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writing problem or just young?


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  Ds6 has been actively learning letters and sounds since age 4 and passively before that time.  He does know his letters and sounds and can read basic books like Bob Books and other readers.  He has done Abeka, Get set for the code and a bunch of other things like wipe off books, sand, flash card games etc..  But, he seems to have trouble recalling the letters if he has to write it.  For example I will have him write c 10 times, a 10 times and t 10 times.  He already knows these anyway, but then I'll ask him to write cat and he can't do it.   If I pull out an alphabet chart then he can do it.   There are a few he can do such as S,s or Z,z, O.  Other letters like i, and t we have done 1000 times with markers, pencil, sandpaper letters etc and he still can't remember how to write them, but he can read them.  Is this just slow development or do I need to start thinking about getting an eval?  He is in speech therapy and I did mention it to the therapist.  She did recommend a whole language evaluation.  He has been to an audiologist and has no hearing issues.  

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In your shoes, I would prefer an eval to set my mind at ease.

However, it might just mean tweaking your approach.  What worked for us was a firm commitment to focusing on sounds.  If I told my kid to write "see", "ay", and "tee", and then gave him the word 'cat', he would have to work on translating those names to sounds, with guidance from me ("what's the first sound you hear? "kh, kh,"  Good.  What letter do we write to show that sound?"), and then be able to write it independently.  It's one of the reasons we did mostly copywork for K-2nd, learning how to write by imitation so that it was second nature.
I have no idea how you're doing writing at home and what is integrated/what the focus is, but it might be worth it to examine your strategy step by step and see what you may be missing or what you should focus entirely on and work on the rest later.

Adding to this: A set of magnetic red/blue letters may help with this more than you think.  I had a set on a dollar tree cookie tin and as we went through sounds he would pull down the letter to set it on a line I sharpied at the bottom of the tray.  All About Spelling does this with their tiles but you can do the same thing on your own without investing in the program.  However, if you look up AAS reviews different blogs will show how they use it in their houses to show the sounds and get the child acquainted with them so they then can write the word.

Edited by HomeAgain
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We do use sound more than the letter name.  He is actually more familiar with the letter sound since that is mostly what I use.  

He is using the saxon phonics program right now as a spine, because his hybrid school uses that.  I add in other things, such as reviewing with our abeka and some explode the Code.  

I will add some magnets.  I do have uppercase, but I am not using them because I didn't want to confuse him.

He does do a lot of copywork and he likes it and does quite well with it.

 

 

 

Edited by Mbelle
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One idea is to trace the letter onto the child's back with your finger, nice and big, while saying the sound of the letter.

For some reason this works for some children and they internalise the letter shape more easily. 

I noticed you mentioned sandpaper letters and lowercase first and using sounds. Montessori inspired?

 

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My 6 year old boy is much the same way. In him I see that his process for learning letters and sounds is just like his older siblings, he’s just doing it later than they did. For him I don’t think an evaluation is necessary because he is learning and progressing, he’s just doing it much more slowly than his siblings did. 

It sounds like your son is within the normal range to me, but sometimes we need to trust our guts when we think something is off. Maybe you want to make a note of it and if he isn’t improving by Christmas, schedule an evaluation. 

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I would do some syllables with him, overlearn the syllables and work on reading and spelling them.  Also, let him use my chart arranged in sound order for spelling for a few weeks, then try to do it without the chart.  You can work through the first 6 of my syllables lessons to learn the syllables, then work on over learning them for spelling.  It's easier to work with 2 letter syllables than 3+ syllable words and then build up from there.  You could do all the B syllables one day, ba be bi bo bu by, ab eb ib ob ub, all the f syllables the next, build up gradually spelling 2 letter syllables, then bla ble bli blo blu bli and other 3 letter syllables, then CVC words after all the syllables are well learned.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

chart, print page 6:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/Resources/40LChartsCombined.pdf

The sound arrangement of the chart should also be helpful for speech programs and any phonemic awareness problems.  Phonemic awareness could also be contributing, has your speech therapist tested for that?  Here is a quick screening you can do yourself, your speech therapist should have a more in depth test to determine if it is a problem:

https://www.spelfabet.com.au/2013/02/free-phonological-awareness-test/

 

 

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19 hours ago, chocolate-chip chooky said:

One idea is to trace the letter onto the child's back with your finger, nice and big, while saying the sound of the letter.

For some reason this works for some children and they internalise the letter shape more easily. 

I noticed you mentioned sandpaper letters and lowercase first and using sounds. Montessori inspired?

 

 

I will add back tracing and saying the sound to our list.  He will probably love that.

I did go to montessori school myself, but I'm not sure that's why i got the letters. I bought them last year as a fun addition to our other plain flashcards.

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11 hours ago, Rachel said:

My 6 year old boy is much the same way. In him I see that his process for learning letters and sounds is just like his older siblings, he’s just doing it later than they did. For him I don’t think an evaluation is necessary because he is learning and progressing, he’s just doing it much more slowly than his siblings did. 

It sounds like your son is within the normal range to me, but sometimes we need to trust our guts when we think something is off. Maybe you want to make a note of it and if he isn’t improving by Christmas, schedule an evaluation. 

 

Yes, my ds is learning this more slowly than his sibs. 

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8 hours ago, ElizabethB said:

I would do some syllables with him, overlearn the syllables and work on reading and spelling them.  Also, let him use my chart arranged in sound order for spelling for a few weeks, then try to do it without the chart.  You can work through the first 6 of my syllables lessons to learn the syllables, then work on over learning them for spelling.  It's easier to work with 2 letter syllables than 3+ syllable words and then build up from there.  You could do all the B syllables one day, ba be bi bo bu by, ab eb ib ob ub, all the f syllables the next, build up gradually spelling 2 letter syllables, then bla ble bli blo blu bli and other 3 letter syllables, then CVC words after all the syllables are well learned.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

chart, print page 6:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/Resources/40LChartsCombined.pdf

The sound arrangement of the chart should also be helpful for speech programs and any phonemic awareness problems.  Phonemic awareness could also be contributing, has your speech therapist tested for that?  Here is a quick screening you can do yourself, your speech therapist should have a more in depth test to determine if it is a problem:

https://www.spelfabet.com.au/2013/02/free-phonological-awareness-test/

 

 

Thank you for the info.  I will take a look at all that.

I changed speech therapist several months ago and the new therapist is great and much more progress has been made, but she did not re evaluate for anything yet.

 

 

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A child of six is at that age when slower progress in reading and writing could be within the norm or could be a sign of a learning difference, so it's hard to say whether evaluations are warranted. Based on info in your posts, I'm wondering about the following things. (If you don't feel like answering, that's fine; I am posting them as food for thought for you).

* The trouble with writing letters from memory but being able to do it when looking at the alphabet suggests a possible weakness in working memory or in visualizing.

* I'll note that DD13, who was later diagnosed as dyslexic, had beautiful handwriting at age 6. But she was really copying and drawing the letters and not writing them. Once she moved past that stage and was writing to communicate and not just doing copywork, her handwriting and spelling became virtually illegible. It was a remarkable difference. I'm pointing that out, because your son's ability to write when an alphabet chart is in front of him reminds me of that. I am no expert, but I think for dyslexics, this kind of problem can be related to working memory, but also to the brain's trouble with storing and retrieving the phonemes.

* You say that he reads Bob Books and other early readers. Can he read one correctly the first time, when the pictures are covered? DD is an excellent guesser based on context clues and picture clues. So she could read the beginning words of a Bob Book and know what the rest of the sentence should be, based on the pictures. She seemed to be reading. Yet, if I put the same words in isolation on a page or blank card, she would have trouble reading them. You can test this with nonsense words, too.

* So many things are connected developmentally that I am wondering about his speech therapy and the suggestion that he have a language evaluation. And also that he has had an audiological exam. Whatever reasons there are for having sought out those services may be having an impact on his writing issues. Sometimes young children have isolated speech issues that respond to therapy and then they move on and don't need speech any more. For others, the speech troubles are early signs of other co-morbid or underlying challenges. Another child of mine had speech delay before age three, and it was an early sign that there were other issues going on (which were not diagnosed until age 9). My daughter with dyslexia, however, never needed speech therapy. So it's all individualized, but it's a question to ponder, whether there is a link between the speech and language issues and the writing.

* Does he have any fine motor difficulties that make the act of writing cumbersome? Does he color, cut, tie his shoes, use his eating utensils, etc., appropriately for his age? Some kids who have trouble with written expression  -- dysgraphia -- can decode (reading) but have trouble encoding (writing). There are several ways that dysgraphia can rear it's head, but trouble with fine motor is one aspect that can cause difficulty. Also, dyspraxia can affect both speech and motor skills (fine and gross).

I think you are wise to think about whether his difficulties now are indicating a larger problem, because it will help you be aware of what kind of things to look for. It can be hard to suspect that something may be wrong, but not to know how to tell.

If you work with him in some more intensive ways, and he makes progress and then seems fine, that's great!! You will know that he is on track. If you work with him more intensively, and he does not make progress, I think it's wise to consider evaluations. If you are in the US, your public school must evaluate homeschoolers, by the way, so that can be an option to consider, though private evaluations are often more thorough.

If you post on the Learning Challenges board asking for help with writing, it may be helpful to you. I've found it to be a very helpful community there, as I have worked to figure out how to address my kids' needs. You can also go back and scan through previous threads to glean information. There is a lot that has been posted about teaching those who have difficulty writing, and some of those posts have been fairly recent.

 

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Ask your SLP what tests she's proposing to run and post on LC. Some SLPs are into literacy and will diagnose dyslexia but you're probably headed to psych evals. 

The CHEAPEST explanation is visual memory, so I would get him checked by a good developmental optometrist (to eliminate vision as an explanation ) and let the SLP run her stuff.  But it sounds like your mother gut is going off which means you're headed for psych. 

Fwiw I did all that with my ds at 6. You're not jumping the gun but right in time. What's he in speech for?

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