My review of Reading Reflex.

Reading Reflex is the book that I have decided to use with helping Honey to read.  She can read at about a mid-first grade level according to our lovely school system (note the dripping sarcasm here).  The main problem is that she has plateaued.  She is not advancing much, and it is obvious that she is trying to memorize the shape of the words instead of reading the sounds.  So with this in mind, I started reading Reading Reflex.

The first chapter starts out with the history of reading instruction.  It explains the differences between “whole language” and “phonics” and how they are often combined.  Then it talks about how kids learn to read and a little about their system for teaching reading. 

Chapter two talks about how to implement the following chapters and how to teach their system.  It was rather boring, but it included some needed information, so it is a must read.   At the end of the chapter is a test to give the child  to see what problems they are having.  This was very enlightening to me.  Some of the test were the same as what the school gave Honey.   The first test has you sounding out words for your child to see if they can hear the word from the sounds.  I thought that Honey would do great on this one, and she did on the three and four sound words, but missed some of the five sound words.  The next test had Honey telling me the sounds in words.  This one the school gave her.  They said she did fine on it (low side of normal, but normal none the less).  She did fine on the three sound words, but missed every four sound word.  I’m starting to see a pattern here.  She did the same thing on the final test, got the three sound words and missed the four sound words.  After this chapter, I could see where Honey needed work.  There was also a test that showed how many letter sound Honey knew.  I was surprised at how many she did not know. 

Chapter three includes lesson plans for teaching letter sounds and reading three sound words.  I started this chapter with Honey this week.  She really does not need most of the lessons, but it is good review, teaches us both how to use this system, and it filled in a few holes that I did not know were there.  For instance, Honey was using letter tiles to make words.  Then I would give her a new word and have her change the old one to make the new one.  (Bug to Dug)  She did fine with this, but when I asked her to change Dug to Dig she made Dui.  I had her read the sounds and she changed it to Dig, but she made this mistake several times.  Today, we reviewed this and she made no mistakes.

Sometime next week, we will start chapter four.  Chapter four is four sound words.  I expect that we will spend a lot longer on chapter four than on chapter three.  Hopefully this is where we will make a lot of progress.  Hopefully this is where we see a light bulb go on in Honey’s head.  I am looking forward to chapter four. 

Chapter five focuses on sounds that are represented by two or more letters.  I expect this chapter to be one that helps Honey a lot too.  I can’t wait to get there. 

Chapter six talks about multi-syllable words.  I have not read this chapter yet, and I have heard (and from skimming the chapter, it looks like this is true)  that the format is somewhat different than the earlier chapters.  I am willing to work with it, if need be, to make it work. 

The main thing that this book has helped with is that it breaks reading into its sub-skills.  It tells you what the sub-skills are so that you can teach them.  For some reason, I was not able to figure this out by myself.  I have no problem figuring out the sub-skills of math, breaking it down and putting it back together.  I have done a lot of this in the past few weeks, and I am beginning to see results.  Now that I know how to do this with reading, I expect to see some improvement in a few weeks too.  The other thing I have learned, is how to measure these sub-skills.  When I have Honey read to me, I can see that there are problems.  She can’t read words that I think that she should be able to read, but I don’t know why.  Until I read this book, I couldn’t see the sub-skills that were missing.  Now it is clear.  Now I have hope.

ETA (March 2010): I posted this a year ago, and Honey has made great progress.  In Aug. (2009) I started her with Level 1 of All About Spelling.  It is a spelling program, but I am using it as a reading program.  I have her practice reading each word as well as spelling each word.  It is interesting to look back at this post because she still struggles with hearing and blending words with many sounds.  (She can do 4 sound words pretty well, but still has trouble with 5 and 6 sound words.)

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2 Responses to “My review of Reading Reflex.”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Sounds like a great book that will help fill in what she wasn’t getting. Hope she makes great progress!

  2. deansfam Says:

    Hope you get the most from the book. Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog. I find myself nodding while reading your comment.

    Have a great day.

    Dean
    http://deansfam.wordpress.com

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