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First grade and reading fluency?


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#1 MommaBear2011

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:35 PM

We’re six weeks into first grade. We’ve been using OPGTR since K we started from the very beginning. Currently we’re on lesson 60 as we did get behind last year when I had his little brother and I’ve also been using McGuffey readers this school year to add variety. My son gets overwhelmed as soon as he sees the long paragraphs awaiting him at the end of the lesson (this is why I’ve slowed down on using OPGTR) He seems to immediately shut down. It’s very sad for me. He stills sounds out about 80% of what he reads. He guesses a lot when he reads because he loses focus easily on this subject. I have a few questions.

Should he be reading with more fluency at this point?
Would it be harmful to his reading development that I not make him read the paragraphs at the end of every lesson?
What am I doing wrong?


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#2 wendyroo

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:59 PM

 

 

Should he be reading with more fluency at this point? 

 

I'm 36 years old; should I be able to run faster than I can?  It is kind of a meaningless question.  I can run the speed I can, and if I practice I will get faster.  No point dwelling on if I "should" be more capable than I am.

 

 

 

Would it be harmful to his reading development that I not make him read the paragraphs at the end of every lesson? 

 

Maybe.  It also might enhance his reading development if he enjoys the lessons more.  In actuality, it will probably change his reading development in some complex, immeasurable way that is neither entirely positive nor entirely negative.  But, since you don't have a control subject, you will thankfully never know exactly what impact your educational choices had.  So don't worry so much about what you "should" be doing and just go with your gut.

 

 

 

What am I doing wrong? 

 

Nothing...well, you may be stressing a bit more than is helpful, but that is pretty much unavoidable when you are just starting out.


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#3 catie_mac

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:02 PM

In my opinion, slow it down to his comfort zone. Break it into smaller chunks. I think its better to have shorter lessons and move at a slower pace with a kid who feels good after reading vs. accelerating through and forcing those longer passages, but have a kid who does not get any pleasure or sense of accomplishment from it. For a first grader.

If it helps at all, my kids tend to read a little on the later side because we take it more slowly than some people. But they jump up to novels very quickly from readers. My third and fourth graders can read anything and enjoy reading. My first grader, is just starting to read. I only have him read about 2 pages of his first grade reader per day because that is what feels good. Sometimes we hit a third page, but any longer than that and he just feels tired out and loses focus (I should say each page is a few sentences). I'm sure some other first graders are capable of doing more, but I really believe it'll even out in a few years and won't matter who read early.
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#4 catie_mac

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:07 PM

Oh and I wanted to say my first grader sounds out the majority still too! It's a process, trust in it. It takes time to get to the point of fluency. For a first grader, your son sounds in a good place to me 😃
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#5 catie_mac

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:09 PM

Another way to add variety is to write some stories for him on a board or big paper, one word at a time. That way they don't get overwhelmed by seeing a big paragraph. And you can make it about something he likes, like bugs.
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#6 EKS

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:29 PM

When my son was feeling overwhelmed by too many words on a page, I typed it into Powerpoint, one sentence (in BIG letters) per slide.  He loved it and the reading was no problem.

 

As for the sounding out, it is possible that his fluency level is well below whatever you're doing with him in the reading lesson.  Can he read anything fluently?  Like if you go back to something he did several months ago, how does he do?  If he doesn't read *anything fluently* at this point (which I am assuming is just a bit over a year of reading instruction), I'd get his eyes checked by a developmental optometrist and I'd read a bit about dyslexia, just to see if it resonates.

 

It could also be that he's young and he needs more practice.  

 

 


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#7 ReadingMama1214

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:00 PM

We finished OPGTR in March. What I did was write the lesson out on a whiteboard or in a notebook. It helped to cut down on the amount of words on the page and my dd did a lot better with it.

I’d say that at lesson 60 she was where your son is at fluency wise. We did bob books and similar readers to build fluency.
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#8 PeterPan

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:07 PM

We’re six weeks into first grade. We’ve been using OPGTR since K we started from the very beginning. Currently we’re on lesson 60 as we did get behind last year when I had his little brother and I’ve also been using McGuffey readers this school year to add variety. My son gets overwhelmed as soon as he sees the long paragraphs awaiting him at the end of the lesson (this is why I’ve slowed down on using OPGTR) He seems to immediately shut down. It’s very sad for me. He stills sounds out about 80% of what he reads. He guesses a lot when he reads because he loses focus easily on this subject. I have a few questions.

Should he be reading with more fluency at this point?
Would it be harmful to his reading development that I not make him read the paragraphs at the end of every lesson?
What am I doing wrong?


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Look at all the red flags you have there. The IDA is actually wanting kids diagnosed between K5 and 1st. Ie. now is the correct time to be asking these questions about whether this is a normal amount of difficulty, and NOW is the appropriate time to get it figured out. To me personally, having taught a whole whopping two kids at home but having worked in K5 and 1st for three years as a teacher's aide, I think those are a lot of flags. 

 

Around here, I can get an OG (Orton-Gillingham) certified reading tutor to run a CTOPP for only $75. The CTOPP will look at phonological processing, RAN/RAS (rapid naming, the thing that causes the fluency issues), and maybe working memory, I forget. You could also pursue a full psych eval. But if you were near me, I'd be saying hey how about that $75 option, kwim? It would be a good cover your butt, a good check. 

 

Is he showing ADHD symptoms overall? Had you had his vision checked? Guessing words is typically dyslexia, not tracking and attention. So you're saying he's losing his place but the symptom is more a dyslexia symptom. And it's true, ADHD kids will sometimes be crunchy with learning to read. Or they'll be comorbid with both the ADHD and the dyslexia. 

 

Me, I'd be doing a little investigating. I'd be doing some reading. I had my ds diagnosed at newly 6. I'm in the better late than early camp on SLDs. The IDA says now is the time, and there's really no need to keep wondering. If you can get somebody to run the test at a price you can afford, you can sort it out. A full diagnosis takes a psych, but getting that first step would let you know whether it's worth pursuing and going farther.

 

And as far as instruction and fluency, anything you teach should be drilled to fluency. So to me, there shouldn't be this gap like oh we don't drill fluency till lesson 100 or something. If you've taught it, drill it to fluency. If you're drilling for fluency and it's not coming in a normal, sensible amount of time, that's significant.


Edited by OhElizabeth, 17 October 2017 - 09:08 PM.

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#9 MommaBear2011

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:25 AM

Look at all the red flags you have there. The IDA is actually wanting kids diagnosed between K5 and 1st. Ie. now is the correct time to be asking these questions about whether this is a normal amount of difficulty, and NOW is the appropriate time to get it figured out. To me personally, having taught a whole whopping two kids at home but having worked in K5 and 1st for three years as a teacher's aide, I think those are a lot of flags.

Around here, I can get an OG (Orton-Gillingham) certified reading tutor to run a CTOPP for only $75. The CTOPP will look at phonological processing, RAN/RAS (rapid naming, the thing that causes the fluency issues), and maybe working memory, I forget. You could also pursue a full psych eval. But if you were near me, I'd be saying hey how about that $75 option, kwim? It would be a good cover your butt, a good check.

Is he showing ADHD symptoms overall? Had you had his vision checked? Guessing words is typically dyslexia, not tracking and attention. So you're saying he's losing his place but the symptom is more a dyslexia symptom. And it's true, ADHD kids will sometimes be crunchy with learning to read. Or they'll be comorbid with both the ADHD and the dyslexia.

Me, I'd be doing a little investigating. I'd be doing some reading. I had my ds diagnosed at newly 6. I'm in the better late than early camp on SLDs. The IDA says now is the time, and there's really no need to keep wondering. If you can get somebody to run the test at a price you can afford, you can sort it out. A full diagnosis takes a psych, but getting that first step would let you know whether it's worth pursuing and going farther.

And as far as instruction and fluency, anything you teach should be drilled to fluency. So to me, there shouldn't be this gap like oh we don't drill fluency till lesson 100 or something. If you've taught it, drill it to fluency. If you're drilling for fluency and it's not coming in a normal, sensible amount of time, that's significant.


Thanks for the lengthy and informative response. I will keep this in mind if nothing seems to move along in the next few months. He has not had his visit on checked but we probably will as we both are glasses wearers. As far as ADHD symptoms no I don’t suspect that. I honestly believe part is laziness as he would rather be playing than be under “school mode”

We are also doing Explode the Code, we just finished book 1 and started book 2. He does these independently and enjoys them thoroughly. He is still writing some letter backwards (which I hear is normal for some kids especially boys at this age) Handwriting is messy but mostly uniform. We’ve been using HWOT for handwriting which again I love but he seems to do whatever he wants unless I’m supervising him directly he will forgo directions we just went over and start to write letters and numbers from the bottom instead of the top.

You’ve given me a lot to think about. Part of me is freaking out wondering if I’ve missed signs of dyslexia. When he focuses though and scrolls through this word letter by letter he can read it correctly. The guessing is because he is rushing. He has incredible reading comprehension I’ve learned that even more this year as we are going through classics and doing narrations.


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#10 rebbyribs

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:31 AM

Give Progressive Phonics a try.  (It's free online so nothing to lose.)  The silly stories and reading together aspects were fun for my kids.  I combine it with other stuff, so one idea might be to do part of an OPGTR lesson and then finish up with a couple pages of stories from Progressive Phonics.



#11 fralala

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:00 PM

You don't sound like a failure to me. Learning to read does have its plateaus. It sounds to me like you have just the right instinct, which is to slow down and spend some time doing what OhE mentioned above...drilling to fluency. Guessing words is a very different phenomenon if it's just a matter of having forgotten some sounds you didn't devote quite enough time to.

 

Also, I did want to suggest that your choice of words to describe your son's lack of motivation to work on his reading might not be the most accurate...it is the rare healthy, normal first grader whom I would call "lazy." And children with true learning differences are even further from lazy. Preferring to play is normal, wonderful, healthy, and something I always avoid dragging my first grader away from. It's why all our learn-to-read materials are covered with food stains, because often meal/snack time is the only time those kids want to be still (can't even say in their seats, as my 7 year old half-stands at the table). Find a way to make it special and not "school mode" and make it easy for him for awhile if you both are feeling discouraged-- go back and review, review, review before moving forward again. Not being able to move forward despite thorough and repeated review is a red flag, but apart from that, all of things you mentioned sound fairly typical to me.


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#12 MommaBear2011

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:21 PM

You don't sound like a failure to me. Learning to read does have its plateaus. It sounds to me like you have just the right instinct, which is to slow down and spend some time doing what OhE mentioned above...drilling to fluency. Guessing words is a very different phenomenon if it's just a matter of having forgotten some sounds you didn't devote quite enough time to.

Also, I did want to suggest that your choice of words to describe your son's lack of motivation to work on his reading might not be the most accurate...it is the rare healthy, normal first grader whom I would call "lazy." And children with true learning differences are even further from lazy. Preferring to play is normal, wonderful, healthy, and something I always avoid dragging my first grader away from. It's why all our learn-to-read materials are covered with food stains, because often meal/snack time is the only time those kids want to be still (can't even say in their seats, as my 7 year old half-stands at the table). Find a way to make it special and not "school mode" and make it easy for him for awhile if you both are feeling discouraged-- go back and review, review, review before moving forward again. Not being able to move forward despite thorough and repeated review is a red flag, but apart from that, all of things you mentioned sound fairly typical to me.


Thank you! I hear you. In all truthfulness it is lack of motivation. I see what he can do when he is fully motivated and applies himself. I’m just frustrated and feeling like I have failed my child along the way. I guess it happens on this homeschooling journey because I can only blame myself.

He does know all the sounds and blend sounds very well. It’s words he can’t fluently put words together even after having read them through the lesson. I don’t want to rush through anything and quite frankly I don’t ever want him to fall behind because I’m not teaching him right which is I guess at the end of the day what I’m afraid of.


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#13 ScoutTN

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:21 PM

You don't sound like a failure to me. Learning to read does have its plateaus. It sounds to me like you have just the right instinct, which is to slow down and spend some time doing what OhE mentioned above...drilling to fluency. Guessing words is a very different phenomenon if it's just a matter of having forgotten some sounds you didn't devote quite enough time to.

 

Also, I did want to suggest that your choice of words to describe your son's lack of motivation to work on his reading might not be the most accurate...it is the rare healthy, normal first grader whom I would call "lazy." And children with true learning differences are even further from lazy. Preferring to play is normal, wonderful, healthy, and something I always avoid dragging my first grader away from. It's why all our learn-to-read materials are covered with food stains, because often meal/snack time is the only time those kids want to be still (can't even say in their seats, as my 7 year old half-stands at the table). Find a way to make it special and not "school mode" and make it easy for him for awhile if you both are feeling discouraged-- go back and review, review, review before moving forward again. Not being able to move forward despite thorough and repeated review is a red flag, but apart from that, all of things you mentioned sound fairly typical to me.

 

:iagree:

 

Just keep swimming. Some things take a while to sink in and become easy. Not every child will read fluently in first grade. 



#14 Finlandia

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:51 PM

My DD would moan and groan and sigh when she saw the big paragraphs in OPGTR. I would usually cover those long sections with a sheet of paper so she couldn't see it while we were working on the lesson. Sometimes we did the lesson part one day and the paragraphs the next day. Sometimes I'd have her read part of the paragraph only. One thing that helped tremendously was having her read from actual books instead of OPGTR. The task was much less daunting when the quantity of words and sentences was spread out over several pages of a book instead of all in one dense paragraph on one page. Plus the paragraphs in OPGTR were never very interesting. It is perfectly okay for you to change things to best fit your student. The curriculum is a tool, not a master. You get to decide how to implement it.

It doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong. Learning to read is hard work. Hang in there!
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#15 MerryAtHope

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 03:22 PM

My DD would moan and groan and sigh when she saw the big paragraphs in OPGTR. I would usually cover those long sections with a sheet of paper so she couldn't see it while we were working on the lesson. Sometimes we did the lesson part one day and the paragraphs the next day. Sometimes I'd have her read part of the paragraph only. One thing that helped tremendously was having her read from actual books instead of OPGTR. The task was much less daunting when the quantity of words and sentences was spread out over several pages of a book instead of all in one dense paragraph on one page. Plus the paragraphs in OPGTR were never very interesting. It is perfectly okay for you to change things to best fit your student. The curriculum is a tool, not a master. You get to decide how to implement it.

It doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong. Learning to read is hard work. Hang in there!

 

I tend to agree--I don't think it's especially concerning or unusual for a beginning of the year first grader to be overwhelmed and shut down at the thought of having to read long paragraphs of text.

 

 

Should he be reading with more fluency at this point?

 

Maybe--but some kids need more practice than others, and it may be a matter of how much practice is built into your daily lesson times along with how consistent lessons have been. Having a gap due to a new baby is perfectly understandable--congratulations! Sometimes it does lead to a temporary set-back and needing to do some re-teaching. Just do your best to be consistent at this point. This article has some ideas on developing fluency.

 

 

Would it be harmful to his reading development that I not make him read the paragraphs at the end of every lesson?
 

 

 

I'd try rewriting the text one or two lines at a time on a white board and see how your child responds. Or use the text to make up a little book with one or two lines on each page. Let your child draw a picture for each page. My kids used to love making up little books like this. Spreading the text out can make it a lot less overwhelming--some kids just are not ready to see all of those words at once. It doesn't mean he can't read them though.

 

You can also break them up and try buddy-reading--have him read a sentence and then you read a sentence, and so on, to work through the paragraph. Sometimes just helping a child see that it's doable is what's needed.

 

Hang in there!

 


Edited by MerryAtHope, 18 October 2017 - 05:06 PM.

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#16 ElizabethB

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 04:21 PM

Many young students need a lot of repetition and need larger font and get overwhelmed with a lot of words on the page.  I would stop all sentences and stories and work on building up fluency with word lists so it is easier to sound out words than to guess.  Also, move to a whiteboard or something with larger font.

 

They longer you guess, the harder it is to remediate the guessing.

 

You can play my nonsense word game to help stop guessing and add in some fun to building fluency.

 

http://www.thephonic...trationgam.html

 

Also, if you are teaching any sight words as wholes, here is how and why to teach them with phonics instead:

 

http://www.thephonic...sightwords.html

 

Here are some word lists to use:

 

http://www.donpotter..._reader_cap.pdf

 

http://www.thephonic...rdsbyLesson.pdf

 

Or on cards, watch my how to make phonics fun video for ideas to use them:

 

http://www.donpotter...coding_card.pdf

 

 

And, a bit early yet, but things to screen for if there are still problems and not much forward momentum after a few months of doing words in isolation, how to screen for phonemic awareness or vision problems and dyslexia:

 

http://www.thephonic...g/dyslexia.html

 

You can also have him watch some of my videos and some of the videos at Sweet Sounds of Reading to get in a bit more phonics learning when you don't have time to work with him.

 

 

https://www.youtube....G9zIdtOtUHAtoUw

 


Edited by ElizabethB, 18 October 2017 - 04:24 PM.

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#17 monalua

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:11 PM

He sounds exactly like my son when he was in 1st grade last year. We just kept at it. I definitely broke things into smaller chunks. Over the summer we started All About Reading Level 2. We just finished it this week and he's now almost 7.5 years old and in the 2nd grade. He has made amazing progress and things are clicking. He just read his first chapter in a chapter book today (Magic Treehouse)! We were both so excited! He was not at this point even 2 weeks ago! He had friends that were reading chapter books in kindy. It was a bit disheartening, but I went with my gut, I didn't feel anything was wrong at the time, I just felt he needed more time. I wish you the best of luck!
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#18 rainbowmama

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:29 PM

How old is the kid? I feel very differently if the kid is a young six versus a kid who is already seven. If the kid is already seven, I would have vision checked and if his vision tests fine, I would probably talk to my pediatrician



#19 PentecostalMom

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:43 PM

I have taught four kids to read and am working on five. They have all learned to read at different paces and with different materials. I have a 7yo that is just reading the Level 2 Books, such as Mouse Tales and Owl at Home. My SIL has a daughter that is precisely two months older than mine and she is “behind” my dd in reading. My DIL is a second grade teacher with a Master’s and specialized certifications in many things, including reading and disabilities. She has a classroom full of kids who are all over the place. Some still working on beginning and ending blends, others reading on a 4th grade level. She said it’s always like this, she has taught other grades also and runs a reading enrichment program.

I tell you all of this to say that your baby sounds perfectly normal to me. It may feel like you are failing, but you are not. Just keep clicking along. I had one child that CRIED when I pulled out OPGTR, we switched to something else. I am using it again with the 7yo, and when she started becoming overwhelmed by it, I put it away for a bit and just had her read. She read to me, she read to siblings, she read to dad. Anything that she could read, mostly BOB Books at that time. We picked it back up and now are moving right along without qualms. We do have the PDF version on my iPad, and I can zoom in on sentences and words, which makes it less intimidating.


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#20 ElizabethB

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 02:26 AM

I have taught four kids to read and am working on five. They have all learned to read at different paces and with different materials. 

 

I have remediated hundreds, so have a lot of practice with phonics!  My daughter learned much faster than my son, he needed a lot of repetition.  I was actually a bit of a better teacher by the time I got to him but he took longer.  She needs more repetition with math than him.  A few girls and a lot of boys need a lot of repetition before reading clicks.  I suspect math is the opposite but I only have worked with a handful of student with math. 


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#21 boscopup

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 07:57 AM

OPGTR is ridiculously boring. My slow to read child just couldn't do it. He needed something that sparked his interest. He didn't read well until age 9,and he had to do A LOT of repetition because he'd forget what a word said even after sounding it out in the same line. He's been tested and does not have dyslexia. He does have issues with working memory and processing speed (and autism and dysgraphia), so that probably contributed. At any rate, I had to get his interest going. For him, R&S Phonics and Reading did the trick, amazingly. He was familiar with the Bible stories and liked that he could read these on his own. That got him wanting to read more and more. Soon, he was reading the easy readers in the library. And then his reading took off because it became more fun for him.

So you might try finding reading materials that he is capable of doing now and that interest him. If you have to make things up, that's fine too!

My neighbor has a girl who didn't read well until age 8. She just wasn't interested in reading. She was interested in playing outside in the dirt. :) It did come along. She has no LDs or anything. Neurotypical kid. School just isn't her interest. Learning outside in the world is.

By all means, do get the vision checked, since both parents wear glasses. Some kids need glasses that early. And I agree with a PP that if this is a young 6 year old, I'd probably give it a bit of time. If it's a 7 year old, I'd be a little more concerned. But it may just be that you need different materials to keep him interested. I still have OPGTR in my "to sell" pile because all my kids found it boring. :p I think my struggling reader actually found Webster's Speller more interesting. 😂
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#22 MommaBear2011

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 01:33 PM

Thank you EVERYONE! I feel like I have wonderful tools and advice to look through on this post that have offered a lot of help to me. We’re still trucking along.


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