Although I have taught many children to read using both phonics and whole word methods, I just can’t resist a well designed curriculum. I came across Learning Dynamics on Facebook and began my research. My 4 1/2 year old is very interested in reading and is making good progress with whole word methods, but become stuck when I tried to teach her decoding skills. I started researching this program and decided it was worth trying out. This article reviews my experiences using Learning Dynamics with my child.
Overview of Learning Dynamics
Learning Dynamics is a phonics based reading program. Letter sounds are taught using songs, stories, and practice. After learning several sounds, you begin to teach the child to decode words using the letters that they have already learned. The program includes over 50 books to practice reading skills.
General Benefits of Learning Dynamics
When I went to the www.4weekstoread.com website, I submitted my e-mail and received a report explaining the research base of Learning Dynamics. To be honest, this report sold me on trying out the program. The teaching methods and strategies used in this phonics program are based on reading research.
Learning Dynamics is a great value. It includes a scripted teachers guide, student workbook, flash cards, songs, and over 50 books. In comparison to other more well-known reading curriculum, you are getting a lot for your money.
Easy to Use
The teachers guide provides information about how to implement this reading program. The program contains everything you need in a box. Learning Dynamics is an open-and-go program with the scripted lessons and material organization. Training videos are also available at www.4weekstoread.com to ensure you know how to implement the program effectively.
Although this probably falls under ease of use, I LOVE that I can pull up the songs I need for each lesson by clicking on the music icon at the top of the www.4weekstoread.com website. It is just so much faster and easier than putting on a music CD.
I bought this program hoping it would help my child learn to decode words and I am not disappointed. My 4 year old is making great progress after a few weeks of use. She was very motivated to get to the lessons where she got to start reading the included books. Decoding skills are coming along and she is able to blend the sounds together to form some words.
Children may vary in when they are ready to learn to read using phonics skills. If the child is not making progress, they may just need more time to develop the necessary skills. CLICK HERE to read more about the prerequisite skills for learning to read. In the meantime, you can continue to teach letter sounds using the Learning Dynamics program.
Types of Sounds
While working with my child, I noticed that certain types of sounds are easier for her to blend together into words. For example, words that begin with a sound that can be sustained (e.g., h, s, a) are easier to blend with the next sound. Words that begin with a sound that cannot be sustained (e.g., b, p, c) are more difficult. With this sounds, I have had to model more how to immediately blend them with the next sound.
Practice words for the initial R lesson
Two of the decoding practice words in the initial r lesson should be skipped, namely tar and bar. Speech therapists know that r has many different distinctive sounds in words; however, the general population may not realize it. R-controlled vowels, such as -ar, -or, and so on have a different sound than initial /r/. If you try and have a child decode tar or bar after only learning short a and beginning r, they will get the wrong sounds. So, just skip these during the initial r lesson and stick with words that begin with the letter r.
Conclusion on Learning Dynamics
I highly recommend using the Learning Dynamics reading program. The instructional methods and components are supported by reading research. Learning Dynamics is also a great value for a comprehensive reading program, including scripted open-and-go lessons and over 50 beginning readers. I would have used this program to teach my older children to read had I known about it. Go to www.4weekstoread.com for more information or to purchase a copy of the Learning Dynamics reading curriculum.