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Toe by Toe for dsylexia

(28 Posts)
Curiousmama Mon 22-Nov-10 10:06:46

Has anyone heard of this? I'm going into ds2's school this afternoon to help out with dyslexic children and will be using this book. I have the master copy, have studied it and think it looks really good?

I'll be doing this every week. The dcs have all seen me as it's a small school so they should be ok?

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 22-Nov-10 11:07:41

I have a pal who has gone through the whole series with her girl and it has been excellent

Minx179 Mon 22-Nov-10 11:54:49

Not too sure of the relevance of what I'm about to say in relation to school/children but..

Toe by Toe was used in a prison that I was involved with. It was predominently used by adult prisoners to teach other prisoners how to read. The prisoners on the whole thought it was a good scheme and stated it did help adults who were functionally illiterate to read and was easy to follow.

However, I was talking to one prisoner (ex-teacher/education researcher) who didn't think it was the best method of teaching reading. One of my colleagues at the time, ex specialist SEN teacher, also expressed her doubts about the Toe by Toe scheme in school settings and wondered if it was any better in adult/prison education.

Sorry if this doesn't help much. Perhaps it is the same as many things ie what works for one may not work or show the same results for another.

mummytime Mon 22-Nov-10 12:18:44

I think it works because it teaches phonics systematically, and is written in such a way anyone can use it (eg. Sixth formers with year 7s). It can be a bit slow, and my kids all struggled to keep motivated to keep going. But I do think it helps.

Ideally every pupil should have their own copy, and there is no allowance to photocopy it, although I have seen schools do this.

mumslife Mon 22-Nov-10 12:24:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Curiousmama Mon 22-Nov-10 15:42:45

I had a productive day I'd say? I worked with a few children and they managed well with it.

bramblebooks Mon 22-Nov-10 16:38:56

I think it is a good scheme. I've had most success with it with children in y5 and above. It does need to be done at least 3 times per week to be effective.

Curiousmama Mon 22-Nov-10 21:49:32

Yes I'm going to try to get in as much as possible as they don't have many doing it.

IndigoBell Mon 22-Nov-10 23:51:00

It works for lots, but not all, kids.

It is a structured synthetic phonic programme. No better or worse than many others.

So if the reason the child hasn't learnt to read is because they haven't been taught properly than there is a very good chance toe-by-toe will help.

However, if the underlying difficulty is something else, like vision or hearing, than obviously it won't help....

If this book does help them, then the kids don't have dyslexia, they just haven't been very well taught up till now.

c0rns1lk Tue 23-Nov-10 08:50:22

It works for some children depending on their difficulties - is worth a go. Some children hate it.

mumslife Tue 23-Nov-10 09:14:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IndigoBell Tue 23-Nov-10 09:20:05

MumsLife - your son has been doing toe by toe for a while now. Has it helped his spelling?

If so, keep going. If not I would try something else.

I would try something which is designed to help him learn to spell rather than something which is designed to teach him to read.

Dyslexia is a label which is given to everyone who has difficulties with reading and / or writing. But there is no agreed definition of what it means. I think it is better thought of a label to describe the symptoms, rather than a label which describes the cause....

mumslife Tue 23-Nov-10 09:42:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IndigoBell Tue 23-Nov-10 09:53:40

The makers of toe-by-toe made Stareway to spelling to teach spelling. It concentrates on the 300 most frequently used words, which apparently make up 75% of the words we use.

Apples and pears I quite like. It's a structured program which teaches spelling rules for you to do with him every day.

Nessy Games Player is a computer game which teaches all the rules - but goes fairly fast.

But I really wouldn't bother to continue with toe-by-toe. It is not designed to improve spelling.

mumslife Tue 23-Nov-10 12:58:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Curiousmama Wed 24-Nov-10 14:43:01

Agree wouldn't have thought it'd help spelling seen as a lot of it is nonsense anyway designed to help them recognise sounds.

Good you've had some uselful advice here though smile

dolfrog Wed 24-Nov-10 15:28:46

To take InndigoBell statement about dyslexia a stage further.
Dyslexia is about having problems using a man made communication system, the visual notation of speech, which we call the written word.
The best definitions of dyslexia are:

USA National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
"Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with spelling, phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. In adults, dyslexia usually occurs after a brain injury or in the context of dementia. It can also be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia"
USA National Institutes of Health define dyslexia as "a reading disability resulting from the inability to process graphic symbols"

And the international dyslexia research of the last decade or so has been investigating the underlying cognitive causes of the dyslexic symptom for those who have Developmental Dyslexia or Cognitive subtypes of dyslexia

Toe by Toe is a kinaesthetic based teaching program which can help those who have good touchy feely cognitive skills to help them work around their auditory processing or visual processing cognitive deficits which cause their dyslexic symptom

IndigoBell Wed 24-Nov-10 15:44:18

Toe-by-Toe is not kinaesthetic. It's a really standard synthetic phonics program.

IndigoBell Wed 24-Nov-10 15:45:22

I hope you're thinking of some other program and can give me the name of it? - because I'd love to look at a kinaesthetic learn to read program....

dolfrog Wed 24-Nov-10 16:10:30


If it is a phonics based program as you say then it will not help those who have the auditory processing cognitive cause of their dyslexic symptom, which is about 60% of dyslexics.
But it may help those who have the visual processing cognitive cause of their dyslexic symptom

sarahfreck Wed 24-Nov-10 17:15:04

Indigo Bell

"If this book does help them, then the kids don't have dyslexia, they just haven't been very well taught up till now."

I'd have to disagree I'm afraid. I'm currently using Toe by Toe with 3 students ( one of whom has been diagnosed dyslexic - the others have not been assessed yet, but I think are very likely to prove dyslexic). It is working with all 3 of them.

I would say though:
I wouldn't use it with children under the age of 8 - to dense and "dry"
I am working through it more slowly than recommended - none are doing as much as 20 minutes daily.
I am using it as only part of a structured synthetic phonics intervention.
It takes time - some children can take months and months before it really starts to have an observable effect - then suddenly they start to "get it". But these children have spent at least 3 years in school already without getting very far with reading so the length of time to me is not surprising.
None of the children particularly enjoy doing Toe by Toe but I only use it for 5 minutes or so of my lesson and parents are able to do it with their dc's regularly because it is so structured and easy to do in a very short time. In my experience, they are more likely to fit Toe by Toe into a schedule than other phonic practice.

All in all I like it as part of a phonics programme for older children. It works well in helping them overlearn skills. I have now seen it work so often that I tell some children it is a bit like a "magic" book and if they do all the work in it " a bit like saying magic spells", they will be able to read anything they want by the time they get to the end! It hasn't failed me yet! Some of them like flicking to the back from time to time and realising they can read more and more of the hardest stuff at the back!

Curiousmama Wed 24-Nov-10 21:23:07

Thanks for your post sarahfreck. I've been told to use it for 20 mins and have been doing but very slowly and mixed with some chat to be honest. I use the bat before ball for 'b' but also big belly 'b' which I used for my own dcs. My dss aren't dyslexic but it is helping with these dcs too. Not all the children I'm reading with are dyslexic and some have multiple problems. One dc has trouble with n and m. She is dyslexic so I told her 'n' has one bridge but m has two. She got it fairly quickly and it did help but whether it will long term I don't know? They are all so different. I'm finding it fascinating and really enjoying it and the dcs seem to be relaxed around me?

Curiousmama Wed 24-Nov-10 21:24:30

Oh and I so enjoyed it I've been in more than once. I'm going to try at least twice a week and there's another lady going in too.

sarahfreck Wed 24-Nov-10 21:49:58

you sound as if you are doing a great job.The school are lucky to have you!

Curiousmama Thu 25-Nov-10 09:48:27

Aww thanks sarah smile I must say I adore dcs.

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