Thursday, June 17, 2010

day 166: summertime—beginning reading help—PHONICS TUTOR--phonics programs to use with struggling young readers—part iii of iv

                            Phonics Tutor

a. Two options:

(1) Phonics Tutor; good for all ages; lots of practice:

(2) Frequent Words Program by Phonics Tutor; especially good remediation for older students since it moves quickly:

b. No-nonsense program that works with all learning styles; has auditory, kinesthetic (students types in letters on the keyboard), and visual exercises

c. Is a cd-rom for the computer; appeals to struggling children because it isn’t “another phonics book”

d. No bells or whistles—as Timberdoodle says, “no dancing bears”—but a solid program with sequential learning, based on true phonetic components

e. May move at own pace or follow easy to understand lessons

f. Can literally load it on the computer and begin—the least teacher preparation I have ever seen in any curriculum

g. Multiple students may use it at the same time (i.e. multiple log ins allowed)

h. Non-consumable, so may be resold

i. Excellent spelling foundation; may also be used for spelling after reading instruction is completed

j. Does have child “spell” words he is learning, but only once words are mastered at the reading level

k. Timberdoodle describes this program: “With no dancing bears or racing bunnies, PhonicsTutor seems uniquely designed to meet the needs of the reluctant or non-reading older child. PhonicsTutor is a step-by-step computerized teaching tool with 128 lessons and seven activities within each lesson to instruct and reinforce the main topic. All 3,500 words are presented orally along with associated spelling rules. Phonetic analysis, reading, word spelling and diction activities make PhonicsTutor appealing to all learning modalities. No other program we examined has matched PhonicsTutor for thoroughness and ease of use. It is a perfect format for the older non-reader or special need child.”

l. Concerning Frequent Words (listed above with link), Timberdoodle says: “A young child who is already reading but needs additional phonics work may find Frequent Words, (see software), more appropriate.”

m. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY! Timberdoodle (at the link above) has “try before you buy” portions of this program available at their site; you can try it out with your child to see if it is what you are looking for

n. When Ray and I dream of how we want our ministry to grow and reach people, we have a crazy, unrealistic dream of being able to give this program to families with dyslexic students to give them the gift of reading—that’s how much I love this program.

o. Downfalls:

(1) Will want to purchase readers to practice sounds; however, this phonics program has more “built in” reading of words and sentences within it than most programs I have seen

(2) Students must type all of the letters/families in the blanks. Some might see this as a downfall; I think it is a blessing as many children who struggle with writing also struggle with the “penning” process of writing

(3) Must have computer to use it; there is a workbook available, but I didn’t find it that helpful compared to the cd’s, which are loaded with exercises

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