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My DD (7 YO) is in the 1st grade in parochial school. HSing is not an option now. 

 

I just had a meeting with the teacher to discuss my concerns about her reading. She is a resistant reader. She never wants to read the books that we choose together for her to read. She has refused to read the Little Bear books, Frog & Toad, Billy Blaze and others. The only early readers that she has wanted to read are Amelia Bedelia and the Golly Sisters. I insist that she read to us every night and I don't think she enjoys it. She sees it as work and always wants to stop early. She never wants to read another chapter. This is a kid who begs to be read to and always wants me to read the next chapter. 

 

She began working with the reading specialist at school a few months ago. She is supposed to do 20 minute a day of an online program called Mindplay and she meets with the reading specialist once a week. She was referred to the school reading specialist because they were concerned about her blending skills. She was referred to the reading specialist after I voiced some concerns about DD's reading. I'm not sure that what she is getting from the reading specialist is that helpful. 

 

She was in public school last year where they used Spalding. The curriculum used in 1st grade is Superkids which is supposed to be a strong phonics program. 

 

The teacher said [paraphrasing], she is so smart but she just can't get it out. She thinks DD should be reading more by choice now if she was making more progress in her reading. Paraphrasing again - she would expect DD to be one of the kids who always has her nose in a book. The teacher said her reading comprehension skills are "off the charts." 

 

The teacher says that DD is always one of the last kids to complete her assignments in class and that it sometimes takes her longer than it should to start her written work. DD is very thorough and wants it to be perfect. The teacher says that DD is very articulate and has an extensive vocabulary but it seems like she has a hard time writing what she is thinking. 

 

The teacher wants to revisit this again at the end of the year (mid May) but I'm considering having DD evaluated now. Would that be a good idea? I don't even know where to go to have testing done or what to have evaluated. 

 

Am I right to be a little annoyed at the school because I'm not being told there is a problem until after I ask? I feel like this school might not be the right place for her although I don't want her to be the "new kid" again. She's finally found a "best friend" at the new school. 

 

Sorry this is long - but I feel like she's bored in school. She says she doesn't like math even though it's her strongest subject. She doesn't get to do the enrichment math work because she doesn't finish her math work early. I asked DD about that and DD said she didn't want to do the enrichment math work so didn't try to get her work done early. 

 

I found a private Montessori school with availability for next year but I don't want DD to have to start over again at a new school. Also DD likes the Catholic part of parochial school. She loves learning about saints and attending Mass. 

 

 

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When her reading comprehension is "off the charts", is that being read to? Or her reading? If it's her reading to herself, I don't understand the problem. Is it that she reads silently but does not like reading it loud?

 

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A lot of people around here would say something to the effect of "If there's no reason like dyslexia to keep her from reading, maybe her brain is not ready." A LOT of kids that age don't read for pleasure. Reading is hard work. My 3 children can read just fine, but they didn't willingly pick up a book just for fun until 2nd or 3rd grade. Just keep having her read every night and eventually, it should get easier. If she's reading Amelia Bedelia in 1st grade, she's doing just fine.

 

 

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When her reading comprehension is "off the charts", is that being read to? Or her reading? If it's her reading to herself, I don't understand the problem. Is it that she reads silently but does not like reading it loud?

 

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It's both when she's read to and when she reads to herself. 

 

A lot of people around here would say something to the effect of "If there's no reason like dyslexia to keep her from reading, maybe her brain is not ready." A LOT of kids that age don't read for pleasure. Reading is hard work. My 3 children can read just fine, but they didn't willingly pick up a book just for fun until 2nd or 3rd grade. Just keep having her read every night and eventually, it should get easier. If she's reading Amelia Bedelia in 1st grade, she's doing just fine.

 

 

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If she was at home with me, I wouldn't worry about this. But she's in school and has to meet the school's standards. I think that most of the kids in her class are reading harder books than she can now. 

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Well, I looked up Superkids, and I can tell you that is much different from Spalding. That may have been a problem for your daughter in the beginning.

 

Does she do Mindplay? And she listens to you when you read aloud to her? If so, then I'm not sure there's a problem. As bethben said, not all children that young read for enjoyment on their own.

 

Honestly, it really sounds like a very bright child who is bored in school. Very bright children don't always excel academically.

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Your dd sounds exactly like my ds at the same age. You are describing what he was like. I wish I could tell you it got better at school but it did not. I did find that doing Webster's with him over the summer got his reading up to a higher level before 2nd but the writing speed, math boredom but not finishing worksheets fast enough and problems getting started on his work got worse. It is very frustrating to comprehend at a very high level but to have to work very hard at books that are much below what they comprehend.

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Also, get her eyes checked. That could be the easiest fix of all. I bet she will love learning and reading again once whatever this is, is conquered.

 

 

 

Specifically, get her eyes checked by a behavioral optometrist. They'll do an in-depth exam to check for things like the eyes working together, ability to track words on a page, ability to switch focus between seatwork and the board, etc. It's possible for a child to have 20/20 vision, no apparent problems in a school eye exam, and still struggle with these things. Handwriting is commonly affected, too. If it turns out to be an issue, she can do vision therapy to remedy the problem. 

 

More info: http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/behavioral-optometrist.html   

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I would have her evaluated sooner rather than later.

 

Under federal law, the local public school must do it, even though she is not enrolled there. Ask your private school if they have worked with the public schools for evaluations for other students. If so, they will have a connection at the public school to contact.

 

Either way, you as the parent can submit a request in writing to the public school's special education department (find out where this is by looking on the website; sometimes the department is called pupil services). Tell them IN WRITING that you have reason to suspect a disability, that she is working with the reading specialist at her school and is still not making progress, and that her classroom teacher has concerns. State that you want her to be evaluated. Deliver copies of this letter to the public school and to your private school. Legally the public school has thirty days to respond to your request, and they will have you sign a form that either states they will begin the evaluation process or that they will not, because they do not suspect a disability could be there.

 

There is a time line and process that the school must follow from there out. They must follow the timeline, regardless of summer break, so if they tell you they need to wait until fall due to summer vacation for staff, you can refuse to agree to that idea. You should be able to find a description of the process on your state board of education website.

 

Some private schools are resistant to working with the public school for evaluations, so your school may or may not have done this before. But legally the public school must evaluate students who live in their district, even if they are homeschooled or attend public school. My own kids are in private school and were evaluated by the public school.

 

If you decide to move forward, you might want to post on the Learning Challenges board. There are quite a few people over there who have gone through this process and can offer advice.

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Schools in our state do not do any evals, testing, or give any services to students not enrolled in schools. 

 

We did the vision therapy route with one of mine and it helped. She does have some symbol confusion too, but we met with a special ed teacher on top of the vision therapy that taught us some skills for working with her there too. We waited until she was quite a bit older than your child. I saw signs young, but kept trying different things on my own. I now wish I had taken her in for help earlier. She had learned a lot of coping techniques on her own, and my working with her one on one for so long helped a lot. But the difference in her work this year after therapy and special ed teaching made a huge difference. 

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Thanks for the responses everyone.

 

I ran into the reading specialist today after school. She starts raving about DD. She said DD is doing great and she doesn't expect that she'll need to keep coming to see her next year. She says that DD is the top performing 1st grader she's working with. She said DD has an amazing vocabulary and that she understands everything that she reads. Then she says that DD reads very well when she reads to her.

 

:confused1:

 

 

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Well, I still don't understand what the original concern was anyway. If she's got fabulous reading comprehension when she's reading to herself, doesn't that indicate that she's reading?

 

What part of her reading are you concerned about?

 

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A lot of people around here would say something to the effect of "If there's no reason like dyslexia to keep her from reading, maybe her brain is not ready." A LOT of kids that age don't read for pleasure. Reading is hard work. My 3 children can read just fine, but they didn't willingly pick up a book just for fun until 2nd or 3rd grade. Just keep having her read every night and eventually, it should get easier. If she's reading Amelia Bedelia in 1st grade, she's doing just fine.

 

 

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Seroiusly! Honestly, sounds like unrealistic expectations. My 7 yr old is reading Bob Books, for school not pleasure, and she's fine. Reading another 20 minutes at night would be way more than she's ready for. 

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Well, I still don't understand what the original concern was anyway. If she's got fabulous reading comprehension when she's reading to herself, doesn't that indicate that she's reading?

 

What part of her reading are you concerned about?

 

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When DD started seeing the reading specialist, the teacher said that she offered tutoring. We decided not to do tutoring because it felt like overkill because DD was already seeing the reading specialist. I recently contacted the teacher asking if she still offered tutoring because I thought DD would benefit from more reading practice. I thought she might benefit from practicing her reading with someone other than me. The teacher responded by saying that she wanted to talk to us about DD's reading.

 

We talked this morning and the teacher said that she would have expected to see more progress from DD after seeing the reading specialist for several months. The teacher has been concerned for several months about how long it takes DD to complete her classwork.

 

I was frustrated with DD's lack of interest in reading when I'm the one who reads with her every night. We choose the books for her to read and then she decides that she doesn't like them. I think she is intimidated by reading and is afraid to try to read books that have words that seem hard.

 

I was frustrated but not concerned about her reading until talking with the teacher this morning. However, I had been concerned for a few months with DD not finishing her assignments in class. The teacher sends everything home and many of her writing assignments are incomplete.

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Schools in our state do not do any evals, testing, or give any services to students not enrolled in schools. 

 

We did the vision therapy route with one of mine and it helped. She does have some symbol confusion too, but we met with a special ed teacher on top of the vision therapy that taught us some skills for working with her there too. We waited until she was quite a bit older than your child. I saw signs young, but kept trying different things on my own. I now wish I had taken her in for help earlier. She had learned a lot of coping techniques on her own, and my working with her one on one for so long helped a lot. But the difference in her work this year after therapy and special ed teaching made a huge difference. 

 

This is illegal under the Child Find statue of the IDEA federal law. If someone told you that, they were misinformed.

 

Some states only evaluate but do not offer services. But they must evaluate.

 

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/child-find-what-it-is-and-how-it-works

Edited by Storygirl
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I agree that many 7yos just don't read much for pleasure, even if they have the skills.  I agree with having her vision checked in case that is making it harder than it needs to be.

 

I recommend letting her choose books at the library and read whatever she wants in the evenings.  I would shoot for about 10 minutes and hope she wants to go longer.  If she just wants to look and blab about the pictures for part of the time, that's fine too.  One of my kids was reading "Fly Guy" in late 1st grade and she'd want to talk about her opinions on the people in the story.  Better than no engagement, right?  She would read chapter books if required, but almost never just for fun, until later.  I think her first voluntarily-chosen chapter books were the Junie B. Jones series.  Whatever works.  :P

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I would add that at the reading level your daughter is at, reading aloud may not be the most comfortable option.  My kids were reading silently most of the time.  I would only ask the slower one to read aloud sometimes, partly to make sure she was actually reading the words.

 

It might work better to let your daughter read on her own, and then ask her to tell you something about what she read.

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As far as not finishing her school work on time, that could be so many things, and likely has nothing to do with reading ability.  I could go on all day about the problems one of my kids had keeping up with the written work at school.  Reading wasn't her issue, but she did have problems with auditory and visual processing, remembering things, and being too interested in other people's business.  :P  I did notice that she did a lot better working at home without all the distractions.  She wasn't behind in learning, and that's the important thing at this age.

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My daughter is also a perfectionist in how things look.  Every pencil she has ever used within days will have no eraser because she is constantly erasing trying to make letters and numbers look perfect.  If she was in school, she wouldn't get stuff finished very quickly and always be behind just because she wants to make everything look just right.  I don't know how to break her of this habit because her first attempt looks just fine usually but in her mind, it's not perfect.

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I agree that the issue could be something other than reading. The school can evaluate for issues other than reading. I think if both you and the classroom teacher have concerns, it is worth investigating. She may just be slower to develop in some areas and may catch up naturally; however, if there is a learning issue, it is better to start addressing it early, rather than later.

 

If she has not had a vision test with an optometrist and a hearing test with an audiologist (the screening at school and in the doctor's office are not sufficient to catch all problems), those are things that you can start with. Even mild hearing or vision issues can make learning more difficult.

 

It is also possible that she has an underlying reading problem that makes reading hard. If her brain has to work overtime to decode the words, reading may exhaust her, even if she ends up reading the words correctly. A test called the CTOPP, which the school can run, can evaluate her phonological abilities to see if they are lower than average. If her school offers a strong phonics program, that's great, but it still may not be enough for someone whose brain struggles to decode.

 

It's interesting that the reading specialist thinks she is doing well, but the classroom teacher does not. It might be worth having a meeting with both of them present to talk about what they see, so that you can all get on the same page.

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I will say that my son, though he always impressed his teacher with what he could read in 1st grade, did not read for enjoyment at that age. Reading didn't really click with him until 2nd grade, and then he couldn't keep his nose out of a book. I started learning to read in 1st, and I didn't like it at all. It was hard and boring. 2nd is when it really clicked for me, too.

 

BTW, 1st graders here are not expected to read Amelia Bedelia, and no child reading at that level would be tested or sent to the reading specialist. Not saying it wouldn't be worth looking into vision problems, but I don't think her reading level is cause for concern. How long has her teacher been teaching first grade? That might affect how seriously I'd worry.

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The teacher is an experienced 1st grade teacher. I believe that she's been teaching about 15 years. The school expects children to read in kinder and will hold children back who are not reading by the end of kinder. DD attended a different school for Kinder. When we applied at the new school, DD had to meet with the principal and be evaluated but the principal's questions were about math and she was not asked to read. 

 

 

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Well, I don't know what's going on because you've heard and experienced disparate things, but if she's decoding fine-- as tested with nonsense words, not with reading a picture book-- and is just hesitant to make mistakes, I can tell you that my oldest daughter was extremely resistant about reading aloud with me (or anyone) until she could read aloud as fluently as I do, with just as much inflection and as little hesitation. I don't know if your daughter's only problem is perfectionism, I think you're in a tough position, but if your daughter does enjoy when you read aloud to her, why waste your time with power struggles? Read aloud beautiful, complex books to her, without any expectation that she do anything but listen and enjoy, and find some more enjoyable way to help her practice her reading. For us, that meant me writing notes to my daughter, having our far-away relatives send her postcards, writing up menus and allowing her to circle her choices-- anything where she could take her time but also prove that she understood. (If I invited her to come make paper dolls with me at the kitchen table, I could tell she understood when she showed up with her scissors and markers.)

 

I must also mention one thing, which I say not to diminish the fact that some kids do indeed have developmental delays, but because it's true: every.single.friend/relative I have with a first grader (OK, there's just a handful, but still!) has told me after parent/teacher conferences that their child is evidently way, way behind in writing and they're so concerned and waaaah I'm homeschooling so what do I recommend because I must know something about teaching a first grader writing? All this has done is convince me that finding a first grader who writes fluently and eagerly in the style desired by teachers at this level is not that easy, contrary to what my friends say they've seen on the walls at show-off-to-your-parents night.

 

Yes, listen to the people who have kids with delays and take advice about evaluation seriously, but there's also being a normal first grader, and the lack of clear and consistent communication from the school puts you in a bind, doesn't it? I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with deciding where to place your daughter for next year...good luck.

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If she can read Amelia Bedelia fine, I'd consider her reading ok and let her read what she wants, and keep reading her other things. Likely she'll branch out and start reading different things over time if she isn't having reading problems. I would be thrilled if my dyslexic 2nd grader could read Amelia Bedelia! As for the trouble finishing schoolwork, as others have said, there could be a lot of other things causing problems with that.

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My ds8 is in the second grade and a reluctant reader.  One thing that I have started doing that is helping is letting him read for fun. During our phonics lesson, I will teach decoding and remind him of rules that he has learned.  During fun reading he will either read to himself, or sometimes he wants to read to me.  Any word that he wants help with during fun reading I just tell him.  I do not explain to him how to decode the word.  I just tell him the word. This takes some of the hard work out of reading and gives him the chance to enjoy reading. I read about his idea on Sarah McKenzie's Amongst Lovely Things blog.  It is helping a lot! Just FYI, he did have some vision issues that we had to work through. He had to wear a patch for about two years. 

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I also am a little confused about whether there's even really an issue other than unrealistic expectations of a first grader.

 

If there is an issue, I'm with others who have suggested that maybe it's a vision tracking one (she reads fine but it tires her out so she goes slow) or that she's gifted (she gets bored and stubborn) or 2E (she gets bored AND she's having trouble for some mystery reason). I do agree... if you can get her tested, I'd go ahead and do it. It seems like you're getting mixed messages from the school and she's going to be there for the foreseeable future. Better to be armed with data to be her best advocate.

 

In terms of the books, it seems in the OP like you're disappointed by her insistence on certain titles, but especially at this reading stage, I'd just go with it. She seems to like silly books. Maybe try Poppleton, High Rise Private Eyes, Mercy Watson, Fly Guy, Lulu and the Brontosaurus... Basically, I'd be sure to emphasize picking her own books. And I'd maybe cut the reading time down. And read aloud to her more. She wants that.

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Just to clarify - when I say reading didn't "click" for my son until second grade, I'm not talking ability to decode, I'm talking enjoyment of reading.  In first grade, even having started reading in kinder, my son decoded well, but didn't want to read aloud or to himself for fun.  It was still took a lot of brain power and just wasn't enjoyable to him.  The same with me, although I didn't learn to read at all until first, because my school just didn't teach reading to kindergartners back then.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A little update - thanks everyone for the advice. DD just had a developmental optometry exam. My DH took her so I don't have all of the details but the optometrist is recommending that she wear glasses inside and says she needs some kind of eye training. I never would have thought of the developmental optometry exam without the advice I got here. She's has several eye exams at school and at the pediatrician and no one ever said there was a problem.

Thanks everyone!

 

 

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This sounds familiar to me. ;)

 

 

I highly recommend doing Dancing Bears Reading at home instead of forcing readers right now. DB works wonders, especially for kids with visual processing quirks.

 

Down the road, Apples and Pears Spelling is great too.

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