Almost 8 year old not reading - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 49 Old 12-11-2010, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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

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#2 of 49 Old 12-11-2010, 12:23 PM
 
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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!

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#3 of 49 Old 12-11-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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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.


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#4 of 49 Old 12-12-2010, 08:01 AM
 
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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.


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#5 of 49 Old 12-12-2010, 08:42 AM
 
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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


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#6 of 49 Old 12-12-2010, 08:45 AM
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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


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#7 of 49 Old 12-12-2010, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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

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#8 of 49 Old 12-12-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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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!

 

 


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#9 of 49 Old 12-14-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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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!

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#10 of 49 Old 12-22-2010, 04:30 PM
 
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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.)

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#11 of 49 Old 12-23-2010, 06:16 AM
 
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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.
 


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#12 of 49 Old 12-25-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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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!  


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#13 of 49 Old 12-26-2010, 07:36 AM
 
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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.

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#14 of 49 Old 01-02-2011, 08:25 PM
 
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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.)

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#15 of 49 Old 01-02-2011, 08:37 PM
 
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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.


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#16 of 49 Old 01-03-2011, 12:55 PM
 
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#17 of 49 Old 01-03-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 49 Old 01-03-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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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.

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#19 of 49 Old 01-03-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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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.


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#20 of 49 Old 01-04-2011, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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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#21 of 49 Old 01-04-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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I'd not worry :)   He'll get it. My almost 11 yo isn't reading very much yet, but his brother was the same way. We tried lots of things with his older brother, but nothing seemed to click. We listened to tons of audio books--think 6-10 or more young adult/adult books a week!, read to him, he saw us reading, etc. 

 

My parents were hysterical that he was 9 and couldn't read so they offered to pay for 6 mos at Sylvan (at nearly $400/mo GASP) because they were sure it was 'my' teaching methods. We had him tested to begin and he was at a K6mos level if I remember correctly, but his vocabulary and comprehension were that of a freshman in college (hello audio books!). They said he OBVIOUSLY had some undiagnosed learning disability and they'd get him 2 grades at least in those 6 mos. So, we took him.....for 4 mos as he lost interest but we stuck with it. They gave tickets or something where you could earn a treat/toy and that kept him intersted for a while.  So, they did an exit test and he hadn't advanced even 1 month in those SIX months....so much for 2 grades. They of course said it wasn't THEIR methods...he needed officially tested by a professional for a learning disability! 

 

So, we kept up with what we were doing. My parents were less fussy as obviously it wasn't just me who couldn't 'teach' him, and at close to 11, he decided he really, really wanted to read Harry Potter. He sat down with Hooked on Phonics Master Reader on the computer and finished grades 2 to 6th in about 3 weeks. And then picked up books and began to read. Hasn't stopped since. He's a voracious reader and has a book with him at all times.

 

All through the times he couldn't read well....he still always felt he was a great reader...because no one told him differently. Now, at almost 15, he's a better and much more prolific reader than anyone his age we know. And has an amazing vocabulary and sarcastic wit!

 

So, I expect here shortly, his brother is going to spring through the same steps he did as I can see the sparks there with him as well. He's a much more physical child and always moving, running, playing, digging in the dirt, building with his hands, and the thought of stopping and spending hours to learn something just hasn't occured to him yet. He knows sight words for things he uses on a regular basis and we read for him if he asks us to. He'll get it eventually!


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#22 of 49 Old 01-04-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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Get some eye tests done by an osteopath who understands cranial anatomy, structure & function related to vision. Structural issues are actually quite common to kids who don't read normally.  The exact corrective glasses prescription, not contacts, made a huge difference for my daughter.  Before that, no matter what we did her reading suffered. 

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#23 of 49 Old 01-05-2011, 12:35 AM
 
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This older thread has almost 80 posts and quite a bit of helpful input: "I have a 7 yr. old non-reader" support group.  I hope someone has already mentioned the possibility of vision skill problems, but I'll get back tomorrow and check. Still recovering from a few days of fever.   ;)   Lillian

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#24 of 49 Old 01-06-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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 I wanted to pop in and say that my son was the same way.  He is almost 10 and just in the last year really started taking off w/reading.  And it was simply because he wasn't interested yet/didn't find a good reason to spend the time practicing.  I've had people think that we just don't teach him.  I just let that stuff roll right off because I knew he'd get it when he was ready, and he did.  We recently started using Time4learning again, and in the past, he wasn't interested in the language arts at all.  Now he will sit for so long doing it (so that he can "catch up") that I have to make him take a break!  He did 3 hrs of language arts yesterday and when I let him choose which subject to do this morning he went straight to LA.  He blew through 2 levels in just a month. (that's 2 whole grade levels).

 

BTW, the thing that finally sparked his interest was Captain Underpants books, and then he really, really wanted the Criss Angel Mindfreak Platinum magic kit, and I told him he'd have to better his reading skills.  So he did.

 

Good luck, Mama, and ignore others who poo-poo your methods.  Do what you feel is best for your son.

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#25 of 49 Old 01-06-2011, 05:15 PM
 
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Quote:
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Quote:
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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.


Oh yes!  I forgot about TCGs (Trading Card Games)!  Magic is somewhat complex (for the younger child, though each child is different), but there are others like the Pokemon TCG or Yugioh! TCG that are a more simplified version of a similar type of game.  All require reading though.  Of course there are others besides those too, Wizard of the Coast makes a LOT of different card games based on all sorts of different stuff.

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#26 of 49 Old 01-06-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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At some point, if he continues for some time to lack confidence in his abilities, you might want to make sure his vision skills are okay - those problems quite often go undiagnosed. He can have 20/20 vision and still have problems that can cause unease with reading. My son's eyes weren't tracking across the text smoothly; someone else might be seeing letters falling off the page; someone else might see blank spots on the page; someone else might be seeing everything fine but without being able to recall it in the brain - but all those things are correctable. 


My son knew how to read when he was 8, but avoided it other than for getting information out of a book until he was 12, when we eventually discovered he had problems with vision skills. Once he got into therapy for that, he  became a voracious reader. I had read to him a lot before that, and he loved it, so it was merely a continuation of the reading we'd experienced together.

Here's a thread where it's discussed, and it leads to another one where it was also discussed quite a bit: 

? for anyone who did vision therapy

Something else we'd looked into was the possibility of dyslexia - it's another one that's often undiagnosed and not obvious. It was during work with a therapist that we discovered my son's vision skill problems, but I discovered that I had dyslexia tendencies of my own. This article about our experience tells more: 

Dylexia - A Gift?


I'd ordinarily have more to add, but still don't quite have my energy back from a virus, so will come back later.  ; )   - Lillian

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#27 of 49 Old 01-07-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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Lots of boys, especially those who would be identified in the school system as ADD, LD, etc etc, learn to read and write later. For a lot of these kids, phonics just doesn't make sense. My ds learned his alphabet, knew what letter made what sound, but couldn't put those sounds together to form words. When he learned to read, it was whole words. Once he'd come across a word several times he'd absorb it into his memory bank. So for him, the word sent and the word dictionary are equally difficult to read. Once he's learned it, he knows it. A lot of these kids don't write until around 11. In my opinion, this doesn't make them 'delayed' - I observed that my son was building a lot of other skills duing the time that his peers were learning to read. He had a huge vocabulary, his verbal skills were above average, his memory for detail and his ability to plan and carry out projects were excellent.  We pulled ds out of school half way through grade 1 - he had a D in reading. We left him on his own for reading, didn't pressure him at all, and read to him a lot. He was surrounded by books, so there was a definite incentive to learn to read. One thing that really inspired him was Garfield. There is no better 'reader' in the world than Garfield. They're funny, age appropriate, simple language, one sentence per square, three squares per comic and the picture supports the text. My ds puzzled over those comics until he got them. Then he graduated to Calvin and Hobbes, then on to TinTin and Asterix, and now reads anything and everything. I'm not saying sit down with Garfield and do lessons. Just strew them around, see if interests him.

 

Here's an interesting site on right brain children and how they learn - it might ring some bells for you. http://applestars.homeschooljournal.net/an-introduction-to-the-creative-right-brained-learner/

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#28 of 49 Old 01-07-2011, 05:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scoobymummy View Post

One thing that really inspired him was Garfield. There is no better 'reader' in the world than Garfield. They're funny, age appropriate, simple language, one sentence per square, three squares per comic and the picture supports the text. My ds puzzled over those comics until he got them. Then he graduated to Calvin and Hobbes, then on to TinTin and Asterix, and now reads anything and everything. I'm not saying sit down with Garfield and do lessons. Just strew them around, see if interests him.

 



Ah! Calvin & Hobbes! I can't tell you how many times I've heard that was what got different older children reading. And another one used to be Nintendo Power, but games have changed a whole lot since then, so I have no idea whether that one is still a resource boys are pouring over. - Lillian

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#29 of 49 Old 01-09-2011, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You all are helping me so much. Thank you. I am calming down a bit. I went to order the explode the code book A and DS came in and saw me ordering it and said, "this is stupid, I'm not using it".  So I canceled the order. I was pretty frustrated, but now I see how I have to stop pushing. He is enjoying Captain Underpants, so I will have to get more. And I will find some other comics that he likes.

 

scoobymummy- that article was so interesting. It sums up my child. I bookmarked the page so I can read more of the articles later.

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#30 of 49 Old 01-10-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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There is also a forum for homeschoolers of right brained children - they all have great ideas and are very supportive. Here's the link:

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschoolingcreatively/messages

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