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#1 of 22 Old 01-06-2011, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you know if your dc is developmentally ready for something? dd1 is 6.5 yrs and had been very stubborn about doing anything academic, including learning how to read. She is just now able to read level 1 books. I ask her to read aloud just one level one book a day and she acts like its the worst thing in the world. The advice I get is that maybe she is not developmentally ready. But what does that really mean? I can understand why most 3 yrs old aren't developmentally ready to read, but a 6 yr old?  Also, my dd1 is very stubborn about most things. We have been encouraging her to learn to ride a bike w/o training wheels and she just refuses to even try. We also have a bike w/o peddles for the dc to balance on, but she only wants to ride the bike w/ training wheels. I could give many more examples....  I honestly think she is developmentally ready to read at a higher level, but she just doesn't want to. And I don't know how to feel about this. She is constantly asking me to read to her directions for games etc, and I KNOW she could sound out the words (and yes, I look at it first to make sure there are not challenging words). any advice?

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#2 of 22 Old 01-06-2011, 09:34 PM
 
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 True readiness also includes emotional readiness as well as developmental / intellectual readiness. If your girl is a bit of a perfectionist she may need to be so ready that she is able to do a lot of her reading learning internally. Then she'll surprise you by showing you evidence of apparently quick mastery. Being a very beginning reader isn't much fun for a lot of kids, and perfectionists and introverts often prefer to endure that stage privately.

A lot of 6 year olds aren't developmentally ready to read, so don't discount that possibility either. Inany case if she dislikes the practice, I would abandon that requirement. Youndon't want her to grow up thinking of reading as a hated chore. Ther are scores of other ways to nurture early literacy skills.

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#3 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 11:47 AM
 
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I'm always concerned about stubbornness being suspected of children who are not feeling ready or eager for some particular learning. If we as adults don't go along with something someone else wants us to do, there's usually some real reason behind it, and I think that's true of children as well. A child usually doesn't have the emotional vocabulary for being able to explain or even understand what it's all about, especially with an adult who already has an agenda that's been part of a struggle between them. At some point, the frustration and the inability to communicate the heart of the matter can create a balking on the part of the child. It's traditional in public schools for children to be started in reading, but they're not all equally ready for it even then.

 

Miranda mentioned some children being less comfortable with the beginning struggles than others - I was one of those children, and I vividly remember how painful that was. The more space and time your daughter has to develop her abilities in her own way, the easier it will be for her. There will come a time when she's going ahead and reading things on her own, but it might be years before it's all in place, and it will keep the path a lot smoother for everyone concerned to just go ahead and do the reading she's asking you for. Time goes very fast - the comfort you'll have between the two of you will be a lot more important than whether she's independently reading so young.

 

By the way, I've seen quite a few threads here and in other places over the years from parents of 6 yr. olds asking about these same issues. Here are just a few - I happen to have bookmarked these:

6 yr. old and not reading

6 yr. old resists lessons

frustrated with 6 yr. old dd

Resistance!

fiercely independent - struggles  (this one about a 7 yr. old)

 

Some articles that can help:

ABCs of Beginning to Read

Home Education Magazine Takes a Closer Look at Reading (has annotated links to lots of good articles on the subject)


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#4 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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I also thought perfectionism when I read your description.  perfectionism - fear of failure - unwillingness to try new things are a bit of a vicious cycle.  I do not pretend to have the answers for how to deal with perfectionism (my middle child is perfectionistic) but role modelling risk taking and accepting less than perfect results from yourself is a good way to start.

 

If you decide to actively teach reading, I  would also start with small sessions with a perfectionistic child, and make sure they have a high success rate.  Of course, this means the books will be very easy and perhaps even boring.  I would definitely keep two sets of books in the house - one for fun, and one for practice.  I occasionally created word lists - it practiced specific skills, without boring easy reader  books.  You absolutely can learn to read from good books - but they might have too many complex words for her perfectionism at the moment.

 

 I will come back later and post easy but high interest readers.  It might be helpful for her.

 

I would stop reading basic instructions for her.  If you look at a short instruction (say on a computer screen) and think she can do it,  have her work it out.  

 

Lastly, I remember reading somewhere that Waldorf thought children were developmentally ready to read when they started to lose their baby teeth.  My mother said so as well so maybe their is something to it (my mother also did not start school until grade 1, like much of her generation. Much like most of her generation, she reads just fine)

 

 

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#5 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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Lastly, I remember reading somewhere that Waldorf thought children were developmentally ready to read when they started to lose their baby teeth.  My mother said so as well so maybe their is something to it (my mother also did not start school until grade 1, like much of her generation. Much like most of her generation, she reads just fine)

 

 


And I guess I'm of her generation, because I was introduced to reading in grade 1 - kindergarten was just a half day of play, including a bit of circle time that amounted to musical activities and having books read to us. And there were lots of people before me who didn't even do the kindergarten time, and were introduced to it all in 1st grade. I remember my father thinking the whole kindergarten thing was pretty comical - he thought it was cute, but didn't see any real reason for it other than fun. He'd always been a voracious reader (since being introduced to it in 1st grade), but he never saw any hurry to get into reading at such an early age.  

 

Excerpt from an article by a teacher of 36 years experience - from her book, Child's Work:

When did first grade lose its status in the United States as the beginning of formal learning? That was a time when kindergarten children were called the "little ones" by the other teachers who came by to watch them play. Even the older children recognized the difference between pretend and real schoolchildren. "Kindergarten babies, first-grade ladies" was the refrain heard on the playground, and there was some truth in the ancient tease.

The whole article:  Big "A" and Little "a" by Vivian Gussin Paley,

 

 

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#6 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Lillian J for the thread info, I'll check them out. dd1 started to loose her teeth at age 5.5, and now has a mount full of holes. So I can't go by that or I'll feel really nervous. I would agree that in some ways she is a perfectionist, so I will keep that in mind. 

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#7 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 10:17 PM
 
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I'd like to jump into this thread with a question as well. My daughter is at risk for learning disabilities, especially a reading disability. How does one know if a child is simply not ready to read or if they have a disability?

 

The experts I've communicated with don't have an answer to this. I wondered if anyone else does. Don't mean to hijack, but the answer to this might help the op as well.


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#8 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 11:06 PM
 
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I'd like to jump into this thread with a question as well. My daughter is at risk for learning disabilities, especially a reading disability. How does one know if a child is simply not ready to read or if they have a disability?

 

The experts I've communicated with don't have an answer to this. I wondered if anyone else does. Don't mean to hijack, but the answer to this might help the op as well.


When even the experts you look to don't have an answer, I'd try to relax about if for a while, and start to look into it if she's having problems by age 8 or so. Even if there is a problem with reading, it can be handled later than you may think. My son didn't get help with his vision skill deficiencies till he was 12, and he immediately became a voracious reader - until then, he'd only looked to reading for finding information he wanted, but had never thought of it for pleasure. I read a lot to him until then - we both loved it - and only stopped because of not being able to keep uo with all the books he wanted to read. How old is your daughter?  Lillian

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#9 of 22 Old 02-18-2011, 06:18 AM
 
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I was thinking about this thread last night.  

 

I wonder why we are so determined our kids read early?  

 

I think part of it is positive - we love reading, know it is important and want our kids to do it.

 

Other reasons are neutral or not so positive

 

Fear:  we fear our child will be be one of the kids who struggle learning to read.  We want them to read early to address our fear.  We also want to start the process of intervention if they are experiencing difficulties.  My own default is to assume that they (the kids) are fine until evidence shows otherwise.  I would wait until the I was on the other side of a natural age to learn to read before assuming something was wrong with my child.  Historically, I think many kids learned to read around 7.  

 

School expectations:  I wonder if we often apply school expectations to homeschooled children?  School are very concerned with young kids who do not read - but it is understandable given the contest.  If the rest of the class is doing activities that require reading and Johnny can't - it is an issue.  Johnny is going to get a lot of poor marks - that probably will affect his self esteem and how he sees himself as a student.  Reading poorly by the end of grade 1 in a school setting may very well be the start of a downward decline if intervention does not take place.

 

This is not the case for homeschooled children.  They are not going to see a bunch of "x"'s next to their work and their lack of reading at seven does not have to be such an issue.  

 

Last fall I decided that I would actively teach my 7.75 year old to read.  I also decided that if she had not made much improvement in 3-6 months I would seek out resources. I am not an expert, but I am happy with my decision.  I allowed a good amount of time for her to be developmental ready  (I did not jump to conclusions over a 5 year old), and I allowed a decent amount of time to see if instruction would help (it did).  

 

In any event, I think the key no matter what path you take (wait and see, direct instruction, assessment for LD) is to be low key.  Power struggles and negative reading associations do far more damage than anything else.

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#10 of 22 Old 02-18-2011, 06:30 AM
 
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When even the experts you look to don't have an answer, I'd try to relax about if for a while, and start to look into it if she's having problems by age 8 or so. Even if there is a problem with reading, it can be handled later than you may think. My son didn't get help with his vision skill deficiencies till he was 12, and he immediately became a voracious reader - until then, he'd only looked to reading for finding information he wanted, but had never thought of it for pleasure. I read a lot to him until then - we both loved it - and only stopped because of not being able to keep uo with all the books he wanted to read. How old is your daughter?  Lillian


She's only 2.5, but she has a speech delay and most of her biological family has been (or is) in special ed. She does have one sister that does well with academics. I can't find out WHY everyone is/was in special ed.

 

Her speech delay COULD be a sign of dyslexia. I've read that if you start interventions young enough you can actually restructure the brain so it becomes a normal reader instead of a dyslexic reader. I'm not into rushing academics, but I don't want to miss our window of opportunity IF she is dyslexics.


As I said, she's only 2.5 and we have no idea if she will have a disability or not. She is just at risk. I am trying to get educated now so I know what to look for and how to help her. (It is naive to say that children with disabilities don't need extra help.)

 

Everyone we've spoken to says that what we are doing now is what she needs--LOTS of reading, using sign language, talking to her lots, doing speech therapy, etc. She is just now starting to put together two words occasionally. However she is very good at communicating what she wants between ASL sign language and body language.

 

I just want to get educated for when she's older so we don't miss anything.

 

So if I knew what was neurologically not ready to read versus a reading disability, I would be able to offer her either appropriate interventions or I would be able to just let her take her own time.


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#11 of 22 Old 02-18-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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Thanks Lillian J for the thread info, I'll check them out. dd1 started to loose her teeth at age 5.5, and now has a mount full of holes. So I can't go by that or I'll feel really nervous. I would agree that in some ways she is a perfectionist, so I will keep that in mind. 


I wouldn't go by that either. My kids didn't start to lose their teeth until 6.5, and one of them had been reading proper novels for two years already when she lost her first one. It makes absolutely no sense to me that the two things should be linked. 

 

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#12 of 22 Old 02-18-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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She's only 2.5, but she has a speech delay and most of her biological family has been (or is) in special ed. She does have one sister that does well with academics. I can't find out WHY everyone is/was in special ed.

 

Her speech delay COULD be a sign of dyslexia. I've read that if you start interventions young enough you can actually restructure the brain so it becomes a normal reader instead of a dyslexic reader. I'm not into rushing academics, but I don't want to miss our window of opportunity IF she is dyslexics.

I'd go ahead and look into that more because I suspect it's going to be more along the lines of games that train the eye to follow from left to right in a smooth linear fashion than reading drills. You could see if the therapy involved is stuff your dd would enjoy and might as well do regardless of possible dyslexia, or if it's something she wouldn't like and it'd be better to just cope with dyslexia if it does happen to develop.

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I'd go ahead and look into that more because I suspect it's going to be more along the lines of games that train the eye to follow from left to right in a smooth linear fashion than reading drills. You could see if the therapy involved is stuff your dd would enjoy and might as well do regardless of possible dyslexia, or if it's something she wouldn't like and it'd be better to just cope with dyslexia if it does happen to develop.


Something I've learned in reading about dyslexia is that people don't really know what it is. It's not a vision thing, it's phonemic awareness. Like they don't get rhymes without a lot of repetitive work. Dyslexia can be VERY challenging, so if she has it and we can restructure her brain away from it, I'd rather do that.


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#14 of 22 Old 02-18-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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Something I've learned in reading about dyslexia is that people don't really know what it is. It's not a vision thing, it's phonemic awareness. Like they don't get rhymes without a lot of repetitive work. Dyslexia can be VERY challenging, so if she has it and we can restructure her brain away from it, I'd rather do that.

Interesting. Yeah, I definitely think of dyslexia just in terms of mixing up letters and letter shapes.

 

However, we came partially to the same conclusion that it's at least worth looking into techniques that could help out.

= D

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#15 of 22 Old 02-18-2011, 03:25 PM
 
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Something I've learned in reading about dyslexia is that people don't really know what it is. It's not a vision thing, it's phonemic awareness. Like they don't get rhymes without a lot of repetitive work. Dyslexia can be VERY challenging, so if she has it and we can restructure her brain away from it, I'd rather do that.


I'd really recommend reading The Gift of Dyslexia, by Ron Davis. My son went through the Ron Davis program for dyslexia. The therapist noticed during that training that his eyes were not moving smoothly across the page, and she  sent us to her own vision therapist. It was the vision therapy that really made a difference for him ! But when we first started the dyslexia training program, the therapist showed us how to do an adjustment that Ron Davis had discovered from his own experiences growing up with dyslexia, and it was really startling. I had been sitting there thinking it was time to get my eyes checked, because I was sick of things not being in good focus - and then during the adjustment, my vision suddenly cleared up. That explained a lot of minor issues I'd experienced over the years - they were dyslexic tendencies. Their take on dyslexia is that it has to do with the mind's eye being out of focus, so to speak - I can't recall right now exactly how they word it, but the key to it, along with other things, is a simple adjustment they teach you to do that's explained in the book.


Here's an article on our experience with their dyslexia program and here's one on my son's experience with vision therapy. I agree that early intervention would/should have nothing to do with reading, but just with neurological training, and from I heard over and over in lectures I used to attend on sensory integration, I would make sure she's getting a good variety of various kinds of exercise in play. 


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Interesting. Yeah, I definitely think of dyslexia just in terms of mixing up letters and letter shapes.


The way I came to understand it through Ron Davis' book and program is that it's actually just a way of perceiving things in which your mind's eye is all over the place instead of lined up with your vision. I attended some lectures where the therapist gave examples of how dyslexics might read a sign when driving along - we all shared our hilarious experiences on substituting words, reversing words, substituting letters, etc. I often catch myself reading a phrase wrong, because I'd somehow, in my distraction, seen the wrong word in my mind. Hard to explain, but his book does a great job of it. One thing discussed, too, was the problem of trying to keep an organized desk or room or closet - she said that a dyslexic might want to have someone who is not dyslexic help with organizing closets and such, because a dyslexic can get into overwhelm a lot more easily. ;)  Lillian

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I'd previously seen Ron Davis's book on amazon. A lot of people liked it. I'm very research based and have read that his stuff isn't. Everything from his definition to his interventions. I am very open to alternative ideas (we wouldn't be unschoolers if I wasn't.) But in this area I need something more scientific.

 

My kids are seen by an eye doctor that specializes in visual therapy.I did eye exercises as a kid and want my kids to receive them if necessary.

 

How I've heard dyslexia described is a problem with phonics. If you ask them what a volcano is, they can describe it, but if you ask them to name it, they might say it's a tornado. It sounds similar, but the sounds aren't right.

 

OP, sorry to hijack your thread. I've asked about neurological readiness before and no one responded. I was excited to see you were getting responses so I wanted to jump on your train. I always enjoy Lillian's ideas and was glad she was answering your questions and hoped she'd answer mine.


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http://specialed.about.com/od/readingchecklists/p/prereading.htm

 

I googled reading readiness and came up with a bunch of hits.  The above is one.

 

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#19 of 22 Old 02-19-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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I'd previously seen Ron Davis's book on amazon. A lot of people liked it. I'm very research based and have read that his stuff isn't. Everything from his definition to his interventions. I am very open to alternative ideas (we wouldn't be unschoolers if I wasn't.) But in this area I need something more scientific.

 

 

It isn't research based, but there has been some research on it:

Davis Dyslexia Correction - Research Overview

 

I was acquainted with a woman years ago, through some boards in the old AOL homeschooling forum, whom I emailed about how impressed I was with the Davis program I was taking with my son. I thought it might be something she's be interested in for her son, since I remembered her writing about his problems. She wrote back that she had done the program for her son by just using the book, The Gift of Dyslexia, and that it had changed his life. You can "look inside" and/or "search Inside" the book in the Amazon site, by the way. She said that the boy who had once been terrified of having to read aloud at school had come to the point of proudly standing up in front of the class and reading smoothly. So she went a step further and put him through the program. She was so impressed that she quit her law practice and went to work at their office in the S.F. Bay area. At that time, I hadn't even been aware there was a book - so I went out and got it and found that it had all the basic information in it, and was very easy to follow. 

 

Ron Davis based the book on his own experiences and his personal experimentation to figure out how his mind was able to change back and forth when he needed it to. He'd been miserable and abused in school, and was in special ed classes throughout - which in those days could be pretty backwards. I can see how someone involved in another system might be critical of something like Davis' work, but one thing to consider is that people who've become professionally connected to one system are often not willing to be open to another one. I'm sure they all offer some advantages. Here's an article by a mom who used a variety of things: Notes on Dyslexia


There's a forum online where you can read posts from people who are using or have used the program - it's not a testimonial thing but an ongoing support board with all sorts of questions and issues discussed, although there are plenty of comments about successes - Davis Parent Support Group


I just found the first chapter of GIft of Dyslexia online in the Davis site - Preface and Chapter One.


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#20 of 22 Old 02-19-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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I just found the first chapter of GIft of Dyslexia online in the Davis site - Preface and Chapter One.


Lillian



Thanks.  I'll get to it when everyone's asleep.


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#21 of 22 Old 02-19-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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It looks like dyslexia can come from either visual OR auditory perception difficulties.

 

So what will help a given child probably depends on what's going on.

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#22 of 22 Old 02-19-2011, 05:42 PM
 
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From the reading I've done on dyslexia lately (trying to figure out my DD's reading problems), it appears that dyslexia is not a specific disorder.  People don't even agree on the definition of dyslexia, but a common one seems to be that it's simply difficulty with reading that can't be explained by anything else (like inadequate instruction or vision problems.)  There appear to be different underlying causes, and researchers don't seem to understand yet exactly what they are.  Many dyslexics have problems understanding phonics, but there are others who have good phonological awareness but difficulty with something called "naming speed." (Exactly what causes slow naming speed and how it's related to reading seems to be something people are still figuring out.)  My DD has great phonological awareness, but I think probably would be found to have a naming speed deficit.  Most of the "signs of dyslexia" you can find on the web don't fit her at all.

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