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Memory and sequencing....what can we do to help ds1?

(17 Posts)
Becaroooo Sun 18-Sep-11 08:49:34

Havent had the EP report back on ds1 yet, but both the paed and his optician (?) have told me that he needs to "go back to basics" to help with the gaps in his phonics knowledge and handwriting and spelling.

How do we do that, though? School have said he is too old for Reading Recovery and nothing I have tried has worked (Headsprout, Toe by Toe, Step by Step, Jolly phonics etc)

Will be seeing the Paed and getting the EP report before the meeting with school on 4th Oct but wondered if anyone on here had any tips/ideas/experience with this??

He just seems to have real problems retaining phonic isnt instinctive to him IYSWIM? He is in year 4 and his reading level is 1a and his writing is 1b sad


LizzieMo Sun 18-Sep-11 08:53:40

Hi, don't really know what to suggest, except that children in Yr4 and above are being offered Reading Recovery in my children's school. Did they say why he was too old for it?

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Sep-11 09:16:12

Can start with a few sequencing games at home?

Get some counters or shapes (just two different ones) Not letters yet.
Start them off

Get a strip of paper (possibly laminate) with large dots on and then put the two shapes on it like this:


and then ask him to complete the sequence for another 8 steps.

then do


and ask him to do the same.

When he has done it, tell him he is brilliant. Even if he finds it easy peasy, don't make him sit at the table doing more than two 'patterns' at each session. (possibly just one sometimes).

Even if he gets the pattern right, don't move onto the next until he does it fluidly i.e. doesn't have to swap shapes around ever, but just places them.

Do it every day, increasing the difficulty and 'MAKE A RECORD of the patterns and how many attempts he needs to master it'. This is to show the school that it is YOU who have helped him and help them to take on board your suggestions in the future (not to mention for your own reward).

Once he has mastered a pattern, vary the shapes but keep the same pattern.

Then introduce a C

i.e. A B C A B C (3 shapes, 3 places) and then B C A A (3 shapes, 4 places).

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Sep-11 09:18:02

Two patterns every day at the same time, when he is not hungry or just before you do something nice (that HE likes, not you) i.e. tv, favourite game, desert, whatever.

moondog Sun 18-Sep-11 09:39:29

I'm interested as to why Headsprout hasn't worked.
Can you tell me more?

I wouldn't expect a paed. and/or an optician to be authorities on reading but what they say is true (for all skills where kids struggling)
Go back to the beginning and go through, step by step in a thorough manner.
It sounds like you have tried a lot of stuff. Have you given one thing a chance before going to the other.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Sep-11 09:47:01


I find I have to do quite a lot of repeating episodes with ds. And if I have to repeat a lot, I have to leave a number of days in between or else his stats go down through boredome.

I think the programme should not let you move on an episode until you have scored 90% or above on the one you are on, and suggest additional teaching practice once the child has had to repeate an episode a couple of times.

DS is stuck on would, could and should. We need to work on this outside of headsprout if he is to move forward as he's got a bit stuck in a rut and just does random clicking and hopes for the best.

I think what I am trying to say is that Headsprout is great, but I don't think it is entirely stand-alone. You need to have proper mastery criteria and additional input now and then.

IndigoBell Sun 18-Sep-11 09:47:34

Starlight - very interesting suggestion.

How would you know where to start? I mean how would you know his current level?

Would you have to test him with various sequences until he failed?

And would you leave the pattern so he could see it or would you take it away?

moondog Sun 18-Sep-11 09:52:22

Re Headsprout, for kids with additional needs, there is additional material (namely Targeted Practice and Intensive Practice respectively)

The issue is that Headsprout is not designed specifically for kids with additional needs in mind as a stand alone (althoguh many have done very well indeed with it)

Our research focusses on using these Precision Teaching based additional programmes (Targeted Practice and Intensive Practice) to get kids through these rough bits.

I wish I could show every parent as committed as you how to do it.
It is not avvailable through a home license as frnakly, they wouldn't expect a parent to have that level of expertise.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Sep-11 09:53:29

I would simply start with A B A B. It would probably be WAY too easy, but then he could complete it quickly and be off, learning at the time that it is nothing to protest about doing next time he is asked, with a slightly higher level.

And yes, I would keep the pattern there for him to see.

Once he has mastered complex sequencing that he does without mistakes, or without having to look back and change the order to make it right THEN I would go back to the begining but show him the pattern and cover it up.
Starting again with A B A B. The trick is to do it EVERY day, but ONLY two patterns, so it isn't a chore, and don't rush ahead onto the next level until the previous on is perfect.

And be very careful about your relationship during the task. Don't turn it into a chore or a battle of wills. It is just something you do. He is praised lots for whatever he achieves. It is over quickly.

Becaroooo Sun 18-Sep-11 09:53:57

Hi moondog I tried HS after reading a post where you suggested it! smile He did really well with the 1st half (episodes 1-40) but the 2nd half was a bit of a disaster....we struggled through to the end but it was hard work and he hated it sad

All the phonics based stuff (ie. HS, JP, TBT etc) is fine and well, but he just cant seem to retain the the "magic/mute e"....he just cant remember. Still guessing even HF words. eg: in a text it might say "They will have some"
He would see the 1st word was a HF word and guess "The". He wont get "some" as it has the "magic e" rule.

I do wonder if I have chopped and changed" too much but when something is obv not working I try something else.

He is being assessed by the STS team at some point (?) at school.

moondog Sun 18-Sep-11 09:59:12

The level is much higher after Episode 40.
Did you use the sticker map to track progress?
Make a big deal of telling everyone who comes to your hgouse how well he was doing?
Show him his data? (I go to schools and have kids rush up to me yelling '95% on episode 38!!' on a daily basis!)
Build in additional reinforcement for doing an episode, via some sort of reward system? (Eg 'When we get to episode 45 I'll take you out to the cinema.')

Another very highly recommended approach is Maichal Maloney's 'Teach your child to read well' but I am loathe to recommend more chopping and changing.

You need a joined up approach with your child's school staff too.
To compound the issue, most have little idea what to do and how to approach a child who has the complex difficulties your ds obviously has.

graciousenid Sun 18-Sep-11 10:17:16

we done the same as Star suggested for sequencing & for working memory the 'what's missing memory game' start with three objects (in a row), child names they (in L-> R order), cover them, child names them again in order & take one away, uncover (we've taught ds to name them in order again here since he needs lots of help rehearsing language sequencing) & then say what's is missing. Build up slowly - ds got to 8 objects/take four away (from within sequence) - ds really enjoyed it & usually he hates anything resembling work.

We found he needed far more repetition than was built in with headsprout, he'd be doing fine but suddenly, seemingly forget something that we'd thought was mastered (talking to local friends who've used it they have all said exactly the same) - they will give you an unlock key so you can go back & repeat any episode.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Sep-11 10:31:56

Can you pick and choose episodes with the key, and go back and forth, or does it just reset?

Agnesdipesto Sun 18-Sep-11 10:38:43

memory games as gracious said - having to remember an item when you take one away from a group; having to fetch items eg 1, then 2 then 3. Building in delay eg put an item in a box - do something else - then ask whats in the box and build up the delay. Then 2 items + delay.

sequencing you could do activity sequences eg get 3-5 pictures that form a sequence and he has to put them in order and then tell the story (can gets lots of jigsaws and ready made cards for this)

Some children never learn phonics / blends and just rote learn to read

moondog Sun 18-Sep-11 10:49:51

Headsprout will let you go back as many times as you need if you send them an email. They are very on the ball. (They won't let you go right back to the beginning as if they did, people would just take the roverbial and use one license for about 20 kids.)

moondog Sun 18-Sep-11 10:50:49

In temrs of sequencing and memory, I have found using a calendar to be invaluable.
If you google 'Moondog calendar'I think some usefuil posts come up.

Becaroooo Sun 18-Sep-11 15:11:58

Thanks for all the tips.

May try the 2nd half of headsprout again...we have already paid so can do it again.

Will google as you suggest.

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