Guide Placement for My 10-11 Year Old Dyslexic Son

Pondering Placement

What placement would you suggest for my severely dyslexic 10-11 year old son?

Question:
Hello to the Austin Family!
I have a 10-11 year old son who is severely dyslexic. I’m trying to decide what guide to place him in. I’m thinking Bigger Hearts for His Glory. Before this we only really have done the Bible and the 3Rs because it was such a struggle. But now with therapy, I think he’s ready for something more. What would you suggest?

Reply:
One thing you’ll discover with Heart of Dakota is that there is not a one-size fits all placement for kiddos. So, we spend time learning about your specific child and situation to find the best placement for your family.

Bigger Hearts will give a solid introduction to American history and a good exposure to science.

Considering your son hasn’t had a chance to do more than Bible and the 3R’s, I’d lean toward Bigger Hearts. This would give him a good solid introduction to American History and a good overall exposure to science too. I think that Bigger will actually be quite challenging in many ways, as it has many skills woven into it. You would still be reading aloud the science and the history to your son in Bigger. This will give him another year to make gains as a reader before tackling some of those subjects himself later.

Bigger Hearts will provide good practice in writing, spelling, and reading skills.

There is also a lot of writing practice in Bigger including copywork, which will good for your son as well. The spelling lists are another area where your son can utilize what is scheduled within Bigger. This will be excellent preparation for the dictation passages that are found within Preparing Hearts for His Glory. It also sounds like your son would be well placed in the Emerging Reader’s Set. This set is scheduled for you daily in the Appendix of Bigger, with follow-up oral comprehension questions.

Bigger Hearts will teach many skills needed to transition successfully into the increased independence of Preparing Hearts.

If you jumped into Preparing now, your son would miss the spelling lists and Emerging Reader schedule he needs. Many skills are introduced and honed in Bigger that help a child successfully navigate more independence in Preparing. In weighing that you are currently reading aloud and enjoying beginning chapter books, placement in Bigger fits well. Bigger will encourage expanding his current listening level to challenge him even more without losing the enjoyment. We want to give your son every chance to succeed, and Bigger… is the placement to help him do so!

Heart of Dakota carries all the needed resources for Bigger Hearts for His Glory.

As always, our family carries all of the needed resources for Bigger Hearts for His Glory. You can check out these resources on our Heart of Dakota website here. Or, just give us a call at 605-428-4068, and we’d be happy to help with any further questions. Please do leave us a message if we don’t answer right away, as we will probably be homeschooling ourselves!!! We usually return phone calls within 24-48 hours.

Blessings,
Carrie

How to Review Phonics for a Third Grader

Dear Carrie

How can I review phonics with my third grader?

Dear Carrie,

Can you recommend a phonics review resource for a 3rd grader? My daughter is reading Level 2 books in Drawn into the Heart of Reading. When she comes to a word she doesn’t know, it’s like she doesn’t know how to sound it out. She just speeds through it, making something up. She doesn’t enjoy reading. I believe this is primarily because her foundation is not solid, and she does not feel confident. She gets frustrated and embarrassed when I try to help her sound words out.

Sincerely,
“Searching for Phonics Help for a 3rd Grader”

Dear “Searching for Phonics Help for a 3rd Grader,”

Depending on how much phonics instruction your daughter had in the past, she may need another quick pass at phonics. Or, if she can decode but chooses not to, she may just need to read aloud with you helping.

I would recommend using Sound Bytes Reading under these circumstances:

• if a student did not have a thorough pass through formal phonics
• if a student missed some of the formal phonics due to other life issues
• if a student missed some of the formal phonics due to hearing or eye related concerns

We carry Sound Bytes Reading just for these reasons.

The program takes 3-4 months and is a good way to firm up any needed decoding skills. You can use the program through the summer if desired, while still having her read real books. At that point you would then know she has the needed decoding skills and just needs practice gaining fluency.

I wished I’d had a program like Sound Bytes Reading for my last son.

He struggled with reading after going through formal phonics instruction. I later found out this was due to the tubes in his ears being plugged, so he wasn’t hearing. Anyway, I put him through another entire phonics program from beginning to end at that point. A quicker refresher course, like Sound Bytes Reading, would have been a better choice.

I also would drop back the level of the books she is reading to make reading more fun and easy.

Sometimes when we are consistently pushing the child’s level of comfort reading-wise, it steals the joy of reading. Returning to easier books for a time can make the child feel successful and help reading be enjoyable again.

Blessings,
Carrie

How much time are you spending on language arts and math?

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Are you using Heart of Dakota’s choices for language arts and math?

If so, this will help keep your day balanced time-wise and skill-wise with the rest of the guide. The Heart of Dakota guide schedules a careful mix of subjects and skills each day. This schedule takes into account how much reading, writing, and math students are doing each day. So, by using HOD’s choices, your day is planned to be balanced.

Are you using some of your own selections for language arts and math?

If you are using your own selections, check how much time you spend on language arts and math daily. Be sure the time you spend on these areas aligns with time spent on these same areas in our guide. Otherwise, you will find your day going longer than planned simply due to differing language arts and math choices.

How much time should language arts and math take each day?

Language arts and math are the biggest time stealers in the day. They can easily take over the day, leaving little time for other subjects. So, strive to note how often we schedule writing, dictation, Drawn into the Heart of Reading, and grammar. Also, note how long these subjects are likely to take as scheduled in the guide. If you are not sure how long these subjects take, ask on the Heart of Dakota Message Board or on our Facebook page. Then, stick to a similar schedule. Take care that math does not overtake your day either. Balance in language arts and math is key to finishing your school day on time! So, strive for balance in these important areas and see if your day goes better!

Here are a few other past teaching tip posts that may also help you if your day is running a little longer than you would like:

Are you encouraging your children to do the independent boxes of plans on their own?

Are you having your child work toward the suggested level of independence in Heart of Dakota?

Have a Written Routine and Provide it to Your Child

Blessings,
Carrie

PS – For those of you who like to use the app Bloglovin, we wanted to let you know that we have added our blog to this site.

Follow our blog with Bloglovin

Thanks!
Heart of Dakota

Why You Should Continue With Copywork Once Dictation and Written Narrations Have Begun

Dear Carrie

What benefits do you see for children to continue copywork once dictation and written narrations are well underway?

Dear Carrie,

The reasons for continuing dictation, oral narration, and written narration through the middle and upper years make sense to me. I myself have seen fruit from these methods! I’ve been grateful for how much they have helped my children in the process of learning to write. Copywork also makes sense to me in the elementary years, and it helped my 3 oldest when they were learning to write. One thing I don’t understood though is the continuation of copywork beyond 5th grade. I have noticed copywork continues through high school. What benefits do you see for children to continue copywork once dictation and written narrations are well underway?

Sincerely,
“Please Help Me See the Benefits of Copywork for Olders”

Dear “Please Help Me See the Benefits of Copywork for Olders,”

This is an excellent question! Heading into upper levels of education, copywork begins taking on a new focus. As students copy from increasingly difficult narrative history books and classic literature, more in-depth elements are present. An author’s style, voice, word choice, descriptive language, use of humor, foreshadowing, mood, and important dialogue can be perceived. In essence, students are copying from great writers and beginning to internalize the author’s use of language.

Many of our founding fathers used this strategy.

This strategy was used by many of our founding fathers as part of their education and all through their lives. Benjamin Franklin was known for copying lengthy passages from the Bible and from Pilgrim’s Progress. He then later tried to write these verbatim, without looking at the model. Thomas Jefferson was also known to copy extensively from various works to internalize the material and note important phrasing.

Charlotte Mason advocated the practice of keeping a Common Place Book through high school.

High school students continue keeping a Common Place Book, selecting meaningful quotes or passages from classic literature for their book. Charlotte Mason advocated this practice throughout high school, and we feel it is an excellent use of students’ time. As students read, they watch for notable quotes or passages and select their favorites from among them. Finally, they copy them into their book for later reference, creating a ‘Common Place’ for their special quotes or passages.

Copywork of Scripture and poetry is especially beneficial.

Continuing copywork of Scripture is another area that is well worth the time spent copying. Within Heart of Dakota, students typically copy verses and passages that they have been asked to memorize. This makes the Scripture within their Common Place Books especially meaningful. Poetry is another area worthy of copywork. Poetry copywork reflects the structure of poems, the flow of words, the sentiments evoked, and the style of the poet.

Continuing copywork ensures students take note of excellent writing.

Copywork is such an overlooked skill especially as students begin doing more of their own writing. However, the inclusion of copywork in Heart of Dakota ensures students are continuing to take note of excellent writing. It keeps students watching how strong writers express themselves and thinking of ways they can imitate great writing. When students read and then copy from what they read, they remember better what was read. The quotes help the student recall the book to mind. So, there are many benefits to copywork all throughout life, no matter what age you are!

Blessings,
Carrie

Are you encouraging your children to do the independent boxes of plans on their own?

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Are you reading aloud material meant for the children to read on their own?

Are you taking over assignments from the Independent (I) boxes, reading aloud material meant for the child to read? If so, this will definitely add time to your day. It is no surprise that parents often want to keep reading aloud long past the point at which children can read well on their own. This can be because the material is so interesting that the parent doesn’t want to miss out! Other times the parent doesn’t want to lose special time spent reading with the child. Or, perhaps the child doesn’t want the added responsibility of reading his own material. Eventually, a point arrives at which your child will actually prefer reading his own material. Sometimes this is a natural progression, and sometimes children need nudging in this direction. But the progression toward children reading their own material is an important one.

There are many benefits to children reading their own school assignments.

Typically, kiddos can read to themselves much more quickly than you can read aloud to them. Also, students usually retain better when reading to themselves. Even if students’ first independent reading efforts are less than stellar, there is much to be gained from developing this important skill. Training children to read their own material is critical preparation for higher levels of reading, analysis, and application.

Learning to read purposefully is a skill that takes time to develop.

It can take time for children to learn to read purposefully. By high school, almost all students are asked to use this skill regularly. So, be sure to encourage your children to do any reading assigned in the ‘I’ boxes on their own. Then, don’t forget to check your children’s work in any ‘I’ boxes to be sure they have done it! At our house we trust, but verify!! Try training your children to read their own material and see what you think.

Here are some previous posts in this series that you may also want to consider:

Are you having your child work toward the suggested level of independence in Heart of Dakota?

Have a Written Routine and Provide it to Your Child

Are you training your older children to read from the guide?

Blessings,
Carrie

PS – For those of you who like to use the app Bloglovin, we wanted to let you know that we have added our blog to this site.

Follow our blog with Bloglovin

Thanks!
Heart of Dakota