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Reading struggles, update in posts 21&23


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When do you start worrying that your child is struggling with reading? My oldest didn't really become a fluent reader till 7 and though it was on the later side, I never worried about it. But I am wondering if I should worry about my daughter. She is making progress it's just so slow and she is way behind where my son was at this age. Reading a list of dyslexia symptoms, she has a few, but not a lot. Even if she's not dyslexic, I'm wondering if maybe she is truly struggling and could maybe use a reading program that is a bit *more*, iykwim? I used Ruth Beechick's book as a guide with my oldest, along with some charlotte mason style lessons. But maybe my daughter needs something like AAR or LOE, etc.

 

Background: she was not interested in letters as a toddler. She could sing the alphabet song, but could not recognize any letters beyond an L (for her name). At 4.5 she wanted to write her name and so I taught her the letters for that, shortly afterwards I was able to teach her all the letters (but she still struggles with some of them now at 6.5 g/y, m/w). At 5 we did AAR pre-1, she enjoyed it and was able to do the activities fine. This was the first time she took any interest in the sounds of letters. It took us 7? months to go through it. Then I got level 1 and the jump in difficulty was too much. We only did a few lessons, the page of review words overwhelmed her. At this point, a year later, I think she could now handle it. School year ended, we didn't do anything over the summer (I was pregnant). She turned 6 at the beginning of this school year. She was given a K assessment, couldn't read a single word. I began charlotte mason style reading lessons with her using treadwell primer, she enjoyed this. She liked reading a real book. We made it through the little red hen and gingerbread boy. I also would sit down with her and the pathways preprimer, she would read it with me sounding out words for her or just telling her the word. She actually read all the way through this, up has forgotten everything. Words she had read many times, she wouldn't recognize when they came up again. She says she can't read it. Other than the first story, when she first read that one she was so excited she read it to everyone in the family, some over skype, even the dog. That story she can still read. In November I had a baby, so that threw things for a bit. But at this point I realized she still struggled to recall basic letter sounds. So I put a hold on the CM reading lessons and began going through the pathways workbook learning through sounds. She likes this most days, and has been giving her some good letter sound practice. I thought I would wait to begin our CM lessons till she could easily read CVC and CVCe words. I got a copy of OPG at the library to work on this. We are almost through the short vowel sounds section. At the end of the school year the K assessment was repeated. She is now 6y9m. This time she was able to read every word, albeit slowly (and not with confidence). There were aprox 10 CVC words, 10 CVCe words and 10 'sight' words (he, the, etc).

 

I'm starting to wonder if she needs something more explicit than the simple method I prefer. I hated the crafty bits and fussiness of AAR, but I'm tempted to go back to it if it would help her. And if she would enjoy it more. She does not like OPG. I have been reading WRTR, but she struggles with writing so I don't think that would be a good fit. I feel like she could do much better if only she felt confident. Right now she doesn't think she can read or write. I've been trying to boost her confidence in her ability to read and write CVC words, because she really can.

 

If you made it this far... :D am I worrying too much? Is she a slower reader but doing fine? Or do I have reason to worry?

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It sounds like she is making progress :) and I certainly don't think you need to worry a lot.

 

I have a daughter the same age, who has also "struggled" a bit. I try not to worry about her reading. But she really wants to be able to read, so we started LOE. She has really enjoyed using LOE Foundations, we started it in the end of March. It is not fussy or crafty, I don't do crafty ;). I started with A because I really felt she needed the phonemic awareness activities, we moved through A quickly and now are doing B. (I am hoping to finish it in time for her to start C at the beginning of next school year, and hope to finish through D by the end of this calendar year.) She is now reading short early easy readers, with just a little bit of help. They enjoy Logic of English because of the games and activities (they are simple non-crafty things). My daughter is also very logical/literal so the way Logic of English sets it up really works for her.

 

Oh and LOE has also been a hit with my younger daughter who is a natural reader. It has been a great way to do phonics with a young kid who can already read a lot intuitively.

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:grouphug:

 

Here are some fun ideas:

 

My phonics concentration game:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/concentrationgam.html

 

and Read, Write, Type.  My children both enjoyed it.

 

http://www.talkingfingers.com

For a change of pace program, I like School Phonics. It starts with long vowels, which are easier to blend than short vowels. You can just get the two workbooks:

http://www.didax.com/shop/searchresults.cfm/Keyword/School%20phonics.cfm

And I like these charts for children who take a while to learn sounds, easier for everyone to point to the chart instead of repeating the sounds of the letters:

https://www.phonovisual.com/products.php?c=1

Here is how and why to teach the sight words phonetically and how and why teaching them as wholes can hinder reading progress:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/sightwords.html

 

My son took a lot more repetition than my daughter, but he was progressing slowly but surely.  He is now above grade level, but at the beginning of this year he was still behind.  He does better with a few short sessions daily than one long session.  Also, adding the charts made his progress a lot faster and more enjoyable for both of us.  At first with the charts I guided him through it, eventually he just looked up the sounds he didn't know well yet on the chart.

 

He also enjoyed Webster's Speller, being able to read "4th grade level" and "5th grade level" and "6th grade level" words after struggling with phonics for so long was a real confidence booster.  Webster's Speller excerpts are linked at the end of my how to tutor page:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/howtotutor.html

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Well I'm all for teaching with modalities that fit the learning style/strength of the child, getting their eyes checked, that kind of thing, but it sounds like you've got a dc who's K5 by age (fall b-day), and performing typically for a K5er.  It looks like she's also doing math on a typical K5 level, since your sig puts her as finishing RS A.  She sounds like a reasonable K5er to me.  

 

My ds, for contrast, couldn't do AAR pre-.  We liked it a lot, but we had to stop and to back and do serious intervention for phonemic awareness. He will probably get diagnosed as dyslexic when we get him eval'd.  The fact that she got through AAR pre so well is a good clue that she's fine, that the phonemic awareness (a huge component of dyslexia) is there and that she just needed her time to bake.  If you call this year she completed K5, she's just fine.  Don't be afraid!  It's something to watch, but she sounds fine.  Kids do have timetables.   :)

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With my oldest I didn't teach phonics past CVC, CVCe, ch, sh, ing, and maybe a few others. It just clicked and he could read everything at that point, so I stopped phonics. With my daughter I think I'm going to have to continue teaching phonics longer. So going with AAR would help me do that, there's lots of phonics rules I don't know. Or I could use WRTR to look up/mark the words in the CM lessons, so that I cover the phonics rules as we come to words that use them.

It will be easier for you to continue with AAR, since it's fully scripted.  Also, AAR will use more modalities, have review built in, etc.  WRTR leaves a lot up to the teacher.  If AAR is working, stick with it.  It's ok for kids to be different and need different amounts of instruction.  :)

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The fact that she got through AAR pre so well is a good clue that she's fine, that the phonemic awareness (a huge component of dyslexia) is there and that she just needed her time to bake. If you call this year she completed K5, she's just fine. Don't be afraid! It's something to watch, but she sounds fine. Kids do have timetables. :)

Thanks for this. :D

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But she isn't 5, she's 6. I have done K for two years. Last school year she turned 5 a week after school started. We did AAR pre-1 that year. This school year she turned 6 a week after school started. We've practiced letter sounds and recognition and worked on blending CVC words, which she can do now yay! Now she's 6y 9m.

 

I'm rereading your responses here a bit, since you seem very concerned.  I haven't read all your other posts on the board, but what do you mean by "she can't write"?  That is a very specific thing to say, and that's actually more concerning to me than the reading.  See if you just look at the reading at face value, she's not that far off. She also completed a grade-appropriate math curriculum. She has a fall b-day, which ALWAYS gives people angst.  You wouldn't BELIEVE how often this comes up.  You're not the first, and every few months another person posts with some woe about it.  Going with the lower grade is the best way to get realistic expectations by physically and mentally.  

 

However if she is not meeting K5 norms with the grade adjustment OR she does not continue to meet them and her progress slows as she goes forward into 1st, that's a problem.

 

I sympathize with your concern, because I'm basically in the same place with my ds.  In his case I already know there are SN because of his verbal apraxia.  

 

I think it's noteworthy that your dd is feeling frustration and saying things aren't going well.  You've had some breaks in instruction, and that can definitely cause a problem at that age with lost ground.  With my dd when that happened it was actually a vision problem, not dyslexia.  (We did evals.)  Because you said she did well with AAR pre and because she has some symptoms that *could* indicate a visual processing or visual memory problem, you might find it helpful to start with a visit to a developmental optometrist.  They can do a regular eye exam (in our area $70) but *screen* for the developmental stuff.  (tracking, convergence, focusing, etc.)  If there's any indication of anything going on, there's a full developmental exam they can do ($250 in our area).  Prices vary and quality definitely, definitely varies.  I've had both my dd and ds checked.  I get my ds checked yearly because of his oddities.  It takes typically 2 weeks or less to get in, costs less than a psych eval, and *could* explain what you're see.  A visual memory problem would result in her not remembering the form of the letters for writing and the written form for reading, explaining both sets of symptoms.

 

You mentioned money concerns, so I'll tell you there are different ways to approach evals.  Typically it takes a while to find who you want to do the evals, get on a wait list, etc.  I think, given your level of concern, it would be reasonable for you to want that.  Obviously you're there seeing it, and I put a LOT of stock in Mother Gut.  When you're willing to push back against a boardie with 15K posts on the board, hehe, you've got something going on, even if you're not saying things that make us see it, kwim?  So you've got to trust your Mama Gut and what you're seeing.  If you pursue evals and decide you don't need them, you merely cancel.

 

Your options then are private or through the ps.  I will tell you through the ps can vary from awesome to worthless or worse.  It will totally depend on your school district, and you can talk with other homeschoolers in your area to learn the ropes like who to call, how helpful they are, etc.  IF there is a dyslexia school in your area, you can call them and see who they refer to.  There may be a particular psych with a good reputation.

 

We did our evals privately, and the cost will vary depending on insurance, etc.  Typically you're going to have a 1-4 month wait to get into a good psych.   Age 7 is really that magic line where you go from getting wishy washy, vague, non-committal diagnoses to getting something serious.  They'll be able to run a full CTOPP, a WISC, etc. and give it to you straight.  If you want to know, that's how you find out.  

 

Just for your trivia, go to the Barton website and download the pretest for Barton.  See how she does on it.   Also, I don't mean to pry, but any issues with attention, need for short lessons or breaks, shying away from developmentally typical activities, etc.?

 

Oh, COVD is where you find a developmental optometrist.  Make sure you look for feedback and reviews on the doc.

 

Adding: A ped is not a *foolproof* source of perspective, but your ped can run an EF screening tool (EF=executive function) to screen for adhd, discuss developmental norms with you for learning, motor control, etc., screen for low muscle tone or other physical issues,  and may have suggestions on where they refer to for evals.  Your insurance may require a ped visit first.  You do *not* need a referral to call a psych and make an appt.  It's just a question of having the insurance paperwork in order.

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. See if you just look at the reading at face value, she's not that far off. She also completed a grade-appropriate math curriculum. She has a fall b-day, which ALWAYS gives people angst. You wouldn't BELIEVE how often this comes up. You're not the first, and every few months another person posts with some woe about it. Going with the lower grade is the best way to get realistic expectations by physically and mentally. .

I just figured this out. If her birthday had been December, then she would have been 5 going into this school year and I wouldn't be so worried because she was 5 not 6. What a difference a few months makes. I guess in the back of my head I was thinking, lots of kids are in first grade at 6.

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I just figured this out. If her birthday had been December, then she would have been 5 going into this school year and I wouldn't be so worried because she was 5 not 6. What a difference a few months makes. I guess in the back of my head I was thinking, lots of kids are in first grade at 6.

YES, THIS!!!!!!!!!!!   My ds is in that position right now, and it's hard, very, very hard.  You also have to allow that there *are* differences in, ahem, IQ, bake rate, that kind of thing.  She's a full year younger than some 1st graders would be if you were calling her 1st grade.  I worked in K5, and we had kids turn 6 at the beginning of the year.  Those kids do AWESOME because they're ready.  

 

Since she's unhappy with her progress, get her eyes checked.  My dd said the same thing about feeling dumb, blah blah, and for her it was a difference between what she *wanted* to do intellectually and what she *could* do.  They're very savvy about that.  And in her case part of it was a vision problem, visual memory.  Turned out she had the visual memory of a 2 yo when she was 10/11, and that's why she wasn't remembering the shapes of the letters, etc.  So that would be someplace to start, just to see what turns up.  I don't think you have to do nothing, but you don't need to freak out either.  

 

www.covd.org is where you look for a developmental optometrist.  Regular optometrists don't check everything that the dev. optom will screen for.  

 

How does she do with puzzles or other visual tasks?

 

PS.  Just for your trivia, our dev. optom. also ran screenings for adhd (EF questionnaire), spectrum, OT issues, etc.  That's why I'm suggesting you just start somewhere and do something.  Usually a good practitioner will then suggest if they think you might want to pursue some other things.

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Btw, my ds, who I think will get a dyslexia label, has visual processing problems per the dev. optometrist but does not appear to have any physical vision problems (tracking, convergence, etc.).  They could figure that out just with the screening as part of a regular appt., and then I followed up with some vision therapy exercises at home to check.  That's where I'm saying starting somewhere (the least expensive option that eliminates the easiest/cheapest explanation) can be really helpful.  

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I would try using a curriculum like Rod and Staff or Christian Light. Both start reading/phonics from the beginning in 1st grade. They have readers to go with the phonics instruction. I have had very good success with both Rod and Staff and Christian Light. You can also try ClickNkids.com. It was a big help for my struggling reader.

 

 

Susan in TX

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Listen to Elizabeth. :)

 

We figured out a lot with just an evaluation with a covd optometrist. About $200 invested for each of two children (not at the same time!) and we got a lot of answers regarding eye muscle control and visual processing that affected their learning. Personally, I think this is one of the least expensive ways to determine an appropriate path of remediation.

 

If I had some of this information earlier, I would have saved money on curriculum--more than what the testing cost. 

 

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  • 1 month later...

An update. Her favorite thing to do this week.? Read to me at bedtime from a dick and Jane treasury my mom gave us. She finished the first easy book and is now onto a bit harder one.harder than 'see spot run.'' For the past 2 months we've just been doing some sporadic reading of bob books and I see sam. Now suddenly this. Reading lessons may move quickly when we pick back up again in a few weeks. I guess I worried for nothing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was thinking this over a bit. I may have been worrying back in may because it was the end of the school year and there was no clear cut progress. We hadn't finished anything. Or even steadily plugged away in ONE thing. I felt like maybe I'd wasted the year, jumping from thing to thing, and going nowhere.

 

Now looking back, I see we did so many different things because I looked at my daughter and saw what she needed next and went and found it. We began with reading lessons for the Treadwell Primer. I noticed she was still having to think too hard about what sound each letter makes, and I'm talking single sound letters here, she needed more practice so that this became more automatic. So we spent some time doing pathways learning through sounds. Once letter sounds were more solid, I realized she struggled with sounding out words. This is when I got OPGTR. We also hit the 'word starters' in learning through sounds and this helped too. Now she was at a place where she could sound CVC and CVCe words. Then I thought she needed to build confidence in her ability to figure out words. We began reading BOB books and I see Sam books. This new confidence is probably why she then on her own picked up the dick and Jane treasury and began reading it. Before she just guessed at words. Now when she comes to a word she doesn't immediately know she quietly sounds it out to herself, if she can't figure it out she asks for help, if she can figure it out, she then rereads the whole sentence with inflection.

Edited by vaquitita
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I haven't read all the responses but I wanted to give you some encouragement. I have two older children that both struggled to learn to read. My son just couldn't sit still enough to concentrate. He learned to read at all when he was seven through 100 Easy Lessons. My daughter REALLY wanted to learn to read "on schedule" but just couldn't figure it all out. I would try teaching her every few month and until we would hit a wall. When she was eight I tried Spell to Read and Write and that's what made it all click for her. I think that it was a combination of age and a very systematic, drill based approach to phonics. Within a year her reading was above grade level. The book "Better Late than Early" helped calm me down whenever my mommy anxiety would creep up. I don't wholesale agree with the authors premise but I think that there is a lot to glean from the book and it's worth remembering that children all develop on their own schedules. We have these expectations that our children need to be reading fluently or at a certain math level by age x when this is really an arbitrary expectation placed on us by our society.

 

One encouragement that I would give you is to make sure that you're doing a lot of read-alouds. I really think that once my daughter figured out the code she was able to jump in her reading level so quickly was that she was so comfortable with the way written language feels and the higher level vocabulary in the older books we tend to read.

 

Be encouraged! You still have years to work with her. :)

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