From the archives...
The following discussion was originally posted in the Logic of English Forum. The discussion forum site is no longer available, so customer questions have been moved to the Help Center.
A customer wrote to us:
My son is 5, will be 6 in July. We have been crawling through Foundations A for the last year because he just can't seem to grasp the material. He can remember only a portion of the sounds and really is struggling with putting the phonograms together to make a word. I keep moving forward in hopes that it will catch on. Do I keep on keeping on or do I start over, or do I a ton of review until he makes the connections and then move forward? Any help or guidance would be appreciated.
First, the point at which kids are ready to really dig in with reading does vary quite a bit. So the fact that he may not be there yet isn't necessarily a point for concern.
However, let me ask a few questions and see how I can help.
1) How many days per week do you usually do Foundations work (whether that's a whole lesson, a part of a lesson, or just a phonogram or blending game to practice)? Students often master the material much more slowly if they aren't using and practicing the phonograms every day.
2) About how much time per day are you spending?
3) Are you playing all of the games, especially the phonogram games but also any handwriting, high-frequency word, phonemic awareness games the lessons prompt you to do?
4) Have you tried adding in an extra game (whichever one he wants) each day to increase the practice with the phonograms?
5) What lesson are you currently on, and how did he do in the most recent assessment? Do you use the Mastery Level numbers in these to help you determine whether to review further or move on? I would say you definitely don't want to move forward yet if he can't do the level 1 skills or is completely lost with the level 2 skills; if he hasn't got all the phonogram sounds he's learned so far down pretty solidly, for example, then it is completely natural for him to struggle greatly with sounding them out in words.
6) How is he doing with the phonemic awareness activities that don't use phonograms, such as the segmenting and blending or identifying specific sounds within a word (whatever Phonemic Awareness practice is suggested in the lesson you're on)?
Let me know and I'll see how I can help!
Thanks so much for your response.
I try to do Logic of English 4x per week (we usually have a four day school week and school year round). But his attention seems very short so I really can't push the lesson very long at all or I lose him completely. Probably spend about 10 minutes. Especially as the material has gotten a bit harder (spelling and reading). I do play most of the games, but don't often add in an extra one for review because I have already lost his attention. We did Review Lesson F in book A. He didn't master /w/ and /r/ and I would say he is not even a 2 for the other phonograms /n/, /m/, /e/ and /l/. I have not moved on because of that.
I think where I am concerned is if I hold up a phonogram, say /l/ as an example, remind him what it says, repeat it a few times, switch to a more mastered phonogram and then immediately return to the /l/ sound, he can't remember it. We go over and over it sometimes and he still can't remember. And the concept of segmenting out words is just hard. He may get the first two sounds right but the third he gets incorrect. Or may sound it all out correctly but putting it together he says something completely different.
He just doesn't seem all that interested which could be part of the problem. Thanks for your advice.
You are welcome!
It may be that he really just isn't ready to be interested. I would agree that you should not push him to do more than ten minutes at a go if he isn't up for more. However, I do think you may see better growth if you add in another phonogram game for five minutes later in the day a couple of times a week, and especially if you add in a five- to ten-minute phonogram game at some point during your 3-day weekend. Keep it active and fun, not "schooly," but do give him an opportunity to encounter them again during that time. Children frequently demonstrate a lag in memory after only two days away, so if he's regularly going without practicing the sounds for three days that may be a factor. And I would not move forward with new lessons until he is nailing most of the phonograms he has learned, getting the others right most of the time, and getting more comfortable with segmenting.
By the way, have you ruled out vision issues as a factor? If not, I'd encourage you to get his vision checked.
Phonemic awareness is a complex skill, and he may need more practice with the steps he's learned so far. Segmenting is harder than blending, and segmenting or blending a CVC word is harder than putting compound words together or taking them apart. These are really helpful, important skills, so do give him as much times as he needs to master them. If segmenting CVC words is hard, you may want to spend some time practicing the earlier stages some more to build up the underlying skills before returning to segmenting words into individual sounds.
I hope this helps!