Struggling to Read

Lindsey - posted on 06/21/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )




My oldest son is seven, he is in between first and second grade in summer school and he really can not read. I do not know what to do. His teacher is not responding to me on what we can work on or read this summer so that possibly he will be okay in second grade. Does any one have any ideas of what to do to help him or what I can do. He is really smart in math and science but phonics, reading and writing are just not coming to him.


Pip - posted on 06/21/2010




The fact that he is smart, good at maths and science but not phonics screams dyslexia. Get him tested, my daughter is the same. She has had 2 years of tutoring and is reading but not on the same level as her peers. Good Luck

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Laura - posted on 02/28/2011




My son is really struggling bad with reading. He is going to turn 7 soon. I recently bought a curriculum that my son loves. This is huge because phonics and spelling were tear jerking, fit throwing, screaming matches. It is called "It's All About Spelling". They are basically phonics flashcards and spelling words for them to memorize. Seriously, this phonics/spelling program could not be broken down any easier. My son was reading and spelling in 3 weeks. Is he great at it? No. Not yet but every week I see improvement. This week he was even picking out words that were on products on shelve at our local Wal-Mart.

Tracy - posted on 06/22/2010




I agree with some of the previous posters, first stop, eye exam, second stop, LD testing.

Some kids just don't 'click' into the reading thing as quickly as others. My oldest daughter could not put it together for the life of her, struggled through grades 1, 2 and 3, started grade 4 barely getting by and came out of it eating novels for breakfast.

My point is, get the testing done, do some work with him, but don't stress yourself and him to an early grave over it.

Good Luck!

Catherine - posted on 06/21/2010




As an English teacher, I do agree with looking into a learning disorder. I'm not a reading specialist, but when I work with a struggling student, I do have a few tricks I use to try and get a sense of the problem that I can share with you. With reading issues, there are several different possibilities in terms of what is going on. The major areas of issue are comprehension (understanding what is read) and decoding (actually reading the words on the page, but not necessarily having any idea what they mean). When I have a student who is struggling, I'll try reading aloud to them and ask them questions to see if they are understanding what I'm reading. If they are, then the problem is not comprehension (if not, then comprehension is part of the problem). Then, I'll ask the student to read aloud to me. If they can do that at an age-appropriate level, then their decoding is alright, and if not, then that's the issue. Some kids have trouble with one or the other, while others have problems with both. Once you figure out where the problem is, then it's much easier to address the issue.

I know with all the "My Baby Can Read" stuff now, we put a lot of pressure on kids to read younger and younger. It is not unheard of though for some kids, especially boys, to not read until third grade, and then catch up very quickly and read at grade level. Unlike speaking, reading is an unnatural skill, something that is completely man-made and not instinctual in any way, which is I think why so many people struggle with it. I think the most important thing is to not put too much pressure on him, as I've frequently seen that lead to a hatred of reading, which just makes the problem worse. As long as reading is fun, I'm sure he'll want to try and do it, but as soon as it becomes boring, or something at which he thinks of himself as a "failure", it could become a bigger problem.

[deleted account]

I agree with the first poster about testing for a learning disorder.

Past that, try getting him to memorize this list of sight words. They are very common words and just knowing these words will help him read easier.

As far as phonics, it will be hard for you to help him if you don't know all the rules. There are tons of phonics rules. Anyway, here is a FUN and FREE website to help with phonics.

When he reads, provide a bookmark and put the bookmark under the word or line he is currently reading. That will help him stay on track.

Read to him. Before you start a new book, ask what the title and picture on the cover tell him about the book. Get him to make a guess what the book is about. Then as you are reading, ask what he thinks will happen next. At the end, ask him about the characters and what happened in the beginning, middle and end. This is just as important as the actual reading part. What good is reading if you can't tell someone what you just read?

Good luck, and stay on top of those teachers! It's their job! (I was once one of them)

Iridescent - posted on 06/21/2010




An eye exam should probably be your first stop. It could be related to muscle strength, focus, or vision impairment. If that's all good, try and find a clinic somewhere locally that can check for reading disorders (such as dyslexia). Where I live the only place that can test for it is the Shriner's. This is not the case everywhere; some places have clinics that can check for it. Provided that checks out, is it an interest issue? We made huge strides when we started getting books for the kids to read that they were interested in, and promising after they read them they'll get the DVD. They had to prove they understood what they read though by answering random questions from me! :) They make these for all age levels (books with a DVD either based on it, or the book from the DVD). Since he's doing well in other subjects I'd doubt issues with attention, but if you like an evaluation for attention disorders wouldn't hurt at his age if you're concerned. And last, perhaps a tutor, such as through Sylvan Learning.

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I used a great book called teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons... its a bit boring but at 15 min a day it was well worth the investment of $19.95. It looked weird but you just read your script, the part in red.. and the child does the rest. It is supposed to be used alongside your child going to school. I have to say it has worked for us. My DD1 who has many LD reads words at a 7th grade lvl although her comprehension is not that high but she sure can attack words with out fear.

my dd also has eye tracking issues so many things can contribute to this issue

Jacquie - posted on 06/21/2010




does he know his alphabet yet. if not teach him.. my grandson is 7 and has the same trouble, I have some easy reading large letter books and we pick out the 2 and 3 lettered words write them down and when he comes over, twice a week, we go through them and read them, he writes them all down, we do this twice in the day. He had a list of 25 small words and has now learnt, and can spell 15 of them. Achievement small but we are getting there. It will click and when it does he will be reading.but it is a daily task, and if the school is not helping then this must be done at home, I suppose we treat it a bit like homework, but he is happy doing it and enjoys it as well.

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