Christmas and Nativity Themed Handwriting Tracing Pages

Tracing high-interest words is a meaningful and motivating way for my son to practice handwriting. So, I made these Christmas and Nativity-Themed Handwriting Tracing Pages for Junior. He definitely enjoyed these more than his usual handwriting sheets.

Take a look:

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Our Favorite Books and Publishers for Emergent Readers

As many of you know, my son Junior, who has T21, has become a voracious reader. Hence, we make several trips to the library to keep him well supplied. To simplify my never ending job of finding reading material, I find a publisher/series that I like and order as many books from that series that I can from the library. Here are our favorite books and publisher series for emergent readers.

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Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read: Our Top Ten Resources for Beginning Phonics

Last fall, I began teaching Junior how to decode words. Having taught my five other children to read, I knew that I would have to make each step along the way very incremental and use materials that were hands-on and visual. I was ready for the process to be slow and bumpy, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly Junior learned to decode CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words.

So today I’m sharing with you some videos of Junior at work and the resources and methods we used that worked best.

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Faith and Freedom Primer B – Adapted for Children with Down Syndrome

Here is part 2 of the Faith and Freedom Primer, which I adapted for children with Down Syndrome. The original book, published by Seton Educational Media, has three parts. This is the second part. You can find the first part here.

The Faith and Freedom Primer an excellent tool for teaching children to read high-frequency sight words with fluency. Once a word is introduced, it is used repeatedly throughout the book so you child does not forget it. Junior has learned to read all three parts of the primer, and he is now learning to read the next book in this series without any adaptations!

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The Faith and Freedom Primer Adapted for Children with Down Syndrome

Once in a while I come across a pedagogical gem. The Faith and Freedom Primer is one of these. It is actually a combination of 3 smaller books, written in the 1950s to teach children how to sight read high frequency words. I’ve used it with all of my kids to teach them how to read sight words alongside teaching them how to decode phonetically. The book is a gem not just because it teaches children to read sightwords incrementally and systematically, but also because it portrays the Catholic faith and family life in a gentle and beautiful way.

Since Junior had been learning to read sight words with See and Learn Phrases, I decided to adapt the Faith and Freedom Primer according to the recommendations laid out by Natalie Hale, in her book Whole Child Reading. Junior would often pull the original primer off our bookshelf and pretend to read it, so I thought, “Why not adapt it for him and see if he can learn to read it?”

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Free Resources for Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read

Several weeks ago, I read the book Whole Child Reading: A Quick Start Guide to Teaching Students with Down Syndrome and Other Developmental Delays. If you have a child with developmental delays, I highly recommend reading this book. It’s a fast, easy read with useful insights into how the brain works and many practical applications. The gist of the book is to go in through the heart by using stories and topics that are highly interesting and motivating to the student and then to teach to the brain by understanding how children with T21 learn best.

In the book, author Natalie Hale gives specific instructions on how to format and make your own books so that your kids can read with greater ease and success. So I began making books. I made personal books, because Junior, like most kids, likes to read about himself and his family. I also made books using words from the See and Learn Phrases kits.

Today I’m sharing some of these books:

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Introducing “Teach Me to Read Duets, Books 1 and 2” — the sequels to “Short Vowel Stories”

For those of you who have used Short Vowel Stories to help teach your children to read, you’ll be glad to know (I hope!) that two more books are now available: Teach Me to Read Duets, Books 1 and 2.

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Teaching Your Child to Read with Short Vowel Stories… and a free give-away!

When my oldest was a kindergartener, I wrote some super short stories to help her learn to read. I then used them to teach all my other kids to read, along with a variety of other phonics books. Variety is the spice of life, so it is good to give your emerging readers a mixture of books  with which they can learn to read.

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Teaching Kids who Can’t Sit Still

Rascal: 7 years old. Highly imaginative. Fidgety. Fun-loving. Full of energy. Easily distracted. Affectionate. Attention-seeking.

Sound familiar?

He’s the lovable little guy who is smarter than you think but is so wiggly and easily distracted that trying to teach him is…. well,  let’s be honest… sometimes plain torture.

How can we teach these kids who can’t seem to sit still? Here are some ideas that have helped with my irrepressible, spirited Rascal.

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The Three Keys to Teaching Your Child to Read – Part 3

Once your child is ready and willing (at least most of the time!) to learn how to read, the third key to the door of literacy is easy to obtain.

Back in the days when I was a piano teacher, I had to teach children as young as five to read music. For most children, learning to read music is even more challenging than learning to read words. A single note has pitch, duration, volume, and articulation. When you give a child a string of notes to read in the treble clef and a completely different set of notes to read in the bass clef, you are asking the child to process several things at once. A lot of mental exertion is needed, so much so that the only way to learn the music is by repetition, repetition, repetition.

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