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My 9 year old


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My 9 year old daughter, Mercie, is very bright. She can read extremely well, but she doesn't like to read on her own. I do have a daily silent reading time, and she will read during that but not on her own accord (unless it's an easy to read book).


She is having some comprehension issues. She has a hard time answering questions about what she has read or what I have to her. She has difficulty with word problems in math, difficulty understanding written and oral directions, and is very forgetful. This seems like it has just come on in the past six months to a year.


Is this normal for her age? My older two children never went through this but I know all children are vastly different. My husband thinks she is being mentally lazy, but I know that's not the case. I see her trying and struggling to understand and come up with an answer. I just don't know what I can do. I have been explaining everything to her even directions on her math page that shouldn't have to be explained. If I need to keep this up I will but I don't want her to be dependent on me to explain every little thing. (I'm not talking about ready information or confusing instructions, I'm talking review stuff and basic instructions.)

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1.  In my experience a tremendous number of kids that struggle are labeled as lazy but are not lazy at all.  Something is causing them to struggle and probably more than we as parents even realize. Eventually they can get so frustrated and demoralized that everyone else seems to think what they are doing is easy when it is anything BUT easy for them that they start to give up, develop a bad attitude, allow their frustration to undermine their ability to think through things, etc.  Hopefully you can figure out what is wrong and how to help her before that happens.


2.  This could be early pre-teen brain fog.


3.  It could also be anything from stealth dyslexia to a diet issue to the simple fact that she is now in material that she is not developmentally ready for yet, and a whole host of things in between.  Your mommy instincts are saying something is off.  I say you are doing the right thing to ask questions and not assume she is just mentally lazy.  Don't let her struggles damage her self-esteem.  


4.  How does she do when she reads aloud to you?  Are her decoding and fluency smooth?  Or does she tend to guess words based on the first few letters?  Does she skip small words without realizing it?  I ask because sometimes stealth dyslexics are so bright that while they are silent reading they can decode enough words to make sense of the text but they aren't actually very good at reading.  It takes tremendous effort to decode those words so reading isn't fun, it is WORK.  LOTS of work.  Their brains get fatigued.  It can also mean that once they reach a certain level of reading the effort to just decode fluently and accurately means their brains are not working as hard on comprehension.  Data gets lost.  I'm not saying that is what is happening with your child.  I"m just saying it is one of several possibilities. 

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You say she can't answer specific questions, but if you ask her to tell you what she read, will she tell the whole story?  If so, she might be a Big Picture Thinker.  My dd is one of those.  Comprehension questions were awful for her, but she could tell me the whole thing.  Or she could give me a summary (but only after we worked on that with Writing with Ease).


Is she very visual?  Does she need actual examples rather than reading the directions?  That's like my dd.  


If these fit, do some research into Visual Spatial Learners and Right Brain Learners.  It will be helpful for you.  

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Agreeing with OneStepAtATime, and with your gut reactions in the way you are describing the situation that there is a good likelihood that there is some sort of learning issue going on. Age 9 is right on target for when issues with reading, comprehension, or processing tend to start to surface.  I'd suggest getting some professional testing done to rule out (or uncover) a concern:


- vision focus problem

- vision convergence issue (get testing by a training specialist) (4 min. explanatory video -- it is an ad for their center, but the info part is very clear)

- stealth dyslexia (short informational article)

- cognitive issue/comprehension issue


And while it can be disheartening to learn there is a concern, at least that gives you a starting point for understanding what you and DD need to do to address the problem, which is a relief for both you and the student -- and it helps the student not get frustrated with herself, or start thinking of herself as "lazy" or "stupid" -- which often leads to giving up. :(


Our DS#2 is an extremely visual-spatial learner (like perkybunch's DD) -- AND deals with Stealth Dyslexia, so you may have more than one thing going on, and it will take narrowing it down with testing to help you more quickly get things figured out as to what helps or therapies will work the best with your DD.


Wishing you both the very BEST and that you can quickly uncover what's going on and how to address it. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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