Help For The Older Struggling Reader

by | Jul 17, 2014 | Resources | 80 comments

If you have an older child who is struggling to read, you may be looking for help. An older struggling reader has the same problems as younger readers and needs to learn and master the same skills. Reading Horizons may help!

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 Elevate.  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 Elevate 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 accelerated.  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 occasion 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 independently – 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 service was 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

If you have an older child who is struggling to read, you may be looking for help. An older struggling reader has the same problems as younger readers and need to learn and master the same skills. Reading Horizons may help!

80 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Thank you! This is quite a helpful review. I have been considering this for some time. 🙂

    Reply
    • silvia

      I’ve been using this excellent program for my Down Syndrome 17 yo. son. We are now in our third year but loving it!

      Reply
  2. Crystal

    Hi, I saw you reviewed this online program and the hard copy materials offered by the same company.Which one would you recommend? I have a 3rd grade (homeschooled) daughter that is reading on about a late 1st/ early 2nd grade level. We have used several techniques that worked with her older sister when working with dyslexia, but have realized I need a little more help. Is either a complete curriculum? Would I need to purchase specific readers to go with either of these, will our large collection of children’s book work just fine, or would I also need to purchase another curriculum? Sorry for all the questions.

    Reply
    • marianne

      Honestly for those early years, for this age I prefer the program All About Reading and All About Spelling. It is a multi sensory, systematic, easy-to-use and research-based program that really works. Reading Horizons is excellent for the older struggling reader from 9 – 10 years and up. You can try Reading Horizons for 30 days for $10. Maybe see if it is a good fit for your daughter?

      Reply
      • Stephanie Wagner

        Do you think it would also work for a severely Dyslexic 12 year old? He can read, but struggles with many words (decoding) and doesn’t always comprehend well because of that.

        Reply
  3. jennifer

    I have a son who is reading on a late 1st grade level as well. I had purchased All about Spelling a year ago and we are just now about to start it. Would you recommend buying All about Reading and doing them both at the same time? I am wondering if the All about Spelling will be enough.

    Reply
    • marianne

      Hi Jennifer. I am assuming that your son is working on Level 1? AAR does not recommend starting All About Spelling until students are finished with Level 1. Hope that makes sense!

      Reply
  4. Kim

    I have a 13 yr old dyslexic who just started Reading Horizons today, does it provide enough coverage for spelling or would you recommend a separate program for that? I have also started my 9 1/2 yr old in the RH elevate program too. I don’t want to wait another year to start spelling if it is not covered fully in the reading program for either one of them. I will also need a spelling program for younger children as well. Since this blog was written a while ago, would you comment on the progress your daughter had after completing the entire program. Thank you, your site has been a tremendous blessing to our family and to my heart.

    Reply
    • marianne

      I would have them go through the program first. Then when spelling questions arise, refer them back to the rule they learned in Reading Horizons. You could write the spelling rule on a rule card for them to keep in a binder and to refer to when writing. Are your younger kids dyslexic as well? I recommend All About Spelling after they have completed All About Reading Level 1. My daughter is doing very well now and is about to graduate early from high school. We have transitioned away from remediation (phonics and spelling instruction) to accommodations. She is 16 now!! It is super important that dyslexics (who will never be great natural spellers) learn how to use technology to accommodate their weaknesses.

      Reply
  5. Kara Shepherd

    This post was an answer to my prayer! I have two older readers who struggle mightily and I am overwhelmed by all the stuff out there. Thank so much for this review. I’m with you, I love AAS and AAR, but did not know about it with my older kids.Using it for my younger dyslexic son, though. I use AAS for my 11 year old son. At first he was irritated that it was for a younger learner but after he started seeing results he didn’t mind so much.

    Reply
  6. Kim Perkins

    At your recommendation I purchased RH and my 11 year old daughter has gone up almost 2 reading levels! She has finished the entire program. My question is…should I have her go through the program again? Did you have your daughter repeat the program?

    Reply
    • marianne

      Hi Kim. That is great news! Reading Horizons for the older struggling reader is a true gem of a program. I would be inclined to have her repeat it. It will be easier and go faster but give her more practice applying what she has learned. She can test out of the areas that she knows well to keep it interesting for her as well.

      Reply
  7. Jenni

    I have a son who just turned 12. (Homeschool)He recently was diagnosed with dyslexia. He reads at a 1/2grade level. In your experience, what is your recommendation? I do have a friend that was a previous special Ed teacher who is trained in the Wilson program. She tutored him4months last school year. I feel like it’s not enough or not working. Do you have any recommendations of what I can supplement with? I like the idea of RH but I’ve also heard a lot of great things about AAR. If AAR appears ‘juvenile’, that wouldn’t bother him.
    He hates reading, hates sounding things out, guesses a lot. He is very negative and I thinks it’s because he has struggled his whole life and he’s to the point he doesn’t care. Any help, suggestions, encougagement would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

    Reply
    • marianne

      Every family situation is unique but at 12 I would suggest hiring a tutor to teach him. The 4 months that you already did may not have been enough. It can take a few years. Our son who is profoundly dyslexic did not respond real well to straight OG tutoring. He was with a Barton tutor for 3 years and was at a 1/2 grade level at 11! We moved him to an NILD (www.nild.org) tutor and he took off at your son’s age. I highly recommend their program to parents with kids who are profoundly dyslexic. This takes the pressure off of mom to try to teach and you can focus on things that he enjoys which will restore his enjoyment of learning over time.

      Reply
      • Jenni

        We are continuing with the Wilson. Just took the summer off. I looked up NILD, and the closest one is 2 hours away. Do you have any other suggestions?

        Reply
  8. Hadley

    I’m using this (mostly thanks to your recommendation!) with my 9 year old 4th grader. I’ve printed off worksheets from the website and I’m using those with her and of course she’s doing the online activities each day too. Is there anything you would add to our day to help her along? I was considering blend ladders?? I feel like I need to help her a bit more, but I’m not sure what activities would be beneficial, and what would be more of a hindrance.

    Reply
  9. Gloria

    Interesting read. I have five children who Homeschool. We’ve never done any diagnostic tests, but from my reading I have a 14 year old who is mildly dyslexic and a 8 year old more severely dyslexic. I began AAR with my 8 year old in January, just started Level 2 today. I am pleased with his progress. He is too. The 14 year old is a descent reader, he has learned to use surrounding words to comprehend his reading. Trouble is he still guesses a lot, skips words and reads pretty slowly. He is a poor speller. He is on the second level of AAS. Since he reads already, The All About customer service recommended he not use AAR, but use AAS which will teach him the same skills but in a spelling setting. He is a willing learner., knowing that his inability to spell is holding him back in many academic areas. I’ve seen improvement just after the first level.

    Do you recommend using Rqding Horizons concurrently with AAS. Would you just stick with AAS since he is improving and wiling? I don’t want to confuse him. I have a friend who is using RH, and the approach seems different enough, I wonder if mixing them up might not be a good idea.

    With this limits information, what would you recommend?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Gloria. It is hard for me to say from over here. What I will say is that if something is working – keep doing it! The benefits of using Reading Horizons Elevate are that can be done independently once the program is set up. It is a complete Orton Gillingham program and offers practice in reading at the child’s level which is super important. It really does teach all of the rules of spelling. I would not use them simultaneously though. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  10. Tavia

    I have 3 dyslexics; 13 y/o daughter, 11.5 y/o son & 10 y/o son; I have been homescooling for 3 years now. Last year I discovered AAR and my 2 oldest have finished level 1 and started on level 2; and I have now added AAS level 1 with them. I also work FT so my time this them is limited by that. My daughter has begun improving this past year and now I feel that AAR/AAS may be too simplistic for her and she always need me to do it, so she is now feeling like she is falling behind as well. I just came across this post and this is the first that I have heard of this program. Having taught dyslexics yourself what advice can you give me with this decision?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Reading Horizons is excellent for the older student. They can work at their own pace. It is very comprehensive and it is not ‘young’ It was developed for the older student. We have had 2 kids run through the program. They both loved the program. It is very meaty but teaches step by step and is mastery based, meaning that they only move ahead once the material is mastered. It also includes reading material that is at their level so that they can get practice. I highly recommend Reading Horizons for a systematic way to get older kids up to speed with their reading. They can also do it on their own which means that they don’t rely on mom for every lesson which I found to be very helpful as a busy homeschooling mom!

      Reply
      • Tavia

        Marianne,
        Thank you for your reply last year. I find myself at the start of another school year again not where I wish we were. We did a trial of RH and then stopped. To be honest I’m not even sure why now. Would you recommend that I have my daughter do RH instead of AAR/AAS.
        Tavia

        Reply
        • Marianne

          Hi Tavia. I would recommend it. I also had some trouble getting up and running, but once we did (with the help of the RH customer support) our kids could do the entire program on their own. It is like having all 10 levels of Barton or all 3 or 4 levels of AAR. It is very comprehensive. Good luck!

          Reply
  11. Emma

    HI. I have a 15year old son who is dyslexic and we will have a tutor to help him next year. I would like a reading program to help catch up but we live in Swaziland and don’t have good internet access all the time (also expensive). Does this program do everything online or is it downloaded and then they work on it?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Emma. Reading Horizons is online. They have printed version though. What program will the tutor be using?

      Reply
  12. Karen

    Hi, I have a nearly 8 year old daughter who I suspect has dyslexia. She will soon undergo testing at school. I just started a trial version of reading horizons discovery for k-3 grade with my daughter. Is AAR, AAS better than RH Discovery? I know you like the older kid version of RH but what about their k-3 program?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      I think that in the younger years kids do better with one on one teaching. Older kids can manage a computer program better and already have at least some foundation in phonics etc. For K-3 I recommend AAR and AAS.

      Reply
      • Merri

        Hi, Marianne! You have talked a lot about AAR/AAS being a better fit for younger kids and RH for older. My question is my 11 year son will finish AAR level 4 by the end of this year. He has improved so much, but he is still lacking in fluency. It takes him so long read. He only wants to read comics style books. It sounds like RH would help in the area of fluency. My concern is will it be easy to switch from AAR to RH? I know they are both OG programs, but the word marking looks confusing. Will he need to unlearn anything from AAR to learn RH? Does that make sense? Or would RH be the nartural next step and make sense to him? Also, I have read that they offer half off their program at times. Is there a specific time they do this? Someone mentioned December? I would be much more inclined to try it if we could get the discount. Thanks, Marianne!!

        Reply
        • Marianne

          Have you seen my class on teaching fluency? Fluency is the last thing to develop. It comes from lots of practice! There are different techniques for teaching fluency. Here’s a post I did on it: http://homeschoolingwithdyslexia.com/building-reading-fluency-dyslexic-readers/
          As far as switching programs, I don’t think you need to switch for fluency sake. If you wanted to switch, it wouldn’t be too difficult. I’ll check on the discount. They don’t have big sales very often!

          Reply
          • Merri

            Thanks, Marianne. I will check out that link.

  13. Geneva

    Hello I have an older child (will be 15), I will be homeschooling starting next year, he has since about 3rd grade struggled with reading, spelling and writing. When ever I would ask what I could do at home to help him, the answer was always the same, there is nothing you can do, he will always struggle with fluency and comprehension. Long story short would this program work for him, he hates to read pretty much anything, and says reading is boring and stupid. He also has ADHD/high functioning autism.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      It is a terrific program Geneva. Why don’t you sign up for the 30 day trial? I believe it only costs $10. That way you can test it out before buying it. Be sure to contact the Reading Horizons customer service for any help you need setting the program up!

      Reply
  14. Agnes

    I have a 11 year-old son who is in the 5th grade. He was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD last year. I would say his dyslexia is on the milder side and he is reading around a 3rd/4th grade level. He struggles with new and longer words and reading fluency. I do not home school and am looking for a program that I can work with him after school and during the summer. Would you recommend this for a child who is mildly dyslexic or is there a better program out there for older kids?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      I would definitely recommend this program for your son. When our older kids went through it, it really helped them to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. They learned the rules of reading and spelling that they were rusty with and enjoyed working at their own pace on the computer. If you purchase it, be sure to contact their customer service with any questions on setting it up.

      Reply
    • Misty

      My son is 10, will be nearly 11 when I order the program. We have used All About Reading (in the past) and All About Spelling (currently). He reads at about 4th grade level, but struggles greatly with spelling. He has just started sounding out unknown words instead of guessing. Do you recommend this program?

      Reply
  15. Theresa

    I loved reading your posts. I have a 15 year-old-son who, I believe, is dyslexic. Like many who posted here, he has difficulty in all language areas (reading, writing, spelling). He gets by, but it is absolutely holding him back academically. He has been homeschooling since the first grade, as he showed signs of language difficulties in preschool. We have used AAS, he has undergone over two years of vision therapy for eye teaming issues, and he has gone through a Brain Gym program which was supposed to teach him to focus. I do believe he has benefited from these programs, but he is still several grade levels behind in reading and, of course, this affects all subjects. I have been searching for a tutor, and inadvertently stumbled upon RH. Finding something effective to use at home would be much more time efficient and cost effective, but I don’t want to start something new only to find it doesn’t work for him. Thanks for your input.

    Reply
  16. Kristen

    We love horizon Elevate my daughter used it last year in 4th grade and she is now on grade level in 5th grade. But she still learns differently. What would you recommend after Horizon Elevate???? I feel like we made so much progress that I don’t want her to start sliding backwards now.

    Reply
  17. Julie

    Our three youngest are 11,9,6. Beginning 5th, 3rd and K. Again homeschooling. Our 11 year old appears to be dyslexic ,short of taking him to the institute for dyslexia for $1000 we had the schools test him, their finding show he was behind. I feel like I have failed him. I found a tutor but $35 an hour although reasonable is not affordable for for long. She was not familiar with these homeschool program? I have two others children to teach reading to as well in 3rd and k. I don’t want to mess them up! Do u recommend RH Elevated for 5th grader and AAR for others? Do you recommend the Bundle for the 5 th grader? Is there enough spelling in RH? I just want what works but need my sanity back. The 5th grader also suffers from dysgraphia. What math program would you say would aid with that? Still can’t memorize the facts!! Bless you for your help! I have lost steam.

    Reply
    • Steph Wagner

      I have a similar situation. I’ve got 2nd, 4th, and 8th grade boys with varying levels of dyslexia. Its not easy! But you can do it. I have been using the RH for 8th grader. He started it as a 7th grader. I do see improvement for him and he is profoundly dyslexic. The 4th grader is also using Elevate and doing well. The 2nd grader is much more mildly affected and has been using the RH Discovery. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but he’s really making progress now. I will say, I’m planning to do spelling with them separately. I’m going to take an online training course in structured word inquiry and try to apply that for teaching spelling. With Math, my 4th grader has been using Teaching Textbooks and loves it. I am just getting ready to start my 2nd grader on a level as well. He got bored with our other program.
      Hang in there!

      Reply
  18. Maria

    Thank you so much. I appreciate the information and comments from other parents as well. My daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia last Summer and it has been extremely overwhelming trying to find the best methods and information to help her based on her needs. This has all been a emotional learning experience.

    Reply
  19. KELLY CAVANAUGH

    This has all been extremely interesting to me… I’m a private tutor and I work with kids in elementary school; grades K-4. I use a very good phonics program to build a foundation and fill in the gaps but I’m looking for something more comprehensive. 99% of the kids I work with are either dyslexic or right-brain dominant learners. How would RH work for tutoring and would I need Elevate for below level 3rd and 4th graders or would I use the Discovery level?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      You could use the Instructor-Guided materials at the Discovery level for your students. You may want to contact their customer service to see if they offer tutors a deal where their students can utilize the software at home for practice while they do the one-on-one instruction with you.

      Reply
  20. nicole

    I have a 10 yr old 4th grader, who was diagnosed with dyslexia (finally) after I pulled her for homeschool. We’ve been trying out Nessy and it has helped her to relearn/set in phonics patterns and I can see an improvement in reading and spelling. My question is do you think we should stick with Nessy til she finishes and then switch over to RH, or do you think RH would be better? Her reading level is about 3rd grade, yet her science, history and math levels are 6th grade, so I really need to get her reading and writing up to same levels. Thanks for any suggestions!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Nocole. I look at Nessy as a fantastic way to motivate my reluctant readers to practice reading. I don’t look at it as a reading program. On the other hand, Reading Horizons is a complete Orton Gillingham reading program and is better suited for remediation – fixing the foundation and building it up.

      Reply
  21. Jami

    Great post! As a homeschool mom I have looked at several different reading programs to use with my struggling reader and this looks like it may be the answer. Thanks for sharing information on how it works as well as your experiences with it.

    Reply
  22. Andrea Nelson

    Hi there, I so appreciate your review. I have a 12 year old struggling reader. He has been assessed as having dyslexia but not formally diagnosed. I am considering buying the bundle of Reading Horizons Elevate which would contain both the software and the teacher’s/student consumable. I am worried about him pronouncing words correctly if he only has the software. I’m not convinced he would practice saying the words in front of the computer. Does this make sense? Thank you for your input.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Andrea. Honestly, I’m not sure if pronunciation would be much of an issue. The program does speak to the kids. If you want to be sure, you can contact the RH customer service. They are amazing! Here’s the number: 1-800-705-6568

      Reply
  23. Nicole Carnes

    Hello,
    I have a 15 1/2 year old daughter with pretty profound dyslexia. I have homeschooled her from the start & always believed I was failing her somehow until I found out about the dyslexia. Now I feel I need to make up for lost time. She is an ok reader but still struggles. It’s the spelling that she has an awful struggle with & it causes her such stress & embarrassment. I’m trying to decide whether to start her with the All About Reading program first or go straight into the Reading Horizons program. We’re on a slim budget & don’t want to spend unnecessary money but will do WHATEVER it takes to help her. It about broke my heart when she turned to me the other day & said “mom, I want to learn & have practiced solo much but nothing sticks! Please let me know what step I should take first in order to help her!

    Sincerely

    Nicole

    Reply
    • Marianne

      The Reading Horizons Elevate program would be my choice. It is a complete program including reading, spelling, and vocabulary. It is well worth the money. You can actually have two students go through the program so if you have another child who needs help, they can have an account as well.

      Reply
  24. Nicole Carnes

    Sorry, I meant the All About Spelling program, not the All About Reading program

    Nicole

    Reply
  25. Jennifer Floyd

    HI,
    Do you happen to know if there are ever any deals for this? I know that a lot of these programs are worth what they cost and I do not want to seem as though I am devaluing the cost of this but money is so very tight for us right now and this one course looks to cost $200. That is on top of the curriculum that I am purchasing for my kids for next year. Or do they offer any type of scholarship or anything? I am guessing since it is on the computer you can’t get it used.
    My daughter is 16 and severely dyslexic and has been through many programs. She did Barton for years and I actually had her do NILD for a year and half thanks to your seeing it on your blog. That program was by far and away the best for her, but my husbands job changed and we moved and we just can no longer afford it. While it was amazing and working, it was costing us $100 a week and it would be about the same price here too. I hate even saying that we can’t afford it, but without going into debt we just can’t.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Jennifer. Reading Horizons goes on sale 3 or 4 times per year. They will have a back to school sale. Are you on my mailing list? I always send out an email when it goes on sale. I appreciate tight finances. Eight kids and 1 income can be tough. 🙂

      Reply
  26. Jimmy

    I’ve been using this with my 8 year old son and he loves it. He’s been making huge progress in his reading ability in the last few months and I think it’s largely thanks to this!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Yay!

      Reply
  27. Dana

    Hi Marianne,
    I’ve read you recommend AAR/AAS for younger students. My daughter is almost 9. We have been doing AAR for 2 years and AAS for one year. We aren’t seeing lots of progress and it’s so teacher intensive, combined with my low stamina dyslexic daughter, it’s very difficult to implement. My daughter struggles to focus and we have a 4 year old.,,My daughter is doing really well with teaching Textbooks, so I’m wondering if the independent aspect of this program would be a good fit. Do you think she’s too young?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      RH has a program for younger kids called Discovery that would work for her.

      Reply
  28. Tammy Fitch

    I love your blog and look forward to reading all you post. I have four children with dyslexia and two with auditory processing. I love Elevate!! I am lacking in writing and grammar what would you suggest for my children. They also do must better with a computer program than workbooks.

    Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Sheilah Scott

      I also have an auditory processing son who is about to be 18. Local community college is my next idea but only because I’m grabbing at straws now. Please help!!

      Reply
      • Marianne

        The local community college was an excellent fit for our homeschooled kids with dyslexia. Some of our kids did training programs that led to a specific job like medical assisting and yacht captaining. What is he interested in?

        Reply
    • Mindy

      Tammy, does Elevate help with the auditory processing, or at least work well with it? My son also has ADHD. I need a program that can work will all of this together.

      Reply
  29. Mary

    I have a 9yr old and 12 yr old (homeschooling grandsons). Neither has been tested for dyslexia but they sure have all the signs, the youngest especially. The oldest completed all 4 levels of AAR and is now on AAS level 2 (struggling. He can read at about a 4/5 grade level but struggles to figure out words that aren’t familiar, his spelling is a struggle as is his handwriting . The youngest is a little more than beginning of 3rd level of AAR and is on AAS level 2. His reading is a big struggle, as well as spelling and handwriting, (and just everything for him except smiling) . I have an old program called SRA Power Builders that I am having the 12 year old go through, only because I don’t know what to do for him. The 9 year old is struggling for weeks on one lesson of AAR….I don’t know whether to keep moving or just switch to something else. Do you have any suggestions? I am trying to not feel hopeless because I need to stay positive for the boys…but this is heartbreaking to watch them struggle and feel so down. Also, what is the purpose of having an actual diagnosis compared to just reading about dyslexia and it hitting you in the face as ‘yes’ that’s my kid? It just seems like it would be more red tape as far as paper work and evaluators for us to hand to the district. Is there something I am missing by not having them officially documented ? Thanks for the info.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Mary. I would contact customer service at AAR. They are a wealth of information and can help guide you on how to best move through the program. Testing is helpful to know the degree of their learning weaknesses. As a homeschooler, it’s not absolutely necessary. Have you considered hiring a dyslexia tutor?

      Reply
  30. Jennifer Shannon

    I have a son who has just turned 10 and will be starting 5th grade this fall. I started homeschooling a year ago because he struggled so much to stay on task in a classroom (deals with ADD). He tested below average in spelling (10th percentile) and oral fluency (21st percentile) and low average for reading comprehension (25th percentile). Above average for math though! 🙂 He tested at a 5.5 year old level for visual-motor integration/processing speed. Would the RH Elevate be appropriate for him? He does not have dyslexia and reads on about a 3/4th grade level. I also homeschool 2 older boys and work part-time outside of the home, so independent curriculums are appealing! I used Spelling-You-See for him this year and we’ve both enjoyed it but I’ve only seen a little improvement. For reading, we’ve just done a lot of reading aloud together with reading comprehension skill sheets. I had thought about using AAS because I know it’s a good program but it seems very teacher-intensive. Thoughts? Would this be all I would need to teach reading and spelling? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hi Jennifer. I would definitely try Reading Horizons Elevate! That kind of teaching would be an excellent fit!

      Reply
  31. Mountain Momma

    Morning!
    I have benefitted from your website so much over the years! Thank you for sharing your journey with us! It’s been so reassuring!!
    I have a wonderful, moderately dyslexic homeschooling 6th grader who is entering level 6 of Barton after 2 years of hard work and hard won victories. He’s made tons of progress. It’s fabulous! However, I am wondering if Reading Horizons Elevate would be a better fit at this stage in his development. He finds Barton dry and working on reading and spelling as a mother-son team can certainly put a strain on our relationship ;0). The Barton system isn’t failing us (far from it!) but I want to be mindful of the fact that he is entering a new chapter of growth and development as a 12 yr old (maybe even towards greater independence? Just maybe?!) & that a different program may be a better fit. I am also fairly type A … and as a result fearful of changing systems mid-flow, encountering a different way of doing things that could set him back, or create confusion, and wonder if RHE will be quite as thorough as Barton. Do students tend need something else after completing RHE or will we likely be in a strong enough place to explore at Reading & Spelling with a less specialized approach? I know you have experience with both programs … I’d value your thoughts!
    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Mountain Momma

      Phew that was wooooordy! My apologies!

      BOTTOM LINE: Would it be wise to switch from Barton to Reading Horizons Elevate?

      ?

      Reply
      • Marianne

        I definitely wouldn’t discourage you from switching. It does tend to work well with older kids and help them to learn to be more independent. You could try the 30-day trial for $10 and see how it goes before committing. 🙂

        Reply
  32. Amber

    Hello Marianne, I have an 11 yr old son who I believe to be mildly dyslexic. He is reading okay but sometimes it is a struggle and he is below his grade level. His spelling is also a challenge. I have just completed the 4th level of AAR and the third level of AAS with him and am now beginning the 4th level of AAS. He has a hard time remembering the “rules” of decoding and spelling and I find myself constantly reminding him of the simple rules that we have been over many times. He will often correctly spell and misspell the same word within one assignment. He also tends to look at the first couple letters of a word when reading it, and then take a guess at the rest of the word, or may skip smaller words altogether. My intention was to finish all 7 levels of AAS, but now I am wondering if the Reading Horizons Elevate might be a better next step for us. My question is, would it be a bad idea to do both? I have always done our AAR and AAS on different days and would continue this if I added Reading Horizons in the place of completed AAR studies. Thank you

    Reply
  33. Amber

    Finishing up the next 4 levels of AAS and then starting up Reading Horizons is also an option, I just don’t know that our efforts in AAS are worth while being that improvement thus far has been pretty slow. But on the other hand I don’t want to abandon what we have been working at for so long and end up leaving gaps in his spelling instruction. Thank you again for any advice you can offer.

    Reply
  34. Heidi W

    Thank you so much for this blogpost and the other one you wrote about OG reading programs (“Top 4 Orton-Gillingham Reading Programs for Homeschoolers”). I am so grateful for your thoughtful and thorough explanations.

    I looked more into the Reading Horizons Elevate program, and I think it is everything I’ve been looking for, especially now during COVID-19, when I need my 14-year-old to be working more independently while we are all at home.

    Again, thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • Marianne

      I’m so glad Heidi!

      Reply
      • Heidi W

        So far so good! I bought the one-month trial package for $10 and now that we are just over a week into it, I fully expect to purchase the year-long subscription. My son took a couple of days to finish the assessment (I had him do it in 15-minute increments, twice a day, over a couple of days) and now he’s working on the lessons daily for 30 minutes (also in two 15-minute periods). No complaints from him so far at all!

        I think he likes that he gets to work on it independently, without Mom. It is not babyish (yet it makes no assumptions about his knowledge of sounds or words) and the frequent positive feedback the system provides appears to be very motivating. I’ve overheard him saying “Yay!” when he successfully completes an activity, and today he even chose to go 5 or so minutes beyond what his ‘required’ time as he was in the middle of something he wanted to finish.

        I’m thrilled!

        Reply
        • Salina

          Is this only for children with dyslexia?

          Reply
          • Marianne

            No, it’s actually often used for adults with dyslexia! It would also work for traditional learners. 🙂

  35. Rebekah Hamon

    Hi Marianne, as a mom who has been fighting for research based curriculum to be taught to my child in public schools through his IEP, it is a relief to find your site, and all this amazing information. My 11-year-old reads at a fifth grade instructional level. He has major problems with fluency but comprehends even though he reads very slowly. Do you think this program would need to be supplemented with additional fluency practice for him? I have taken your course on fluency practice and comprehension so if I supplemented it would be with some of those research based practices.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Hello there! I think supplementing with fluency exercises would be very good!!

      Reply
  36. Rebecca

    Would this curriculum be to hard for my 11 year old who reads on a second grade level?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Nope! It starts right at the beginning and fills in any and all gaps.

      Reply
  37. Paula

    My daughter is 14, diagnosed with moderate dyslexia at 12 years old. She completed Wilson’s Just Words program. Her fluency and decoding is much improved but she needs more practice. Her biggest struggle is comprehension. She was evaluated to be at 6th grade level for literature and 7th for informational text. She is going into public high school this year (she has always gone to public school) and she struggled to understand a lot of the material this year. I’m looking to do something over the summer for her. Will reading horizons elevate be a good option especially to help with comprehension?

    Reply
    • Marianne

      Fluency and comprehension are closely linked. The more fluent a reader is, the less working memory is needed to decode and the higher the comprehension rate. I’d say yes, absolutely!

      Reply
  38. Mindy

    My son is 9yo, starting 4th grade. He was reading on grade level when we left public school in December last year. He was recently diagnosed with dyslexia and struggles with reading comprehension and spelling. He has not had any previous remediation. He also has ADHD and auditory processing disorder. Is there a program that would be better for him? AAR, LoE, or RH? Thanks so much- I just stumbled across your site and have already found it so helpful.

    Reply

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