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I am so frustrated...


Sasha
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My 6 year old is a wonderful little boy. He's bright, fun, and loving.

 

But man, he is so difficult and I'm not sure at this point what to do with him.

 

I cannot teach this child how to read.

 

He has a speech articulation disorder, which I believe has complicated phonics (it's hard to learn to read a word when you struggle to say the sounds, you know?) He's been in speech therapy for several months, however, and has improved a lot.

 

He also has Sensory Processing Disorder (he's in occupational therapy to help with this--basically he is very hypersensitive) and also Benign Rolandic Epilepsy. The epilepsy does not have any effect on his intelligence, although his medication can cause problems with concentration.

 

So that's Holden in a nutshell. Fun but complicated.

 

I began teaching Holden to read about a year ago using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It had worked well with his older brother. It was a struggle--he would get distracted by the pictures and the hodgepodge of print on the page. After giving it a good try we put it aside and tried OPG.

 

We got to the sound blends and stalled. He just cannot get the idea of blending sounds. You'll show him a word (say "bed") and he'll immediately say "buh...man". I'll tell him to sound out the word and he might get "buh...eh...duh". He'll speed up those three distinct sounds but will not, for the life of him, blend them together.

 

Knowing the the early edition of WTM suggested Phonics Pathways we tried that. He got to the pyramids of words and was like, nope. It didn't work at all for him.

 

We tried www.readinga-z.com. He loved the worksheets and using the individual letters to spell the words but, again, he wasn't learning to read. Since he liked the worksheets we tried "Explode the Code" but, after a few weeks of doing great, stalled out when the skill level changed.

 

He's tried Headsprout and Starfall. He's gotten about halfway through headsprout level 1--I know he can read the words on the computer screen but if I showed him the words "can" or "Fran" or "Zee" on paper he'll look at me blankly.

 

Most recently we've tried SWR. He can write the words okay, sounding the words out to get them on paper, but then when I try to get him to read the words we're back to "buh...man" (I'm not sure why 'man' is his default setting for reading but it is). He knows the phonogram sounds for the alphabet and is learning the other phonograms (as introduced in the WISE guide) and is pretty good at getting them right when quizzed, but once it's in a word it just doesn't matter.

 

I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. I feel like such a failure. It's not really so much that he can't read at 6 but that he's doing no better than he was this time last year. The lack of progression is what has me concerned.

 

I called the Sylvan Learning Center to see if they could tutor him and it's outside of our price range ($42 an hour, they like to do 3-4 hours a week at his age).

 

He is doing great in his other subjects. He picks up math concepts with frightening speed. Why can't we get over the reading hump? DD struggled to get the mechanics of reading (not this hard) but when she 'snapped' the process in her mind she took off and reads well above grade level. I keep hoping that he'll have that same 'snap' but what if he doesn't?

 

Does anybody have any advice?

Edited by Sasha
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You have a lot of different issues going on.

 

First, it is NOT unusual even in kids w/o issues to not progress in reading at age 6. Blending requires a brain maturity that is not necessary for sound recognition/recall.

 

I would stop reading instruction for a while. The skill he needs to develop (and is also a brain maturity issue and not an instructional issue) is final sound recognition. When you say words like dig, cap, attic, etc, can he identify the final sound without any help? If not, he simply may not be ready to read. This is an essential reading readiness skill.

 

If he can, you might want to try using a program that teaches the initial blending sounds together and focuses on adding the final sound.

 

For example, I teach reading with SSRW. It teaches ba, be, bi, bo, bu as /bah/, etc. Then adding a final sound......

 

ba g

be g

bi g

etc

 

Most of all, I wouldn't let on to your ds that you are concerned at all. My 13 yos did not read on grade level until near the middle or end of 3rd grade. 1st and 2nd grade were torturous for me, but not for him. He was completely clueless. I simply concentrated on the skills he needed to master at the pace that worked for him.

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I would say that six is early for any boy, much less a boy with extra difficulties. It sounds like you are doing a great time of trying things but maybe he is just not ready. How about concentrating on just reading to him for a few months and then try again with something easy (Bob Books?) to build his confidence? My seven year is just starting to read (we switched to HOP because of his hatred of OPGTR) even though he's known all the sounds for quite a few years. I still don't think the switch has been flipped though as it's not automatic, he still has to sound them out. I think the snap may happen for your son but it could be a few years from now and there's nothing wrong with that, although it is frustrating for you.

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My younger son had difficulty reading at age 6. I use to think that 6 was the magic number. He did not learn to read until 7 years old, but once he learned, he soared with his reading.

 

One thing that I might suggest that worked for me was I stopped teaching reading for 6 months. I became very frustrated with my son. I realize that it was not good for the both of us. So, I just stopped teaching all phonics lessons. The only thing that I did was continue to read books to him. I put no pressure on him reading to me. He did also a lot of scripture memorization. You don't have to memorize scripture. It could be poems, etc. The point is that memorization and reading to a child is a form of teaching a child to read.

 

After that break, I went back to teaching phonics. It worked. Not only did he learn how to read, but he also started checking out books and reading books on his own. I think that the stress and strain of me putting pressure on myself and him did not help me. So, the break seemed to work.

 

Your son has extra stuff, but maybe taking a break from the chore of teaching the phonics might help.

 

Just a thought.

 

Blessings,

Karen

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/testimony

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:grouphug:

 

I think you are absolutely correct in correlated your son's speech articulation disorder and the reading issue. Have you mention this to your son's speech therapist? She may have some recommendations for you.

 

I had my speech therapy son evaluated by the reading specialist in his ST office when he was six. She gave me some really good advice. Since our ST kids miss out on that phonological awareness since they could not produce the correct sounds at the younger ages learning to read can take a bit longer. I spent time working with him on those types of skills..... a pp already mentioned this. I have him play these types of games with his younger sister and tell him that he his helping me do preschool with her. The Leapfrog videos helped as well. She also told me that if I had sent him to PS that her recommendation would be to hold him back a grade (summer birthday, boy, severe speech motor issues) and compared to kids in K he was doing great.

 

My ST son is also very good at math and very analytical. We are currently working through MFW 1 but he will need further instruction once we are done for reading/spelling. Also like your son he spells better than he can fluently read. My own ds did not make as much progress as I wanted between 5 and 6. He has made lots of progress between 6 and 7.

 

I plan to start SWR with my ds as his ongoing spelling/reading program. I want to use his analytical nature to help him progress in his reading.

 

Hang in there, mama!

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Hi. I think we have BTDT. My daughter has a speech delay, auditory processing problems, sensory issues and the attention span of a mosquito so what you are relating is familiar. DD knew her letter sounds confidently at age 3 to 4 and could sound out cuh-ah-tuh but could not blend. This went on for a loooooong time. She was in ps and they were pushing reading skills and she was becoming very aware that she wasn't achieving. I knew she was wanting to read, so taught her sight words using the system of www.picturemereading.com.

 

This was very successful, and she quickly learned to read on this basis just before her 5th birthday. That achievement meant that the pressure was taken off her at ps, but again no progress was made (other than me extending her sight word vocabulary) for another year until we brought her home.

 

To assess where she was at that time, I used Reading Reflex, which took things back to basics for blending. At the same time I used Sonlight LA1 with Readers 1 (using the optional ETC 1-3) which was a very good fit and she finally started to blend at the age of 6 - but remember this was more than two years after she had the letter sounds. She is now finishing up ETC 6 and the Sonlight 2 regular readers at age 7.5, so is right where she should be. There has not been a lightbulb moment as so often described, but we have plodded our way through slowly and step by step

 

It is more difficult when there are speech issues. As you said it is difficult to grasp phonics when you can't make the sounds youself or discriminate between them very well. I agree with the previous comments about taking the pressure off (both yourself and your son) and suggest you have a break for a couple months. Maturity will take care of a lot of this problem naturally.

 

Hope this helps encourage you that it is not a disaster when there is no progression for an extended period!

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For my very normal middle ds everything clicked into place and he began reading shortly after his 7th b'day. At 6yo he could go through the alphabet and make the letter sounds but could not tell you the names for the all the letters. LOL

 

My oldest dyslexic ds went from not reading at all at 7yo to reading LOTR by 10yo.

 

I don't know that I would stop phonics/ reading time altogether. Instead of filling reading time with phonic programs that are frustrating, spend that time co-reading.

 

For example, read Green Eggs and Ham. (Don't try to finish the book in one sitting.) The first time you see eggs and ham sound it out very slowly. The second time you see eggs and ham have him sound it out. Then continue reading, but have him read the phrase eggs and ham every time it appears. Use a long, smooth underline- while you read run your middle finger and pointer finger together from left to right under the words. Read slowly and deliberately asking him to follow along with the words.

 

Tell him that t-h-e always spells the and the words I and a sound just like the name of the letter. Have him read those three words. This will help keep him focused on following the words on the page instead of just listening to your voice. Then, in a month or so go back to a phonics program and see if he is better able to blend. If not, go back to reading with him for another month.

 

Sometimes learning isn't a gradually process: sometimes it arrives as a giant growth spurt!

Mandy

 

(As a side note, if this is a decoding issue, the next time he sees eggs and ham or maybe even the fifth time he may suddenly act like these are words he has never seen before. If this is the case, just read to him emphasizing left to right with a long, smooth underline. Let him read the words as able, but don't make him attempt to sound out a single word for an extended period of time until frustration sets in. Instead just give him the word and keep going. Usually educational evaluations are not done until 7yo. However, if you feel that this is a LD, look into Orton-Gillingham based LA programs.)

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Thank you so much for the replies. I think I put extra pressure on myself with him because he isn't NT ("Isn't that putting the cart before the horse?" my dh asked, and of course he is right). He's already different and I guess I'm struggling with Mommy Guilt over that fact already. I worry, I think, because my others kids were "normal". We might have had to struggle to learn the 12 times tables or to remember the i before e rule but their brains work "right". I knew that it was just a matter of time before they'd get it.

 

What if he doesn't "get" it?

 

I know that he will, I know that he is making huge strides given his issues, it's just sometimes I get so worried that I'm out of my league. But then I think, the school system here is awful and not an option so I'm not keeping him from some great sensory programs or something by homeschooling him. He has a great speech therapist and a great OT so he is getting help. Still...it is so hard to watch him and know that people are already going to form opinions of him based on his "not listening" or because he's so wriggly and I don't want him to be judged further because he can't read.

 

Not that he cares and I realize these are my issues and not his. Thanks for listening and letting me know that I'm not completely screwing him up. :)

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My 6 year old is a wonderful little boy. He's bright, fun, and loving.

 

But man, he is so difficult and I'm not sure at this point what to do with him.

 

I cannot teach this child how to read.

 

He has a speech articulation disorder, which I believe has complicated phonics (it's hard to learn to read a word when you struggle to say the sounds, you know?) He's been in speech therapy for several months, however, and has improved a lot. ...

Does anybody have any advice?

First, you're not a failure! :) (I have to say that because if you're a failure so am I--and I am not a failure! My 8 yo son and I are through the Barton Reading and Spelling System.)

 

Since your son is already working with a speech therapist, ask the therapist to check his phonemic awareness. That's the ability to hear individual sounds within words, and it's a skill needed to read phonically. Readers without this skill may simply memorize whole words-but it takes a very good memory to memorize a large vocabulary. If your son's phonemic awareness skills are low, there are things that can be done to improve those. His speech therapist might be able to help you with that, but if not there are things you can do to help. (Some speech therapists are trained in the LiPS program which works on this.)

 

Don't take it personally! He's only six, you know there's a problem and you are working to correct it. A number of children struggle with learning to read. If it makes you feel any better as a homeschooler, the rate of dyslexia/reading problems in public schools is estimated at around 15-20%.

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Just a little more perspective.......my ds will be 9.5 in January and he is just now starting to read. He is really just getting it and working slowly through things like Green Eggs and Ham. He was tested for things like dyslexia, eye tracking problems, etc. and nothing came up. I just think this is an area that was hard for him. And being hard, he tried to avoid it. I also didn't push it at age 6 or 7. Only last year I really started to push and this year. I think he needed the push, but I also think he wasn't ready. So, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. He will get it, but perhaps not within the time frame you are comfortable with.

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He's already different and I guess I'm struggling with Mommy Guilt over that fact already. I worry, I think, because my others kids were "normal". We might have had to struggle to learn the 12 times tables or to remember the i before e rule but their brains work "right". I knew that it was just a matter of time before they'd get it.

 

What if he doesn't "get" it?

 

<snip>

 

Not that he cares and I realize these are my issues and not his. Thanks for listening and letting me know that I'm not completely screwing him up. :)

 

(((Hugs))) to you! It is HARD work teaching a child who has any kind of learning differences to read. I want to encourage you that you are NOT failing your son. It takes tons of patience, repetition, and WORK. This feels hard because it IS hard, not because you are failing. Your son's brain works right for him, it's just very different from how your other children think. You don't know how God will use those differences in the future, or what gifts will come out that relate to how your son thinks.

 

It's so obvious that you love your son, that you are researching the best possible options, that you are willing to think outside the box to teach him--who else would do all of this for your son? You are a great mom and teacher. I hope you find what will work for your son, and maybe something to make teaching a bit easier for you too. :grouphug:

 

He'll get it. It might take time. My oldest sounded out every.single.3-sound.word.until.he.was.8! Then suddenly he started to take off. Seriously, I started when he was 5 and thought we were seeing no progress from 5-8, and then it clicked. So...I know it's tough, and the road seems really long sometimes. I don't know when it will click for your son. Keep on keeping on. Merry :-)

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You have a lot of different issues going on.

 

First, it is NOT unusual even in kids w/o issues to not progress in reading at age 6.

 

 

We "didn't have a lot of issues going on" but my son was the same until something clicked at 6 years and 8 months. We'd been working at SWR, and he could spell like a ace, make all his sounds, etc. It was putting it together fluidly that was the problem.

 

I don't know where you got all the fancy diagnoses, and I certainly don't mean to slight you, but perhaps some of them are just "not brilliant" in some subcategory of learning, but still within the range of normal. Everyone here just said had faith, I did, and the endless treadmill of SWR and ETC and PP suddenly turned into reading. Have faith, too. 6 is not too old to be "just too young".

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If you do TV at your house, you may both enjoy the program Between the Lions. They have a wonderful way of demonstrating blending and other phonemic concepts with print on screen. They also have a great website, through the PBSkids.org site: http://pbskids.org/lions/

 

:iagree::iagree: I wholeheartedly agree with Between the Lions. I recommend watching at least 1-2 shows of it daily combined with you reading lots and lots of fun books with you occasionally sounding out words. You can usually find the DVDs at libraries plus it is available online at pbs.org.

 

 

I unsure- was he tested for dyslexia since he is having other medical problems? He may be eligible for reading programs such as Wilson reading which would definitely worth exploring.

 

Lastly, I recommend ElizabethB's website and Don Potter's since they have a wealth of info and free resources on reading. ElizabethB also has phonics and spelling lessons for free.

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/index.html

 

http://www.donpotter.net/education_pages/

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