Books to Read with Barton

About Outside Reading with an Orton-Gillingham program

This is a guide for the parent or teacher to determine the appropriate reading material for their student who is participating in an Orton-Gillingham program, specifically the Barton Reading and Spelling System.
 

Because Orton-Gillingham uses a highly controlled sequence of the introduction of phonemes and graphemes, it is important that we pay careful attention to the reading material our students are being given for independent reading practice. The Barton Reading and Spelling System in particular introduces phonemes (speech-sounds) and graphemes (speech-sounds as they are written) in a sequence to ensure the student will become proficient in English spelling as well as reading and does not follow the same scope/sequence as other Orton-Gillingham programs.

Children with dyslexia or children who have been taught reading using a whole-language or “balanced literacy” methodology have usually developed a strong guessing habit when reading. This is a habit which must be broken before they can become proficient at reading and spelling correctly. As a result, it does more harm than good for students in an Orton-Gillingham program to read outside or “uncontrolled” text at the beginning stages of the program.

There are some books that can be read when in the beginning stages of the program. These books contain words which have been carefully chosen based on what the student has been explicitly taught and are known as “controlled-text” or “decodable” readers. (Note: this is not the same thing as a “Leveled Reader” which goes along with a whole-language or balanced literacy program and is NOT phonetically-controlled). Depending on the scope/sequence used in the Orton-Gillingham program, some decodable books will work and others will not.

All other books which are not on this list should be read to the student, or the student should listen to on audio format. If the student has a diagnosis of dyslexia or another visual or print disability, they are eligible for a membership in Learning Ally, which can provide most textbooks and reading material in audio format.

Please note that the provision of audio books is an accommodation which MUST be provided for the dyslexic student to be successful in school. The dyslexic student may need this accommodation for several years or their entire school career, as they may never be able to read as quickly as needed to keep up with their classwork.

 

Decodable Readers to go along with the Barton Reading and Spelling System

 

During Barton Book 1 & 2:

No outside reading should be done. At this stage, we are working on developing the student’s phonemic awareness skills. In a sense, we are re-programming the student’s brain to look at words differently. Even if the student was reading at grade-level before, this process will cause their reading speed to decline before it increases as they re-learn how to break apart words by their individual sounds. Barton Books 1 and 2 are usually completed relatively quickly but it is a crucial step in the process and lays the foundation for all other skills we will be teaching.

After Barton Book 2:

Only books which contain short vowels and single consonants (and digraphs “th”, “wh”, “sh”, “ch”) can be read at this point. A few sight words (“and”, “the”) can be included but should be kept to a minimum.

For younger kids (up to age 8):

For older students:

Most books at this level are written for young children and will not appeal to older kids. Older kids can read the stories which go along with the Barton blue sheets as practice at this stage.

Other phonics readers may work at this stage if they ONLY have short vowel words and not too many sight words.

 

After Barton Book 3, Lesson 3:

Now the student will know how consonant blends at the beginning and ending of short-vowel words work and will also know how digraph blends work. At this stage, many new books are available.

For younger kids (up to age 8):

Chapter books which will appeal to older students:  

  • High Noon Sound-Out Chapter Books: set A-1, A-2, A-3 (note: only 3 out of 6 of each of these sets will work for now. They are the ones that say “Level One” on the back of the book. The other books which say “Level Two” can be read after Barton Book 6, Lesson 1 is completed).

 

After Barton Book 3:

 

For younger kids (up to age 8):

  • Sounds Like Reading: Book 3 by Brian P. Cleary

Chapter books which will appeal to older students:  

  • You can order any of the Barton Stand-Alone Chapter Books which say “Level 3”: Barton Stand-Alone Chapter Books They are $7.95 each or you can buy them as a set.

 

After Barton Book 4, Lesson 3:

 

 

After Barton Book 4:

 

Chapter books which will appeal to older students:  

  • You can order any of the Barton Stand-Alone Chapter Books which say “Level 4”: Barton Stand-Alone Chapter Books They are $7.95 each or you can buy them as a set.

After this point, many students will have enough decoding skills to be reading many books with uncontrolled text. Keep in mind, they may not be reading at their level of intellect or vocabulary yet, however. They may still need to be listening to audio books for classwork.

 

After Barton Book 5:

 

Chapter books which will appeal to older students:  

  • You can order any of the Barton Stand-Alone Chapter Books which say “Level 5”: Barton Stand-Alone Chapter Books They are $7.95 each or you can buy them as a set.

 

After Barton Book 6, Lesson 1:

 

Chapter books which will appeal to older students:  

  • Now you can use the High Noon Sound-Out Chapter Books which say “Level Two” on the back. Note there are a few things in here the student will not have been taught, such as the “IE” vowel team, but for the most part these books are decodable. These books will not contain any multisyllable words, as they follow the scope/sequence of the High Noon Orton-Gillingham program rather than the Barton program.

After this point, most students will have enough decoding skills to be reading many books with uncontrolled text. Keep in mind, they may not be reading at their level of intellect or vocabulary yet, however. They may still need to be listening to audio books for classwork.

To find an uncontrolled-text book at the right level for your student, use the 5-Finger Rule: pick a page in the middle of the book and count out 100 words. Have them read those words out loud and put down one finger for each word they read incorrectly. If you put down up to 5 fingers, it is a good level for independent reading practice. If you would have to put down more than 5 fingers, that book is too difficult for your student.

If you have any questions about using controlled-text readers with the Barton Reading and Spelling System or another Orton-Gillingham program, please contact me: dite.bray at gmail.com

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