Almost seven months ago I realized that one of the girls that goes to church with me every week, who is in the equivalent of 4th grade, is completely unable to read. I had asked her to read something and she started crying and said she couldn't so I thought I could encourage her and build her confidence a bit. I invited her over and gave her a spelling test to evaluate her reading level. This is the test. The word on the left is her guess and the word on the right is her "correcting" her test with my help. Turns out she didn't even know letter sounds. She knew letters, sort of, but her whole school experience was simply copying what the teacher had put on the board. I have no idea why they kept promoting her but they did and now she is 13 years old and 100% illiterate. So I agreed to tutor her and we started at the beginning. She mastered letter sounds fairly quickly and we moved on to simple word families. (Cat, hat, sat, hot, pot, not etc...) and she also mastered those. But she remains unable to sound new words out.
She has roughly 100 words that she can read because she has learned them, made a flash card and memorized them. When I add a new word or we try a simple book she can't read it for herself initially. I have to tell it to her and she has to go through her system to memorize the words. No matter how many times we practice sounding things out she can't do it. Often she mixes the syllables. Or by the time she gets to the fourth or fifth letter she has forgotten what the first sounds are. Or she manages to say all the letter sounds but just can't put them together for words. Any suggestions?!