Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reading Questions - Frequency & Understanding

Here are some more questions from a reader:
As you have been using the brillkids software too, and have a child with additional needs, I just thought you would be the perfect one to ask!!

I guess my main questions are: 

-Do I need to repeat things more often than with another child? (A 'normal' child would likely have learned a lot of words from all we have shown, but I don't think that's the case. I actually did go half way into the curriculum on LR, and then started again from scratch because I was worried she just hadn't gained anything from it :S, and I'm sure we are doing it often enough in a day either!)
I'm not going to be much help on this question because I'm really not sure if you need to repeat things more often or not.  In the beginning I did because I had the same concerns but as my daughter started to show me that she understood the words, I was able to figure out how quickly she learned & I followed a pretty typical schedule with her. From reading that I have done mainly on the BrillKids Forums, it seems like K has learned to read in a very similar manner compared to typical toddlers. We rarely do flashcards now except on little reader & even that is almost always longer sentences but at the end K was able to learn over 65 words every 3 days.  I got to the point that I had trouble finding word lists as well as time to make that many flashcards especially because I was changing each set twice a week. My biggest caution is not to bore your daughter.  If she starts to seem less interested, try cards more quickly & changing them more often. You are better to show them a little too quickly & have her miss a few of the words than to bore her & have her refuse to learn new words. 
We often do Little Reader 2 or 3 times a day, five times a week. Although now that K has figured out how to use the computer by herself she often watches it even more.

-How did you develop your child's understanding? Her understanding of the world, what she was reading, etc?  
I think the most important thing that we did to help with understanding was to always show a picture with each word & to explain when necessary. Another thing that probably helped was to try to relate things we were reading to everyday life.  For example, if we went swimming, I would read a story about swimming.  We made books for K to read about real life situations such as family holidays, a book on our farm animals, a book about preschool, etc.

Did you do games with her to emphasize the meaning of the words, or to see if she understood them/could read them (before she was verbal)?

Not really.  We mainly just made sure she received lots of input & never asked her for output or did any sort of testing until she was reading well.  At times it was hard to patiently wait for K to show us that she was learning, but in the end I am glad we didn't push her or test in any way.  She truly loves reading now. It was a huge leap of faith in the beginning but it paid off in the end.

-What did you find was the most practical/successful way of teaching your daughter? You mention that you printed all the flashcards from LR. Did you do a few categories a day, pulling out an old card and putting in a new one, every day? Did you still use the computer in the same time? 


I think that the most important thing is to find a method that is easy for you to implement & be consistent with.  I found it too hard to keep track of all the words to add & retire so I just used a new set of words for 5 days at a time, took a couple of days off & then started a fresh set of cards for the next week. As K showed me she could learn very quickly, I shortened up the time until she was learning a new set about every 3 days. At this time I used the computer more sporadically & mainly just for fun.  K didn't seem to learn as well from the computer in the beginning so it is only since she turned 4.5 or so that we finally switched to Little Reader only.

Just remember to start slow & add new things gradually so it is not overwhelming. 
 Sorry if these are too many questions! I'm desperately looking for the info, and you seemed like the ideal experienced mother/teacher to ask! 

I know you must be very busy too, so please don't feel like you need to answer all of these. I would be grateful for whatever piece of advice you would have :) 

Have you ever looked into neurodevelopmental programs?  I think one of the reasons that my daughter was able to learn so well is because of her program. It has helped organize her brain so that she learns more easily.

If you want to learn more, I have a neurodevelopment  (ND)category on the right hand side of my blog.  There are a number of blogs posts where I talk about ND.

You can also check out Down syndrome:  a day to day guide which is another blog that has a post entitled How to Find a Neurodevelopmentalist. This blog has tons of other great info too.  Some is specific to Down syndrome but lots of it is more general & you may find it very helpful.

You may also find this forum helpful too. If you use the search bar that is 1/2 way down on the right side of the page you will find lots of posts on early reading & lots of other subjects.

I hope this is helpful.  Please feel free to ask any questions you like & good luck teaching your little girl :)

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