Parents are curious about the activities we’ll be using, and understandably so. I’ve spent the past year online almost nonstop preparing. In that time I’ve collected 1200+ resources to use for children with very different needs. Obviously I can’t list them all, but will include the major ones here.
In addition, I know you would probably like to know which software programs and online reading programs I recommend. We use many, and will review each one ASAP so that you can check them out. Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about each one as it is published.
These include programs that you could try at home without our help if it sounds like they might help your child. They’ll be reviewed here on the blog ASAP in order of our perceived value and quality, as well as their usefulness to the most students. Again, subscribe to our newsletter if you want to receive the descriptions and links as they are published.
What I use with your child will be chosen specifically for his or her needs after our consultation, meeting with your child, and our written evaluation and list of needs.
Parents have asked me to break these tools down by skill. Almost all, though, are used at every level and for every purpose. That’s because they have varying levels of challenge.
Nonetheless, you folks are the boss! So here they are, divided just a bit.
Alphabet / letters / sound / shape
- extremely inexpensive membership in a site that has books for many levels with narration and without
- a reading/writing/typing program that combines the movement of the fingers with the sounds and shapes of the letters. This will be the first program that I post a review for. I’ve used it for many years and absolutely cherish it. (used for all levels mentioned) (there is an advanced version)
- online games and other types of play to develop letter recognition, sound recognition and shape recognition of the 26 letters of the alphabet
- a decoding app that most children enjoy; I’ve worked with it for 20 years and each year it improves
- work with your son’s or daughter’s own words and sentences on a shared whiteboard online
- sound boxes for taking words apart and putting them back together
Word shape /word recognition / sight words / automaticity
- word shape boxes, Elkonin sound work
- an interactive online white board to share words, word games, writing and practice
- sight word games
- rhythm games , fun syllable sorting activities, and word attack games
- simple word games that incorporate higher level critical thinking skills
- story dictation and playback
Understanding what is read / reading comprehension
- videos of many childrens’ books, for listening, for reading aloud by the child, and for discussion with teacher or other students
- audio readings of childrens’ books
- think-alouds on video
- visualization techniques both live during sessions and through videos
- models of how good readers approach text/books
Reading speed and accuracy /fluency
- more than a dozen software/reading programs that work with some children, as they address specific needs that not all our students have
- funny songs and stories with words that we explore and play with (all)
- a video reading program that incorporates music. It’s fun and brilliant, but again, not for everyone. Some kids adore it!
The reading / writing connection / helping student use speech and text in keyboarding or on paper
- The keyboarding program is especially important here, and it also teaches reading beautifully
- online collaborative classroom time
- dictation, experimentation with wording, and funny poetry
Discovering the pleasure of reading / for reluctant readers
- discussions of interests, leading to reading and writing on various topics
- research on related games, activities, and book series that appeal to various types of readers
- high interest/low vocabulary books to hook kids who hate reading
In addition, we will create videos and lessons for specific needs your child has.