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Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome

Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome

Learning to read isn’t always easy, even under the best of circumstances. But what if you have a child with a significant learning disability like Down syndrome? What’s the best way to teach reading in that situation?

Jennifer Brockman is a real mom with a real child with Down syndrome. But Jennifer and her husband didn’t let the fact that their son Joseph had Down syndrome stop them from believing that they could homeschool him.

And it didn’t stop Jennifer from believing that she could teach Joseph to read.

But she knew that she needed to find the right resources to help her special child, because even though it may be a challenge to teach a child with Down syndrome to read, with the right approach, even children with significant learning disabilities can learn to read.

This adorable little boy and his very determined mom are proof of that!

Here’s Jennifer …

Joseph has Down syndrome. Being the fifth child in our clan, it only seemed natural to us to homeschool him just like his older brothers and sisters. However, the rest of the world doesn’t always agree.

There’s a common belief that children with special circumstances need special education teachers. But we chose to homeschool Joseph because it’s what we know how to do. We’re comfortable with homeschooling, and after living with Joseph for five years, it didn’t seem like it would be much different homeschooling him with Down syndrome than it was homeschooling his siblings.

Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome

But after teaching four children to read using various methods, I wasn’t convinced that any of those open-ended methods would work for Joseph. And with our history of dyslexia (two out of four children), I wanted to find a reading program that was well laid out, specific in its instruction, multisensory-based, and dyslexia approved, and that still allowed for flexibility.

Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome

Reading Lessons That Work!

When I first looked through the All About Reading Level 1 parent guide, I immediately noticed the number of lessons—49. Only 49! So many reading programs plan for 180 days, or 36 weeks of lessons. To get through that many seemed nearly impossible. Forty-nine sounded so very doable.

Once we began Lesson 1 and I realized I had to break the lesson up into multiple mini-lessons, I knew I had made the right choice with AAR.

Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome

Each lesson is divided into multiple segments including “Before You Begin,” “Review,” “New Teaching,” and “Read-Aloud Time.” “Before You Begin” is perfect for the novice parent/teacher; it prepares you, in fewer than three minutes, to teach the lesson. The short prep time means more time actually reading with Joseph.

Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome

The “New Teaching” section is also comprised of smaller sections. I love that we can sit down for 7-12 minutes and complete one section, such as “Change the Word.” It’s a very short lesson, but anything over 15 minutes and Joseph’s eyes are too tired to continue.

Real Moms, Real Kids: All About Reading and Down Syndrome

The “Read Aloud” reminder is helpful. We all know how important reading aloud is, but with a pile of kids in multiple grades to homeschool, sometimes this cuddly, happy activity gets pushed aside for other, more important subjects. Before we begin the lesson, Joseph picks a book off the shelf and sets it next to him as a reminder to us both that a story will be read once the lesson is complete—a little motivation for him.

The Ease of Scripted Lesson Plans

Homeschooling Joseph takes a lot of my brain power, and having the AAR script ready is such a blessing to my well-being. It’s one less activity I have to plan, and on hectic days it’s so nice to grab the bag, open the book, and begin. I wasn’t sure if I’d like that, but it helps me stay on track and not say too much.

Experiencing a beginning reader read his first sentence out of a book is a joyful moment worthy of celebration. Hearing Joseph read his first sentence from the Run, Bug, Run! reader brought tears to my eyes, and I’m so happy All About Reading helped that happen.

Products Jennifer has used with Joseph:

Read more on Jennifer’s blog about how she is using All About Reading to teach Joseph how to read:

Did you enjoy Jennifer’s story? Read more stories from Real Moms and Real Kids.

Do you have a child with Down syndrome or another significant learning disability? Jennifer would love to connect with you in the comments below.

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Leave a Comment

Ridhima

says:

Hi Jennifer
I read your blog and was absolutely thrilled. I have a daughter 5.5 years old Aahana with Down syndrome. Thank you for inspiring me . :))

Jo Thompson

says:

Thanks

Dee Ruiz

says:

Jennifer, I just want to say that I think you’re doing a wonderful thing & I love it, you & Joseph for working SO hard. I’m telling myself it WOULD be difficult, but not with A LOT OF LOVE LIKE YOU’VE GOT FOR HIM. and if you’ll back me up by return message, I know you’ll want to tell me it’s well worth it!! Congratulations on making a terrific life for you & your family. I wish I had the strength. Love, Dee

Rebecca Everitt

says:

My son is 8 and also had Down Syndrome. We are using AAR..just like we used with his older 2 sisters. He knows all his letters, all their sounds, and is getting better and better at blending them into words. Even the sounds he had trouble making in speech he’s still able to read!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awesome, Rebecca! It sounds like your son is doing very well!

Dee Ruiz

says:

Sounds perfect. I’m so glad to read it. I’ve not had any experience but I love to hear the story. Lol, Dee

Ileana

says:

Hi,
I have a 6 year old boy with Ds. I’ve used flash cards and sight words. But he’s pretty much just memorizing what he ge word looks like. I want to teach him how to really read. The program I gave us called Special Reads. It’s pricey and each stage is another couple of hundred dollars. Do you have suggestions on how I can go about teaching him how to become a real reader? Thank you!

Jennifer

says:

Ileana,

Thanks for commenting and asking this question. It’s a common concern for many parents of children with Down syndrome. I firmly believe a mix of phonics and sight word reading is super important for teaching ANY child to read. Phonics based reading such as AAR is admittedly slow going for my son who is now 8.5. But I won’t give up because sounding out words is so important. However, his progress on memorizing sight words is definitely something for him to cheer about. I’ve been using the Margaret Hillert readers. They are chock full of sight words (many of which are phonetically spelled so they can be sounded out if need be) and are limited in the number of words each book contains. I believe ‘The Three Pigs’ has the least amount of words with only 34 different words throughout the book. Being able to recognize sight words quickly is a great skill and surely makes the new reader enjoy their reading experience. Let’s face it, we all yearn for our child to read – what level will they top out at? Who knows. Will they become a reader because of their Phonics lessons? Will they become a reader because of their sight word recognizing skills? Most likely both will contribute to their reading ability.

I can’t speak to the Special Reads program because I’ve never seen it, but I do know that AAR level 1 with the addition of Hillert’s sight word readers is working for us. Joe can take a Hillert book to bed with him, even one he’s never read before, and read before bed. As I listen in he doesn’t get every word right, but I hear him quickly read words in a row, as well as sound out words. That’s my goal for him, to use the skills I’ve taught him, to read.

For more ways I use AAR please visit my blog, http://www.camphomeschool.blogspot.com and search Down syndrome or AAR.

adnan

says:

you are awesome mother

Jill Dudley

says:

Hello! My fifth child is 9 months old and was born with Ds. After he was diagnosed, I immediately thought he would be my first child to go to a brick and mortar school. I have since entertained the idea that I can homeschool this sweetie too – but I’m still not convinced that will be best for him. So, I’m going to be spending the next few years researching more about educating people with Down syndrome – and I’m glad I’ve found you as a resource!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jill,
Congratulations on a 5th baby! I’m glad that we could direct you to Jennifer as a resource as you research homeschooling your newest little one.

Jen

says:

We are a homeschooling family, and our fifth child (9 weeks) has Down Syndrome. We are still finding our new normal, but this was very encouraging.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jen,
Congratulations on the new baby!

I’m glad you find this encouraging. You’ll find your new normal soon enough, and when the time comes to teach your newest little one to read we’ll be here!

Jennifer

says:

Congratulations on the new baby. I can almost smell that sweet little head. I know exactly what you are talking about when you say “finding our new normal”. Joseph is our 5th child as well. He’ll be 8 in August and although belligerent, overly independent, and hard-headed, he’s also loving, compassionate, and always willing to share. I guess he’s a perfectly normal (almost) 8 year old.

If you are in need of encouragement or simply have questions, I’d be happy to share what I know. You can find me @camphomeschool on FB and message me. Happy Summer!

Regina miller

says:

My child is disability she has speech and ot with her hand I am homeschooling her and trying to help her learn reading and math can you help me what do you think.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Regina,
Here are some ways that All About Reading can help kids with learning difficulties:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered.

– AAR is multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Reading letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– AAR has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

All About Reading has a one-year guarantee. You can try it, and if for any reason you feel that it isn’t the right match for your child, return it for a full refund.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Jody Catalanotte

says:

Working with students with Down’s has been some of the most rewarding work of my career.

Wendy Johnson

says:

Thank You! I’m a homeschool mom of 12. Addie is the 12th and she has Down syndrome. She is almost 7 and her memory recall is short (age 2). I am sure I haven’t done enough with her. I’ve been torn between flashcard sight reading and phonics. It’s good to know that you’ve taught phonics and it worked. I’m going to start pre-reading with her!

Jennifer @ Camp Homeschool

says:

Wendy, it seems all of us moms think we never do enough. What’s with that? Many days I have to remind myself that I’ve loved my child, fed my child, clothed my child, prayed for my child, and disciplined my child and THAT IS ENOUGH. With that said, I do know that we desire to do so much more for our children. Reading is a great place to start. I’ve had tremendous success using phonics. It’s slow, but very steady. I would encourage you to find a place for both, phonics and sight words. AAR level 1 includes Leap Words, which are really just basic sight words: the, of, etc. Joseph loves these, especially when I make a BINGO matching game with the words. I throw in a couple extras just for fun: love, like. I also think Leap Frog Word Factory is a fun video to get kids thinking about making words from letters. Best of luck to you and that extra big family you homeschool.

Stefanie Brzezicki

says:

I have six children that I homeschool, and two with Down Syndrome. I tried phonics with the oldest one and it did not work until she was in her teens. The youngest, I used sight words, and he is an incredible reader. I would love to connect with Jennifer.

Jennifer @ Camp Homeschool

says:

Stefanie, why don’t you visit me at my FB page, Camp Homeschool. You can message me any questions or comments and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Wendy Johnson

says:

I can’t find Camp Homeschool fbook page

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
Here is the direct link to Jennifer’s Camp Homeschool Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/camphomeschool/

Danielle McCammon

says:

This article is encouraging. I hope to use the system with my not so great spellers.

Mattie Nelson

says:

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

Misty

says:

My son is 11 he is dyslexic, and has an auditory processing disorder. He really struggles with reading. His short term memory is very bad. If he remembers anything I have to make sure it gets in his long term memory. Thanks for the post!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Misty,
You may find this report on how to Help Your Child’s Memory helpful, as well as our blog post on Auditory Processing Disorder. Let us know if you have any questions. We’re committed to helping parents help their children succeed!

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Marie’s story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out. Quite amazing!

cathryn E.

says:

This is great. I have a son that is a slower learning than his siblings. Ive been nervous about teaching him how to read, but reading your blog gives me more confidence with this program. Thanks.

Susana

says:

I have a downs brother. Although my parents didn’t homeschool us,they insisted that he be in a normal class at the same public school that the rest of us attended. Downs children are more normal and smarter than most people give them credit for! So glad to hear that you are homeschooling him! All the best to you on your journey! My brother is now 20 years old and a real bright and loving young man! May God bless you as you do what you think is best.

I love hearing from the siblings of people with Down syndrome. Your honesty in your response and love of your brother is evident. And you are so right about people with DS – they are smarter and more normal than many people give them credit for. Your brother is lucky to have such a caring sister. God Bless!

Amy

says:

Way to go Joseph! What an awesome job! It’s such an awesome feeling when you see your kiddos grasp learning.

Amber Wallace

says:

Awesome! Super encouraging for parents of special needs children!!

Michele

says:

What a great post. I feel like I have a better sense of how AAR works. And great job, Joseph!!

James Reeves

says:

“Wonderful story”

James Reeves

says:

“My kids use word flippers and love them!”

Brenda

says:

Great story!

Cherie

says:

I loved All About Spelling which we used when my daughter was younger. She is what they call twice exceptional and is very much, “out of the box” when it comes to learning. AAS worked wonderfully for her. We never tried, All About Reading. I saw something that grabbed my attention and I wondered how it would work for her now that she is older and we are once again homeschooling. I am looking into using AAR & AAS again.

Lynn

says:

Very encouraging.

Linda Holcomb

says:

Special needs are often too intimidating for many, and they shouldn’t be. This is inspiring.

Mackenzie G

says:

What an encouraging story!

Ami honeycutt

says:

I do not have a special needs but want to say awesome job!!

Kelly Sutcliffe

says:

Awesome job moma!

Rebecca

says:

I really enjoyed reading this story!

Michelle

says:

Thank you for making all about reading and all about spelling so easy to teach & so engaging for children!

Magela Gonzalez

says:

This is very encouraging. Thank you.

Allison

says:

I would love to try this program!!

Jamie

says:

I love that with homeschool you can create such a specialized, loving environment. Sending this to a friend.

Tracy

says:

My son has special needs and I loved this!

Mary Beth

says:

What a great program. Inspiring story!

Amanda

says:

My son isn’t special needs, but I think it’s great how this program works for those that are.

Kristin Savarese

says:

Wonderful!

Theresa

says:

Our seventh child has DS and is five years old. Very encouraging to read your article. I have read from other sources that children with DS are unable to learn phonics and must learn to sight read instead. I have used AAS and AAR for my older children, but I wasn’t planning to use it for her because it is phonics based. Any comments on phonics vs. sight reading with children with DS?

Jennifer

says:

Sight word reading is a big part of whole language reading, which is quite controversial in some circles. The counterpart is phonics based reading. I don’t know for sure of any conclusive results stating the only way a child with Down syndrome can learn to read is with a whole language approach. I do, however, know from my experience teaching typically developing children, dyslexic children, and a child with Down syndrome that whole language, sight words, and phonics all have their place. I’ll break it down and share why I think each is important for the child with Down syndrome.

WHOLE LANGUAGE – I’ll start with this one because most of us use this method as we read to our little kids. For example board books with one word per page and a picture is using the whole language method. For visual learners this method is quite effective. At a very early age Joe knew the word apple and ball and cat even when I pointed them out in a book other than his favorite ABC board book. I didn’t rely on this method for teaching him reading as much as I used it as a tool. Letters on pages = words. Words explain pictures. Words and pictures are important.

SIGHT WORDS – I love using the Dolch sight word lists, even though many of the words can be learned using phonics. I see the look of satisfaction when Joe reads a word without sounding it out. Knowing how to read the word “like” is fun. He can then read sentences such as “I like the cat.” or “I like the pig.” He can read these sentences even before phonics has taught him to read them. Too much of it, I think, is overwhelming, however, used in moderation, is a fun way to add variety to the All About Reading phonics based program.

PHONICS – Phonics is most important because it gives DS children a concrete way of decoding concrete words. Phonics never changes. I can teach Joseph on Monday a new phoneme and on Wednesday when we review, it’s exactly the same thing. The more we review and I use the same techniques and the same wording, the easier it becomes for him to use his phonics knowledge. Phonics is also so important because as stories get more complex, pictures can’t explain it all. Kids need to be able to sound out the unfamiliar words because the whole language approach just won’t cut it.

I hope this helps shed a little light on these teaching methods. Please do not take my word as gospel; I simply enjoy sharing what I’ve learned from teaching children to read using many methods. Children with DS will typically have a more challenging time learning to read, but with a good solid phonics program (AAR) and a little variety thrown in for fun, they will succeed. Good luck and don’t hesitate to comment or question if you’d like.

Theresa

says:

Hello again! I would like to tell you how I have put your comments into action and the awesome results they have had for my five year old with Down syndrome. I purchased AAR pre-reading and Natalie is readily managing a lesson a day. It is really easy to use, and she often enthusiastically asks to do “preschool” if I don’t get to it fast enough. She isn’t catching on to the concept of rhyming, perhaps because it may be too abstract for her yet, but other than that, she handles most of it easily. We also ordered the Letter Factory movie, and she watches it almost daily with my 2 year old grandson: they are making stunning progress on the letters of the alphabet and sounds. I have renewed confidence in Natalie’s potential to learn to read well using the phonics-based program AAR and my ability to teach her. Thank you so much!!!

Theresa,

WOW! I am thrilled to hear that Natalie is progressing. I can only imagine how proud and maybe relieved you feel to see your daughter making progress with her reading.

When I hit that “post” button, I often wonder if anything I’ve written is helping, so thank you for sharing this with me. It gives me encouragement to keep writing and sharing my experiences.

Neisha Teer

says:

Such an inspiration.

robin

says:

Such a great program! ♡

Danielle

says:

This story is worth sharing with other Mom’s and Dad’s who need encouragement. Beautiful pictures and testimony.

Sarah

says:

Such an amazing program!

Des

says:

Such an encouraging story!

Emily

says:

I love this post! Sometimes I get discouraged and *imagine* how every other homeschooler does it all and everything goes so well. I appreciate knowing that that isn’t true, and that everyone is human. ❤

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Oh, Emily, we all put on a good face but so many of us have struggles. In fact, everyone that works in customer service at All About Learning Press (and many that don’t work in direct customer service too) have personally taught at least one struggling child to read and spell.

Everything doesn’t go so well; we struggle. We spend weeks stuck on the same thing. We start a level over from the beginning. We keep on keeping on, short lessons consistently done over many years. And our children succeed. It might be years later than “normal”, but they become readers and spellers and writers that hold their heads up high.

Your child or children will get there too.

Sherri Osborne

says:

My daughter really needs help with spelling. I would really love to try this program.

jennifer mathesz

says:

Great info and tips! Thanks for sharing

Yolanda Holman

says:

I have a child with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. I am currently teaching him how to read and need all the help I can get.

Jennifer

says:

Yolanda, if you have specific questions, I would love to offer some insight based on my experiences. You can reply here at the AAR blog with your questions or check out the links to my blog at the bottom of this blog post. I believe there are 4 links to my blog – each post pertaining to reading and Down syndrome. Teaching reading is a challenge.

Jodie

says:

I found Jennifer’s blog when I was researching the AAR programme, as I was thinking of using it with my 6 & 7 year olds. I had read earlier about the success Erin from Australia had had, after many years of using a different method to teach her children. Imagine my delight when I read that Jennifer was using AAR to teach her son Joseph. I have an almost two year old with Down Syndrome and, even at his young age, I was pondering what his schooling might look like (ideally homeschooled like his older siblings). I guess that seeing Jennifer and Joseph was the push I needed to invest in the programme – and to my delight, my 6 & 7 year olds are loving it. And I know that I have an excellent tool under my belt for when little Michael’s turn comes to learn to read. Thanks Marie for the AAR programme and thanks to Jennifer for being such an inspiration.

Jennifer

says:

Wow! Finding the right tools for homeschooling — what a delightful moment. And thanks for the kind words.

Patsy Foy

says:

I have a 10 yr old daughter with Cerebellar Hypoplasia of the left hemisphere & partial brain stem, as well as mild CP & HFA/Aspergers. I’ve contemplated AAR/AAS for almost a year now. Your article has definitely enlightened me & I look forward to checking out your blog. Thank you for being so open & honest.

Jennifer

says:

Finding encouragement is one of the greatest things about the online community. Glad to be a part of that.

Carolyn

says:

This article was a blessing to me. I have an 8 yo son with DS, who loves learning his letters. He can not get enough of them. He recognizes them on signs and many other places . He will pass up toys for something with letters, I know he will be able to read, but his biggest problem is his speech. He talks a lot but not always understandable. He can start speaking a word but has difficulty with the ending. I am hoping that this will all fall into place as he learns to read. We are making the fabric letters and have some other AAR resources, but have not yet purchased the curriculum. looking forward to finding out more of Jennifer’s homeschooling adventures.

Jennifer

says:

Loving letters is the beginning of a wonderful journey to reading. Joseph, too, has a lot to say – much of it sounds like nonsense rambling, but I am sure a detailed story is in there somewhere. I’ve found that his speech is very s.l.o.w.l.y. getting clearer as his reading skills increase. Even Grandma noticed that she could understand him better at Easter than at Christmas. So, if you are waiting to begin reading instruction until his speech improves, you might want to jump right in and see if his speech improves as a result of reading.

Wendy Hoffman

says:

Hi,
This is so encouraging to me! I have been reading your blogs and checking out the program wondering if it was right for our son with T21. He is 4.5 and we are working on preschool concepts. I will be following Jennifer for her tips and experiences and hope to win the contest to buy material for our son.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
It’s great to hear that this was so encouraging to you. That’s what we were aiming for, and it’s really nice to know we hit our mark!

Danielle Rosenberg

says:

I have a 9 year old son with Down syndrome and this is our first year using this curriculum. I absolutely love it and would love to hear more about your journey with homeschooling Joseph.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Danielle,
I don’t know if you saw the links to Jennifer’s blog on the bottom of the article, but here it is “Camp Homeschool”.

Jennifer

says:

Danielle, at the bottom of the blog post is a list of links to my blog Camp Homeschool. They all highlight ways I use AAR with Joseph. Please check those out and comment over there if you have any more questions. Talk to you soon.

Joyce

says:

Would love to connect about our 5 year old daughter with DS. We are finishing up ABeka kindergarten this year and she has done well. She understands more than 80% of the material, but I can see I will need to switch to something else next year or she will get lost because it will move to far too fast. She can read on level and loves school, and I hope to keep that love of learning. Thank you for any advice!

Jennifer

says:

Joyce, my only advice for you is to just keep swimming!! It sounds like your daughter is progressing well. If she knows her letters and most of the sounds, I’d recommend AAR level 1. We’re moving through it very slowly, because I really want Joseph to have a strong foundation. As for all the other subjects, I read lots of books to him. One search at Pinterest for a specific topic will find you swimming in book choices. Best wishes as you finish up the Kindergarten year.

Laurel

says:

I would love to connect with you. We are on lesson 21 and stuck. I honestly don’t know where to go from here and I am just sitting still reviewing the green cards and the sh, th and ch sounds while finding cvc things that he can read. My guy had a stroke at birth and has mild cp, epilepsy and profound apraxia. Any suggestions would be much appreciated

Jennifer

says:

Laurel, first off it’s so important to remember that our children’s worth and intelligence is not wrapped up in their ability to read. They have complete worth because they are children of God, made in His image. However, I fully understand, that as a parent we want our children to reach their FULL potential and don’t want any regrets when it comes to their education. My suggestion for working on the /sh/, /th/, /ch/ is this:

Choose one of the sounds such as /sh/, then choose one word found in the /sh/ story in the reader, then you read the story to your child and highlight (with a marker) the /sh/ part of that word each time you come to it in the reader. Then have your child read the story, but you help with all the other /sh/ words, having your child read only the highlighted /sh/ words. Sometimes the visual color clue is helpful to remind them that those letters must be blended.

I hope this is the kind of suggestion you were looking for. Good luck.

Laurel

says:

That’s a great idea. Thank you, I will try that

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Laurel,
One of my kids really struggled with these, and I actually had to make up some extra aids for my son to remember them.

For SH, I’d put my finger in front of my lips and shush, like telling someone to be quiet. For TH, I’d exaggerate biting my tongue as I said teeth, really holding the last sound. If the tongue isn’t between the teeth, it is not the TH sound! And for CH, I’d make a C with my fingers and lightly hit my chin (or my son’s chin).

For another option, here are some ideas that one of our customer’s speech therapist suggested. She used her hand and made a short karate chop and emphasized the quick sound /ch/ as she said “chop” every time. Then she told the student about a ship going on a long slow journey across the ocean and then moved her hand slowly across and emphasized the /sh/ that can be said slowly when you say the word “ship.” You just can’t say /ch/ slowly!

Another customer was helped by this site: http://www.progressivephonics.com – It has free phonics books that can be read online or downloaded and used right away. They have books and activities to work on TH, SH, and CH.

These phonograms are a stumbling block for many children without significant learning difficulties too.

Jennifer

says:

Robin E., those are great tips. I use hand signals with Joseph, as well. It really helps him. I don’t like to rely on DVD’s, but Leap Frog http://amzn.to/1ZLLgCm and http://amzn.to/232OgfK are excellent resources for learning sound promps/signals. Joseph loves these videos; they are educational and entertaining.

Jennifer

says:

The links above are for Leap Frog Letter Factory and Leap Frog Word Factory. The link didn’t want to post correctly.

Allison Davis

says:

I enjoyed your article. I have 9 year old daughter with a chromosomes disorder. She in 2nd grade but reads at beginning first grade level.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Allison,
Let us and Jennifer know if you have any specific questions or concerns!

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