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Fuzzbuzz books for dyslexia

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by billandsplodge, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. billandsplodge

    billandsplodge New commenter

    I have a severely dyslexic Y5 boy who is struggling to engage with any of our current resources. Has anyone used these books? Apparently they are an old resource not used any more but have been recommended.
    If I was to try them, where should I start?!
    Thanks [​IMG]
  2. I'm a specialist reading intervention tutor. My advice to you is to ditch the Fuzzbuzz books -they are mildly phonic so better than nothing, but not much better.
    Have a look at Stairway to Reading: Free, online, remedial 1-1 program (Canadian) Registration needed: www.societyforqualityeducation.org/stairway.html
  3. billandsplodge

    billandsplodge New commenter

    Thanks Susan, that is really helpful. I have just printed off the instructions!
    I assume you don't use the games as the American accent could be confusing?! [​IMG]
  4. Yes, beware of the American accent/ spellings -most of the games cards are ok though. You could adapt those that don't fit in with UK accent/ spellings, perhaps?

  5. Oh, and on the subject of reading books, I recommend the Totem and the Talisman series for older readers:
  6. billandsplodge

    billandsplodge New commenter

    Thanks Susan.
    Have you heard of the Alpha to Omega course? What do you think?
  7. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    Good phonics based books that come with accompanying activities is Dandelion Readers.
    If phonics just doesn't work for this child then try Rapid Readers.
  8. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    Alpha to Omega is okay, but I think Beat Dyslexia is better.
  9. I think Ruth Miskin's 'Fresh Start' (pub. OUP) is better than either of these!
  10. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    I also like Read Write Inc. Fresh Start, but it is quite expensive and the lessons are ideally an hour long. I have used this, but for ease of use especially if teaching sessions are shortish, Beat Dyslexia supplemented with wooden letters is easy to pick up and run with.
  11. But Beat Dyslexia works diferently from RWI; it teaches 'sight words' (which RWI most certainly doesn't) and syllabification, which I found were two real difficulties for the children I used it with. RWI is far less complex and 'rule' bound. It also moves on faster. I sem to recall that in Beat Dyslexia vowel digraphs weren't covered until about Book 5. This is an awful long time to spend learning the 'simple code' and leaving the pupil unable to read 'advanced code' words. It was too slow for us (Sec) where pupils have to be up and running with their reading as quickly as possible. (N.B it is about 8 years since I used Beat Dyslexia. It may have changed since then)
    There is no requirement for RWI to be taught in 1 hour lessons; when I'm using it one to one we just pick up from where we finished in the previous lesson. The amount covered in one lesson depends very much on the pace at which the individual child works.

  12. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    I respect your opinion maizie, but I have to disagree with you on this point. I work with children who have just missed out on statementing, who have usually been phonicked (sp??) to death and for some (not all!!!) phonics just doesn't work for them. They learn words as a whole.
    There is nothing worse than constantly encouraging a child to sound out and blend if they just can't do it. They not only get completely frustrated, ruins any self esteem they may have and get absolutely no meaning from what they have read. What a pointless exercise.
    For these children the way forward is to build up a bank of sight words and teach other strategies such as using context, picture cues, reading on and back, finding words in a word etc.
    I'm not disputing the fact that phonic blending is the preferred method, I'm just saying that for some children this just doesn't work. And it isn't a myth, I work with these children every day.
  13. Then I feel sorry for the children and wonder how they'll manage in the future.
    You say they have had 'phonics' but that could be weak teaching, a weak programme and so on.
    Your approach is not the answer for slower-to-learn children and you will be doing such children no favours at all ultimately.

  14. Whilesoever you spend time and energy building up their 'sight vocabulary', you are robbing the children of the type of teaching they need and filling their time with a flawed approach.
    How many hundreds of words do you think a slower-to-learn child, or student, can learn as sight words?
    How many hundreds and thousands of words do you think are included in literature?
    How will your pupils be any further forward for reading new and unknown words?

  15. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    I agree that some children will have poor phonic ability due to poor teaching and delivering a phonic programme should be the first port of call so to speak for any child with reading difficulties, but I still argue that for a select few children phonics simply doesn't work for them.
    How many times do you put a child through a phonic programme before there comes a time to stop and try another approach? One size doesn't fit all. Too often phonic intervention programmes are delivered for the sake of delivering them without an evaluation of their effectiveness.
    I can assure you I am not against phonics, far from it, I use the Hickey programme, RWI, Beat Dyslexia as well as other interventions every day, but we as teachers have to teach the way children learn, don't we?
    Children with a good visual memory can learn and retain many sight words, and will have a better grasp of what they are reading than if they are still plugging away at decoding using phonics where they cannot blend and then have no chance of understanding what they have read.

  16. But that is exactly what takethatno1fan is saying, isn't it? There is a residual number of children who absolutely cannot blend. What methods would you use with them?
    Given the role of working memory in blending, and the role of the frontal lobes in working memory, and the gradual spontaneous correction and/or accommodation of visual and auditory anomalies, one would expect that number to gradually decrease as cohorts get older, but that still leaves the problem of the residual number. I'd be interested in some figures, particularly at different ages.
    Control of eye movements is also an issue (around 2% of the population). Sorry to rabbit on about my offspring, but in my son's case he still (at 12) reverses letters and numerals and juxtaposes their positions in the word or number. He's an excellent reader, but spelling and handwriting and arithmetic still defeat him because he intermittently mis-reads the positions of the letters and numerals and his hand-eye co-ordination is poor. He can't 'blend' numerals either. He has a good understanding of place value, but long numbers literally make his eyes wobble.
    We've tackled the arithmetic by reading 'Murderous Maths', together initially, and then he got so interested he's read several of the books on his own. Within the space of about a month, he has completely understood concepts I thought he would never master. He can accurately work through quite complex problems verbally (takes a long time to do the calculations), but flakes out after writing down the first line, often getting the numbers the wrong way round and confusing himself.
    The ability to read (by whatever method) and do arithmetic (by whatever method) have transformed his life and he now wants to get up in the morning and is talking about what he wants to do when he grows up.
    My questions are: what do you do about the minimal number of children who can't blend? and: how do you prevent a skill a child is really struggling from becoming an obstacle to learning?
  17. Are you not concerned that muddly teaching with a plethora of strategies causes problems for children like your son from the outset.
    When brains are the most spongelike and formative, teachers (parents) throw everything at them except consistent, tiny step, regular, simple ways of learning the alphabetic code, saying the sounds, handwriting the letters.
    I doubt your son got a diet of the kind of synthetic phonics we are moving towards nowadays - even if he did 'get' phonics.
    There is a vast difference between different types of phonics programmes and the effectiveness with which they are taught.
    We make too many assumptions that children are in confusion just because that is the way they 'are', and we are not examining enough of whether those confusions were caused, or even exacerbated, by early childhood experiences.
    The biggest challenge in the teaching profession is that teachers, academics, etc, are not challenging enough and they are commonly unwilling to seek beyond their own 'logic' or 'experience' or 'belief' because it is beyond their current mindset.
    Even where learners may well have a propensity to muddlement, these need to be addressed rather than a resort to saying that's just the way they are.

  18. Here's a thought:
    The conversation is along the lines of some children just can't blend.
    How is it then, that some of us are able to take the children who 'just can't blend' and then we teach them to blend?
    So, in effect, our experience of children who 'just can't blend' is automatically not the same as others because we do manage to teach them.
    We cannot assume, ever, that when someone talks about learners who can't blend that this is an absolute fact - because none of us really know that.
    We could say, this learner cannot blend because he or she cannot blend - or this learner cannot blend - perhaps no-one has managed to teach this learner to blend so far.

  19. I'm a specialist remedial reading tutor -all I do, day in day out, is teach students (of all ages) how to read. They've usually received a professional diagnosis of 'dyslexia' from an LEA or independent ed. psych, but it really doesn't matter to me whether they've got the label or not, I teach them all using the same programme which is based on systematic, synthetic phonics. In nearly 7 years I've never had one student that I haven't been able to teach how to blend -or read, most in around 15-20 hours.
  20. I don't think he did have 'muddly' teaching. He had Jolly Phonics. That was one strategy. He mastered the letter-sound correspondences. He could blend three letters, but no more. We (school and home) persevered for 18 months. In the end he recognised so many words on sight that persevering with blending that he couldn't do for longer words was driving us all nuts. What was I supposed to do, deprive him of books until he could blend four-letter words?
    Doubtless there is, but you are making some rather sweeping assumptions about the kind of 'diet' he got. I don't feel comfortable with an approach that says that all children can learn to read well if they are taught properly, so if they don't learn to read well they can't have been taught properly.
    I wasn't making any assumptions. My son has problems controlling his eye movements, with vision in his right visual field, and with auditory discrimination between some speech sounds. Unless his optometrist, occupational therapist and two learning support advisory teachers all fabricated their reports. His visual and auditory function explain all his learning difficulties. The information has been very helpful because it has suggested some very effective alternative approaches.
    I don't doubt that some children are in confusion because of early experiences. I was simply pointing out that others can be confused because they have undetected sensory problems. You try getting a full auditory or visual assessment for a child - it's almost impossible. The auditory processing assessment and treatment programme has been held up in the UK by the resource-intensive cochlear implant programme, so obviously the NHS think it's worth having. Nor was I saying that well taught synthetic phonics wouldn't help children with auditory/visual causes for their reading difficulties. Just that blaming all reading difficulties on inadequate teaching might be a bit premature.
    I wasn't saying 'that's just the way they are'. I was saying, what happens when a child has visual/auditory issues that are impacting on literacy skills, and you have tried SP for 18 months and the child is getting frustrated, demoralised and aversive? I'm quite prepared to admit that I and his school might not have had a sufficient range of SP strategies up our sleeves to stay on his case, but I was hoping that you might be able to give some indication of how long you would persevere in those circumstances.


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