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8yo not reading/dh very upset. Resources or suggestions?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I am mostly unschooling wrt reading. I feel like it's self-reinforcing so I don't need to do anything; they'll learn on their own time when they're ready. So one of my 8yo twins does not read -- he's not even close, from what I can see -- and it's starting to upset my dh. He would like to see "progress" and I've promised that I'll work with him. I have a copy of Teach Your Child to Read and... that's it. Suggestions or resources appreciated! 

post #2 of 25
I don't actually believe most children learn to read on their own, whether they are ready or not. (I was very motivated to learn to read at 5 and did learn then - but only because at my request, my father taught me). Learning to read is a major endeavor for most kids. They need guidance, someone to show them/teach them the alphabet, explain about the very confusing spelling/pronunciation system we English speakers must contend with (silent "e" etc.) Reading definitely comes easier to some kids than others, and as parents it really behooves us to take note of when our kid needs a hand. This sounds like it might be a situation where you need to take a more focused approach. I'm sure you'll get many suggestions for resources.
post #3 of 25

Only one of my four kiddos learn to read on their own.  Oldest Daughter taught herself to read at around 31/2 or 4.  I'm not sure how she did, I certainly read to her, but I made no effort to teach her at that age.  


Oldest Son, my step son, is a year old then her and he wasn't able to read when he turned 8.  I had to give up my dream of unschooling all my children because it was clear that was not working for him.  We tried Hooked on Phonics, Explode the Code, and finally it clicked after 6 weeks of intense tutoring from both my MIL (a veteran teacher) and I.  We worked with him every day for at least an hour each and letting him use the old Reader Rabbit computer game. 


Middle Son, my eight year old, started to read when he was about six years old.  I worked with him here and there with phonics, work sheets (he loves work sheets) and letting him play Starfall on my lap top.  It took about a year of casual lessons for him, he's one of the kids we unschool.


Youngest Son, is seven, and he learned to read while I was teaching Middle Son.  He took to it very quickly and reads several grades ahead.  We do school at home with him because of his personality, math and fine motor skills challenge and his ADHD.  


I think every kid has different needs and if Oldest Daughter was my only child, I've be baffled and confused as to why other people's kids weren't reading at 4 or 5 years old.  My beleif in ability to teach children has been taken several pegs over the years.

post #4 of 25

I also have 8-year-old twins (boys) - one has been reading for a couple of years, and the other is just now learning.  FWIW, I could tell early on that there was a big difference in their learning styles, with my later-reader having a very visual, right-brained orientation.  Having heard that the typical time for reading for a child like this is 8-10, I didn't push it until this year (but I've also had the familial pressure, and I feel your pain!).  And, he seemed ready - he really wants to read Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, so the motivation is there.


As far as resources go, what is working well for us right now is a program that I heard about on this forum, sometimes called BRI (Basic Reading Instruction), and sometimes called the "I See Sam" readers.  The first two sets are available here for free.   This program is a little bit different than many others.  If you've tried to teach your child phonics and he just doesn't get it easily, then you may have problems with him trying to guess a lot of the words (right-brained kids struggle to break the word into its parts).  The BRI readers are designed to eliminate guessing and teach them to read through the word.  New words and sounds are introduced so slowly that you can teach reading without separate phonics instruction.  Here is some information from the 3Rs website, which publishes these books: 


"In the BRI series all words are single syllable and fall within a child’s general vocabulary. Each book ‘forces’ the child to look carefully, both inside the word and at the end of the word they are reading; that is, they look all-through-the-word. Linguistic considerations ensure that children have maximum exposure to function words – e.g. the, this, with – and words with minimal visual variety – e.g. is, Sis, sits, sit, it. This frequent use of function words and visually similar words acts in the manner of a trip switch, in this case cutting out tendencies to guess"


We are just finishing BRI set 3 and moving onto ARI 1.  Eliminating his tendencies to guess the words have been a constant struggle and now that the reading is coming more easily, he is making many fewer guessing mistakes.  He is starting to complain a bit that the books are for little kids, but his reading is really coming along well and so we'll at least go through the next set.  We slog through reading Harry Potter between the BRI books to keep him happy.


HTH, best wishes.

post #5 of 25

We had 'Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons' and personally, I thought it was twaddle-like, and a lot of it (like the writing) was unnecessary. 


We used Bob Books here and there, thru the library, and at least they are slightly cute and more fun.


We are on DC#3 now and for him, I use Alpha-Phonics.  It's about $20, a red book with spiral binding I got from the library, and then from Amazon.

We use that and letter flash cards, and I have a Magna-Doodle I write words on and help him sound them out.

This has been the best for us so far.


We are really laid-back, and do it in a fun way, depending on what he wants to do that day, etc.


I have found though that sometimes my DC say they don't 'want to' do something (like reading lessons) when really they just feel intimidated by the new things they are learning, and if I can get them to just give me 15 minutes a day consistantly with it... in a week or two, suddenly they love it and will beg for more, because they now have more confidence with it and are comfortable with it, and start to fly thru it.


post #6 of 25

I second the I See Sam books.  We love them here.  I do use more than just them because my dd is dyslexic, but most people could just use them.  The do go very slowly at first.  This was a bonus for us because it helped instill confidence in my dd.  There is one site that also offers a booster level.  It is done after set 1 and 2 and just reinforces all those sounds before heading to set three.  We are currently finishing up with ARI set 1.  It is really nice to know that they CAN read all the words in the books.  All of them follow the phonics and patterns that have been taught.  Even the names can be sounded out.


You can also try a reading program online like headsprout.  



post #7 of 25

i third the "i see sam" books.  i hated teach your child to read in 100 ez lessons.  however, i do like ordinary parent's guide to teaching reading. a lot of libraries have it, so it would be a good suggestion imho.  there are so many programs, and really most are very good.  we also really like hooked on phonics & i've used it successfully with both children....some libraries have that as well. hth

post #8 of 25

Like zinemama, I don't think that reading is something that people generally learn on their own. There are a lot of skills one has to put together to be able to read and tutoring or teaching is probably a requirement.


We've used The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and 100 Easy Lessons. The kids and I both like the Ordinary Parent's Guide better than the other. It has a lot less writing and well, time wasting.


post #9 of 25

I like Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading and the printable books (read with your child) at www.progressivephonics.com .



post #10 of 25

I am not going to weigh in on whether or not kids learn to read on their own.  I was never really willing to risk have issues around non reading to find out.  I have delayed reading/academics (with my youngest until she was a solid 7.75) - but have never gone so far as to wait to see whether they would pick it up themselves.  


Given the fact that your DH thinks it is an issue, he is at age where he can probably learn to read fairly easily and not reading could be embarrassing/prevent him from going further in academic pursuits - I would recommend you start actively teaching him to read.  Do it daily. Expect fluency to take awhile and do not overwhelm him (15 minutes may be it at first).   Use different instruments - from books, to worksheets, to games in the car on letter sounds, to computer games.  Read to him, but as he progresses, do not read for him.


Good luck - you can do this!



post #11 of 25

One thing I do disagree with many unschoolers is the total absolute idea kids will learn on their own.  One issues I disagree with structure programs is that reading instruction is painful for everyone involved.  I don't agree that reading and writing occur at the same time.  If they did my child with dysgraphia would have never learned to read or write (lol).  

I am a believer of don't stop reading to him!  Take turn reading.  Be patient.  


I agree that he can suffer embarrassment because he cannot read.  


Also, his not reading could be a sign that he has a learning disablity. Not saying I expect him to read well but at his age most kids are reading and the ones that are not progressing need to be watch and potentially evaluated for learning disorders.  


One thing I learned from my first child -- there are many awesome concepts of unschooling.  Yet some kids, thrive and do better with structure.  My son needed to see the baby steps.  He need to feel accomplishments of finishing a step, and he needed someone to tell him what that step was.  He has taught himself many things.  Now I could leave him alone to structure himself, if that is what he wanted. Yet at the same time I listen to him.  He wants to be an engineer.  Our local public high school has a program.  He is excelling and he does question why people cannot teach themself or self direct. My other kids I could see being more free.




post #12 of 25
Originally Posted by Lakeeffectsnow View Post


I think every kid has different needs and if Oldest Daughter was my only child, I've be baffled and confused as to why other people's kids weren't reading at 4 or 5 years old.  My beleif in ability to teach children has been taken several pegs over the years.

Gotta agree.  My older 2 learned to read easily and with little instruction around age 6.  My youngest?  Lots of instruction and around age 8.  She is coming along really well, though!

post #13 of 25

I think children are able to learn to read on their own; just like I think anyone can sit down to a piano and learn (on their own) to read music. I don't think many people want to have to sit down to a piano book and look at the notes, and have to try and figure it out. Yikes! I would want to sit with a person explaining the notes, keys, position...to me. I know I would be easily frustrated with trying to figure it out. 


If your eight-year-old doesn't know the letter sounds, I would start there. Moving on to blends, and then sight words. It might work to pick a program geared toward his age, and maybe an online one with games.

post #14 of 25

We have enjoyed the I See Sam as well and made great progress.  I think some kids might just learn on their own to read but I think for many that would be very difficult and I am glad to have found some tools to help him learn.  The English language is confusing enough as it is.

post #15 of 25

Have you had his eyes checked lately?


My oldest niece was having a really hard time learning to read. My sister took her in for an eye exam because the teacher thought she couldn't see what was on the chalkboard. It turns out that she was seeing double when she was trying to read. After she got her glasses it was so much easier! She never told us she was seeing double when looking at the lines of text in books.... she said she had always seen it that way and thought it was normal.

post #16 of 25

My son is 9. I tried unschooling him with reading and it clearly wasn't working. We now use Happy Phonics and  I have seen real improvement. He's not reading smoothly yet but he's getting there. 

post #17 of 25

 The best way to teach a child to read fluently is with word decoding lists. Have the child highlight the small words or sounds within the word.  Using this decoding method creates confident, fluent readers in a very short time.


post #18 of 25

Here's another MDC threads that would also be helpful:

"I have a 7 yr. old non-reader" support group"


And if you do a Search with the word "reading" here, you'll find a whole lot of other good ones that you might want to check out. As you read through others' experiences, it becomes pretty obvious that there's no one best way to help a child learn to read - there are some real differences in the way people learn. And sometimes it really is a matter of the right time for the development for that one particular skill to come into place - but sometimes there are easily missed issues such as vision skill deficiencies or dyslexia that need to be examined. This is a good time to begin exploring the various possibilities without having to go through stress on yourself or your child, keeping in mind that it's pretty rare for someone to grow up not being able to read when he has the caring attention of a parent or parents exploring the various elements of the situation for him. You have plenty of time to gather the pieces of the picture, so remember to relax and enjoy the journey with him.  Lillian

post #19 of 25

If you want something very simple, easy, fun, and free please try Progressive Phonics. 

post #20 of 25

No advice but some encouragement. (A bit different for us since ds was in public school.) Ds went into 3rd grade barely reading. By the beginning of 4th grade, he was reading way above grade level.


It did take extra help: reading wasn't something he just learned on his own. (And I'd have to look up what we did and what the reading specialists did--a few years down the line and I can't remember!.) But once he got it, he got it and flourished. One challenge: ds didn't want to read the easy books because he was interested in big concepts, but he couldn't get the words in the big concept books. Those DK books that break big concepts down into lots of single small paragraphs were useful. He was willing to work at those because they were interesting.

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