Learning to read has been a difficult accomplishment for my son. My son is 9 years old and has struggled with differentiating similar looking letters like b,d,p,g,q in regular handprinted form. He has had trouble with vowel sounds in simple cvc words. It was difficult for him to tell if words rhymed or merely ended in the same last letter. His confidence and self-esteem were beginning to affect him. He became stubborn and refused to even work with his letters and sounds or trying to read.
I began talking to other mothers in our homeschooling group and found help from another mother who has created books to help her own daughter. Pam (Pamela Brookes) allowed me to use her Dog on a Log Pup Books to see if they could help my son learn to read. The books are easy to follow and use. I felt immediately that Pam understands the pain that a parent feels when a child is struggling and sincerely wants to help others through her efforts to help her own child. I like that she lists other places to find help. I read everything in the book so that I could get an overview and look at all of the ideas and resources.
My son was stubborn, arms crossed, face grumpy, closed off to the idea of more letters and sounds. He soon realized that fun was involved in these books. The idea of earning Tup “cash” to “buy” a small reward, such as a chicken card, helped pull him out of his stubborn moods. The chicken card is part of one of the free printable games at dogonalogbooks.com, but became an important incentive for my son. He could act out the image on the card or have someone else “perform” the image on the card. He absolutely loves chicken cards. My son also liked clapping his hands to indicate each word in a sentence and tapping a finger for each sound in a word. Tracing and saying the sound of each letter also seemed fun to him and as improved his printing. The ideas in the books and the games have reduced all of his problems listed above and he is reading cvc words as well as more difficult words. He has begun trying to spell words that he doesn’t know yet and repeatedly spells new words to himself that he sees in print. He happily surprises me when we drive down the road and he reads words to me from signs or sides of work vehicles or just spells a word that he is thinking about. He is writing words too. He is confident and happy about his new abilities and keeps applying his new knowledge.
I am continuing to use the Dog on a Log Pup Books, but I have purchased some of the other Dog on a Log Books because my son needs to continue to build and practice his reading skills. The prices are much more reasonable than other decodable books, although buying books is something we must limit because we struggle as do many other families. Libraries are our homeschooling source along with the internet and real life. We still use the Dog on a Log Pup Books because the ideas in the book can be used as my son continues to increase his reading ability. The games and activities are still fun for him. He rereads the stories in Kids Book 3 because he is proud that he can read them himself. My hope is that future Dog on a Log Books will be in the library for us to use. When or if more advanced books are written, I would like to check them out rather than spend money that I don’t always have available.