have to pay for) where you can download booklets for each level. I asked for a list of regular books that I could get from the library that would somewhat correspond to the levels they teach. His teacher (who I really like, honest) looked at me like I had 2 heads, but did say that she would get online and print me some booklets (because the school has a subscription). I did find a website that had a few books cross referenced and I will use that. I just don't understand the whole approach they are using to teach kids to read. I saw the "benchmark level 6" test and there were words on there that I was floored by. I truly didn't think that "groceries" would be a first grade word, and when I mentioned it, she said that there were "picture clues" - so there was a boy holding a bag of groceries and the kids are supposed to look at the picture and be able to know the word. I wondered why Noah kept just looking at the picture and when it came to a word he didn't know, he would guess based on what he thought the picture was. So now I'm to the point of trying to figure out the best way to work with Noah at home, being that I really don't understand how the levels work. Does anyone else have any experience with these "levels"? Or have any other advice? I'm just sitting with him every night picking books he's interested in and helping him through. :pout:

I will ask my dd what Thomas started with and whether his class is using the "level" system or what. Just give him lots of support and work with him and he is going to come around. Each child is different and just be sure to keep up the encouragement so he doesn't get discouraged!

He is reading books like the Boxcar Children, Bobbsey Twins etc. now, but I am trying to think of these little books he is gaga over in the beginning. I will see if I can find out.

I would get Noah some series books, like Magic Treehouse, Amelia Bedilia, etc. Look at Amazon or Barnes and Noble and look for early readers series. Let him pick out what he thinks he would like. You might find he just might jump right in to something like that! Good luck!

11-15-2006, 07:31 PM
You know, I wouldn't worry, boys learn at a different rate than girls. Each child comes into their own:)