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Almost 8 year old not reading

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Every now and then I feel insecure with unschooling. Our almost 8 year old can't read and so now I am feeling very insecure.

About a year ago, DH started him with the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. At first, he loved it. Then he wanted to stop so they did. One day DS started talking about a younger friend who could read. Reading his tone of voice, I asked him if it made him feel bad that a younger friend could read and he couldn't. He said yes. I then asked him if he wanted to start reading lessons again and he said yes. They started over from lesson 1. DS loved it and was begging to do more than one lesson a day. Some days they did. They got about half way through the book this past summer and then on our family vacation (which was a month long trip visiting family) he wanted to stop. So they did. After we returned rom the trip DH asked DS if he wanted to do more lessons and he said no.

It's been  4 months. Whenever he's asked to start up again, he says no. I really feel that he thinks he can't do it and that is why he is digging his heels in about learning. DH feels totally comfortable with leaving it up to DS. But I don't. I see the insecurity in his eyes. Are there other "methods" that are better than that book that I can gently introduce?

 

-Lauren

post #2 of 49

Read out loud to him.  Anything and everything.  Do audiobooks, picture books, chapter books, whatever he likes.  Answer all his questions succinctly and directly that are related to reading (asking you to read something for him, how to spell something), don't "make" him sound things out, just give him the info. he needs.  Let him write phonetically.  If he's into video games, you might want to get him involved with something like Maple Story or Runescape where he will need to read and type to communicate with others.  I think video games were really the clincher that launched all my boys into literacy, as unpopular of a method as that may be.  My boys also enjoyed graphic novels when they were first reading, esp. Asterix and Obelix. 

 

If it makes you feel any better, I have 3 boys that learned to read at ages 10, 8, and 11 respectively.  My 7.5yo dd is not yet reading.  My oldest started reading novels after getting tired of dh and I falling asleep trying to read him Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings!  He is now 18 and considering an English/writing major. 

 

I would also recommend that you express to your ds that you know he will learn to read when he is ready (even if you don't feel that way).  If he gets concerned that he is not yet reading for himself, you could ask him how he would like to address that.  You could do a couple of pages of read-alouds with him each day, or even pull out the curriculum, but I would really try to feel him out on that esp. at such a young age before requiring it of him.  You *really* do have time!

post #3 of 49

At almost 8, my ds had a dozen or two sight words, mostly ones needed for playing computer games.  He always hated phonics and resisted any sound it out stuff.  He was reading pretty well by the time he was 9.  He went from asking me "what's that say" to "I know, mom.  I can read!"  One thing I did was always read what he asked (no trying to get him to figure it out) because I suspected he knew some of the words and wanted to confirm what he knew privately and find out what he didn't know.  He has always been private about what he knows.  I think it's a touch of perfectionism.  He does not like to demonstrate knowledge unless he is 100% sure.  And he gets resistant to instruction easily.  We also read at bedtime for an hour or two.  

 

I can't speak for what's best for your ds, not knowing him, his learning style, or his temperament.  And I can't recommend any methods (but have you tried letting him mess around on starfall.com?  My ds hated it, lol).  But I can say that my ds couldn't read at almost 8, either.  And now he can without my doing anything much.  I felt confident that he didn't have any learning disabilities that needed to be addressed and that most of his issues were temperamental and due to being a visual spatial learner so I was comfortable waiting.

post #4 of 49

I second read to him as much as possible.

 

If he has a nintendo ds there is an awesome game called Scribblenauts.  It's how my dd learned to read - basically there is a series of obstacles and you can type in any word and have that object appear on the screen.  So, she would type, for example "vumpire" and it would ask "do you mean 'umpire' or 'vampire'?" and she would sound out the words.  At first she played with a lot of assistance from us, but gradually she played on her own more and more.

 

We tried the "100 easy lessons" and stuff and it just never clicked with her.  Like your son she would be interested for a short time and then lose interest.

 

I was feeling completely let down that she would never read and I would never figure out how to teach her but when she learned she learned so fast.  It was like a switch was flicked.  I think it will be the same for your son.  she went from not reading at all straight to chapter books.

post #5 of 49

I agree that 100 easy lessons just might not be the WAY your child will learn to read.  My dd and I both hated it.  She too learns a lot from real world context, and....I am a Mean Mommy.  I have explained to her that I have other responsibilities, and can not be at her 100% beck and call to help her with stuff, so if she wants to do certain things that require reading, she needs to learn how to read so she can do it herself.  Some of that real-life motivation.  smile.gif

post #6 of 49

First, a disclaimer, I am not an unschooler.  

 

But, I think I may have something of value to offer.  I would drop the "100 easy lessons" bit.  I like what everyone else has suggested but would add one more thing.  Oral Games.  The point of these is to boost phonemic awareness skills.  Once phonemic awareness skills are strong, then the child can read when they decide they want to know how.  These games can be done in the car and stopped if he isn't in the mood for a car game.

 

Examples:

The basic Alphabet hunt.  My kids love this.  Start with A -- who is the first that can find something that begins with the /a/ sound (we do the traditional sound OR the letter--so if they get to F and my non reader comes up with a word that starts with PH but still sounds like /f/ we count it).

 

Swap outs.  Start simple: if I were to change the /c/ (say the sound, not the letter) in cat  to a /p/ what would I get.  Do this will all sound positions (beginning, middle, last).  

 

Turtle talk:  this can be like a secret code.  Say a word very slowly (one sound at a time) like you would do to sound out a word.  Your son will decipher this by squishing the sounds back together and saying it back to you.  Then, reverse positions--he does turtle talk and you decipher.  This works both on segmenting and blending skills.  

 

Rhyming games.  With younger kids we just see how many rhymes we can make, but if this seems silly to him, play the concentration game. . . when I was a kid we started this by saying "concentration, concentration is the game, keep the rhythm, or you'll be out of the game. . . . such as rhymes. . . such as cat and hat. . . such as mouse/louse ) etc.  We used to play with all sorts of topics --countries, presidents, names, etc.  My dd and her friend do this game too, but they start it out a bit differently.  You aren't allowed to repeat or go off beat. 

 

Also, when you are reading make sure to take time for poetry, rhymes, etc.  

 

If you need more information about phonemic awareness and/or games to reinforce the skills, check out "reading reflex" from the library.  It is meant for you, not him.  

 

Amy

post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for all the responses. They have all been helpful.

 

I should have stated in the OP that DS loves to listen to stories. Last school year, which according to the system was 1st grade, we read about 25 novels together. Me reading and him listening. So he loves to read. We read every night at bed time. I must admit that I had another baby 6 weeks ago, so I have not been spending as much time reading with him as I used to, but we still read a lot. DH takes the him and his almost 3 year old brother to story time every Saturday morning. They love that. Each child gets a coupon for a free book at our local used book store. And they both love picking out their books.

 

DH is a video game designer, so I am not opposed to video games. DS doesn't have his own Nintendo DS, but we do have one in the house that he can use. So I may look into Scribblenauts.

 

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

 

-Lauren

post #8 of 49

This thread has helped me so much!  My DD is 7.5 and has a good amount of sight words and we do word games- but she is just not getting the whole reading in a book.  It just is not important to her- yet!  I feel like I am such a bad parent on this subject because I have a lot of pressure from outside on the fact that she doesn't read.  But yet, she can do (grade school) 4th grade and 5th grade math.  My husbands keeps saying- as long as we get her to understand how to think and do a lot of games with her she will become interested and start wanting to read here soon.  Thanks!

 

 

post #9 of 49

i also have to admit i am not an unschooler either but i highly recommend the book the power of play.  the author talks a lot about reading readiness and when a child is ready to read it will happen.  he states it is essential not to push a child into reading before they are developmentally ready or they will usually struggle in this area.  good luck!

post #10 of 49

Not sure how you feel about TV (we probably watch less than average in general, but more than the average on Mothering) but the Leap Frog videos like Letter Factory and Word Factory were like my kid's Helen-Keller-at-the-water-pump moment.  One of my kids didn't even know his letter sounds and would get upset anytime he couldn't ID a letter, but now he's spelling 3 letter words all on his own and writing his own Christmas cards.  He began sounding things out after the very first viewing.

 

Mind you, he is a bit younger, so I can see an 8 year old maybe thinking the videos are "lame" or something.  We had also done the 100 easy lessons book and he was so bored and frustrated that we didn't get past lesson 3.  We also used Starfall, and though it seems to have re-enforced the letter and word sounds AFTER he learned about them.  Before that he would just randomly click around and didn't seem to pick up sounds from it.   We have a set of Bob books which start with simple 3 letter words, and he really likes them because he can read an entire book on his own.  He tries bigger books as well (and we read to him daily) but now he's pointing out some words and getting halfway through the bigger ones.   The videos are not great for every kid, but for DS2 it was just the stepping stone he needed to be able to take advantage of the other resources he had access to.

 

(Full disclosure: We're more relaxed homeschoolers, but all the homeschoolers we know consider us unschoolers.  One kid prefers structure and one kid doesn't...this post is about the kid who doesn't.)

post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kreeblim View Post

Not sure how you feel about TV (we probably watch less than average in general, but more than the average on Mothering) but the Leap Frog videos like Letter Factory and Word Factory were like my kid's Helen-Keller-at-the-water-pump moment.  One of my kids didn't even know his letter sounds and would get upset anytime he couldn't ID a letter, but now he's spelling 3 letter words all on his own and writing his own Christmas cards.  He began sounding things out after the very first viewing.

Electric Company is geared for older kids (the new one, not the one from my childhood, lol, which is too dated for my ds to find appealing).  My 9 yo enjoys it.  Between the Lions is good (is that still on?) for early grade school, too.  Shows like that are helpful for visually oriented kids and I think they help cement the things the kid knows or thinks they know.
 

post #12 of 49

I'm not an unschooler, but we homeschool my younger brother and this is what has worked for him:

 

Can he write?  You could dictate stories to him and have him write them for you...telling him the words he doesn't know.  Or alternatively, have him dictate the story to you and then help him read it back.  

 

Starfall is great and he may still enjoy it at his age.  

 

Play the alphabet game with him in the car...the one where you pick out letters on street signs.  Anything to get him learning without thinking about it.  

 

Good luck!  

post #13 of 49

Other PBS shows that are reading related are WordWorld and Super Y.Those cover basic phonics. My dd learned to read probably based on those two shows, since I didn't really work with her except for just reading to her. Electric company has more advanced concepts, such as digraphs and silent letters. They can probably all be watched online too.

post #14 of 49

My daughter disliked 100 Easy Lessons. (I put a brave face on it just in case it worked for her, but to be honest I found it tiresome as well.) She does enjoy Starfall and goes to it often on her own. She is 8 and slowwwly picking it up. My two older children weren't reading basic text until they were 9 and 10 years old, but they're both completely fluent now, reading adult-level text (at ages 11 and 13.)

post #15 of 49

We're not unschoolers, but DD disliked the 100 Easy Lessons, and she liked Starfall, but didn't seem to learn much actual reading from it, yet she thrives on Headsprout. She's nearly finished the Early Reading in 6 months time and is reading on her own pretty well now. You could do a trial and see what he thinks, because it's a bit pricey. If he was halfway through 100 Easy Lessons, are there some things at the library he can read to build his confidence? Or when DD was just starting to read, I wrote short "newspapers" for her, using only words I knew she knew.

post #16 of 49

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Edited by skeptifem - 9/14/11 at 6:31am
post #17 of 49

Comics or manga are a good way to get kids reading and I second the video game recommendation.  Anything that's an RPG would probably do the trick.  Pokemon, Paper Mario, etc. are all very fun and require reading.  I think the desire to be able to play games without needing me to read it to her is what made my niece improve with reading.

post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiderMum View Post

Comics or manga are a good way to get kids reading and I second the video game recommendation.  Anything that's an RPG would probably do the trick.  Pokemon, Paper Mario, etc. are all very fun and require reading.  I think the desire to be able to play games without needing me to read it to her is what made my niece improve with reading.


To add to this, I forgot that part of my kids eagerness to practice reading now comes from they watching DH play Magic the Gathering with his friends, and then being told "sorry guys, this game takes a lot of reading."  

 

Not that card games are for everyone, but sometimes DS1 will actually ask us to do flashcards and worksheets with him because he REALLY wants to play that stupid game sometime soon.

post #19 of 49

My 8yo son (9 in April) started the “school year” in September without reading skills beyond cat, dog, etc. He was so frustrated at that point, because he really did want to read but since he wasn't successful yet he felt stupid and refused to even try anymore :(

 

We had previously tried a lot of different things; Starfall, 100 Easy Lessons, Bob Books, and had very little progress. So I decided to try Explode the Code Online and he took to it right away! This was around the end of September. After just a few months of around 20 minutes a day, (and he doesn’t even do it every day as suggested) he’s now reading at a solid second grade level!

 

I’ve been super pleased with the program and my son is now feeling SO much more confident which has allowed his to really development an enjoyment of reading.  orngbiggrin.gif

 

http://www.explodethecode.com

 

I know a lot of people have liked the books, but the online format really motivated my son, so I totally suggest checking that out if you're ok with your child using the computer for this sort of thing.

post #20 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the newer responses. I've been reading them, just not having time to reply with the new baby. I do read a lot to myself, so he does see me reading. Especially now since I have so much time now that I am breastfeeding a newborn. We got some Captain Underpants from the library, and he loves it. But wants me to read them. Which is fine, I do read to him when I can. But he is not motivated to learn. I am positive it is a confidence thing. I remember when he started drawing, he was so frustrated that the picture didn't come out the way he wanted them to. We talked to him over and over about how art is what you make it. I explained that there was nothing wrong with the product as long as you enjoy doing it. I don't remember how long it took him to change his mind, but for years, he has been crazy about making things out of paper. In fact, it makes me crazy that we have 16 boxes of his projects and he will not get rid of anything. I have talked to him about how practice can be difficult but that he can do almost anything if he practices. I looked at Starfall, but think he wouldn't like it. I could show it to him. Though, DH works from home, so we don't get to use the computer much. A friend of mine just recommended the Explode the Code books. I don't get to talk to her much as we live in different states now, and she rarely uses email. Of course, I forgot the name of the series. Her son and mine had very similar personalities, so I was really excited about trying it. Thanks so much, I will give them a try.

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