Help For The Older Struggling Reader

dyslexia help high school

Homeschooling a house full of kids, most of whom have struggled to read or are still struggling to read, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to use the latest version of Reading Horizons at Home v5.  The idea of having a research-based form of reading instruction that schools and other institutions have been using for over thirty years was like a dream come true.  I asked my mildly dyslexic 13-year old daughter, Jessie, if she would like to use the program.  Although she is reading fairly fluently now, she was excited to use the program to improve her speed and efficiency in reading and spelling.

The Older Struggling Reader

If a child can not read efficiently, he or she will tend to avoid reading, resulting in much less exposure to vocabulary, sentence structure, and text organization than their peers who read well.  Reading materials at this age are increasing in complexity as well, which only adds to the deficit.  Older struggling readers have the same problems as younger readers and need to learn and master the same skills.  The good news is that all kids {and adults} can learn to read.  The key is to find a program that is not ‘babyish’ and that systematically teaches at an intense enough pace to keep progress steady thus motivating the student.  Reading Horizons is all of these things.

Homeschool Reading Program

How the Reading Horizons at Home Program Works

Log in and set your student up by choosing the level where they will start;  emerging, basic or excelerated.  The level determines how quickly your student will progress through the lessons.  The program can be finished in as little as 3 months to as much as a year.  We contacted the customer service at Reading Horizons to set Jessie up in the best way so we could maximize her time with the program.

Next Jessie got to working through the program.  There are 6 chapters consisting of:

Lessons:  The program consists of 68 lessons teaching the 42 sounds of the alphabet, 5 phonetic skills, and 2 decoding skills.  The beauty of the lessons feature of this program is that if your child believes that the lesson covers material they are already competant with, they can opt to take a skill check at the beginning of the lesson.  If they pass the skill check, they move on to the next lesson.  As the lessons progress, kids are systematically taught how to mark patterns in words that determine how they are read.  These markings reveal to the reader which phonetic principles to apply and thus which decoding skills are needed.  The lessons are straight-forward and contain a good amount of review.  Jessie tested out of quite a few lessons at the beginning to get to a place within the program that was teaching her what she still needed to master.

2-decoding-skills

5-phonetic-skills

Vocabulary:  After each lesson, the student can practice the decoding skills they are learning in each lesson and build fluency in the vocabulary section.  Each vocabulary section has the kids practicing both reading and learning the definitions of high frequency words, nonsense words and even ‘special purpose’ words that include terms used in school, business, medical, hospitality and travel environments.  Again, the program is challenging and highly engaging for the older reader.  Jessie was consistently intrigued by the lessons and vocabulary sections of Reading Horizons.

homeschool dyslexia

Library:  After taking a reading assessment to determine your child’s reading level, he or she can choose from a variety of reading materials to continue the application and practice of the decoding skills they are learning.  This was one of Jessie’s favorite sections of the program.  I liked that I didn’t have to worry that the reading level was too difficult or too easy.  Jessie liked that the materials were varied and that she could choose what she wanted to read from the variety of choices available.  After reading, the student is given a fluency score based on how fast they read and how well they understood the passage.  It was motivating for Jessie to improve her score with practice and subsequent readings.

homeschool dyslexia

Features and Benefits of Using Reading Horizons

  • Designed on the latest research – Reading Horizons v5 has recently been completely revamped to incorporate the latest research findings.
  • Developed for struggling readers at the secondary level to use independently.
  • Completely customizable.  Choose the entry level either emerging, basic or excelerated.  Students also have the opportunity to test out of a lesson if they already know the material for faster more need-based instruction.
  • Competancy-based.  The student does not move on until he or she has mastered the information.
  • Intelligent review.  After each chapter test, any concepts that were weak are automatically set to review.
  • Provides extra reading practice in a variety of real reading scenarios, like blogs, newspaper articles and menus.

Our Experience with Reading Horizons

Research has determined the best ways in which to teach the older struggling reader.  Reading Horizons pairs current research with modern technology to bring expert tutoring right to your home.  This is exciting!  We have been using Reading Horizons for about 6 weeks and Jessie has already seen many real, useful results such as improved speed in her reading and knowledge of spelling rules.  She has remarked on more than one occassion that as she was writing and came upon a word that she wasn’t sure how to spell, she remembered the rule that she learned from Reading Horizons and spelled the word.  This is  huge for a poor speller to be given the tools for improving spelling.

From the teacher (Mom):  

  • Program can be done at home – no traveling
  • Program can be done independantly – very little assistance needed from Mom
  • Cost is very affordable especially considering the cost of a private tutor
  • Time-efficient – child can work at his or her own pace and level
  • A complete course – phonics, vocabulary and fluency instruction
  • Although I had some trouble setting Jessie up online, the excellent customer servicewas able to walk me through everything I needed to know.
  • I ‘went’ to one of the many free webinars available on the Reading Horizons web site.  I learned skills for me, as teacher, to use as we homeschool.

Jessie’s (student) thoughts:

  • Can do it at home whenever I feel like it
  • I  can skip lessons that have info that I already know
  • Teaches rules in a way that are memorable
  • I liked the instant feedback during the lessons
  • Helped me with my reading speed and spelling

To sign up for their free webinars and workshops or if you have an older struggling reader and think that the Reading Horizons at Home program may be a good fit for them, I encourage you to check out their web site by clicking on the following link for more information.  

Reading-Horizons-Header

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