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toe by toe

(26 Posts)
kimmymummy Tue 07-Jun-11 12:45:27

I have a friend who was using a book called Toe by Toe with her son and said she had great results.
Can anyone tell me anything about this book and will it be ok to use with a 7 year old with really poor reading skills.I really am lost with how to help and would be greatfull for any advice

mrsbaffled Tue 07-Jun-11 15:03:04

Hello! I am doing toe by toe with my DS(very nearly 7). School told us to do it as he is struggling with spellings (teacher has requested dyslexia assessment for us). However he reads really well. Since starting it his reading level increased dramatically (from good to excellent....but has made no difference with spelling - so not really for us). It really works for reading!

I got it from Amazon for £25. You need to do about 20 minutes at least 3 times a week, preferably every day. Basically it's just reading long lists of words (some real, some made up) until the child has learnt them. They spend a lot of time on breaking up words into syllables too. It moves slowly from easy to hard levels.

I think it does work, but it's expensive. Can you ask for advice from DC's teacher?

coogar Tue 07-Jun-11 21:49:01

MrsBaffled I've just bought this from Amazon to start with my ds (aged 8 and dyslexic). He was recently diagnosed as mild-moderate and as usually is the case, can read well. Would be really interested to get some advice from you ... have some questions about 'how to do it" ...

mrsbaffled Wed 08-Jun-11 09:42:08

Coogar Have a good read of the front pages in the book when it arrives. The left hand pages in the exercise section give quite detailed instructions for the exercise on the right hand side of the page. Just do exactly what it says! The author says that parents do it better than teachers do as they have no preconceptions about what to do.

Do up to 20 minutes a day (perhaps start with 5 and work up), at least 3 times a week - best every day if possible.

Literally get DS to read down the list and do as much or as little as he can in the time limit you have set. That may be one page, it may be 5.... For every word he gets right put a line in the box in the first column, for every one he gets wrong put a dot (not a cross). Next day repeat and put the marks in the second column. Carry on day by day working along the columns. When there are 3 lines IN A ROW then a word is considered learnt and you don't go back to that one. If they get it wrong one day then it's considered not learnt so you have to carry on until they get it right 3 days in a row. If you run out of boxes then the unlearnt word gets written on a 'multi sensory page' and they have to write it out lots of times while saying it when they write it.

Do you have any other specific questions?

We were doing it religiously at the start, but have lost momentum recently as I have seen no improvement in DS1's spelling and his reading is brilliant anyway. I think I need to find something else for his specific need. His assessment is coming up, so hope to get some advice then? We will carry on with Toe By Toe, but I need to find some motivation from somewhere :P

kimmymummy Wed 08-Jun-11 12:35:49

Hi
thankyou for the replies so far,as anyone finished the book and what kind of results did you get
somebody told me that this book was featured on the secret millionaire program,did anyone see this

kimmymummy Wed 08-Jun-11 12:55:37

hi coogar
just been looking at old threads on mumsnet and somebody said they used a book called stairway to spelling by the same author

coogar Thu 09-Jun-11 17:27:45

Thanks to both of you ... I've also got a programme called Write From The Start bought from Amazon, yet to open as saving for Summer hols

EssentialFattyAcid Thu 09-Jun-11 17:36:48

Toe by Toe was very helpful for my dd who had a poor grasp of phonics. It is basically a progressive phonics course - and you do not move forward until you have fully mastered each step.

The book takes a long time to work through - several months - and was quite a tedious slog for us - but I do not regret doing it at all and would recommend it to others. As I parent I think you will feel like you can see a way to improve your son's reading that will work if you stick with it, so you will feel like you finally have a key to the problem and have the ability to help your child. Every page completed really is a step nearer to being a fluent reader - but iirc there are over 300 pages!

This is a good age to tackle the reading problem - I say go for it!

EssentialFattyAcid Thu 09-Jun-11 17:40:25

Also wanted to say that my dd couldn't spell her own (simple) surname in Y3, and couldn't read her own writing back. Her reading age was 2 years behind. In Y6 she is now slightly above the expected level in literacy. Get your child as much help as you can, from you, from the school and if possible from a specialised tutor as well.

kimmymummy Fri 10-Jun-11 12:06:42

Hi.me again.Ijust ordered the Toe By Toe,found the number on internet and was talking to a man called Frank(son of the lady who wrote book)
Found out best way to do book with my son,he was a great help and said that if i got in to any difficulties to call.I explained that i was part of mumsnet and he said i could put his number on my message if i thaught it might help someone else.
can not wait for my book to arrive,i feel like i have hope

ps franks number was 01274 588696 if anyone thinks they need advice

mrsbaffled Fri 10-Jun-11 13:30:45

Aw! That's really nice of him x How lovely!

coogar Mon 13-Jun-11 09:31:19

WOW ! Thanks Kimmy smile

IndigoBell Tue 14-Jun-11 07:52:20

MrsBaffled - if your child reads well but has trouble with spelling you'll be better off doing apples and pears

Coogar - write for the start is to help with handwriting, not reading or spelling. It's quite good, particularly if your child has any visual perception problems, and is under 8.....

You too say your child reads well but can't spell. If he knows his phonics - ie he can read a word he has never seen before, you'll be better off with a spelling program like apples and pears rather than toe by toe.

Toe by toe is a phonics program. ie teaches you 'sh' 'ow' makes show and 'r' 'ai' 'n' makes rain.........

coogar Tue 14-Jun-11 12:24:25

Thanks Indigo Yes, I was told T2T was phonics based but it was better to start him right from the beginning as he's issue is the decoding of some very basic words. He is almost 8, so hopefully we can whizz through the 'easy' bits. However, it looks difficult for an under 8 towards the end ?? I bought Write from the Start to help him with his handwriting as it's very poor and he's reluctant to do it. I'll look up Apples & Pears, thanks for the tip smile

mrsbaffled Tue 14-Jun-11 13:00:52

Thanks Indigo will look into it...

dyslexickids Wed 15-Jun-11 12:22:30

The Author of Toe By Toe has a book called Stareway to Spelling. It is used at my local school with great results, just like Toe By Toe. Apparently it can be used in conjuction with Toe By Toe but the whole of Toe by Toe must be completed to reveal any weaknesses and get the whole range of skills. My grandchild has now started Toe By Toe (only last week) but already i can see it working, and so can he which makes him happy and more confident. this is an exiting time.... no more tummy aches on a Monday morning..

IndigoBell Wed 15-Jun-11 13:20:46

Stareway to spelling doesn't teach spelling rules or anything.

All it does is teach the 300 most frequently used words. Which is fine, and a good enough coping strategy if you have really already tried other things. But would not be my first or second choice of spelling program....

Something like Apples and Pears actually teaches how spelling works....

DylexicKids - if your son is making progress on toe by toe after a week, then his previous instruction must have been pretty poor sad Toe by toe is excellent in helping kids who have 'dsyteachia' (ie they suffer from poor teaching) - it doesn't do anything for kids who actually have dyslexia.......

mummytime Wed 15-Jun-11 14:00:27

If you want something closer to Toe by Toe but for spelling, try "Word Wasp" its by one of the Toe by Toe authors, and is a very similar type of book.

(Kelda Cowling and Harry Cowling seem to have had a big family fall out worthy of Mumsnet relationship boards, but I preferred Word Wasp.)

startail Thu 16-Jun-11 11:55:17

I/DH did toe by toe with dyslexic DD1 (recommended by a friend who's school used it with her DC)
It is hard work but it really is worth it. It was the only thing that got DD to slow down, concentrate and not panic. Very slowly, bit by bit it gave her her the confidence to break down words and use her phobic knowledge to decode them.
I can safely say it was the best £25 I've ever spent because, although she still has real difficulty with written work she left primary school not only able to read but she enjoys it grin
Having since seen DD2 effortlessly learn to read I think Toe by Toe implicitly teachers a skill that comes naturally to non dyslexics.
There is a tread on aibu about speech errors and dyslexia where the processing problems of the condition have been discussed, finding it on the iPod app and not loosing this are beyond me confused

dyslexickids Thu 16-Jun-11 15:41:10

Now i am really confused..........
IndigoBell - I first saw Toe By Toe being used on Secret Millionaire, so are you saying that all those prisoners who have learnt to read were badly taught at school? You seem quite forthright in your comments. On Amazon the reviews on both Toe By Toe and Stareway to Spelling are very good. You say Toe By Toe doesnt work at all???? do you read reviews online?
I would appreciate it if you would give me a few examples of spelling rules. the only one i know is i before e ect......and even that is not always the case.

kimmymummy
have you got your Toe By Toe?what are your first impressions?

Mummytime -
I noticed you mention a fall out with the Authors, do you know them personnally because it sounds like you do. Is that why you are pushing Wordwasp? I looked at both and to be honest when i noticed " if your child cant do this move on" it put me off straight away. Some of the comments on the first few pages seem bizzare.

IndigoBell Thu 16-Jun-11 15:50:08

I'm not saying that toe by toe doesn't work at all.

I'm saying that if your reading improves in a week with Toe by Toe then it is just bad teaching.

If toe by toe improves your reading very slowly and with a lot of hard work then it is a more serious learning difficulty, often called dyslexia.

And probably most of those prisoners were badly taught at school. That's the whole point of this phonics movement that's going on now..........

I used toe by toe for a few months with my DD, but then gave up on it because it was causing both of us an awful lot of stress and there are better programs out there. For example there is no speed limit to toe by toe, so if your DD can read the words, but very slowly, it still counts as a pass......

I know a lot of people have found toe by toe helpful. What I don't know is what else they have tried first...... If your school is teaching phonics properly toe by toe won't help. If your school isn't, and your child is over 8, then it's one of many good choices.....

Spelling rules:

double l at the end of words when it follows a short vowel
ck at the end of a word when it follows a short vowel
k at the end of a word following a constanant
things like that. But it doesn't present them as rules, just lots and lots of examples of that pattern or word..... It never uses terms like 'short vowel'.....

MyNameIsCaz Thu 16-Jun-11 16:03:16

My son is severely dyslexic and used Toe by Toe at primary school, he has a low reading age and did improve using toe by toe but not by as much as they recon he should. My son reads by using clues in the text and often guesses the words correctly so it appears he can read better than he can, he couldn't do this with toe by toe as it uses nonsense words that he had to sound out. We found it very boring and quite a challenge to get my son to do it on the regular basis you need to.
My son has improved greatly since he started secondary school and has a specialist dyslexia tutor, not sure which methods she uses with him though.

exoticfruits Thu 16-Jun-11 16:05:43

I think it is great and would recommend it. It isn't however a quick fix. It is long and slow and needs you to be committed to a short time every day.

mummytime Thu 16-Jun-11 23:54:39

I don't know them personally but I did go to a very interesting talk by Kelda's other son. I found Word Wasp helped my kids, and the fab senco at their school recommends it.

BTW my DS was taught phonetically, and given intervention and excellent extra support from an early stage. However Toe by Toe helped because it gave us structured practise, and really helped with overlearning. We did get bored though and never got to the end. Something I regret a bit, but then I also regret not just telling his primary school that we wouldn't do any homework, and using the energy for Toe by Toe and other interventions instead.
I am now using the Power of 2 series to help two of my kids with their maths (one needs to learn tables, the other needs to realise she can do maths).

However anyone who suddenly improves dramatically in days or a couple of weeks is obviously not like my kids.

James06 Mon 24-Apr-17 21:25:19

My son, who is 11 is just about to complete Toe By Toe. His school are at a loss as to what to do next, apparently he is the first person ever to get to this stage at his school.....has anybody any ideas please. He has progressed really well with reading and has a comprehension age of a 12 year old, but his spelling is not improving. Thanks J

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