I shared a few pointers in the past about how I began teaching Joe to read. That post has been read by many, many people. That tells me it's an important topic, most likely in the Down syndrome community. I also shared pictures of a reading lesson. During that lesson we were specifically using a Fluency sheet - one of the All About Reading tactics. As I said in that post, I break the lessons down into smaller mini-lessons and we review, review, review. I'm not too concerned about moving through the material quickly; rather my desire is to give Joe a solid footing so, eventually, he can read independently. Short lessons are making that attainable.
Another reading tactic AAR uses is the flip book. Basically, it's a consonant/vowel/consonant booklet where each section can be flipped up to make a variety of real and nonsense words. Joe's lesson for today included reading practice with the flip book and then we moved on to a few flashcards. This was the perfect length lesson for one day (approx. 15 minutes).
Watch this video clip to see how we use the flip book.
A few things to keep in mind while watching:
- This is only a snippet of the 9 minute lesson.
- Reading is important, but recognizing nonsense words is important, too. I point out nonsense words to Joe.
After working through the flip book, we moved onto word cards. Flashcards don't have to be drudgery. I like to add sentence recitation to our lesson. People with Down syndrome tend to have a harder time speaking clearly. I've found that Joseph likes to abbreviate all his sentences. Rather than saying, "Put water in the pot." He'd rather just say, "water, pot." So to help him form and say entire sentences I provide practice while reading the word cards/flash cards. I have a couple of video clips of us working through word cards.
Things to watch for:
- Reading is only half the battle, comprehension is the other half. If at all possible I like to "define" the word for Joe. You'll see us act out a word, use a word in a sentence, and often we sign words as well.
- Joseph likes to "get distracted". If I made a big deal of these distracted moments, we'd get nothing done. You'll see me remind him to sit on his hands, look at the words, put his hands in his lap, and stay with me. I try to remain calm and keep things moving. Any break in activity is creating a chance for him to "get distracted".
- And lastly, life doesn't stop for filming. You might hear normal large family activity in the background. Sorry.
So there's how we use All About Reading for Homeschooling Joseph. I love the versatility of the program and how easily it can be adapted to the amount of time we have available for a lesson.
Looking to get started? Here's a free activity book from All About Reading. Download now for a peek into the program.
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