55 answers

I Need Help Teaching My 7 Year Old How to Read.

HELP!!! I am homeschooling my daughter. When it comes to reading, she is having a problem with transfering information she learns. We're using the Phonics program. As long as we're reading the books that come with the program, she reads just fine. If I take the learned words and give them back to her on 3 x 4 cards, it looks like Greek to her. My question is...are there any steps I can use to help her.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I am overwhelmed with gratitude! I have received wonderful advice, but more importantly I have been embraced with sincere compassion. I can come out of the forest now and know which direction to go in to help my daughter. Several of you have invited me to e-mail you privately and I shall. Thanks to all for taking time out of your life to inspire and advise me on my personal quest for my daughter myself.

Featured Answers

Use the Msking Words book, Phonics Lessons Level 2 by Fountas and Pinell, and or Guided Reading. All of these books integrate decoding, comprehension, and spelling. Some children have problems generalizing what they read from one program to reading words in isolation or in other texts. I have taught for 14 years in a public school setting. I have two daughters, ages 23 and 25. We also have a 4year old grandson.

It sounds like you doing everything you can. One thing that I did with my boys when we were starting to read was letter searches everywhere we went or magazines. Then 2 letters together and so on. The most important thing is to not get frustrated, that puts a damper on their reading. Other than that good luck, and hang in there.

I am a 1st grade teacher and I have taught Reading Recovery. We use different strategies to help while reading. Some things that you may use while she is reading is to ask her if what she reads, makes sense, looks right and and sounds right? When reading words in text there is meaning and she can predict using the strategies that I listed above along with a few others. Having her read words in isolation can be more difficult.

Best of luck!

More Answers

You have to be careful giving words in isolation. There are no context clues to help the child decipher the meaning or sound of the word. Probably why she can read it in the phonics program books. Try finding books that are not with your phonics program that include the vocabulary words and see how she does.

Do you have any training in reading instruction? You may want to at least consult with someone such as a reading specialist or get some training on your own before trying to tackle this. Teaching kids to read is a very complex process. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I am homechooling my three girls and we had the same problem with our oldest. there is a wesite site called letsgolearn.com and it was a life saver for us. they have a reading assesment test she can take and it will print out a report and tell you what areas she is weak in and then give you suggestions of things you can do to help her build in those areas. i would love to share and help any way possible...email me if you want!
But I do want to stress DON"T PANIC!!! Your anxiety is not going to make it better and it will only stress your daughter out...some of this advise suprises me a little...

My son learned how to read when he was two years old. He went to school, but the way I was taught was that the teachers are there to teach at school, but when he is at home it was my job to teach him further. Since he was two I read to him consistantly. Any words he had trouble with I would write them down separately and when we were done reading I would give him the words to spell (depending on his age) I would make him write it 5 to 10 times each. Then I would make sentences out for him to fill in the word. then I would even give a spelling test. also I would use those words when he got home from school or over the weekend in our conversations or have friends or family help too. Be consistant everyday but not to over do it. I always would randomly ask him to spell out a word when we are in the car or at home or grocery shopping. I will ask him to use that word in a sentence that day to someone where ever we were too. oh don't forget to make sure he knows the meaning of that word by giving a definition too. my son is 14 yrs old now and I dedicated my self to making sure he came first in his education. My son is in 8th grade gifted and talented classes since elementary years. he already has high school credits. He already has his college plan out. Believe me you can do it, u don't need hooked on phonics, I am not knocken it and it cant hurt but I couldn't afford that program and with time I taught my son reading, english, math, history, and science on my own at home. It is also good to take him yourself to the museums and take tours together to learn new stuff, your child will get use to or want to learn all the time. Make it fun to learn!

I see many children whose parents are having this same struggle in my practice. Without meeting your daughter, it would be impossible to say why she is not succeeding easily. Many children struggle with visual tracking, convergence of vision or auditory processing (yep, reading has a LOT to do with sound). There are several components that can be holding her up.

It might be wise to consider checking some of these things for her and then having a specific program designed to help address them.

Hi L.,

I just want to second some of the advice you have received. I homeschool 3 kiddos (9, 6, 6). My twin girls are polar opposites for reading. One needed Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (at Mardels for 20.00) and the other needed hooked on phonics. One of mine zoomed through reading and has no issues at all the other one can read, but she struggles more than her sister and I have to go slower, not let her feel any anxiety from me or she just freezes and her brain stops working. Plus, I have to say that my one who struggles is night a day from when I started teaching them to read at 4.5. Her sister had no problems from the beginning and progressed at a normal rate. I think my other daughter would be reading at the same level had I waited until 5.5 to teach her. I just don't think she was as ready. I don't think it hurt her at all that I started early, but it was more anxiety for me. So do take a deep breathe. Check out what you can about dyslexia if you think you need to, but she may just be a late bloomer and that is the awesome thing about homeschooling. Good luck! Email me if you want. ____@____.com

My kids are not homeschooled, so this note may be irrelevant for you.
What you are describing sounds a lot like two of my children. That was how it began...difficulty reading and it quickly spiralled into them not wanting to do any work. We had hired private tutors and enlisted the school's help with any extra reading assistance they offered.
We discussed the problem with the Pediatrician and she recommended that we have them tested for dyslexia. We felt like it certainly couldn't hurt, and we could come away with a better understanding of our children's learning needs.
They are currently in their public school's dyslexia program and are flourishing. For the first time, they are initiating reading. They are comfortable reading aloud to friends and to each other. We still have a long way to go, but are happy with their progress thus far.

I would highly recommend you get her tested for dyslexia. You can apply to have her tested at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. It is free. You will need her doctor to sign a referral, but that will come in the application packet. It may take a few months to get an appointment, but the information you will learn is invaluable. If she does indeed have dyslexia or another reading disorder, I would recommend you seek help either from a Certified Academic Language Therapist, or from your school district, or somebody else who has extensive knowledge of dyslexia and reading disorders.

The good news is that dyslexia is "overcomeable" with the proper intervention and a very direct, systematic approach to phonics instruction, combined with spelling, writing, and sight words. But children with dyslexia do require a different approach than a typical child without any reading disorders.

Good luck!! And don't get discouraged....

I'm homeschooling my preschooler (5 1.2), because she missed the K cut off. I am having a hard time with the reading side too. I spoke to a girl friend and she recomended a book called How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I just got it in the mail and am going to start on it Monday. My friend said the book worked well for her daughter. Good Luck!

Use the Msking Words book, Phonics Lessons Level 2 by Fountas and Pinell, and or Guided Reading. All of these books integrate decoding, comprehension, and spelling. Some children have problems generalizing what they read from one program to reading words in isolation or in other texts. I have taught for 14 years in a public school setting. I have two daughters, ages 23 and 25. We also have a 4year old grandson.

It looks like you already got great info, and you already posted your "what happened" message, but I wanted to respond anyway. :)

I also homeschool my two girls, and my oldest (will be 8 in May) seemed to hit a wall for a while when I was trying to teach her to read. I got lots of advice, had her vision tested, had some other tests run, and then just basically backed off of pushing her for a while. Finally a little after she turned 7, something just "clicked". Now she's a bookwork, and the last time I had her reading tested (at the letsgolearn.com website that someone mentioned - I use it through Sonlight), she was reading on about a 6th grade level (of course her comprehension isn't there yet, but we're working on it!). So, it may just be that she's not quite ready yet.

BTW, I have a home-based business with children's educational books, and often do literacy presentations for parenting groups/schools. One of the things I stress for reluctant readers is to find a book on a subject that the child *loves*, and often that will motivate them to read.

HTH - and happy homeschooling!

I homeschool my two children and have several friends who homeschool as well. My son learned to read when he was 6 using Hooked on Phonics. He did the same thing you described that your daughter did. He could read out of his readers fine, but wouldn't even try reading anything else saying, "I can't read those books." I didn't press it, but just kept practicing and moving along in his reading workbook. Gradually, he would recognize words in regular books and on labels and has gained confidence in his skills. Now, he's 7 and tries to read everything. My friend's daughter didn't pick up reading until she was almost 9. That's the beauty of homeschool. Don't push--they will get it in their own timing. If you push her too much or compare her to others her age, she'll decide she isn't a good reader and label herself 'dumb'. Good luck!

My daughter is 6.5. We got stuck after the letters and sounds of each for a long time. Phonics seems confusing for her because the rules are only the rules until they aren't which is often. Orthography is working much better for her. She learns parts of words and what they mean so she can see how they work today. Does your kid like science and math? Mine does. Might just be the way her brain learns.

Here's another idea we've used a lot... we take small books and I pick out all the words that I think she doesn't know and write them on a piece of paper that we go over word by word BEFORE we read the book.

Also, post it's makes these things that have the ending of common words like op, end, un with a blank in front of about 20 of the same ending where you can write in letters. So you have about 20 that say un.. fun sun run.... etc. I cut off the blank front and made all kinds of letters and letter combinations. My daughter really seemed to understand when she could stick and unstick ch, sh, th, w, f, s, etc and make words that she knew and words that didn't make sense.

Hope that helps. We're still working it out ourselves so I'll be interested to see what others suggest.

Try Karaoke, it's fun and she won't realize how much she is learning. Disney has produced Karaoke CDG's for quite a few of their shows including High School Musical and they can be found in stores like Target, Walmart & CVS. They average about 9.99 per CD. You can pick up a small karaoke machine that will work with your TV at Target for about 39.99


We've been homeschooling for about 5 years. One of the great advantages is that you can move at your child's pace. One disadvantage is that we, the parents, can get panicky worrying about our child progressing "on time".
First, if you are concerned, it is a good idea to rule out any learning challenges, like dyslexia. Knowledge is power.
Second, don't panic. My oldest son didn't seem to really get the reading thing until sometime after 7. We read together all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to read the book by himself. Then he just took off. Now we have to remind him to do other things, like eat and sleep.
I've run across other homeschool families that had kids that didn't read until they were 8 or later. The latest I've heard is 12. That child did go on to a very prestigous college and is just fine.
You may need to try a combination of methods. A little phonics, a little whole language. We've used Bob Books and McGuffey Readers. We've spent countless hours at the library. I've also found that learning to write the words helps. (Draw, Write, Now is a great series).
Keep reading with her. Make it enjoyable. Don't get upset, discouraged, uptight. It's alright if she doesn't seem to be getting it right now. She will.
For yourself, consider joining a homeschool support group. I find it immensely valuable to talk to other moms that have been there.
Good Luck.

It sounds like you doing everything you can. One thing that I did with my boys when we were starting to read was letter searches everywhere we went or magazines. Then 2 letters together and so on. The most important thing is to not get frustrated, that puts a damper on their reading. Other than that good luck, and hang in there.

Education is very important to me, as I am a college Instructor. Before my kids started school, I always stressed learning and read to them, but I never pushed them. Now they are both in school, K and 2nd, and I am very pleased with their level of progression. The schools here (in Denton County-- and probably throughout the state) teach a Phonics-Sight word combo. If your daughter is only able to read the books that come with the program, she is probably memerizing the books and not actually reading the words. This is a beginning level skill, which usually occurs in Kindergarten. The first step in the process, after learning all the letter sounds, is to stress those Dolch sight words-- here is one of many links to those 220 "frequent" words: http://www.janbrett.com/games/flash_card_dolch_word_list_...
I once contemplated homeschooling, but elementary school has so much to offer kids-- way more than just learning reading and math. My daughters have participated in the science fair, arts contests, and a variety of extracurricular activities. It truly is a partnership with the parents. I was a tutor for 1st grade reading last year, and yes, the kids do learn to read at different paces, but in a class of 20, only 2 of them couldn't read independently by the end of the year. I recommend going looking at the Texas Teks so that you have an idea of where your child should be in comparison to other children in typical school settings: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/teks/grade/First_grade.pdf
Good luck!

I am not sure what phonics system you are using, but I did hooked on phonics with my son. I swear by this product (if used the way it is supposed to be used). The very first day we used it, my son read his first book! We still use it, he is now in 1st grade and reads 2nd grade level. You can find the different levels at Sam's Club, Wal Mart, also online, and ebay. A great website to use ase well is starfall.com.

BTW, a neighbor was having problems with her daughter and reading and she did hooked on phonics and it helped a ton as well.

I am not at the age yet where my daughter can read but my sister has a three year old she is teaching to read by this book Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfrried Engelmann. She swears by this book and I also know several other moms who have used it and reccomend it above any other. Hope it helps.

I homeschool as well. How long have you been homeschooling? Did you start at the begining in kindergarten? She seems to be a little intimidated. Maybe have her write the word on the index card. The blend on one side then the whole word on the other side. I have been teaching by 4 and 7 year old since they were two and three. They both can read. Don't be frustrated. If you like, you can email me direct and I can give you my home phone number and we can talk. I know it can be frustrating and as all homeschoolers, we want to help each other! ____@____.com

It almost seems redundant to respond to all the wonderful suggestions you have already received. However, I wanted to add a few things. I taught all of our kids to read and some others as well, even older children struggling. I used a very old method that I'm not even sure is still available in the stores but I'm guessing that you will find something similar. I is called, the Writing Road to Reading. From what you are describing your child may be struggling with several things that have been discussed below. However, it might be as easy as not recognizing your printed letters as compared to the text in the books that are produced. In the system that I have used very successfully at least 6 or 7 times the children learn all the forms of letters, all the sounds of letters and phonograms and then write them, say them and decode them making their own book of rules about our language. I learned so much about English during those years. Did you know we have five different types of silent e's? Amazing - English is not an easy language.

She could have some of the other things mentioned also like some form of dyslexia (there are many of them) or she could be reading contextually (from the pictures). I had one that was an awesome guesser and fooled me for months. I had to start over from the beginning after 6 months of school. Tricksty hobbitses!

Anyway, all this advice is good. Slow down, wait, try new things, get advice, try testing, get support and pray for wisdom - it is an honor and a blessing to teach your children.

Just a suggestion, but you may need to have her tested. If she has a reading disorder, you're going to be wasting time using the same method. She may be memorizing what she is reading now. I know a place that will test her for $50. It's a 30 minute test that looks at reading, arithmetic and writing. I did that with my own son.I wasn't sure where he was in terms of other children his age. Contact me if you want more info.

I will find out for you through my mother, she is a reading specialist. Just be patient .... C.

I am having the same problem with my daughter. What ever happened in your case? I'm homeschooling too. Thanks

One more thing to look for--When she is reading the books, is she "reading" the pictures? I taught for 6 yrs and would have this happen to many kids. I would think they were doing great reading their books, but once they saw a single word on a plain card, clueless. Good Luck!! Don't push her too hard until you figure out the problem. YOu don't want her to learn to hate reading b/c she isn't being successful. Let me know if I can help.

I am a 1st grade teacher and I have taught Reading Recovery. We use different strategies to help while reading. Some things that you may use while she is reading is to ask her if what she reads, makes sense, looks right and and sounds right? When reading words in text there is meaning and she can predict using the strategies that I listed above along with a few others. Having her read words in isolation can be more difficult.

Best of luck!

Hi L.,
Can your daughter write her letters? Can she identify the letters when you write them one at a time? Are the cards you are holding up for her using the letters written exactly as they are in the Phonics program? Can she recognize the words on the cards if you type them? It may just be a developmental thing. I don't by any means have any expert advice--I teach high school math, not reading. I have witnessed many students with learning difficulties and most have more than one problem. She may just need more practice. You could also maybe google "identifying learning disorders" and see if there are typical signs to problems that may be happening--I would do that just to see what other signs that you should be looking for. I would also start writing everything down exactly and be sure not to put words in her mouth when trying to get a description of what is happening. Good luck with everything!

I have 7dc and had one really struglle with learning to read. The best method is the book "Teach your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons." It works!

Hi L.,
I am also a homeschooling mom to a 7 yo girl. The first thing I want to say is not to worry. One of the blessings of homeschooling is your child can learn at their pace. They don't need to be held to any "standard" age to learn this or that. If you are reading to your daughter regularly and providing opportunities to decode words, she WILL learn to read. Some kids will naturally begin to read at 4 or 5, some not until 8 or 9. Both will go on to become good readers. My older daughter was one of those who naturally took to reading at an older age. However, she was in public school and when she wasn't reading well by the "standard" age, she was put in a remedial reading program and pushed really hard to learn to read. She reads fine now but HATES to read. I really feel that if the extra pressure had not been added, she would have learned to read and would now enjoy it.

Do you feel like she is just not quite getting it yet or do you feel that there is a problem? There is always the possibility of dyslexia but I believe that will show up in her writing as well.
Have you tried "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons"? Very inexpensive, and I found it to be very effective in teaching my daughter to read.

I hope I have helped in some way!

My sister had the same problem! We had the hardest time getting her to read and ended up finding out she had a learning disability! She has had to have special classes to deal with it and gets extra time to take tests and things like that, but she reads fine now. It took a lot of work and effort on our family, but your daughter will get through it. You could start off by asking her doctor to check her for signs of that. I don't know if that helps or not! I hope it does!
H. B.

I taught my son to read when he was five by using a set of seven books The Original McGuffy Readers that were used years ago in the country schools. I ordered my set back in about 1989 from CBD (Christian Book Distributors) and it is a reproduction of the originals I love these books and they have wonderful illustrations

I hope all goes well. My kids are avid readers (now 20 and 23 years old) and I hope yours will develop a real love of reading as well



I am going to take the aggressive approach. You are obviously concerned, so I would get it checked out. Scottish Rite is free but there is a waiting list. The other gold standard is The Shelton School which would be quicker but costly. There could be a processing problem that you need to know about. From a developmental point of view she should be able to transfer the words by age 7. These people who was their kids aren't reading until 9 ot 10 shouldn't be homeschooling. I understand kids all learn at their own pace and that one reason people homeschool. As a certified teacher, I am always concerned for kids who don't get the help they need because the parents (who are not trained) wait. Even as a former teacher turned SAHM, I send my kids to private school to get the Christian values and prayer while getting taught by people who specialize in the area they teach. I couldn't do as good a job with my 2 kids in all of their subject areas. A good homeschooling parent knows when to ask for help.


I have had problems with my son when he was learning to read and I got a lot of advice and help from my dad. He is an educator and great resource when I needed it. He is now an education consultant and helps parents with their children that are having difficulty. It is free for the first consultation, might as well give him a call- even if you do not take on additional services. His name is Mr. Thomas and his number is ###-###-####.

My son started PreK when he was 3 1/2 years old. He could sing the songs and when he went to K, I started seeing real problems. He could not read, memorize letters, etc. I got frustrated with his teacher that did not even know that he was cheating in class. I had to inform her of that when I realized that he was doing well on papers that he could not have done on his own because at the time he could not read. I ended up teaching him his letters and words through play. I set up fishing in our living room and he would toss out his line from a fishing pole and I made fish with the letters and blends on them. Every time he caught a fish we would sound out words and letters. That is how he learned to read, but that was just the beginning. I started to then see signs of dyslexia. Holding him back in 1st grade was the best thing that I could have done for him. He now reads well, but does not understand or remember what he is reading because he works so hard to pronounce the words. My dad just tested him to see exactly where he is having difficulty, in what areas. It is important that you understand where she is having problems so you know how to address them but have patience.
Remember every child learns differently and you have to find out what works for your child. Mine is a kinesthetic learner.


I know YOU want to teach her how to read, but have you tried The Leap Frog Word Factory DVD? Also, starfall.com is a great online resource. My daughter has used both of these and learned to read at 3.

Hello, I am a stay at home mother but I used to be a teacher for Early Childhood through 4th grade. I have lots of different ways inwhich you can teach your child if you are interested I live in McKinney and I would not mind helping you learn these different skills. This is not an over night skill to learn and will take a lot of time from you and your child. (____@____.com)

I don't personally know, but here is a link to a homeschool group in the greater DFW area. I am sure that someone here could help you.


There are several different websites that you can visit to find out what "sight" words she should be learning right now. I remember putting those words on flash cards and going over them every night as well as reading the books... Hope this helps.

You have to check out www.starfall.com my daughter is 5 years old and will start school in the fall she is almost at reading level because of this website. Good Luck!!

Most schools have special reading programs for different types of reading problems, this has nothing to do with her being smart, but sometimes there are special problems that they can fix. I suggest you try this.

Hi L.!
We are homeschoolers too. Although I'm not an expert at any of this, and we are still working on the whole homeschooling thing, I've found that reading together helps a lot. When my daughter was younger and interested in learning letters, I started off using my finger to point to each word I read. Then I started using index cards to display only the sentence that I read.

I also subscribe to EdHelper ... which helps us with reading comprehension now that my daughter can read. I also use a program called Sequential Spelling which is actually designed for kids with dyslexia (although my daughter doesn't have that) because we can discuss the letter patterns, whether or not the word follows the "rules", as well as homonyms, synonyms, and antomyns for the word. I also have her write a sentence for each word, but you could probably just ask your daughter to give you a sentence for each word.

Best of luck.

Have you tried the website "starfall.com". It helped my 7 year old a lot and it is so much fun. Also, more important than the actual reading is developing the love of reading. Reading a book each night really helps and I would let my son read the little words and he would be so proud and try to learn the bigger words. The phonics word builder that you put on your refridgerator (sorry can't remember what its called) was a lot of fun for him also. Index cards for some reason can easily draw a blank...don't know why. Best wishes.

I am also a homeschool mom. My son is in high school now.
You didnt say what phonics program your using
I had a time of it with my son on learning to read
and got Hooked on Phonics and he caught right on
and once he got it he was reading about anything
he wanted to.. NO easy readers.. He just took off
and has been an excellent reader.
It is well worth the investment.

There's an old book called "The Writing Road to Reading," by somebody or other Spaulding. It teaches an active, rather than passive, approach to reading and we found it fun and successful. Good luck with this!

I'm sorry you are "desperately" trying to homeschool your child. It should be fun, and hopefully you can get some advice here that will make it easier!

I'm sure this sounds wacky... but try helping her get the idea of the shapes of the letters by forming them with something other than a writing instrument. In other words, maybe use beads, or buttons or goldfish. Write out big letters and then place the buttons/beads on them to trace. Some people learn better using tactile functions. It sounds to me as though she has memorized the phonics books, and may not be truly reading, or only recognizes the letters in the font style used in the books. Hope this helps!

I know I'm late chiming in here. I homeschool as well. My four year old has been sounding out words since the age of two. I have just now gotten him to start READING. I've taken some old Dick and Jane books and he reads me a book every night after I read him his story. He LOVES it. He used to say, "I can't read!" all the time. Now he says, "I love reading! I'm the best reader in the world."

The books work great in order, because they build on the words they can read. It's a new story every night, so he's not just memorizing, he's reading! You can buy the volumes of the Dick and Jane books at Barnes and Noble.


Not all children learn to read using phonetics. She also might have some reversal problems with the letters (dyslexia). She is still young and not all kids are ready to read that young. I had 8 children and two of them were sight readers despite all the help they could have had using phonetics. If they are sight readers, they must memorize every word. Learning to read is harder for them and they are usually slower readers. It takes them a longer time to learn to read. There is also a possibility of learning disability. These kind of things will have to be check by a professional. Be patient and loving knowing that your child is probably as frustrated as you and is trying their best to please you and learn. Good luck and may God be with you in your search for a way to help your child.

A lot of times the maturity to learn to read is simply not there in some children.

My first born read at 4 years. However, my 2nd son did a lot of what you are describing in your daughter. He was not a confident reader until 3rd grade.

I did 10-15 short fun phonic lessons and then read to him a lot. I would then have him narrate the stories I read. After he got good at narrating, he started copying his narrations. Soon he started reading back his narrations.

It took a lot of patience. He is a confident reader;he just finished reading Prince Caspian and is a fourth grader.

I homeschooled him through the tough phase and having been a classroom teacher, I know they would have tested him for dyslexia or learning disability way too early. Patience is the key and small one-on-one lessons can make a great difference. Your daughter is at an advantage that she is homeschooled.

I am a reading tutor and homeschool mom of a 12, 9, and 4 year old boys.


are you using a phonics program like Abecca? If not Abecca is one of the best when it comes to reading, but they start at 4 you might need to go back a little and try that program. If not...there are things in a child's diet that cause them not to be able to concentrate or to remember. Things such as aspertame an artificial sweetner and MSG (monosodium glutimate). You might find she just is not remembering. Or have you thought possibly dislixia? I hope this helps. Sometimes reading just comes a little harder for some children, but they eventually pick it up. I also home school and am about to start teaching my 4 year old to read. God bless you for homeschooling!!

I understand your frustration!!!!But I am sure she will get it the thing I have learned from my classroom experience is that not every child is a phonetic reader! some children are sight readers which means when they see a word they see the picture of the word in their minds. This is a harder way to read but it can be done. the problem arises when they come across a word that does not have a corresponding picture (your site words like this who what that the etc) they simply have to memorize these words. The reason she can read the phonic books is she probably has them memorized. Just take a deep breath realize you are a wonderful mother doing a very noble thing in homeschooling and she will get it. Just give her time. Years ago they didn't teach reading till late first grade/early second. I promise by the time she gets to collage she will be able to read!! lol

I am a homeschooling mom as well. Friends of mine used the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. They had great success with it. I have a 4 year old son and 8.5 year old daughter. My daughter began to read in kindergarten (5 years old) so I basically built on what she learned there. She went to public school for that year, I started hs in 1st grade. Don't get too discouraged. Do you belong to any HS support groups? If not, I would recommend joining one. Other Moms can be so supportive and give you new ideas. I love the Home School Book Fair in Arlington. It will be Mother's Day weekend. They have an incredible amount of vendors as well as speakers.

Email me personally if you'd like. Blessings to you and your family!


Desperate Mom,

Since your child does not seem to be retaining the phonics, she may be a candidate for dylesia testing. If you are home-schooling, check with a child study center or reading specialist in your area. The public schools in your district might also test her. Not being able to read words in isolation is one of the cues to look for in dyslexia.

Hope this helps,
Reading Specialist, TX

The first thing you need to do is to make sure your daughter knows her alphabet and sounds for each letter. This assessment will tell you a lot about how she is learning and how she perceives the letters. Once you establish which letters she needs extra help on. There are activities that you can make and do with her. Please let me know how the assessment goes and I will give you further information. A. D.

You have gotten so much advice but I wanted to tell you about other programs I have read about. I do homeschool my 4 1/2 year old and we are using the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." We are stuggling with it since my son doesn't really want to do it. He loves math but not reading. I really think that he just isn't ready to read. He is learning his sounds and he seems to not mind that. He really likes it when we introduce a new sound. Anywho, after having already started this book I was told about another one that goes along the same lines but they say it is more complete. It is called, "The Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading". I have also started using "Progressive Phonics" to have a change. Hope this helps some.

Does your daughter recognize her letters independently? In random order. She may be memorizing or even rhyming her words with the books you are using. Try using a kinetic learning approach for awhile. Have her take the words you are using and make them out of clay or playdough, play with magnetic letters to have her reform the words on the refrigerator. Say the words out loud then spell them. Have her close her eyes and say each letter in the word and the sound it makes. Using all of her senses to understand the words and their spelling may help her incorporate them to memory for long term results. I have a daughter who is dyslexic and until she was doing first grade work she had managed to memorize and rhyme her way through early readers. Her spelling still is not perfect but her comprehension and ability to read independently have greatly improved. These techniques are great for all early readers and help children really identify with letters and putting them in groups to form words. Eventually you will see which techniques work best for your daughter and allow her to stream line her learning style. Good luck!!

I am a reading specialist. Unfortunately, with most phonics programs this is the case. The child is only able to read the controlled words taught through the program. Phonics is only one small part of the reading picture. Even though decoding is extremely important for beginning readers, the child needs to be reading authentic text on their level. They need to learn sight words as well as the other basic components given by the National Reading Panel - which are: fluency, comprehension, phonemic awareness, and vocabulary, along with phonics. I would look on the web because there are some excellent sources for how to teach these specific skills even to a beginning reader. There are also interactive sources for your child to practice those skills. Google "dolchlist" to find sights for sight words and a good reading website is "starfall.com."

I feel your struggle. This may help. Check out this book: 'Reading Feflex' by Carmen McGunness & Geoffrey McGuinnes. Here is their website: http://www.readamerica.net/
The sub-title of the book is 'The Foolproof Phono-Graphix Method for Teaching Your Child to Read'. I know of someone who was greatly helped with her child by this book and it is an inexpensive way to get help. Hope that helps. K.

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