Fearfully and Wonderfully made

Phonics Tutor – Week 3
April 23, 2008, 4:24 pm
Filed under: School Days

There are some things to be very thankful for.  Phonics Tutor is one of them.  Giovanna has been having trouble learning to read.  Part of this is the tongue movement/placement issue, some is the ingrained notion that one reads (and writes) from the right to the left and some is just plain stubbornness. 

The beauty of this program is that it works on reading, spelling and hearing consistently in every lesson.  A new word or sound is presented and repeated several times.  When two or more letters are put together to make a word, each letter is highlighted and sounded out and then repeated as a blended word.  Once this has been done several times, boxes appear on the screen and the word is sounded out for the student to spell. 

When Phonics Tutor arrived three weeks ago, Giovanna was not used to listening and doing what she was told – at least when it came to school.  She just wanted to do her own thing (Don’t we all!).  However after one very frustrating week and starting over multiple times, she finally got the rhythm of the program. 

The very first thing that became evident was that she did not always recognize the letter sounds.  She had been able to repeat sounds for both myself and her teachers at school.  But when the Phonics Tutor program said the sound of a letter and waited for her to type it into the program, it became very evident that she was not recognising these sounds. 

The second thing that was very obvious was when she heard a word and was asked to spell it, the last sound she heard became the first sound she tried to type in – consistently.  I was beginning to wonder if she had dyslexia as well. 

The program has this wonderful voice that just keeps repeating the sound until she gets the correct letter typed into the program.  This is wonderful, I would not have the patience to repeat the same sound 10, 20 or more times. 

This is the first week that I have seen improvement.  She is starting her spelling with the correct letter these days!  And she is making fewer errors on her words.  Her speech is still needing some work, but she is trying.  The cutest thing is to watch her little head move with the program.  When a new word comes up, each letter of the word is highlighted as it is sounded out and then said together as a blended word.  Her little head moves from the left to the right as each letter is highlighted.  She is beginning to retrain her brain.

Progress is being made – slowly but surely.  I thought we would be able to progress at a quicker pace – but to get the most out of this program speed is not the key.  Training the ear to hear and the brain to process in the correct order are what we need to have happen and this program seems to be helping.

I am thankful for small steps forward.