She's not reading...and I'm discouraged and scared - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DD will turn 8 in January. She LOVES books. In fact, I'd say she lives for books. She watches no t.v. (her choice) and has no interest in the computer. But she can't read much beyond basic 3 letter words.

While I would love to believe fully in the unschooling philosophy I will admit to having tried a number of things to help get her reading. She's done starfall and Reading Eggs (both a bust because they're boring and they involve the computer). We've tried Progressive Phonics. I've bought her McGuffey Readers (because she's obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder). She's read the Bob books. We've got sight word cards. We have magnetic words on the fridge. We've signed out numerous Pre-Level 1 and Level 1 Readers from the library. With enough repetition, she memorizes them and then "reads" them.

She has quite a memory which is typical at this age I think. Last year, she memorized the first 3 pages of Caddie Woodlawn - a chapter book. She looked at the words for cues but it was essentially memorized.

She doesn't like to do anything that is "hard". Her usual response is to whine and cry when I try to encourage her. We tried Right Start Math last year. Within a week she declared that she "hated" math and it was horrible. Piano practice is unpleasant for both of us, although she declares she doesn't want to give up the lessons.

Last night I printed off a phonemic awareness assessment from Reading Rockets. While she didn't respond as quickly as I thought she would to the questions, she did answer them all correctly.

I just don't know how long I should wait for her to just "get it". I'm scared that if I don't keep pushing and forcing her to work on it, that some magic window of opportunity will pass her by and she'll never be able to learn how to read. Or that she'll have some unknown learning disability.

Any insights are appreciated.
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#2 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 02:13 AM
 
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Well, first of all I don't think you are at the panic stage yet in terms of her age. And I will say that with all you are doing to try and get it going perhaps she is sensing your anxiety and feeling some pressure - all of which is going to make it harder for her to progress, IMO.

My best advice to you is to let go. I've heard of kids that didn't start reading until they were 9 or 10, but then pick it up very quickly. With all the books your daughter loves to "read" she is picking up the information she needs, storing it away in her brain, and when the time is right I'm sure she will put it all together and make it work for her.

As for the Math, I've had the same thing happen even though I've never pushed it. She found some math games that were for older kids and when she couldn't get them she decided she was not good at math and that "math sucked". However, she doesn't yet realize that math is more than just Q&A, and when she does other types of math she has fun and enjoys it. Anyways, my point is with a child like that you need to back way off and eventually they will figure out themselves that math is not a scary thing and can be fun and they can be "good" at it when it is presented to them in a way that "works" for them.

I know this doesn't help with your anxiety, and I can understand it for sure. Perhaps if you read up on the subject on some unschooling sites it will help ease your mind.

(oh, btw, there is NOTHING wrong with "memorizing" to read. it's how I learned and I was reading at 3 and fluent by 5. DD is the exact same way. we are visual learners and memorizing words as images works great for us, phonics is a useless concept for us. If that's what works for her then great!)

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#3 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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Have you had her eyes checked? I would get her checked out by a developmental opthmalogist to make sure that there isn't something about her vision that makes reading extra challenging.

It may be that she just isn't ready, but it sounds like you're both frustrated enough by this to put some energy into investigating possible explanations.
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#4 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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I agree with Piglet.

Does your dd like to listen to books on tape? Perhaps you could get some, along with the actual book, so that she could follow along--SEEING the words as she hears them might help.

Has she had a vision test? A screening by a developmental optometrist might be something I'd do at this stage. There are some vision problems that don't require glasses, but still DO interfere with the ability to read (http://www.children-special-needs.or...a_reading.html)

Some kids just aren't ready at 8, but since she's frustrated, I'd probably have a screening done just to rule out any problems.

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#5 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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Last year at this time, my son was the same age and at the same level of reading as your daughter. Now, he can read above his "grade" level. He had done some work in a starfall workbook because he had asked to. I don't think that made the difference though. He just seemed to "get it" these past few months.

He has always loved books and spends a lot of time listening to audio books. He has a great vocabulary which I think is due, in large part, to listening to the stories.

I do think that if you think she may have a learning disability, it would be a good idea to have her assessed.
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#6 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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Do you still read aloud to her? A lot of literacy skills are built by being read aloud to while following along. And while books on tape are useful, I think in person reading by a parent is more effective for teaching an appreciation of reading.
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#7 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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At your dd's age, my ds had a handful of sight words, mostly ones learned from playing computer games like the word "start" that would need to be clicked. I joked he could read strange things like "The tank exploded on Mars" but had no clue what "The cat sat on the hat" said. He memorized words that had meaning to him. Big words came before small ones and he never never "sounded it out." His list of words grew. I was unsure of how he'd do on the required (in my state) standardized test that he had to take at 8 1/2. He did surprisingly well. He did get overwhelmed at the whole page of text in the reading comprehension section but he was fine with reading the shorter parts (separate sentences and phrases). Today in the car, he read interesting parts of the ThinkGeek catalog to me. He reads well but is still overwhelmed at reading an actual book. But I've seen so much progress, I know he's fine. My niece was very similar. Now she's 11 and curls up with books.

There is no magic window for reading. Sometimes there is an issue like a vision problem but it really sounds like your dd is just not quite ready to read. She is likely a bit of a perfectionist. She doesn't like to demonstrate knowledge unless she'd 100% sure she's right. Reading aloud to perfectionists is extremely helpful. It gives them the opportunity to follow along with their eyes and see if they know what they think they know without feeling stressed or pressured.

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#8 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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Don't panic!!!
My dd did not read until she was about that age. DS, 10 just "got it" this summer. He went from a few sight words to really understanding the concept over night. A few weeks ago he was playing a board game with a cousin and the cousin was asking DS to read the questions to him - cousin is the same age, grade (in public school) and DS is reading WAY better than cousin.

FWIW, memorizing is actually how we read. We don't sound words out as we read, only when we do not recognize a word. Unfortunately for kids, they have to sound out almost everything until they get most words memorized.

Loving books and stories is a very good sign that when reading clicks for her she will love it but she is just not ready. I would rather have DS learn to love books and then to read than to be so put off by the stress of being forced to read and learn to hate them - referring to public school and kids that are not ready, not the bit you have done. We did teach him the concepts but had to wait on him to take off with it.

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#9 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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I just have a moment - will get back later - but here's a link to another thread that some have found pretty helpful: "I have a 7 year old non-reader" support group. It includes discussion of older children as well. - Lillian
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#10 of 25 Old 09-07-2010, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you to all who have posted so far. I really appreciate your comments, particularly from the parents who've BTDT.
My current stress (apart from the ongoing pressure from family) may have been brought on because DD's friend, who is 9 months younger and who also wasn't reading much, has recently just picked it up. She just picks up books and reads them, asking for help when she needs it but pretty much charging along with them.
I read to DD on average 1 - 2 hours/day. She also listens to books on tape but mostly things like Little House, Little Men, Five Little Peppers, etc. It's difficult to follow along with those books because of the small print and the speed at which they're read. She does try with Little Men though.
I've had her basic vision checked twice but I'll consider the other vision testing. Thanks for the suggestion.
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#11 of 25 Old 09-08-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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My dd didn't read fluently until 8ish also, I got tons of flack from my mom about it. But dd is pretty sensitive, doesn't like to make mistakes so she doesn't like being corrected. We did letter stuff when she was little and then some phonics but honestly it was just making it worse so I totally let it go, for like 2-3 years. I still read to her because she liked that. She had tons of books she spent time with alone. I knew that she just needed time for it to click and one day it just did. She became a fluent reader almost over night at the point and has been non-stop ever since.

The best thing I did was back off, don't stress about it and I didn't allow my mom to stress her out or test her like adults always like to do. Oh honey, what does that say? Nope, didn't play that. My mom yelled at me but I just calmly told her it would be fine and to let it go.
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#12 of 25 Old 09-08-2010, 09:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Island Mommy View Post
She just picks up books and reads them, asking for help when she needs it but pretty much charging along with them.
.
This is the way reading happened for all of my kids--suddenly. We read to them, and they picked out a couple of sight words here and there, and then, seemingly overnight, they were reading--chapter books, on "grade level" or above, on their own.

One was 11, one was 6 and one was 10.

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#13 of 25 Old 09-09-2010, 09:15 AM
 
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My Dd will also be 8 in January - what day is your Dd's b-day? Mine's in 1/13!

She doesn't read yet either. Dd1 read by herself at such an early age that sometimes I'll catch myself worrying as I'm comparing them (which I try not to consciously do...but sometimes it happens.) Those two are just sooooo different.

Dd2 does like to tote books around and becomes attached to them. She'll flip through them for long periods of time, but I know she can't read. She can recognize some words, especially all of our names and some three letter words. She'll write letters to her friends if I help her spell the words out, so she recognizes words like "to," "from," and "love."

We still read aloud (probably not "enough" and definitely not as much as Dd1 got as she was growing up into a "big kid.")

Lately people have noticed and lightly made fun of her which pisses me off to no end. But I'm confident that pushing her when she's not ready will cause her to shut down and dislike reading. I'm also confident that she WILL get it when she's ready & that it will probably happen over night.

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#14 of 25 Old 09-09-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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My dd was similar to yours. I did not want to push too hard and turn her off reading since, like your dd, she loved books. I waited for her to just get it. So, two sides to the story: She eventually just got it. It did seem to happen practically overnight, and she went straight into a 400-pg. chapter book with no problem. However, that did not happen until she was 12. I feel like she missed out, not reading during those years. I read to her, she listened to books on tape, but still, I feel like there are so many wonderful books to read at that age that she missed. I feel like if I had known it would take that long, I would have tried harder to "teach" her to read.

She says all the time "I'm so glad I can finally read!" I know she was embarrassed by being a non-reader and there were activities we avoided because of it. It was definitely a handicap and source of embarrassment and the only thing that made it OK for her was that her best friend was also a late reader.

I don't think I have any great advice... my dd hated phonics - I mean HATED, and still does not get "sounding out". I don't know what I would have done to "teach" her to read, because she resisted like your dd. Things may click into place for your dd tomorrow, or in a month. But mine took four more years, and I don't think that was an entirely positive thing. I believed everything I read about how it would just happen, and of course it did, but in my opinion it would have been better for her to read earlier. I have to admit I ended up resenting the story you hear so much, of the child who doesn't read and then picks up War and Peace at age 8 or 9. I wish someone had told me, yeah, you can do everything right and wait for them to get it on their own, and still end up with a twelve year old non-reader.

Something has to fill the time that a pre-teen could spend reading and honestly, I got tired of reading aloud so much. She either had a book on tape going, or wanted me to read to her and I often wished she could curl up with her own book as I enjoyed doing so much at that age. She did say to me once "why didn't you teach me to read when I was little?" and that just about broke my heart because I did TRY! and I thought I was doing the right thing. Well, she can read now and loves books and I guess that's what matters. But had I known what I know now, I think I would have tried to find a way to help her to read sooner.
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#15 of 25 Old 09-10-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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#16 of 25 Old 09-10-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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My ds just turned 8 and has been "reading" for a while... By that I mean that he could read things but didn't want to admit it and hated books. He never let us read to him when he was younger but he played a lot of video games that were designed for older kids/adults and learned to read through that...

If you try to "teach" him, he will resist and he will try to stay away from whatever it is as much as possible... He really needs to figure things out for himself... He also needs to know that he can do it before showing us that he can... he is a perfectionist like that.

Though we knew he could read, we had no idea to what extent. He would not pick up a book beside D&D manual etc and I think books were just scary because there are so many words all linked together and he seemed to be intimidated by them...

Anyway... last spring he started to read a few simple books (Dr Seus etc) to his brothers before bed and then I decided to buy a book that I thought he may like. He didn't want to read it so DH decided to start it and starting reading out some funny parts to me in the car and then DS decided to try.... since then, he can't stop reading... he reads a few hours a day and has gone through so many books including many books that I read in my teen years...

Anyway... just to say, when it clicks... it clicks...

 
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#17 of 25 Old 09-10-2010, 11:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllyMayMomma View Post

FWIW, memorizing is actually how we read. We don't sound words out as we read, only when we do not recognize a word. Unfortunately for kids, they have to sound out almost everything until they get most words memorized.
I am still amazed on how this works... my son never learned phonetics or letters or how to sounds things out, he memorized words because of them repeating in the games he was playing and the rest just came. He actually doesn't sound out new words, but seems to recognize similarities between words and figures them out... and it is a very fast process..

 
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#18 of 25 Old 09-11-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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In the same boat here. My dd just turned 8. She's been able read cvc words for years, and she's got quite a few sight words, but she's no where near reading. She loves books on tape, story telling and has a good vocab, so mostly I don't worry. She will not tolerate even the smallest bit of guidance from me.

For fun, my hubby gave her a reading test last week (he's an SLP). She scored in the 1st percentile. He also gave her an language test and she was in the 95 percentile. What a gap! The schools would be flipping out. We are not. Though I am anxious! I have a hard time waiting patiently.

I am encouraged by her recent interest in writing. She spent a evening writing letters to me while by dh played postman. Very sweet to see all that creative spelling. Dh and I were very encouraged and would love to see more, but know better than to push with our kid.

So it's happening. I thought it would happen years ago! There is no magic window of opportunity. Most children are not given the opportunity to learn on their own timetable, so it's hard to see how normal an 8 year beginning reader is. So hang in there! If you want to reassure yourself, take a closer look at her vocab, and her comprehension.
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#19 of 25 Old 09-11-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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I'm not quite where you are, but getting there. My DS just turned six, and will have NOTHING to do with any kind of guidance in reading. We read lots of stuff, he'll write the five letters he knows and tell me the "sentences" he is writing(he knows it's not really writing anything), and ask me to read signs and labels for him occasionally. My DD who turns three in a couple weeks, on the other hand, knows her alphabet(can say as well as point them out) has memorized entire small books. It is pretty frustrating... I know that it's an individual difference thing and that all the hang-ups about it are the one's I've learned from society. But it is still tough to watch them struggle. I know my son wants to read so that makes me want to "teach him"... But honestly I don't want to mess with his wanting to learn for fear that I ruin it for him by trying to MAKE him learn before he's ready.

I'd like to take a moment and say that maybe looking at adults around you could open up your eyes and offer a little comfort in letting her work it out in her own time. We all develop at different rates, and forcing that development is probably a bad idea. My husband and I for instance... We both have similar IQs, we were both public schooled around the same time with similar methods, but we have big differences in reading fluency... I burn through books, can read aloud quickly, accurately, and in tune with the story, and have no problem quickly figuring out large words that are new to me. I am also a high school drop-out. My DH reads far slower, stumbles through reading children's books aloud, and has to "sound out" large words that are pretty common as well as the new ones, and then still doesn't get it sometimes. He is a college graduate with a degree in applied sciences and graduated stop of his class in high school.

We both learned to read... Were "taught" to read. The difference I think is developmental. In our society kids are "taught" to read between 5 and 7 years of age. I think maybe I was learning spontaneously at that time anyway... I was developmentally ready to read. I think my husband, had he been given his own time, would have been a "late reader". I think forcing a method of learning a person can damage their ability to learn naturally. My guess is that, even though he DID learn to read when he was 'supposed to' based on societal expectations, he didn't learn to read in the way that would have made it a natural, easy thing for him. It helps me to be patient and not push my son. He is getting it... At his own pace in the individual way that his brain is meant to get it. I don't want to mess that up.
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#20 of 25 Old 09-12-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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My dd was at least 9 before she got it and ds just really picked it up this summer. I am being a lot more patient with ds2 than I was with dd. It will come when the child is ready.

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#21 of 25 Old 09-12-2010, 02:26 AM
 
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You know what? You might be comforted by reading some of the Moore's research about reading. I know it's been a help to me in understanding what is "normal" as far as how and when children read. Here's an article that discusses some of this:

http://www.homeschool.com/articles/b...pt/default.asp
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#22 of 25 Old 09-12-2010, 02:46 AM
 
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I am not unschooling, however...

My daughter (just turned six) was sloowwwly sounding out three letter words last May. As of August, she was reading and spelling rapidly and fluently at a 2nd grade level. Almost at a 3rd grade level now. I taught her basic phonics during the last school year (K).. just consonent sounds and short vowel sounds. Over the summer she was allowed to do as she pleased (think radical unschooling).

What happened? She started playing an online computer game for kids called Roblox, but any online environment that allows chat would have done the trick. Club Penguin, etc. She really, really wanted to chat with the other kids she was playing with, so she would ask us to read the chat log to her and type in responses. After a week or so of this, I told her it was taking up too much time and I couldn't sit and help her while she played for hours. So she figured it out, and I just helped her by calling out the spelling for an occasional word she didn't know how to spell.

I know you said your daughter doesn't care for the computer, but what about using it in an apparently non-educational context? What if she signed up for one of the online games designed for kids and just .. played the game? Both Roblox and Club Penguin have very strong filters to prevent inappropriate chat from taking place.

Other thoughts:
Alphabetical picture dictionary?
Something with words and speech at the same time -- TumbleBooks, karaoke, closed captioned videos?
Low/High books? (Intended for older kids who struggle with reading.) The idea here would be to get some of these books that have subject material intended for older kids but are written at, say, a 1st-2nd grade level and don't read them to her, let her figure out what they say herself.

If she loves books.. and you're reading them to her.. maybe you should cut down on how much you'll read to her. I realize this sounds kind of mean, but that's exactly the situation that prompted my daughter to learn to read on her own over the course of a few months. I just reduced my reading all of the chat / typing things in for her over a week or so until I was barely helping at all. I genuinely didn't have time to sit there and help her all day, so she had to either learn herself (with only occasional help) or just not chat with the other kids. She chose to figure it out.

HTH

--K
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#23 of 25 Old 12-26-2010, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just thought I'd post a happy update.  Soon after my original post I contacted a friend of the family who has been teaching reading for 30 years.  I wanted her to informally assess my dd to make sure there were no learning disabilities that I was missing.  DD tested at a pre-primer reading level which is lower than grade 1 which was obviously not a surprise to me.

 

DD has been seeing this friend for 4 months, 1-2 times/week for an hour for reading instruction.  The instruction is coming to an end now as the teacher is going on an extended vacation.  At her last assessment this past week DD tested at a beginning grade 2 reading level!

 

Her progress has been astonishing.  Like everyone has said, when it happens, it happens.

 

I have no idea how much the direct instruction is to credit or whether she was just ready.  But I thought I should post this so that anyone searching for threads about struggling readers would know what happened in this situation.

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#24 of 25 Old 12-27-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Nice to see this update.  Happy reading to you and ddsmile.gif


no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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#25 of 25 Old 01-08-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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I'm having trouble posting so I'll try this right quick:

 

http://www.optometrists.org/therapists_teachers/vision_learning_dyslexia.html


Jen 47 DS C 2/03  angel.gif04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.

mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mamacandle.gif

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