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Need help for 8 yr old who can't read

Lori in MS

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I have a friend whose 8 year old son is in public school. He can't read at all. She wants to homeschool him. I am trying to help her get started, but don't know exactly how. I gave him the Barton screening. He passed section A, but failed B and C. He could clap 2 syllable words, but not 3 or 4 syllables. He would either not hear all of the syllables (he said video had 1 syllable) or he would forget the number. He clapped alligator correctly, but then said it had 3 syllables. When we put out a tile for each syllable, then he could count them and get the correct number.

In part C he had trouble distinguishing sounds (said m and n were the same, and could not distinguish i and e). He would also get the order wrong or make up a sound that I didn't say.


Please help me to know how to advise this family.

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Has this boy been evaluated by the school? Any speech evals to see where his strength and weaknesses are? The parents should press for an eval and ask for an IEP. Specifically they need to know what research based programs they use for RTI (Response to Intervention) and remediation.


He sounds like he is really struggling with phonemic awareness and auditory memory. LiPs is a great program to help with auditory discrimination skills. Also the exercises in Dr. J Rosner's book Helping Children Overcome Learning Difficulties are great to build up visual and auditory skills.


Earobics is an inexpensive computer program that helps the auditory channel.


Recipe for Reading is an inexpensive DIY O-G manual. Helps with phonemic awareness, spelling and reading.


For fluency I had great success with the I See Sam readers and then followed this all up with REWARDS. My almost 12yr old dtr with a 70 IQ and 1% memory (aud and visual)(severe CAPD, dyspraxia etc) now reads at a 5th grade level. This does not happen overnight. Plan on year round remediation. Her spelling and writing are more at a 3/4 level but we are plugging away.

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  • 2 months later...

I wholeheartedly agree that the child needs a full assessment, but they would probably be better off getting an independent assessment through an evaluator outside the public school system.  Evaluations through the school are notoriously surface in nature, not comprehensive, and may not catch all of the issues.  Also, school evaluations frequently fail to find hidden strengths, which are just as important.  You would also want someone who is trained to assess for more than just dyslexia.   For example, both of my children are dyslexic, but are very different in many of their issues and strengths.  One has an auditory processing issue and dysgraphia as well as dyslexia, and the other is dyslcalculic (cannot process basic math efficiently but can understand more complex maths).  Our oldest has a phenomenal grasp of 3D spatial relations but our youngest does not.  Our youngest functions above grade level with material presented in color and below grade level if it is in black and white, but for our oldest the color doesn't matter at all.  Our school evaluation caught none of this and in fact my older child wasn't diagnosed with dyslexia until 5th grade, despite never have been able to read at grade level.  It wasn't until we went to an independent evaluator that we finally had useful answers and a clearer path to follow to help them out.


We started the one with auditory processing issues using the Lindamood Bell LiPS program (going very slowly) then moved him to Barton Reading and Spelling.  The oldest was able to start with Barton immediately.  Starting this child with ANY program or curriculum without a full evaluation will probably be pointless though, since you may not be addressing the underlying issues or supporting any hidden strengths.


I sympathize and wish them all the best.  We've been there and it is NOT a comfortable place to be.

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