Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AVKO Membership

As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I have been privileged with a year long membership to AVKO. When I first went to their website I couldn't figure out for the life of me what it was all about. There was just so much information that I had a hard time processing it all. AVKO's "mission is to provide free and low-cost resources to school and home educators in order to achieve literacy for all, even despite learning challenges or dyslexia." AVKO, which stands for audio, visual, kinesthetic, oral, was founded by Don McCabe who is the developer of the Sequential Spelling program that you may have heard of as a home educator. The program focuses on teaching a child to spelling using all four means (hearing, seeing, writing, saying) with daily practice and exercises. As we are not using this spelling program I was unsure of what, if anything a membership to this website would offer me. I was happy to see that the site definitely had stuff to offer those who are not using their spelling program.

Here's some of the good stuff waiting for you with a 25 dollar yearly membership:

• Discounts on AVKO printed materials
• Hundreds of dollars worth of FREE e-books (PDF format)
• Access to the Member Only section
• AVKO Newsletter with freebies, discounts, resources, and promotions
• Access to Don McCabe's most popular workshop recordings in MP3 format.
• Supplemental Curriculum Materials including word games, worksheets, activities, and more!

Included in the free e-books is To Teach a Dyslexic, and while my reader/speller does not have this challenge I found this book to be quite inspiring and informative. I'd pay the 25 dollar membership for just this book! The Teaching of Reading & Spelling: A Continuum from Kindergarten through College. was also quite informative for both teachers of dyslexic and not dyslexic students. I would recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book. I appreciate that AVKO's material seems to embrace fun and humour as well as being informative. There are a few instances in the children's material that the humour is a bit inappropriate so I would recommend prereading the sheets that you choose to give your students.

I think that a membership to AVKO would be a very good investment for families struggling to teach a child with dyslexia (or any other child that is having difficulty grasping reading and spelling). It's also great for people that are using their Squential Spelling program already. At 25 dollars for a year membership, I feel that it might be a worth while investment even if you do not necessarily have a struggling reader. The material is interesting and if you take the time to really get to know the website (not always easy at first) you will likely come across some real gems.

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