When we where using phonics the kids got very confused so we only used the method for a very short time and switched to the DISTAR method and oh what a difference it makes.
After months of using phonics they only made a small step forwards with reading, since using DISTAR they have come on leaps and bounds.
Within a couple of weeks they started to read simple words, we haven't had an awful lot of time recently with all the other things we have been doing, but we have been able to use the method with whatever we are doing so the practise never stops and I also hear Louby and Boliver regularly trying to spell things out on their own, so despite their protests whilst doing the book they are enjoying it and the bonus is it incorporates writing in the lessons so they have also been gaining some writing confidence.
I leave bits of paper around with the sounds we have been learning that day and they just write them as and when they please, we usually do half an hour after they have finished Stagecoach on a Saturday and try to fit some in during the week, all in all they do not have very much time on the actual book and the progress is amazing to say how little time we actually do spend on it.
How they are doing it is beyond me, I think something has clicked in them with using the DISTR method that the phonics just did not do or give them, from only just being able to recite the alphabet with actually knowing and understanding what the letters are to actually reading whole words within a couple of weeks I am more than impressed.
The one thing I can say though is that the use of phonics has damaged their learning process in my opinion and slowed them down, I really regret using phonics to start with and wish I had actually discovered this DISTAR method earlier, it can seem very monotonous at first when you start the program as it uses that key concept of repetition so for me and the kids it was hard to follow, but they have mastered it and half an hour is enough to show a lot of progress.
We have been trawling the charity shops for more books and have found some great reads and they have been very keen since we started this program, we have even stepped up from once a month going to the library to fortnightly at the twins request, so this DISTAR seems to have done more than just helped them to read it has given them a new love of books.
Phonics has been well and truly abandoned and now we are doing it naturally with the help of DISTAR.
I can certainly see why many kids in school end up leaving school without learning to read. Phonics really does not work effectively and misses that vital spot for many kids including the twins, DISTAR is the way forwards, for us anyway.