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End of 1st grade, still not fluently reading....


calihil
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My daughter is almost 7.5 and we're almost at the end of 1st grade. I feel like I've been working on learning to read with her for 2 years now, or more. I don't even remember when we started. But she's still very slow, not very fluent, and because she's slow, she doesn't want to read at all by herself. We've gone through OPGTR and I've had her read aloud to me (almost) every day for about 15 minutes from a Pathways reader (she finished the two 1st grade readers and is now on the first 2nd grade reader) for the past year or so. Her comprehension seems ok. Her eyes checked out ok. I read aloud to her (good picture books and chapter books, both on her level and a bit above) every day.

 

What else should I be doing? Is this when I just wait for things to "click"? I was just hoping that by the end of this year she'd be reading fluently and well.... Is this all normal?

 

#nervousfirsttimehomeschoolmom :)

Edited by calihil
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My son was the same age and grade this time last year and I would have said the exact same thing about him. He was a slow reader, and still not fluent. I was starting to worry a bit. You know what got him reading really well? Pokemon cards. The neighborhood kids had them, and he wanted some too. I bought him a few and then he wanted to know what they all said. I was busy and told him to try to read them himself. After a few months, he was reading so well it was crazy. I'm definitely not telling you to go buy Pokemon cards, lol. I guess I'm just saying, if you are working on it, and she's slowly progressing, it will click one day. Maybe enticing her with different books, Mason fell in love with the Mercy Watson series this year, and those books gave him another boost in his reading level. I also started making him sit on the couch with library books for 15 min everyday. I picked out a ton of different picture books, new and old, to entice him. I told him he could just look at the pictures if he wanted to, slowly he started reading on his own, which he previously refused to do.

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My daughter is almost 7.5 and we're almost at the end of 1st grade. I feel like I've been working on learning to read with her for 2 years now, or more. I don't even remember when we started. But she's still very slow, not very fluent, and because she's slow, she doesn't want to read at all by herself. We've gone through OPGTR and I've had her read aloud to me (almost) every day for about 15 minutes from a Pathways reader (she finished the two 1st grade readers and is now on the first 2nd grade reader) for the past year or so. Her comprehension seems ok. Her eyes checked out ok. I read aloud to her (good picture books and chapter books, both on her level and a bit above) every day.

 

What else should I be doing? Is this when I just wait for things to "click"? I was just hoping that by the end of this year she'd be reading fluently and well.... Is this all normal?

 

#nervousfirsttimehomeschoolmom :)

 

She's 7.5, and you're thinking of her as being in first grade? :huh: I would consider that the end of second grade, not the end of first. Which isn't your question, but still...

 

Perhaps she needs more actual instruction and not just practice. You might consider something like Spalding, which, happily, would be your whole English course: reading, spelling, penmanship, capitalization and punctuation, simple writing.

 

FTR, my younger dd was not reading at her age level until she was 9.5. She began taking classes at the community college when she was 14, so it worked out for her. :-)

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I found that I needed a phonics program with my daughter.  So in 1st grade we started ABEKA phonics. She was SO slow.  She was progressing, but it was just so much WORK for her.  Then one day.....almost overnight...it just clicked.  It was the end of first grade and it just clicked. Even my husband came down one night after she read to him and asked what in the world happened!!  :)  She started reading like a crazy girl and hasn't stopped (she is finishing up 2nd grade now).  

 

My son is currently finishing kinder year, but working on 1st grade phonics.  Still slow.  GOOD at it, but very slow.  I know it will click.  I know that with patience and continuing to work through the phonics program intentionally he will eventually get it. 

 

I'm sure your daughter will also.  You may look at a phonics program to give her tools to decode words.   But I have a friend who has never used a formal phonics program other than Explode the Code and her kids all read just fine.  Good luck!!

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She's 7.5, and you're thinking of her as being in first grade? :huh: I would consider that the end of second grade, not the end of first. Which isn't your question, but still...

 

My middle son has a November birthday, so he was 7.5 at the end of first grade. That's normal for a state with a September 1 cutoff date. I assume the OP's child probably has a birthday in the September-November range, just past cutoff.

 

To the OP: Said middle son was in the same boat at 7.5 . I was using a phonics program with him the whole time. He understood the phonics sort of, but he couldn't remember a word after sounding it out. About halfway through second grade, I switched him to R&S Phonics and Reading 1. This gave him confidence and got him reading a more interesting book (he felt big being able to read Bible stories in the reader). At one point, I saw that he was ready for the grade 2 level, so we dropped 1 and moved on to 2. He started 3rd grade doing the grade 2 books. Then during his 3rd grade year, his reading took off, and I dropped the phonics and later dropped the Reading as well. He can read at about a 4th-5th grade level at 9.5 (end of 3rd grade). He's still a slower reader than his brothers (older and younger), but he can read real books. He recently read the junior classic version of H.G. Wells The Time Machine, and he talked about it for days and days! We started a new English program a couple weeks ago, and he's reading Dr. Dolittle for that, and he says that and the Time Machine are his favorite books now. He LOVES reading now that he CAN read. It just took time and much patience on my part to get there. :)

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I agree, she may need very specific, broken down phonics based instruction.  There are many good ones out there, including All About Reading/All About Spelling.  Just practicing without explicit phonics instruction may not actually be helping her with decoding and fluency.   If she continues to struggle, then you might look at dyslexia and consider something even more explicit like Barton Reading and Spelling.

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My middle son has a November birthday, so he was 7.5 at the end of first grade. That's normal for a state with a September 1 cutoff date. I assume the OP's child probably has a birthday in the September-November range, just past cutoff.

 

Same here, with my middle dd - I call her the grade she'd be in school, and so she just turned 7.5 and is at the end of first grade.  (And it is weird, because my oldest had a birthday a little *before* the cutoff, and she was 7.5 for the latter half of *second* grade.)

 

And dd7.5 also isn't reading fluently yet.  In her case, it's because we spent a full year on learning to blend CVC words, and then a half year on learning to blend blends ;).  (She failed the Barton pre-screening - didn't have the phonemic awareness to learn to read phonetically - and so we had to explicitly build up the pre-reading skills that most kids develop naturally or with a few weeks worth of effort.  She now has the PA skills of an early 2nd grader - we're making progress :thumbup:.)  

 

I was worried about her being behind, so I looked up some "reading benchmarks for first grade", in Straight Talk About Reading, and at the end of 1st, kids are supposed to have a reading vocabulary of 300-500 words.  And the thing is, dd7.5 *does* have a reading vocabulary of over 500 words - she's (over)learned ~280 CVC words and ~450 CCVC/CVCC/CCVCC words, and can sound out any other word following those patterns :thumbup: (and let me tell, you, we worked *hard* for that).  But she only started multi-letter phonograms at the beginning of April and we haven't done *any* sight words (minus 'a' and 'the', which I taught phonetically).  Which means that her 700 word reading vocabulary is missing a *lot* of the most common words - and she hasn't yet learned the phonics needed to decode them - so that while she can fluently read controlled text covering what she's learned, she still can't read early readers (which assume kids learn a lot of irregular common words as sight words early on).  So she looks a lot worse off than she is - but it's because of the scope & sequence of our reading program instead of her difficulties.  But she knows what she knows very well, she's built a good foundation, she's making good progress - and in a year's time, when we've finished our reading book (and she'll have learned how to sound out over 4300 words), she'll be right on track for the end of second grade.

 

ETA: My older dd took off with reading at one point in our book and so we quit phonics.  But later she had trouble, and it was because she hadn't ever really learned those things she hadn't been taught ;) (and so I have her working through her old phonics book as cursive/spelling practice).  So in your shoes, I'd want to evaluate if she was having fluency trouble with things she'd been explicitly taught and had practiced, or if she's stumbling over things that she knows in some words but not in others, and maybe that's because she never really was explicitly taught that concept. 

 

Edited by forty-two
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My middle son has a November birthday, so he was 7.5 at the end of first grade. That's normal for a state with a September 1 cutoff date. I assume the OP's child probably has a birthday in the September-November range, just past cutoff.

 

To the OP: Said middle son was in the same boat at 7.5 . I was using a phonics program with him the whole time. He understood the phonics sort of, but he couldn't remember a word after sounding it out. About halfway through second grade, I switched him to R&S Phonics and Reading 1. This gave him confidence and got him reading a more interesting book (he felt big being able to read Bible stories in the reader). At one point, I saw that he was ready for the grade 2 level, so we dropped 1 and moved on to 2. He started 3rd grade doing the grade 2 books. Then during his 3rd grade year, his reading took off, and I dropped the phonics and later dropped the Reading as well. He can read at about a 4th-5th grade level at 9.5 (end of 3rd grade). He's still a slower reader than his brothers (older and younger), but he can read real books. He recently read the junior classic version of H.G. Wells The Time Machine, and he talked about it for days and days! We started a new English program a couple weeks ago, and he's reading Dr. Dolittle for that, and he says that and the Time Machine are his favorite books now. He LOVES reading now that he CAN read. It just took time and much patience on my part to get there. :)

Same here. My daughter isn't in first yet, but she'll be 7.5 at then end of first grade since she has a December birthday. She's all bothered because 5 year olds go to kindergarten and she'll still be in preschool! Haha

 

OP It sounds like your daughter is doing well since she's reading above grade level. Just that it's slow. Is her blending smooth or choppy? One thing we do to build fluency is have my daughter mostly read from books below her level for when she reads to me. It seems to help make some of the easier words more automatic.

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She's 7.5, and you're thinking of her as being in first grade? :huh: I would consider that the end of second grade, not the end of first. )

How is that not first grade? A child starts k at 5. They turn 6 in during the yr, say Dec. In first, they start at 6 and turn 7 in Dec. By the end of first, they are 7.5.

 

It may be that yrs ago Dec was the cut-off. However, Aug and Sept are by far the norm across most states. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/statereform/tab5_3.asp

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Ellie you know very well that a lot of people do K for 6 year olds, 1 for 7 y/o's etc. And you're forever reminding posters that grade level does not matter in homeschool.

 

OP, my middling won't even start """first grade""" (indeed, grade level label is insignificant) until well after he turns 7. No worries on that front.

 

I am going to agree with several pps that if she is reading from the second grade Pathway reader competently, that she is fine. I say it's a matter of practice, practice, practice. I'd also let her read more interesting books though. I have one farm-loving child and he was d-o-n-e done! with pathway readers after the third one. My other son won't even touch them, he thinks they are soooo boring.

 

Keep at it. Play reading games. Buddy read with her often. Sometimes workbooky things can be useful in these bridge times.

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She's 7.5, and you're thinking of her as being in first grade? :huh: I would consider that the end of second grade, not the end of first. Which isn't your question, but still...

Ummmm...my son is 8.5 and at the end of 2nd grade. He was 7.5 at the end of 1st, and he was in the correct grade (i.e. We didn't hold him back).

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A few things I have done with my kids--team reading (I read a page, they read a page), re-reading (after reading a paragraph on their own, I read it back to them at normal speed, and then have them read it back to me), silent reading (it may be hard to believe, but silent reading does help their reading skills develop :) ).

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Just to jump in on the first grade thing, in NYS the cut-off is December 31, so the very oldest child in the grade - assuming nobody was held back, that means they were born January 1 - will enter first grade at the age of 5, and be 6.5 at the end of the year. I spent the better part of a year a few years back telling a friend that her daughter wasn't really "behind" because, with a late November birthday, "anywhere else she'd be a grade lower anyway". (She ended up not having to repeat the year, but it was, as I understand, a close thing.)

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I was under the impression that OPGTR was a phonics book? We did over 200 lessons and she could sound out those words at the end that are really long... So I *think* her phonics is OK, but she's just very slow and choppy. It seems like in the last 6 months she's gotten a bit better, but I had just hoped it would have clicked by now. Of course we try not to compare but just about every other 1st grader we know is reading chapter books and it's like pulling teeth to get her to read 4 pages from a reader. Oh, and we don't only read from Pathways, we've used all kinds of books, mostly level 2 or 3 readers. I think right now she has no interest in books because she frustrates herself because she's slow. But then.... I just started AAR 1 with my 5.5 year old and she's just flying through it. Very different than her sister. Which is fine, but.... How will I know if there's a problem? I'm hoping that she just needs more practice....

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I was under the impression that OPGTR was a phonics book? We did over 200 lessons and she could sound out those words at the end that are really long... So I *think* her phonics is OK, but she's just very slow and choppy. It seems like in the last 6 months she's gotten a bit better, but I had just hoped it would have clicked by now. Of course we try not to compare but just about every other 1st grader we know is reading chapter books and it's like pulling teeth to get her to read 4 pages from a reader. Oh, and we don't only read from Pathways, we've used all kinds of books, mostly level 2 or 3 readers. I think right now she has no interest in books because she frustrates herself because she's slow. But then.... I just started AAR 1 with my 5.5 year old and she's just flying through it. Very different than her sister. Which is fine, but.... How will I know if there's a problem? I'm hoping that she just needs more practice....

 

Let her read lots and lots of things that do NOT frustrate her. Of course it's like pulling teeth: it sucks for her, right now.

 

One of my kids chooses a level one reader every single day for his reading time. It's like, "The dragon egg uh oh!" It's ridiculous. But he's not driven, like his brother, to READ ALL THE THINGS for pleasure and for learning. He feels hesitant, not at all confident....it's not a rocking good time for him. So he chooses comfort books.

 

Let your daughter choose comfort books exclusively for a while. YOU read other stuff.

 

There was a thread a while ago...I'm pretty sure the end of OPGTR is at a typical 4th grade level? Maybe 3d. Someone will correct me if I am wrong haha ETA: I couldn't find the post, but this internet person agrees with me that it is 4th.

 

It does not matter what other kids are doing. You've got to work with the one in front of you.

 

You don't think it's a vision problem...you don't think it's a learning difficulty (I assume you would have mentioned if she is dyslexic or something). She can sound out possibly~4th grade level words. She can read, with comprehension, books for a grade lever ahead of her.....

 

No hay problema.

Edited by OKBud
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Here, read this thread.

 

Note, especially, Rivka's observation:

 

I lead a book club for kids who are 5-8 years old. We have kids who are just learning to sound out CVC words and kids who can read middle-grades chapter books with ease

 

 

Edited by OKBud
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I found that I needed a phonics program with my daughter.  So in 1st grade we started ABEKA phonics. She was SO slow.  She was progressing, but it was just so much WORK for her.  Then one day.....almost overnight...it just clicked.  It was the end of first grade and it just clicked. Even my husband came down one night after she read to him and asked what in the world happened!!   :)  She started reading like a crazy girl and hasn't stopped (she is finishing up 2nd grade now).  

 

My son is currently finishing kinder year, but working on 1st grade phonics.  Still slow.  GOOD at it, but very slow.  I know it will click.  I know that with patience and continuing to work through the phonics program intentionally he will eventually get it. 

 

I'm sure your daughter will also.  You may look at a phonics program to give her tools to decode words.   But I have a friend who has never used a formal phonics program other than Explode the Code and her kids all read just fine.  Good luck!!

We used Alpha-Phonics, and it was wonderful.

 

Just like yours, one of mine just "clicked" at 7.5 and one day began reading fluently.  It happens. 

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Yes, OPGTR is a phonics program. I think you've covered that base well.

 

First graders reading real chapter books is not the norm. There will be some in every class who are, but there will be several who aren't. I would not at all expect all 1st graders to be doing that. Also, chapter books require stamina that sometimes comes a little later. My first and third sons both started reading independently at 4.5. The older one could easily read words at a 5th-6th grade level in 1st grade, but he couldn't tackle a Magic Tree House book (2nd grade level) until toward the end of 1st grade. It was a stamina issue. A year later? He and I both read LOTR separately on our own as kind of a race during the summer. He beat be unless I hid the books. :D My younger is in first grade now, and at the beginning of the year, he could read MTH books. At Christmas, he decided to try Harry Potter, and he's now read the entire series 1.5 times since then. Both kids were about at the same place reading level wise in first grade, but one had stamina for longer chapter books much later. Meanwhile, my 3rd grader (who is 9.5) started out with MTH books at the beginning of this year, and now he's able to do some junior classics and other 4th-ish grade level novels if they're not too long. He's started reading Harry Potter, but it takes him so long to get through a chapter, that he's decided to read other things for now. That is totally ok! He enjoys reading, and he's easily reading at grade level now. By middle school, he'll have no problem tackling those long HP books. ;) And it doesn't matter that his 2.5 years younger brother can read harder books. By time they're adults, I don't think you'd be able to tell that one ever read better than the other. Middle son has worked harder to learn to read, and it has paid off. Time and experience will help him get to those harder books.

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She's 7.5, and you're thinking of her as being in first grade? :huh: I would consider that the end of second grade, not the end of first. Which isn't your question, but still...

 

This may have hurt OP's feelings and you are the FIRST and most vehement poster here who explains that "in homeschool there are no grades...there are only little persons who are about 7 years old". 

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I agree with giving her lots of practice at reading things that are easier for her. When she is reading aloud to you, choose easier books. At other times, you can read aloud to her while she looks on. Or do popcorn reading, where you read a page, then she reads a page; this prevents fatigue and frustration while allowing her to practice skills that aren't automatic yet.

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When working on building fluency I always recommend selecting books that are below the child's reading level.  It is a great idea to have repeated reading of the same text and then to gradually work for the child to read with inflection.  This is so much easier to accomplish with a text that is not a struggle for the child.  If you work on this for the next several months, you should see a big improvement in your child's fluency.  I also have seem significant strides with fluency between 1st and 2nd grade.  Most kids really mature a lot as readers in 2nd grade.  Hope that helps. 

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I have one in the somewhat similar boat...I posted about him a month or so ago. Those 300-500 words they're supposed to know at the end of 1st grade...he had maybe 15 and the rest he had to sound out every time. I started using Abecedarian with him two weeks ago and have been really impressed with it. Now he has another 20 or so words he can read without sounding out. It doesn't sound like much, but that's more than he'd picked up in nearly two years of reading instruction up until now. I've realized that he is most likely dyslexic so that may not be what's going on with your child. Anyway, there's a list of dyslexia symptoms that was helpful to me at www.dys-add.com. Also if you google for how to build reading fluency you can find more ways to increase fluency...I can't remember the ones that haven't been suggested already off the top of my head but I know there are more.

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My middle son has a November birthday, so he was 7.5 at the end of first grade. That's normal for a state with a September 1 cutoff date. I assume the OP's child probably has a birthday in the September-November range, just past cutoff.

 

To the OP: Said middle son was in the same boat at 7.5 . I was using a phonics program with him the whole time. He understood the phonics sort of, but he couldn't remember a word after sounding it out. About halfway through second grade, I switched him to R&S Phonics and Reading 1. This gave him confidence and got him reading a more interesting book (he felt big being able to read Bible stories in the reader). At one point, I saw that he was ready for the grade 2 level, so we dropped 1 and moved on to 2. He started 3rd grade doing the grade 2 books. Then during his 3rd grade year, his reading took off, and I dropped the phonics and later dropped the Reading as well. He can read at about a 4th-5th grade level at 9.5 (end of 3rd grade). He's still a slower reader than his brothers (older and younger), but he can read real books. He recently read the junior classic version of H.G. Wells The Time Machine, and he talked about it for days and days! We started a new English program a couple weeks ago, and he's reading Dr. Dolittle for that, and he says that and the Time Machine are his favorite books now. He LOVES reading now that he CAN read. It just took time and much patience on my part to get there. :)

My first too. October birthday. She is 9.5 now in 3rd. She could have been "skipped" but it's hard to do in WA and honestly... I have come to be of the mind that just keeping them all but year is the best option we have for schools anyway. Maybe OP could have started 1st right at age 6 but for co-ops and sport and stuff, starting at K the September your kid is 5 makes sense to me as well.

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The early part of reading seems to be very variable in how quickly children go through it.  My eldest almost seemed to skip the first chapter book stage - she went right from early readers to The Wizard of Oz.  My second daughter has just been slower.  But they seem to level out around grade 4 or so.

 

Second daughter is now 8 and still refuses chapter books - this seems to be a mental fixation and not really about the text at all.  I get picture books with a similar level of text, or books that instead of chapters have individual stories, like some of the Burgess books.  But I suspect a big part of it is just the child finding something they really want to read.

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I have read and heard many times that kids usually "even up" to certain level of reading by 3rd grade (if there's not a problem impeding their learning of course). It could be a matter of more practicing, or, just try another program to strengthen her reading? We did "how to teach your child how to read in 100 lessons"- or something like that. I know it hasn't worked for many around here, but it worked wonderfully for us. It's great for the summer time. She'll probably breeze through the first half of the book (a reinforcement never hurts). Or, let her be and just encourage more practice :)

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Some things you might try with your daughter:

  • Fun, Easy Readers: Check your local library for series of ER books, such as Biscuit, Frog and Toad, Poppleton, Little Bear, Franklin, Mr. Putter & Tabby, Paul Galdone books, Golly Sisters, Dr. Seuss, and so on. Bring home large stacks of these! LOL. Take turns reading and laughing. When reading is fun, there is an appeal to doing more of it.
  • Practice for Fluency: When I was tutoring, my go-to book for this was The Parrot Tico Tango, by Anna Witte, but you could use any book with a rollicking, fun poem. What you do: (1) read the book aloud to your daughter, (2) leave it lying around, (3) a day or two later, read it again, (4) leave it lying around, (5) a day or two later, ask her to read it to you, and so on. What this seems to do is to build that rhythm that many early readers lack. If your daughter sounds like a robot when she reads, reading the same book, over and over -- as long as it's a fun book -- can help to build that sense of read aloud rhythm. Other options for this "repeated readings exercise" include Where the Wild Things Are, Millions of Cats, Caps for Sale, and anything by Dr. Seuss. :)
  • Picture Books: Your daughter is still very young, and I would recommend spending the summer in the library, enjoying snuggly read alouds with lots and lots of picture books. Don't concern yourself (at this point) with who is reading, just be sure to read those lovely picture books. :001_wub: :001_wub: :001_wub: There is nothing at all wrong with enjoying picture books for years to come, and your other children are younger than your daughter. So relax into where they are, and that is at the picture book stage. Hey, I'm still in it, LOL.
  • Audiobooks: IMO, these are so important for enjoying the power of stories, for building vocabulary, for building listening skills, and so much more. If you can afford it, invest in some audiobooks by Jim Weiss, Your Story Hour CDs (these are Christian-oriented stories), or other full-length books on CD. Or perhaps your library has or can get these. You can't beat Peter Dennis reading the Winnie the Pooh series, along with the two poetry volumes. Priceless! Also, try...
    • The Water Horse
    • Lassie
    • The Little House series (read by Cherry Jones)
    • The Railway Children
    • Paul Galdone books on audiobook
  • Board Games with Reading: Here's where you sneak it in, LOL. Play a board game with some reading involved and act like you can't remember the rules. ;) Ask your daughter to check for you.
  • Baking with Reading: Again, you need so much help with the recipe. How many eggs? What do we do next? If she thinks, "Mommy needs me to read," that might help.
  • Shopping with Reading: What do we need next? How many pounds of apples? What does that sign say? What kind of apples are these?
  • Notes Around the House: Leave little notes for your daughter to find (and read).
  • Nonsense Words with Elizabeth Brown: Our fellow boardie, Elizabeth Brown, has a wonderful website for phonics that we have found helpful. You might want to spend some time there, reading up on why some children struggle with reading. Very helpful! One thing my daughters really liked after finishing OPG was the nonsense syllables on Elizabeth's site. I can't find them this morning, though, but if you PM Elizabeth, she may be able to direct you to the right spot. It was something like moptaz numpat lingdong fampton. Nonsense syllables check that student really knows phonics, because she cannot guess. My kids thought these exercises were just the best. :)

HTH.

 

I found it!

 

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

Edited by Sahamamama
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One more suggestion -- If you think it might help, at the beginning of 2nd grade, go back and review the final 20 or so lessons of OPG, the ones where you start getting into three-syllable words. It's a fun, easy way to review breaking down words into syllables.

 

Another thought is that, as your daughter progresses in spelling and writing, her reading may become more fluent. Work in spelling and composition reinforces the phonics she learned in her earlier phonics lessons, and some kids need to get a grasp on phonics from both directions, if that makes sense.

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To give you encouragement, my 10 year old 4th grader (Oct bday), wasn't really reading fluently until this year. At the beginning of this year we went through ORGTR and it all clicked and now she reads chapter books on level. So, for now, I would probably continue to go through phonics (maybe even go back through OPGTR) but would also give her easier readers to practice fluency. You can have her read the same passage every day for a week so she gets really good at it, and gradually increase the difficulty level. 

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I have one in the somewhat similar boat...I posted about him a month or so ago. Those 300-500 words they're supposed to know at the end of 1st grade...he had maybe 15 and the rest he had to sound out every time. I started using Abecedarian with him two weeks ago and have been really impressed with it. Now he has another 20 or so words he can read without sounding out. It doesn't sound like much, but that's more than he'd picked up in nearly two years of reading instruction up until now. I've realized that he is most likely dyslexic so that may not be what's going on with your child. Anyway, there's a list of dyslexia symptoms that was helpful to me at www.dys-add.com. Also if you google for how to build reading fluency you can find more ways to increase fluency...I can't remember the ones that haven't been suggested already off the top of my head but I know there are more.

Thank you for that link. I just looked up the symptoms and she does many of those things. :( :(

 

Can someone tell me how I can get her evaluated? We're in the Houston area, if that helps any....

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You have two choices for evaluations. You can find a private neuropsychologist or psychologist who does educational testing. At minimum, they should run the WISC, which indicates cognitive ability; an achievement test such as the Woodcock Johnson; and the CTOPP, which tests phonological skills. Occasionally someone will have insurance that will cover it, but usually this is an out of pocket expense, and it is pricey. There can also be long waiting lists, so it's good to go ahead and get on a list. You can always cancel if a few months goes by and things improve so that you don't think testing is needed any more.

 

Your second option is to go through the local public schools. They are required under the Child Find portion of the federal IDEA law to evaluate all children in the district, whether they attend school or not. The benefit is that it is free. There can be some drawbacks. The schools generally will not diagnose dyslexia but instead will call it Specific Learning Disability in reading (which is okay, as long as you know that when they say SLD reading, it is likely dyslexia). Some schools will not write an IEP for a homeschooler; some will -- it depends on your state and local regulations. You don't really need an IEP unless your state offers scholarship funding for children with disabilities (some states do). What you want is the test results.

 

If you decide to use the schools, call or google to find out the location of the special education department (sometimes called student or pupil services). Type a letter stating that you suspect a reading disability and deliver it to their office. They will have 30 days to decide if they should evaluate. Within that 30 days, they will invite you to a meeting, at which they will have you sign the permission form for evaluations. It is possible for them to decide that there is not evidence that evaluations are needed, so prepare something to show them why you are concerned. Take some work samples to the meeting, as well as a list of the curricula and/or methods you have used. They need to know that the delay is not due to lack of instruction (that is part of the law).

 

You can learn a lot about the process by reading your state board of education website, by reading past posts on the Learning Challenges forum (or posting your own questions), and by reading books about the process. If you decide to move forward, I invite you to ask for information on the LC board, because there are a lot of experienced people who love to share tips and advice. Be aware that the process for going through the schools is lengthy -- up to 120 calendar days -- and can be delayed by school closures in the summer (it is not supposed to be delayed by school breaks, but if the staff is on vacation, the reality is that they may encourage you to wait until fall). Some schools are friendly to homeschoolers, and some are resistant to helping, so it is really beneficial to educate yourself on the law so that you know what you are entitled to.

 

If you are having concerns, it is a good thing to pursue evaluations! The earlier remediation begins for dyslexia (if that is the root problem), the more likely it is that the student can improve. If necessary, you can find a lot of information on the LC board about teaching a child with reading disabilities.

 

:grouphug:

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You can also look on the Barton website and email her for a list of Barton-trained dyslexia screeners in your state. From what I understand they can determine whether your child has dyslexia, but a public school or college won't accept that as enough of a diagnosis to make accomodations for the child. The one closest to us charges $450 for the testing (which is not cheap, but certainly cheaper than some of the other testing I've called about) and said it comes with a 12 page report on things she thinks would help that child in different areas of learning.

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If she CAN read, and is just choppy, but is sounding things out correctly, that doesn't sound like a reading problem to me. It's a fluency issue, and I'd back up and use the easiest readers you have for a while. Let her build confidence. Spend some time on phonics instruction where you have her read difficult things, but then also have time for reading where she reads easy things. 

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What kinds of books are you reading together?  Does she like them? 

 

We've used "The Reading Lesson," "Bob Books" and "McGuffey Eclectic Reader" with success.  The first worked great because it's phonics-based (for the most part) but there are short, one-paragraph stories with pictures in each chapter.  It lets the child put what he or she has learned in that chapter to immediate use.  Once the child gets past chapter 13, he or she starts to read quickly.  You can then pick up one of the Bob Books (go in order) and/or the McGuffey Eclectic Reader 1.

 

But aside from that, it helps to choose books about your child's favorite subjects.  I'm not ashamed to admit my son reads books about his favorite games/cartoon characters.  But he also loves classical myths, fairy tales, science and history.  How about go to the library and encourage your child to choose books herself?  What are her favorite sports, animals, subjects, hobbies, etc.?  Just ideas.

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Second daughter is now 8 and still refuses chapter books - this seems to be a mental fixation and not really about the text at all.  I get picture books with a similar level of text, or books that instead of chapters have individual stories, like some of the Burgess books.  But I suspect a big part of it is just the child finding something they really want to read.

 

Agreed. We had a hard time getting DS to read chapter books -- he needed lots of pictures. He could handle the text fine. But was intimidated by length. FINALLY, in the last month, he's really taken off on reading books closer to his reading level that only have a picture every 4-6 pages (sometimes only 1 a chapter) instead of every page.

 

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This may have hurt OP's feelings and you are the FIRST and most vehement poster here who explains that "in homeschool there are no grades...there are only little persons who are about 7 years old".

Agreed, and she's the first to say use the enrollment date for your district.

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