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#1 of 15 Old 12-18-2009, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so I recently pulled my 6½ out of public school. She was halfway through her second try at Kindy and doing REALLY well... for Kindy level. Anywho, that's a long story. I just wanted to offer a bit of background to explain where we're at now.

The issue I am having currently is with teaching my DD to read. I had tried to teach her to read over the summer. It was not a success. I was rushed and clueless. It ended in a lot of tears and frustration for both of us. I was in such a hurry to "get it done" and she just does NOT work well under pressure. It makes me feel really bad.

So now that we're home schooling, I am able to take a more relaxed approach. I know that there is no time limit on learning. I accept that she will progress at her own pace. But in the meantime I have some concerns. I'm not sure if this is normal 6-year-old/ newbie reader & writer behavior. Quite often she will write letters and numbers backward. 3s, 6s, Cs, etc. She will also read things backwards. She knows that you sound a word out from the first letter on... and yet there are times that she'll start with the last letter... or pull a letter out of the middle and just throw a random word out there. A large part of me gets frustrated because I feel that she's just not focusing or she's being lazy or whatever. But then another part of me is legitimately concerned. Dyslexia and learning disabilities are prevalent in our family. I, myself, have dealt with a variation of it. I think it might be called discalcula now, although they called it "physical dyslexia" when I was younger. Mine hasn't affected my reading or writing performance, but it does affect things like learning to ride a bike and other tasks that involve certain levels of coordination. I will also randomly pull letters together when I'm reading fast and make words that don't exist, or pull words together and make sentences that don't exist... but this doesn't bother me much, probably because I'm older and have a firmer grasp on reading comprehension and such, so I am able to correct it without much issue.

I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has dealt with this? Now I'm kicking myself for not having her tested while she was in PS. I'd thought about it before, but I figured that after 1½ years her teacher would have noticed if there was any cause for concern in the learning disability department. So I didn't have it done. Now what? Is this normal behavior for a child of her age and reading/ writing level? If not, how can I confirm that it is dyslexia? And even if it IS dyslexia, how do I go about teaching a child to read that has that sort of learning challenge?

Any advice, shared experience, or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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#2 of 15 Old 12-18-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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I thought I'd responded this earlier, but I guess I got distracted....

Hectic day - I'm in a rush to get out to some errands, but the very first thing that comes to my mind is that your daughter is still very young. I would pull away from the lessons for a while and turn to reading aloud to her, games, and just rebuilding the sense of fun and relaxed mutual trust between the two of you. This has been hard on both of you, and you don't need to have stress in the picture. I'm going to post a few links and run - will revisit later.

On decompression/deschooling - something that would be an excellent investment of time for both of you at this point.

This is a thread that's been very helpful to some - "I have a 7 yr. old non-reader" support

Thread having to do with a 6 yr. old - "so much resistance"

A couple of articles about dyslexia:
Dyslexia - A gift?
Notes on dyslexia

A few threads about learning to read:
games/ideas/program
"...not a homeschooler, but daughter wants to learn to read"

Have a nice weekend! - Lillian

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#3 of 15 Old 12-18-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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DSD just turned six and is in kindy. she knows her letters and she knows words go from left to right but sometimes she writes letters backwards or writes words right to left or with some words going up and down. a lot of it is a age issue. sounds like normal 5-7 writing. at 6 i wouldn't worry. and she doesn't 'need' to be reading at this point either. Just read to her, and get some of those level 1 readers in subjects she is interested in. The words are easy so you can read them to her pointing out the words and then she can pull them out herself when she wants to

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#4 of 15 Old 12-18-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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Turning letters/numbers backwards at 6 is totally normal. I learned that from a Kindy teacher. Also, a developmental professor I know mentioned that dyslexia is often seen at 8yo. I am not saying you shouldn't see it yet, but what I am saying is maybe it's a wee bit early to worry.

Also, when you're ready, I believe that the public school system still is responsible for testing homeschoolers. Call the local administration building and ask to be sure.

I don't know if what you have is called discalculia -- unless the difference is in the "physical" discalculia. I know a teen girl with that kind of issue -- she cannot ride a bike at 14, but seems "normal" in every way now after a couple of years in special education. I was informally diagnosed with discalculia which makes me not great at math, being on time, directional abilities, etc. It stinks, LOL

Good luck, mama! Hopefully she's just slow to warm.

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#5 of 15 Old 12-18-2009, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
I thought I'd responded this earlier, but I guess I got distracted....

Hectic day - I'm in a rush to get out to some errands, but the very first thing that comes to my mind is that your daughter is still very young. I would pull away from the lessons for a while and turn to reading aloud to her, games, and just rebuilding the sense of fun and relaxed mutual trust between the two of you. This has been hard on both of you, and you don't need to have stress in the picture. I'm going to post a few links and run - will revisit later.

On decompression/deschooling - something that would be an excellent investment of time for both of you at this point.

This is a thread that's been very helpful to some - "I have a 7 yr. old non-reader" support

Thread having to do with a 6 yr. old - "so much resistance"

A couple of articles about dyslexia:
Dyslexia - A gift?
Notes on dyslexia

A few threads about learning to read:
games/ideas/program
"...not a homeschooler, but daughter wants to learn to read"

Have a nice weekend! - Lillian


Thanks for all the great links. I haven't gotten a chance to check them out yet, but I really appreciate it.

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Originally Posted by onyxravnos View Post
DSD just turned six and is in kindy. she knows her letters and she knows words go from left to right but sometimes she writes letters backwards or writes words right to left or with some words going up and down. a lot of it is a age issue. sounds like normal 5-7 writing. at 6 i wouldn't worry. and she doesn't 'need' to be reading at this point either. Just read to her, and get some of those level 1 readers in subjects she is interested in. The words are easy so you can read them to her pointing out the words and then she can pull them out herself when she wants to
Thank you for your response.

I guess it is a normal young reader/ writer issue. I'm just so afraid the there will be a "real" problem and I'll miss it. The backward letter writing doesn't worry me so much as the occasional backward reading and pulling random letters and sounds from words when she gets confused.

I'll definitely be picking up some level 1 readers for her. It really makes her happy when she recognizes something. I think she needs to be able to have those small accomplishments.

And I know she doesn't "need" to be reading... but it's so hard to accept that she's nearly 7 and I've "failed" to teach her something that has been such an important part of my life. I don't want her to miss out on that love of written word. I know so many children that despise reading... and so many adults that hate it. I don't want her to be that way. I guess in my head I feel like if she doesn't learn it soon, then she will never learn it (which is really silly.) I also keep tossing around the idea that learning would be so much easier for her if she were able to read. It's as if by being unable to to teach her to read I am inhibiting her learning in other aspects as well. I know this isn't true... but I guess that would be why I worry so much.

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#6 of 15 Old 12-18-2009, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Turning letters/numbers backwards at 6 is totally normal. I learned that from a Kindy teacher. Also, a developmental professor I know mentioned that dyslexia is often seen at 8yo. I am not saying you shouldn't see it yet, but what I am saying is maybe it's a wee bit early to worry.

Also, when you're ready, I believe that the public school system still is responsible for testing homeschoolers. Call the local administration building and ask to be sure.

I don't know if what you have is called discalculia -- unless the difference is in the "physical" discalculia. I know a teen girl with that kind of issue -- she cannot ride a bike at 14, but seems "normal" in every way now after a couple of years in special education. I was informally diagnosed with discalculia which makes me not great at math, being on time, directional abilities, etc. It stinks, LOL

Good luck, mama! Hopefully she's just slow to warm.

Yeah, I believe the school started pulling me out of class for "dyslexia therapy" when I was around 8. That was the same time they started pulling me out for "Gifted & Talented" classes. I suppose it's hard to pinpoint giftedness or learning disabilities until the age that most children have mastered the tasks in question. 8 seems to be a fair number for that.


I've had a couple other people tell me that the school system should still be able to help me get her tested. Part of me is concerned about this... Technically we are "enrolled" in the Farm School Online and are legally viewed as a student and faculty member (respectively) of their private school. I'm going to call after the winter break, though. It doesn't hurt to ask.

I dunno for sure about discalculia. Back then they didn't really know what to call it, I suppose. They just tried to explain to me that my dyslexia wasn't like most of the other students struggling. I was very delayed with learning how to ride a bike. I learned at 9 (after beginning the process at the age of 5,) but I'm not positive that I would be able to ride one today if I tried. I also have problems with directions. I get confused about things that are "one or the other". Like when I first learned to drive, it was a challenge for me to remember which side of the road was the correct side to be on. (Very scary when I got it wrong. ) Left and right sometimes gets super confusing.

I am almost never on time, but I don't know that it has anything to do with discalculia or dyslexia.

Anyway, thanks for your response. I hope that she is just slow to warm. I can't imagine a life without reading. I would be very sad if she ends up permanently struggling with something so vital.

I'm me. In love with this guy. We're bringing up two girls: Big A (8) and Little A (3)

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#7 of 15 Old 12-18-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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And I know she doesn't "need" to be reading... but it's so hard to accept that she's nearly 7 and I've "failed" to teach her something that has been such an important part of my life. I don't want her to miss out on that love of written word. I know so many children that despise reading... and so many adults that hate it. I don't want her to be that way. I guess in my head I feel like if she doesn't learn it soon, then she will never learn it (which is really silly.)
I think it's just the opposite. A lot of people develop an aversion to things that were taught in school because of the fact that they were pressured and taught in ways that didn't suit them instead of gently introduced as the time was right - which is a lot later than 6 for some people.

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I also keep tossing around the idea that learning would be so much easier for her if she were able to read. It's as if by being unable to to teach her to read I am inhibiting her learning in other aspects as well. I know this isn't true... but I guess that would be why I worry so much.
Well, I'll just agree wholeheartedly with you that it isn't true. Lillian
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#8 of 15 Old 12-19-2009, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it's just the opposite. A lot of people develop an aversion to things that were taught in school because of the fact that they were pressured and taught in ways that didn't suit them instead of gently introduced as the time was right - which is a lot later than 6 for some people.

I'm sure you're absolutely right. That has been part of my stress in this matter too. I don't want to just force her to learn to read--I want to do it "right" so that she enjoys it. I just don't know how to go about doing that.

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Well, I'll just agree wholeheartedly with you that it isn't true. Lillian


Thanks.

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#9 of 15 Old 12-19-2009, 01:41 AM
 
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Not a homeschooler currently, but I do have a child w/dyslexia, and we've been through a lot. I would advocate for testing sooner rather than later, not that it means you necessarily need to be doing anything differently, but you may have a true heads up in terms of your child's potential needs. The developmental approach w/ dyslexia can be tough because there are certain skills that need to be introduced and gone over in a fairly routine way. For us, phonics has been key, but I have read here that others haven't had that experience.

It's a bit of a balancing act, and maturity in terms of being able to process and work with information is important. But, waiting for something to happen, ie reading as an organic, natural process, can elude those w/dyslexia, and true teaching can be important.
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#10 of 15 Old 12-19-2009, 03:40 AM
 
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I couldn't just read and not reply. My husband and every male on his side of the family have dyslexia or some other learning disability. My MIL actually went back to school to get her Masters degree, studying learning disabilities so that she could better help her three sons. My nephews all have some pretty significant learning issues. We thought for sure that our son would also be dealing with it too, and we've been preparing since he was born. I taught middle and high school English, and I am a passionate and voracious reader. I truly want my children to love books, whether they have learning disability or not.

Ds is just over 5 yo, in a hybrid classroom-homeschool kindergarten program, and is currently reading Level 2 readers with relative ease. Despite his ability to read well (), we thought it would be a good idea to get him tested. We didn't go through the district, but instead paid for educational testing with a very esteemed neuropsychologist. For us (really my husband who was really bothered that his kid might also have an LD issue), it was worth it to understand how our kid is doing. Now it turns out that the testing shows no indication of dyslexia at all, but it did turn up some other possible issues.

I mention all this, because I have done a fair amount of research on dyslexia, the process of learning how to read, different approaches to reading instruction, etc. This is on top of the tiny bit of training that I received when I got my teaching credential. Anyway, I wanted to just offer a few suggestions, mostly in the spirit of "this is what made sense to me, maybe something might click for you." :-)

I know that there are many people who successfully learned to read in a very intuitive manner. There are enough similarities between oral language development (which is instinctual) and written language (which is definitely not) that many people can just pick up many reading skills with repeated exposure to lots of words and books. From what I’ve read though, this is not a very successful strategy for dyslexic readers. Explicit instruction and practice in phonological awareness and the phonological features of text seem to be the most helpful tools for folks with dyslexia.

Now, when I say “explicit,” I’m really not talking about dry, pedantic phonics rules and drills. I just mean that it seems to be most helpful if a dyslexic reader is not expected to intuit the patterns that comprise over 60% of English language. This is exactly where their disability seems to lie, so by cluing them into the “code,” so to speak, it removes a processing burden. And since many dyslexic folks are also divergent or lateral thinkers, drills and worksheets and memorizing rules are not going to be effective. Repetition in phonics is important, but games, patterning activities, and multisensory learning approaches are going to be better ways to get that repetition.

The other thing that seems to be really important is to give kids with dyslexia more time — more time with books, more time to learn to read, more time practicing language skills — before they get it. One of the most important accommodations that my husband received during his school years was just to get extra time on certain assignments and tests. (Dh happens to be a UC Regent scholar who received a full scholarship to medical school and is IMO a brilliant physician and person, so he’s no slouch. Just needed a little extra time to score in the 98th percentile of his medical board exams.) When he was younger, he grew into his reading and writing skills later than “grade level,” but now he reads journals that are absolutely incomprehensible to me.

And of course, lots and lots of story time with really great books is just vital to the process of learning to read. The discourse of written language is just so different from oral language. Every kid, but especially dyslexic kids, need tons of time just soaking up the way our written language is put together. It’s so helpful if that read-aloud time is done dramatically, with lots of different voices and intonation and even props. A good oral reading can really support comprehension and vocabulary development and underscore important language features. And it just makes reading so much more juicy!

Anyway, if you are interested in taking a very gentle, playful, child-centered approach to phonics-based reading instruction, pm me. I’ve looked at what seems like countless phonics programs, and most seem horribly boring. Even if this type of reading instruction wasn’t aversive to my kid, it is totally aversive to ME. I do a lot of games, especially in the beginning. Ds is now at the point where he is reading well enough that he enjoys learning how to read more, if you know what I mean.

Whoa, this ended up being a novel. Sorry about that. I tend to blather on.

Oh, and is it possible that you were diagnosed with dyspraxia? Dyscalculia is an LD around math and numbers. Dyspraxia deals with motor and coordination issues.

Kelly
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#11 of 15 Old 12-19-2009, 01:45 PM
 
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I'm in a similar boat with my DS, who is 6.5.

He was a late talker. He reads very slowly, and it takes a lot of effort. He doesn't remember words from one time to the next, though this is improving. He reads words backwards, or says a completely different word. He always mixes up b and d, and frequently writes letters and numbers backwards. We have a family history of learning disorders (my husband's brother was pretty severely dyslexic, and I suspect I have some mild problems too - the dyspraxia description seems awfully familiar and I had to attend coordination therapy when I was younger. I also used to see words moving around on the page).

If he were in public school and exhibiting these symptoms, I'd insist on having him tested. As it is, while I'd like him to be reading, I don't feel he's being significantly held back by it as he would be in public school, so we have time to work with him and figure out if he'll grow out of it (as many of these things are developmentally normal for young kids) or if his problems are due to deficiencies on my part before putting him through testing. I'm also hesitant to stick him with a label that could impact our options (some local families have had problems with charter schools and IEPs) if his problems are something we can work around on our own.

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#12 of 15 Old 12-20-2009, 06:08 AM
 
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My son is also 6.5 and is having similar issues to your daughter. His reading is slow and laborious, he can't decode, he gets lost and frustrated easily when he reads, his free writing is abysmal (he can spell the sight words he knows but that's it), he still does lots of reverals... I could go on, but you get the point. He goes to public 1st grade, but honestly I am teaching him most of his major subjects at home. He just doesn't seem to do well picking up information in a group setting right now. (Homeschooling full time is not an option for us).

My primary goal is to help him achieve and do well. I've been doing Right Start Math at home with him all of this year and he is doing so well with it! It took me a lot longer to find a good reading program that would tap into the way he learns.

We've been doing the ABeCeDarian program for the last week, and I'm really impressed with his progress so far. After a year and a half of totally unproductive reading instruction, both in school and at home, he is finally retaining the information from lesson to lesson, which had to be the biggest thing that was frustrating both of us. We were unable to make progress because he didn't remember anything from the previous instruction. So far with the ABCD program, he does remember. And it is allowing us to make tangible progress.

Their website is www.abcdrp.com . I highly recommend it.
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#13 of 15 Old 12-20-2009, 01:57 PM
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We've been doing the ABeCeDarian program for the last week, and I'm really impressed with his progress so far. After a year and a half of totally unproductive reading instruction, both in school and at home, he is finally retaining the information from lesson to lesson, which had to be the biggest thing that was frustrating both of us. We were unable to make progress because he didn't remember anything from the previous instruction. So far with the ABCD program, he does remember. And it is allowing us to make tangible progress.

Their website is www.abcdrp.com . I highly recommend it.
This is supposed to be a great learning program for dyslexics. They also have a yahoo support group.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group...guid=215953130

I really have learned a lot from the dyslexia support group on yahoo:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/dyslexiasupport2/

I have been using a book called "Reading Reflex". You can get it from the library. It has helped a lot and can be fun--lots of games.

Amy

Mom to three very active girls Anna (15), Kayla (12), Maya (9).
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#14 of 15 Old 12-20-2009, 06:11 PM
 
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I would suggest you read through this article on developmental readiness for reading. It has been very enlightening for me to learn about the mental development needed before learning to read easily and the signs that you can watch for to see where your child is at. The solutions they suggest have nothing to do with phonics or other reading programs, but instead focus on developing the brain so that it will be ready when the time is right.
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#15 of 15 Old 12-21-2009, 03:19 AM
 
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My 8yo DD struggles as well. We had her tested for vision disorders and found she had four. We do vision therapy and have noticed marked improvement in just three months. She exhibited a lot of the same symptoms mentioned in the original post. I also had her tested for learning disabilities, but we don't have our discovery meeting until January.

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