I talked to DD last night about her reading. I asked her if it felt easier to read with her new glasses. She said it was the same. She was reading a chapter in the first Magic Treehouse book. She was struggling with the names of the dinosaurs but was able to read the rest of the chapter without much trouble.
She said that she got "discouraged" when she saw long words. I asked her why she got "discouraged" and she said they looked too hard.
The vision therapist asked DD about what was the hardest thing in school. DD had a hard time answering the question and the therapist suggested math. DD then agreed that math was hard because the pages were "black and white" and she doesn't like math. DD does very well in math although she always says that she does not like math.
Like I wrote above, I feel like something is wrong but I don't know what it is. Maybe it's a psychological issue? I think she's bored in school. It worries me to hear her say that she gets "discouraged" when she sees long words.
I've considered that what she might need is one on one reading tutoring this summer. She works with the reading specialist at school along with other children. The reading specialist says DD is her strongest 1st grade student. That suggests to me that the other students need more help than DD so DD might not be getting that much attention. I've tried to do this at home in the evening but it's always been a challenge. Neither DD nor I are at our best in the evenings after I get home from work.
Magic Tree House books are higher than first grade reading level, and I'd expect them to be challenging to read for many first graders. They don't have the experience yet (or the decoding skills) at that grade level to attack longer words. The print is also smaller, there are few pictures, and the reading level varies from grade 2.5 to 3.5. With regard to those particular books, it may just be that your daughter needs more time and practice with longer words to become confident in reading them--which is perfectly normal.
That's not to say that there isn't something else going on, but her struggles with these books wouldn't concern me for her grade level.
My first graders who had vision processing problems and other reading struggles were still sounding out 3-sound words.
As for those who say that vision therapy is a scam--there are a few reasons for that. One is a misunderstanding of the statement put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which clearly states that vision therapy helps with convergence issues but does not work for dyslexia or learning disabilities. Of course not--it isn't a treatment for dyslexia and learning disabilities, it's a treatment for convergence and focusing issues. I think there are practitioners who say dyslexia and other reading struggles are all really just vision processing issues and therefore VT will "fix learning disabilities," but that's not the official stance of COVD--and that's one reason why it's really important to go to a COVD doctor. (Now, it's possible for learning disabilities to look like a vision processing issue, and vice versa--and that's where it gets tricky.) There are also well-meaning optometrists who know just enough to be dangerous and prescribe a few "pencil push-ups" thinking that will "fix" any issues. But there's a lot more to vision therapy than that.
So, it's definitely an area where you have to do your homework. Vision therapy made a huge difference for my son. It didn't "fix everything"--he still had some other things going on--but it did make a big difference.
We actually chose to go to a place that was farther away, because that place was willing to work with us and let us come only once a month. That cut our costs down to about $1200 overall. It was worth the longer drive (and the longer drive was one of the bargaining chips I used to negotiate coming less frequently--they still got our business but we didn't have to come weekly). We're in the Midwest though, and I'm sure that affects price too. The place that didn't negotiate was in a larger city though, and I think they are usually able to get a higher price--while the other was in a smaller city (and that practitioner also volunteered his services for regular eye exams at area nursing homes twice a month--really a great guy).
I did a lot of reading before we went, and it seemed that many of the children for whom vision therapy didn't work went to clinics where they didn't diagnose and treat for primitive reflexes first. I had in mind that we wouldn't do VT without doing that (and the COVD doc we went to actually brought it up first and said not to even bother doing VT without working on primitive reflexes first). That, too, made a huge difference for my son (trying to do vision related exercises before and during the time he was working on primitive reflexes was nearly impossible, but they became very doable after completing those--he quickly progressed afterwards.)
In our case, it took about 7 months to get through all of the primitive reflex exercises. It probably stretched out some because we only went monthly, but he also had a few that were just really stuck and were really difficult for us to work through. I don't think I would have stuck with them on my own--I just didn't have the experience to know what things would be like when we got past that difficult spot.
Anyway, I wish you the best as you look at what will help your daughter. I confess I have mixed thoughts about young children who don't enjoy reading. I have one who did and one who didn't. Both struggled, though the one who didn't enjoy learning to read had more struggles. The one who enjoyed the process of learning to read found early readers (ones easily within her level) funny in a quirky way, so she didn't mind them at all. The other wanted to read complex chapter books and had zero interest in any kind of early reader until he was at least at Frog and Toad level. However, in both cases, it wasn't until reading chapter books was fairly easy that they really chose to read as a fun, free-time activity. You know your daughter best and I would definitely follow your gut here--just sharing what the process looked like for my kids.