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Ds is 8.5yo, very likely dyslexic but not formally diagnosed and had eye tracking problems but went through vision therapy and has so-so results (it definitely helped but it doesn't seem to be the entire problem of why ds can't read fluently yet). He can blend easily and well but fluency just isn't following. He is stuck in that agonizing limbo stage of reading where he sounds out every sound, of every word, every time he reads it. He has been stuck here for about a year now.

He has a handful of words that he recognizes at a glance but there is no rhyme or reason as to which words he knows and which he doesn't so that gives no clues as to where he needs help or extra practice. For example, he can read with fluency the words: dog, cat, so, of, over and bed, but will have to sound out and sometimes mess up the words: bog, no, on, done, little and hot. He still sounds out most 3 letter cvc words, sometimes with chunks, sometimes not. He can recognize a chunk in one word but not recognize the same chunk in the next word. He is good at splitting larger words into syllables but again, he sounds out every letter, every time.

His oldest brother, ds23 who is now an adult, did a very similar thing when he was young and learning to read except ds23 didn't go through vision therapy. Ds23 didn't learn to read until he was 9.5yo. I had been beating my head against a wall since he was 4yo trying to teach him using every way and curriculum under the sun to do it. It was like he just woke up one day and said, "Hey, I want to read now." and he just started reading and never stopped. He was reading above grade level within a year or two just like his younger siblings who learned to read at 4yo, 6yo, 3yo and 7yo respectively.

Part of me says Ds8.5 is very similar personality-wise to ds23 so maybe we just need to keep plugging away and he will just have the same epiphany one day that ds23 did and start reading. But another part of me says do I really want to take that chance, ya know? But what else can I do to encourage fluency? My other kids either slowly built fluency with practice like most kids do or just became fluent one day with no warning like oldest ds.

Right now, we have been doing SWR with lukewarm results and a lot of resistance from ds8.5yo. Handwriting is another issue though it is not quite to the dysgraphia stage like his second oldest brother, ds21. I was just given a copy of Phonics Pathways last night. I've thought about just working on reading and work on spelling/writing as a separate skill using Phonics Pathways. I also have SWR obviously, 100EZ lessons (I hate how cluttered the pages are though and the odd font throws ds off), Ordinary Parent's Guide (I use it for practice sentences mostly) and LOE Foundations (so. many. moving. parts.). We really don't have the funds right now to buy any more curriculum so we need to use something we have.

Suggestions, tips or stories of what to do when fluency just doesn't follow with repeated exposure are appreciated.

Just wanted to add that ds8.5yo is otherwise very smart. Very math and science oriented. Will explain very advanced physics concepts with ease and understanding, physics is his favorite area of science. He is very math intuitive and constantly surprises me with understanding and using math that I haven't taught him yet. His reading comprehension is spot on. If he can read it, however haltingly, he can comprehend it. His listening comprehension is much higher than that. He asks and answers questions beyond just the literal "what just happened?" type questions. He listens to audiobooks every day for an hour or two, by choice, and I read aloud to him as much as I can. He reads aloud for 15 to 20 minutes a day most days. That's usually the most either one of us can stand of him reading aloud.

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I would also ask this question in the "Learning challenges" section of this board.   The people there have a lot more experience (not that they aren't here too...but you will get more answers from other families with kids with dyslexia).



 

 

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He has also done straight OG, both with a tutor and with me. The tutor moved away. I forgot to add that in the first post. He still gets lots of O-G methods no matter which programs we use because we adapt it to him and make it O-G.

I'm starting to think I may need to resort to bribery (we joke that bribery is his love language lol) and do multiple lessons per day to get him the extra practice he needs... good idea or recipe for disaster? 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

I'm starting to think I may need to resort to bribery (we joke that bribery is his love language lol) and do multiple lessons per day to get him the extra practice he needs... good idea or recipe for disaster? 

It's worth trying tokens that he can use for small items or privileges, but I would ask around as a separate question for best practices. It can go sideways, lol!!! 

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20 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

do multiple lessons per day to get him the extra practice he needs... good idea or recipe for disaster? 

Working in short sessions is an evidence based practice. No I would not BRIBE. Yes, I would MOTIVATE. Motivation can be intrinsic (approbation, a high 5, smile from the parent) or extrinsic (access to something they want, after this we're going to the pool to swim, etc.). Although tokens, food, etc. can work, they can also backfire as the child becomes bored with them or oversaturated. With my ds it worked well to move him over to more intrinsic motivators, like having time with me. So we do this for 10 minutes, then we play nintendo together. We do this, then we throw balls together or play nerf together. 

The only thing that backfires is if the reward is being AWAY from you, haha. Don't do that. But yes, if you are alternating work and breaks where breaks are things that motivate him (puzzles, physical activity, games, whatever), that's all good and absolutely what you should be doing!! What you should then see is his *tolerance* improves. But the harder the work, the more breaks my ds needs. You just meet him right where he is to get the work done.

When I say on the boards that I do 1-3 hours of intensive language and therapy work a day with my ds, that's always what I'm doing, short amounts followed by a break. I look for tasks that can be chunked and I try to make sure that most of them time it's an intrinsic reward (time with me, time with a sibling) as he's pretty jaded by tokens, objects, etc. On hard days I whip out the candy and marshmallows, haha. But that's not every day.

Edited by PeterPan
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This is totally a shot in the dark, since I haven't dealt with this specific issue... but if he's stuck constantly sounding out, then perhaps practicing with a small set of words to fluency might help? If he can recognize more words quickly, it might make it easier for him to shift into reading harder stuff. 

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This may be something you tried already (because my kid is 4.5), but my son got better with fluency after I taught him to sound out by combining the sounds as you sound it out. So for cat it would be c-a, ca-t, cat; instead of c-a-t, cat. A longer word like clock might be c-l, cl-o, clo-ck, clock. It has helped my 4.5 year old read more words without sounding them out letter by letter. 

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12 hours ago, Clarita said:

This may be something you tried already (because my kid is 4.5), but my son got better with fluency after I taught him to sound out by combining the sounds as you sound it out. So for cat it would be c-a, ca-t, cat; instead of c-a-t, cat. A longer word like clock might be c-l, cl-o, clo-ck, clock. It has helped my 4.5 year old read more words without sounding them out letter by letter. 

I know 100EZ lessons does it that way and it really IS easier. But I'd assume this kiddo can do this already? 

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5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

But I'd assume this kiddo can do this already?

There are other ways to teach blending. I mean maybe he already knows this, but maybe not. I had no idea what 100EZ lessons taught I just read it on the internet somewhere as another way to teach sounding out words.

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I have been debating responding to this post. I have an almost certainly dyslexic soon-to-be 8 yo. He was much as you describe your DC, particularly the bit about being lukewarm about what we were doing. 

Earlier this year I chose to switch to AAR. It has made a huge difference in his attitude toward reading instruction. That alone would be worth it to me. He is also progressing more steadily (although still slow). So, for us, making a switch of curriculum has helped. 

Finally, one thing that has helped DS with remembering words and not having to sound them all out every. single. time. is the flashcards from AAR. You could easily make your own. Oddly, he likes them. That may be due to how we use them. We start every reading lesson with them. He pulls out the cards from the "mastered" section and we set a timer for 1 min. If he hits his target number of words read in 1 minute, he gets a tally mark. Five tally marks gets him 15 minutes of screen time. Doing it this way totally got me his buy-in with AAR. Then we run through the "practice" group of cards. He gets so excited about moving cards from this section to the "mastered" section. 

GL finding what helps your DC make progress!

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