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Have you tried to find new ways to motivate your struggling reader? If so, the phrase, “wit’s end” has probably come to mind.
I tutor students each week who need a little extra help. Right now my clients include kids from kindergarten through 7th grade, and I am always looking for new tools to benefit them. I find that anytime I pull out my tablet or laptop, the kids are more engaged.
The problem is, although I’ve found some useful games to work on sight words, spelling, and math, none of them are targeted to my individual students. Nor have I found anything that seems to be designed specifically with struggling students in mind.
This summer I’ve been using Nessy Learning with 5 of my students, and I am head over heels!
Nessy Learning was kind enough to allow me access to their program to try it out, and I’m being compensated for my time in writing this post. But as with anything on The Sparrow’s Home, opinions are all mine.
The Nessy Parent Pack , which I’ve been using, includes Reading & Spelling, Writing, Numbers, and Yeti Mountain, an area specifically for growing skills for students with Dyslexia.
Be sure to check out the discount that Nessy Learning is offering my readers at the end of this post!
I’ve got students in kindergarten through sixth grades using Nessy Learning this summer and it’s clear that each path is customized to the student right from the start.
The first thing the student does is to take an assessment, and get individualized targets set. As they complete lessons and master their targets, new ones are set. Each student has a monkey avatar that they can customize in fun ways, from clothes to accessories and more. We had fun doing this after completing their assessments.
There’s also an area called Monkey Town where students can go to do activities with the tokens they earn in their learning games. I’ll be honest, though, with my tutoring students, Yeti Mountain is our ‘reward’ time. They love it!
Yeti Mountain is an area of the program that exclusively focuses on skills for Dyslexic learners. But what I’ve found is that the memory games are really beneficial for all of my students, and they’re fun! Here are some areas that are covered:
- Visual Word Memory – Using commonly misspelled words, hold a visual memory of a word and find the correct match.
- Auditory Sequential Memory – Listen to a series of instructions and follow them in the correct sequence.
- Visual Sequential Memory – See a sequence of graphic symbols and find the correct match. Speed and accuracy are scored.
- Processing Speed – How quickly can a sequence of symbols be matched to numbers.
- Phonological Awareness – Complete a variety of phonological activities: phoneme omission and addition. Phoneme manipulation. Phoneme sequencing.
- Working Memory – Listen, then recall a sequence of numbers in reverse order.
What I tell my tutoring students is that Yeti Mountain works on skills that will make them better readers. And can I say, these tasks are challenging! No joke.
The bulk of my focus is in the literacy areas, but I do have a couple of students who have really benefited from the multiplication facts practice part of the Nessy Parent Pack.
As a teacher, and a homeschool parent, I love seeing programs that teach things from different perspectives. Multiplication facts are practiced, for example, in a variety of ways.
- Use a 100’s chart to see the pattern of a times table
- Complete problems with a missing number
- Use graphs to visualize an array of a problem
- Choose the answer to problems given in succession.
I also really appreciate that I have access to printable worksheets to reinforce specific areas.
Reading, Writing and Spelling
So this is the meat and potatoes of this program for my students. And it is fantastic. Just fantastic!
Each one of the targets set during the assessment has a lesson that students work through. The lesson typically begins with a short (like 1-2 minute) video presentation. Can I tell you…these are genius! I find myself saying frequently, “Well THAT’s a great way to explain that concept!”
Students then play a series of games to master the skill at hand. Most lessons consist of a variety of methods to cement learning. For example, students will do activities in which they:
- Read words
- Spell/type words
- Use words in sentences
- Break words into syllables
- Identify a word from the definition.
Do you see how great that is?! In the course of one lesson, they are:
… and even learning vocabulary!
And as I work with the students in tutoring, I often have them read the words and sentences to me aloud as well. It’s completely comprehensive!
As you might have guessed, each of these activities also has a game component. My kids love them (especially when they’ve had to re-do lessons to achieve the passing score). The game aspect of each lesson is enough to reward their work without being so long that I feel like we’re wasting time.
And to answer the question I know you’re thinking: Yes! Your kids could do this independently. I work with my tutoring clients to add some extra instruction and practice. But I would 100% have had my boys using Nessy Learning for extra practice when we began homeschooling had I known about it.
Nessy Learning for You
If you purchase the Nessy Parent Pack before October 16th, Nessy will give you 15% off! Use coupon code: PPBLOG15
Note: Anyone purchasing the monthly subscription with a discount code will receive a discount only on the first month. All subsequent months will be at the regular monthly rate. Thus the best deal is to use the discount code with the year long license.
Nessy Learning is also offering my readers a free copy of their book, Dyslexia Explained. You can download it and begin reading right away.
And be sure to follow Nessy Learning on Facebook
Are you looking for new ideas to work with your struggling reader?