Reading for the right-brained (WAS: "Dyslexia") (open to non-homeschoolers too) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 04-19-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think DD may qualify for the dyslexia label.

 

Questions:

 

  • What resources do you recommend? I mostly like books but I'll take links and other suggestions. I know very little about it and would like to learn more.
  • Should we continue to homeschool a dyslexic child? Or, if we do, should we seek external help?
  • Should we actually use the label at all? DD is 6 and people are starting to assume she's reading. Should we explain she is dyslexic or not? Pros: will get people off her back. Cons: she will shift her perception of herself. DH was labelled LD (learning disabled) as a child and the whole experience (not just the label but the special ed classes and everything) really did not leave him with a healthy and positive attitude toward education and himself.

 

Here are the things I've noticed that make me think dyslexia is a possibility:

 

  • Decoding and encoding is still a real effort for her. Still doing three-letter-word type work.
  • Confuses W and M
  • Knows all consonant sounds but finds vowels harder, and has no idea about blended sounds (sh, th, etc)
  • Mirror writes frequently (but has been learning to stick with left-to-right)
  • Also, while she has been learning to stick with left-to-right, doesn't seem to intuitively understand that you can't just write the next word anywhere - might write the last word in the sentence at the end of the line above the penultimate word, or directly below, rather than on the left side of the next line. Some of her greeting card projects are a total mess because of this - words are jumbled up (she writes them in order chronologically but sticks them wherever they fit).
  • Always writes her numbers backward.
  • Left-handed, right-brained.

 

Good news:

  • We are relaxed with our approach and she is still motivated (she hasn't shut down). We think relaxed approach is best for her (and not necessarily for other kids).
  • Her father taught himself to read around age 10. Very self-motivated. Today he reads for his own pleasure.
  • DD loves books, loves to be read to.
  • She's making real progress, even though it's not at the typical rate. She is definitely reading better than she was some months ago.

 

I feel very mixed about some things. If I say she is dyslexic, people will generally be shocked that we would try to homeschool her, say she should have professional help. I'm not by any means a rabid homeschooler, and public school is not off the table. But when I think about enrolling her, my feeling is that this would be a mistake. They will drill her but I think she will shut down. I think she needs to be older to really master reading. On the other hand, I fully admit that I am no expert.

 

I'll appreciate thoughtful advice from anyone, whether you encourage me to keep homeschooling or to have DD taught by professionals.

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#2 of 21 Old 04-19-2012, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, another question, strictly homeschool-related.

 

We will submit a report to the superintendent this summer. She is enrolled in first grade, but is clearly at the K level for reading. Do I just say that? Do I just focus on her progress and not her level? Do I say we think she is dyslexic (if we in fact do, after further research)? Will that be a red flag for them?

 

It's hard as a homeschooler because obviously people are judging our progress.

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#3 of 21 Old 04-19-2012, 02:39 PM
 
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Just because your daughter isn't reading at six doesn't mean she has a disability--even if she does all the things on your list above.  You might do a search of some of the "Late Reader" threads here.  In many countries, formal reading instruction doesn't even begin until age seven, and many very successful homeschoolers (e.g. Grant Colfax, first homeschooler to be admitted to Harvard) have learned to read much later than what is expected in schools today. If your dd's father learned to read at age ten and now enjoys reading, I would be very inclined to give your dd more time to learn herself.  My oldest taught himself to read at five.  My second child just turned seven and is reading some, but not yet fluently.  We're using a whole-language approach (via unschooling) and plan to continue this way.  My dh also was a later reader and now reads constanly.

 

I can't see what possible benefit a label would be, especially at this point in your dd's life.  One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that our kids don't have to meet arbitrary timetables.

 

I would be interested to know who is on your back about your daughter's progress?  You may just have to develop a very thick skin and refuse to let others make an issue of it. Easier said than done, I know; however, once you become more confident about what course of action to take, this may be less difficult.  I find that when I feel like others are pressuring me, it's often because I'm harboring my own doubts.

 

Three books that may interest you are Reading Without Nonsense by Frank Smith, The Schools Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn, and Better Late than Early by Rayomond and Dorothy Moore.  The first deals exclusively with how and when people learn to read (emphasizing that reading is not just decoding).  The second is only tangentially related, but Kohn does a good job of exposing how special interests have promulgated the myth that phonics is superior to whole-language methods of learning to read.  The third book is dated in some respects, but it makes a good case for not pushing early academics.

 

 

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#4 of 21 Old 04-19-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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My daughter liked doing readingeggs.com and also headsprout.com.  You could also check into vision therapy, it could be that she is having trouble with visual tracking.  I think homeschooling is great for kids like this because they can have extra time to learn to read without falling behind in other subjects.

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#5 of 21 Old 04-19-2012, 05:21 PM
 
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OK- I think you are over concerned.  Or perhaps I am under concerned.  My DD is 6 and we have spent the year doing laid back K level stuff. I have finally bumped her up to 1st grade material and in the curriculum that I am using (my fathers world) we are doing short vowels and 3 letter words.  Tomorrow we actually move onto long vowels.  My DD writes the same way unless I have given her copy work and specifically explain how the words need to go.  She also has been writing numbers backwards- but she knows her math- so I haven't been pushing it- other than the gentle reminder of how they are supposed to go.  And blends are hard!  They trick them up! Kids are clever- why do I say a /t/ here and on this word it isn't a /t/ and /h/ but now this other sound /th/?   and some letters are confusing- My DD has trouble with b and d.  

 

that said- I would avoid labeling her.  So what if people are judging you?  My DH was labeled with a learning disability in grade school and that didn't help him one bit.  I think I would just relax- and ignore everyone else.  People can assume whatever they want- it is your choice to validate it or deny it- just ignore it.  

 

As for your report- no idea on that.  My DD isn't compulsory age yet- so I am ignoring it until I have to deal with it :)  Iowa offers a portfolio option for reporting- and that is what has been recommended to me and what I am leaning towards.


Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

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#6 of 21 Old 04-19-2012, 06:50 PM
 
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A much shorter read that may be of interest:

 

The Case for Late Intervention: Once a Good Reader, Always a Good Reader

 

I can't seem to link it, but if you google the exact title the pdf will come right up.

 

 

 

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#7 of 21 Old 04-19-2012, 06:54 PM
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My dd is dyslexic and I had a strong gut feeling at 6 that she was.  However, this may or may not be the case for your dd.  At this time, I wouldn't use the label, but I would encourage you to learn everything you can about it.  Reversing and confusing letters are considered normal at 6.  Having erradic spacing is also considered normal.  Regarding public school, this is why we brought dd2 home.  Our public school (and your's may be different) wouldn't test her, wouldn't tell me what they use for intervention, and didn't want to even think about learning differences until she is "minimum 2 years behind grade level".  While I was ok with her going at her own pace at home--I can accomodate her here, I wouldn't be happy with that in a public school.  At a school, there is a lot of learning "from a book."  She was also already comparing herself to other kids in the classroom.  At home, she can learn through lots of hands on learning & I enjoy reading to her.  I avoid textbooks.  We work hard on reading, but I really try to watch her self esteem and keep it positive.  She knows that she is dyslexic--at this point, that is helpful.  It is just a fact, like my sister is left handed.  Knowing that she is dyslexic is helping me find ways to teach her.  It is helping her understand that there is a reason she isn't reading well yet.  Keep in mind that this is a kid who has wanted to read since she was four.  She has always had a great desire to learn to read and has been very frustrated that she isn't reading super fast yet.  She wants to trade books with her friends, but she can't read them yet.  I read to her, but it isn't the same.  Having the label let her realize that she isn't stupid, her brain just works a bit differently.

 

Books for you to read:

Overcoming dyslexia (Shaywitz)

The Gift of dyslexia (Davis)

The Everything Parent's guide to children with dyslexia (Marshall)

Reading Reflex (McGuinness) --not specifically dyslexia

How the Brain Learns (Sousa) --there is one about reading specifically, but I haven't read that yet

 

There are other books out there, but I haven't read them.  Each book has offered me something.  The first book I read was "The Gift" and admittedly, I thought it was hokey.  But now, 2 years later, I grabbed that book again.  It is speaking to me differently this time around. 

 

Also, I mention the yahoo group a lot on this board.  It has been so helpful to me.  I know you wanted print source, but I couldn't not put this out there: 

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

 

Amy

 


Mom to three very active girls Anna (14), Kayla (11), Maya (8). 
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#8 of 21 Old 04-20-2012, 06:24 AM
 
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I am a non-homeschooler, but I find what you describe here as normal. Ds is 7 and in first grade, has been reading and writing since he was 4, and still does some of the things you mention (writes numbers backwards, confuses b and d).

Also, in many cultures children don't read at 6. Just because many *can*, it doesn't apply to everyone.

 

You are not qualified to diagnose a child as learning disabled. If you are worried, take her to a specialist.

 

(I don't mean to criticize you. I know how you feel. I periodically worry for my kids' health. Sometimes I'm right, but most of the times I'm not. And if I read stuff on the Internet I go crazy with worry.)
 


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#9 of 21 Old 04-20-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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I have a dyslexic, homeschooled 8 year old. It runs in our family. I know what to look for, having both personal experience and an education degree. I'm not a specialist, certainly, but I am knowledgeable. We do a supplemental program a few days a week. The teacher there noticed as well, and asked me about it. She referred us to the reading specialist at the school that hosts the supplemental program. She too says it looks like dyslexia (or maybe a writing variant thereof) and gave us some things to work on. I am in the process of getting a formal diagnosis, because I think it will be valuable to have if we need extra time on standardized tests or such in the future. 

 

It seems to me that parents usually recognize something "off" much earlier than teachers do with dyslexia. Often that's because there's a family component that looks familiar. In DDs case, I suspected 2 years ago (She didn't just reverse what kids normally reverse, or mix up common letters like b and d. She would mix up non-similar letters when reading and writing. G and L for some reason seemed to be common for her. Her reading was stalled, having started early and then not progressed for a very long time. It seems she was memorizing the shape of every word in every book, rather than getting the phonics, or picking up further words based on patterns as in whole language.) The teacher started to comment about 1 year ago. The reading specialist got involved about 6 months ago. Now... DD is reading on grade level. Her writing is at least a year, maybe 1 1/2 behind. She is a grade ahead on math. 

 

We used Headsprout, and Orton-Gillingham materials at home to help with reading. She does a lot of work orally rather than written, which is much easier when homeschooling. Her composition and spelling skills are picking up now that she's learning typing. Her handwriting is the slowest to improve, but we are working on it. 

 

On telling the child, I didn't tell her at 6. I did tell her about a year ago, when she had started to struggle in the classroom and at home and would comment negatively about her own abilities. I told her that I think she has dyslexia, all the relatives that have it, what they're great at (math in their heads, spatial puzzles, art), and what they struggled with (reading, writing, left/right). It helps. 


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#10 of 21 Old 04-20-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seashells View Post

Oh, another question, strictly homeschool-related.

 

We will submit a report to the superintendent this summer. She is enrolled in first grade, but is clearly at the K level for reading. Do I just say that? Do I just focus on her progress and not her level? Do I say we think she is dyslexic (if we in fact do, after further research)? Will that be a red flag for them?

 

It's hard as a homeschooler because obviously people are judging our progress.

 

Oh, and I'm in New York, so I have to do an IHIP (what we'll study), quarterly reports (what we did study), and an annual assessment (test or portfolio). I just put what we plan to use on the IHIP, which always has a range of grade levels attached (IE-"Headsprout Early Learning K-2"). On the quarterly, I put how many lessons in Headsprout she completed and how many independent books she read. I've never put dyslexia on any report. I test for our assessments because her reading has never been very far behind average; they don't test writing where she struggles more, and we only have to make 33% and DD is always way beyond that when everything is averaged out. Plus, you can choose the level of the test you want to do for K and 1st at least. For the CAT/5, which is what we've done, it's not strictly by grade level for K-1. http://thurbers.net/thurbers.net/About_CAT_5.html You can do the K readiness test, then the Level 10 test, which is quite simple. 


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#11 of 21 Old 04-20-2012, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

Just because your daughter isn't reading at six doesn't mean she has a disability--even if she does all the things on your list above.  You might do a search of some of the "Late Reader" threads here.  In many countries, formal reading instruction doesn't even begin until age seven, and many very successful homeschoolers (e.g. Grant Colfax, first homeschooler to be admitted to Harvard) have learned to read much later than what is expected in schools today. If your dd's father learned to read at age ten and now enjoys reading, I would be very inclined to give your dd more time to learn herself.  My oldest taught himself to read at five.  My second child just turned seven and is reading some, but not yet fluently.  We're using a whole-language approach (via unschooling) and plan to continue this way.  My dh also was a later reader and now reads constanly.

 

I can't see what possible benefit a label would be, especially at this point in your dd's life.  One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that our kids don't have to meet arbitrary timetables.

 

I would be interested to know who is on your back about your daughter's progress?  You may just have to develop a very thick skin and refuse to let others make an issue of it. Easier said than done, I know; however, once you become more confident about what course of action to take, this may be less difficult.  I find that when I feel like others are pressuring me, it's often because I'm harboring my own doubts.

 

Three books that may interest you are Reading Without Nonsense by Frank Smith, The Schools Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn, and Better Late than Early by Rayomond and Dorothy Moore.  The first deals exclusively with how and when people learn to read (emphasizing that reading is not just decoding).  The second is only tangentially related, but Kohn does a good job of exposing how special interests have promulgated the myth that phonics is superior to whole-language methods of learning to read.  The third book is dated in some respects, but it makes a good case for not pushing early academics.

 

 

 

Thank you for the book recommendations. I have started making some requests at the library.

 

Who is on my back? Nobody who matters. But it is starting to come up more and more. It makes me wonder if I'm doing the right thing, and it's affecting DD as well. The last example is an acquaintance whose 5 year old just made a big leap ahead in reading. She bragged (you know, in a mom way) to me and DD that he read a book to her last night the whole way through without a single mistake. Then she said to DD "I'm sure you're reading books to your mommy too!" and DD said "No, I'm not." She said, "well, I'm sure you ARE." DD: "No, I'm NOT." She looked at me and said, "So, are you still homeschooling her?" Cuss.gif

 

I agree the label would be counterproductive. I think my urge was honestly a little selfish bag.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbringer View Post

My daughter liked doing readingeggs.com and also headsprout.com.  You could also check into vision therapy, it could be that she is having trouble with visual tracking.  I think homeschooling is great for kids like this because they can have extra time to learn to read without falling behind in other subjects.

 

I'll check those out! I'll also think about the vision. I THINK her vision is sharp, but I will mull this over.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iowaorganic View Post

OK- I think you are over concerned.  Or perhaps I am under concerned.  My DD is 6 and we have spent the year doing laid back K level stuff. I have finally bumped her up to 1st grade material and in the curriculum that I am using (my fathers world) we are doing short vowels and 3 letter words.  Tomorrow we actually move onto long vowels.  My DD writes the same way unless I have given her copy work and specifically explain how the words need to go.  She also has been writing numbers backwards- but she knows her math- so I haven't been pushing it- other than the gentle reminder of how they are supposed to go.  And blends are hard!  They trick them up! Kids are clever- why do I say a /t/ here and on this word it isn't a /t/ and /h/ but now this other sound /th/?   and some letters are confusing- My DD has trouble with b and d.  

 

that said- I would avoid labeling her.  So what if people are judging you?  My DH was labeled with a learning disability in grade school and that didn't help him one bit.  I think I would just relax- and ignore everyone else.  People can assume whatever they want- it is your choice to validate it or deny it- just ignore it.  

 

As for your report- no idea on that.  My DD isn't compulsory age yet- so I am ignoring it until I have to deal with it :)  Iowa offers a portfolio option for reporting- and that is what has been recommended to me and what I am leaning towards.

 

I don't know if I'm super concerned per se, but I do want to get this right. I do think she is "behind" though, but I am also not too surprised. She's super smart but I just suspected all along she would bloom late as a reader. Agreed on the label.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

A much shorter read that may be of interest:

 

The Case for Late Intervention: Once a Good Reader, Always a Good Reader

 

I can't seem to link it, but if you google the exact title the pdf will come right up.

 

 

 

 

Thank you.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post

My dd is dyslexic and I had a strong gut feeling at 6 that she was.  However, this may or may not be the case for your dd.  At this time, I wouldn't use the label, but I would encourage you to learn everything you can about it.  Reversing and confusing letters are considered normal at 6.  Having erradic spacing is also considered normal.  Regarding public school, this is why we brought dd2 home.  Our public school (and your's may be different) wouldn't test her, wouldn't tell me what they use for intervention, and didn't want to even think about learning differences until she is "minimum 2 years behind grade level".  While I was ok with her going at her own pace at home--I can accomodate her here, I wouldn't be happy with that in a public school.  At a school, there is a lot of learning "from a book."  She was also already comparing herself to other kids in the classroom.  At home, she can learn through lots of hands on learning & I enjoy reading to her.  I avoid textbooks.  We work hard on reading, but I really try to watch her self esteem and keep it positive.  She knows that she is dyslexic--at this point, that is helpful.  It is just a fact, like my sister is left handed.  Knowing that she is dyslexic is helping me find ways to teach her.  It is helping her understand that there is a reason she isn't reading well yet.  Keep in mind that this is a kid who has wanted to read since she was four.  She has always had a great desire to learn to read and has been very frustrated that she isn't reading super fast yet.  She wants to trade books with her friends, but she can't read them yet.  I read to her, but it isn't the same.  Having the label let her realize that she isn't stupid, her brain just works a bit differently.

 

Books for you to read:

Overcoming dyslexia (Shaywitz)

The Gift of dyslexia (Davis)

The Everything Parent's guide to children with dyslexia (Marshall)

Reading Reflex (McGuinness) --not specifically dyslexia

How the Brain Learns (Sousa) --there is one about reading specifically, but I haven't read that yet

 

There are other books out there, but I haven't read them.  Each book has offered me something.  The first book I read was "The Gift" and admittedly, I thought it was hokey.  But now, 2 years later, I grabbed that book again.  It is speaking to me differently this time around. 

 

Also, I mention the yahoo group a lot on this board.  It has been so helpful to me.  I know you wanted print source, but I couldn't not put this out there: 

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

 

Amy

 

 

Thank you, especially for the resources. Have added them to my list.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post

I am a non-homeschooler, but I find what you describe here as normal. Ds is 7 and in first grade, has been reading and writing since he was 4, and still does some of the things you mention (writes numbers backwards, confuses b and d).

Also, in many cultures children don't read at 6. Just because many *can*, it doesn't apply to everyone.

 

You are not qualified to diagnose a child as learning disabled. If you are worried, take her to a specialist.

 

(I don't mean to criticize you. I know how you feel. I periodically worry for my kids' health. Sometimes I'm right, but most of the times I'm not. And if I read stuff on the Internet I go crazy with worry.)
 

 

I don't know if I really honed in on the specific details correctly, but that's one thing I will gain by reading more. But the big thing is that it's not that DD is reading but making some mistakes; she is really just not reading. I am definitely not qualified and totally agree, but will read more before deciding if a specialist is warranted.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LitMom View Post

I have a dyslexic, homeschooled 8 year old. It runs in our family. I know what to look for, having both personal experience and an education degree. I'm not a specialist, certainly, but I am knowledgeable. We do a supplemental program a few days a week. The teacher there noticed as well, and asked me about it. She referred us to the reading specialist at the school that hosts the supplemental program. She too says it looks like dyslexia (or maybe a writing variant thereof) and gave us some things to work on. I am in the process of getting a formal diagnosis, because I think it will be valuable to have if we need extra time on standardized tests or such in the future. 

 

It seems to me that parents usually recognize something "off" much earlier than teachers do with dyslexia. Often that's because there's a family component that looks familiar. In DDs case, I suspected 2 years ago (She didn't just reverse what kids normally reverse, or mix up common letters like b and d. She would mix up non-similar letters when reading and writing. G and L for some reason seemed to be common for her. Her reading was stalled, having started early and then not progressed for a very long time. It seems she was memorizing the shape of every word in every book, rather than getting the phonics, or picking up further words based on patterns as in whole language.) The teacher started to comment about 1 year ago. The reading specialist got involved about 6 months ago. Now... DD is reading on grade level. Her writing is at least a year, maybe 1 1/2 behind. She is a grade ahead on math. 

 

We used Headsprout, and Orton-Gillingham materials at home to help with reading. She does a lot of work orally rather than written, which is much easier when homeschooling. Her composition and spelling skills are picking up now that she's learning typing. Her handwriting is the slowest to improve, but we are working on it. 

 

On telling the child, I didn't tell her at 6. I did tell her about a year ago, when she had started to struggle in the classroom and at home and would comment negatively about her own abilities. I told her that I think she has dyslexia, all the relatives that have it, what they're great at (math in their heads, spatial puzzles, art), and what they struggled with (reading, writing, left/right). It helps. 

 

I would assume that if DD were in first grade, teachers would definitely think something was off. Unless I'm mistaken, I think the assumption is that first graders are reading. DD is not.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LitMom View Post

 

 

Oh, and I'm in New York, so I have to do an IHIP (what we'll study), quarterly reports (what we did study), and an annual assessment (test or portfolio). I just put what we plan to use on the IHIP, which always has a range of grade levels attached (IE-"Headsprout Early Learning K-2"). On the quarterly, I put how many lessons in Headsprout she completed and how many independent books she read. I've never put dyslexia on any report. I test for our assessments because her reading has never been very far behind average; they don't test writing where she struggles more, and we only have to make 33% and DD is always way beyond that when everything is averaged out. Plus, you can choose the level of the test you want to do for K and 1st at least. For the CAT/5, which is what we've done, it's not strictly by grade level for K-1. http://thurbers.net/thurbers.net/About_CAT_5.html You can do the K readiness test, then the Level 10 test, which is quite simple. 

 

See, this test is an example. For first graders, it says:

 

"Consider giving the 1st grade Level 10 test if the student is not yet reading very well. If the student stumbles over reading, sounds out most words, and is just a slower reader, then the 1st grade Level 10 is the right test."

 

DD is not just a slower reader, she is not reading. So she wouldn't even qualify for the easier version of the first grade test. Stumbles over reading, sounding out words? Yeah, I mean, I'm PROUD we're at the point of sounding out three letter words. She's not really reading them. It's like, give her the word RED and she'll really have to muscle it out. Just one word, not even being stuck on a particular word in an easy sentence. She does not have any sight words other than her own name. The word "the," no matter how many times we've come across it, does not stick. She is not a reader and I assume if she were in school, we'd be having plenty of parent-teacher conferences and I wonder if they would have even advanced her to first grade.

 

Fortunately I do think she is solidly K level, not behind that. She does know all the sounds the letters make (maybe a little vague on Q or whatever, but otherwise good). But the click has just absolutely not happened.

 

I have no personal experience to draw from because I was an early reader (age 3) and she just definitely thinks differently than I do. I have lots of really good memories of being a child and how I thought and perceived the world, and I always figured it would be super useful as a parent and homeschooler, but they are useless because she just doesn't think the way I do AT ALL.

 

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#12 of 21 Old 04-20-2012, 12:00 PM
 
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Seashells, I know what you mean about your expectations not being fulfilled.  My oldest is wired a lot like me, so homeschooling him was really easy.  Then it became clear that my daughter was totally different, and I had no idea how to facillitate her learning.  Fortunately, she's taught me a lot about how I can help her.  Also, I've spent a lot of time picking dh's brain, since he and dd seem so similar.  So it was useful for me to know that he was a later reader, for example.  It's so much scarier to homeschool a child who doesn't fit the mold set up by the schools, but with time I have come to see this as a real gift; I now realize that much about what we consider "normal" or "typical" is really just an average with huge variations on either side.  I have one family member and one acquaintance who often ask me questions about the kids' grade level and skills, and I've learned to say, "I don't really care about grade level.  That's school talk.  We're in this for the long haul."  It might help to build community with other like-minded people, either locally or here at mothering.   Also, even if your daughter were reading, there would likely be some area, sooner or later, where she might be considered "behind," and I think it's important for us to model to our kids that this doesn't have to be a big deal.  Several friends were freaking out that our seven-year-old son was still riding his bike with training wheels.  I didn't see the point in pushing my son before he was ready, and sure enough, he learned to ride without training wheels in a single weekend; a person couldn't tell by watching that he learned to ride later than the other kids his age.

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#13 of 21 Old 04-20-2012, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by seashells View Post

 

DD is not just a slower reader, she is not reading. So she wouldn't even qualify for the easier version of the first grade test. Stumbles over reading, sounding out words? Yeah, I mean, I'm PROUD we're at the point of sounding out three letter words. She's not really reading them. It's like, give her the word RED and she'll really have to muscle it out. Just one word, not even being stuck on a particular word in an easy sentence. She does not have any sight words other than her own name. The word "the," no matter how many times we've come across it, does not stick. She is not a reader and I assume if she were in school, we'd be having plenty of parent-teacher conferences and I wonder if they would have even advanced her to first grade.

 

 

 

I know I already gave you a lengthy reply, but this really stood out to me.  I really hope you go to that yahoo group I mentioned.  Besides parents, there are several experts that regularly post.  Other things are discussed too, including OT, vision therapy, cognitive therapy, etc.  Obviously, a person needs more than a paragraph to diagnose a kid.  These people won't diagnose your child either, but they will ask questions and help you to formulate a complete picture and possibly point you in the right direction.  

 

If I were you though, I would try hard to stop doubting yourself and your ability to teach your child.  I am biased (for sure) but learning at home, IMO, is exactly where your child needs to be for school right now. 

 

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#14 of 21 Old 04-21-2012, 10:18 AM
 
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First off, although 6 IS young to worry about this, although plenty of kids at 6 haven't a scooby about reading and go on to be proficient, I also think you're her parent and you are right to trust your instinct. Although he hasn't been tested, we're as confident as we can be that our 8 year old is dyslexic. When he was 6, I knew. It wasn't that he wasn't reading or writing, not at all, even before he was born we'd be leaning towards unschooling so I was deeply unphased. It was something else, the way he approached words, the way his memory worked. Both dp and I grew up with severely dyslexic brothers, and probably both our fathers are too, so we really recognised something in ds. I think, tbh, if you have that gut feeling there might well be something there. I'd never push reading on a 6 year old-I have done NOTHING with my middle daughter re reading (although she's teaching herself just fine), but with ds there was clearly something up. I think, if you are with your child and teaching her, you can just know these things, that she's just not quite getting it, that its somehow just harder than it should be, not as though a child isn't ready, but that they are, deeply, not seeing it in the way you are. Hard to explain. 

 

When it comes to dyslexia I'm in two minds whether to intervene early. The issue with dyslexia as opposed to just being a late reader is that for a dyslexic, reading doesn't often just click when they are older, and the experience and possibly the ingrained habits gained from not reading and not being able to teach yourself to read can then be an impediment to learning. Swings and roundabouts. What sealed it for us was that ds didn't like not being able to read, when all his friends (not to mention his younger sister) were just picking it up. OTOH if a child wasn't bothered, I don't think I'd be bothered til later, maybe ten or so.

 

In practical terms, what I did was do a lot of phonics / rules work with him. He's quite a mathematical kid and was able to do this, in his own way, though my god he struggled. I had to provide a LOT of encouragement and tbh sometimes had to insist we did the work, because if we didn't he'd get more upset that he coulnd't do it and a vicious cycle ensured. My goal was to make him very, very proficient at phonics, and to know the 100 most common words. I kind of felt if he had this he'd be able to go off and do the large amounts of reading that I think all kids need to do to become fluent, but unlike, say, my daughter, he simply, even now, doesn't really have that ability to read a word and ask what it is once or twice and then remember it. Oh and when learning the 100 words and so on, coloured paper REALLY helped.

 

This strategy worked really well for him. He's now, at 8, reading the Lord of The Rings, is finishing up the Harry Potter series, etc etc. He went pretty much straight into these, by the way, in fact one of the first books he read, at probably nearly 8ish, was The Horse and His Boy, then the My Side Of The Mountain books. Not sure what the reading level of that is, but its got to be at least 8ish. Although he lacked the decoding skills during those earlier years, he was gaining the other skills kids need to be able to read-concentration, story conventions, idioms, I dunno, you know what I mean.

 

Another thing I did, endlessly, and still do-read to them, books above their reading level, and also we have a lot of good books on disk/audible. I did this initially because I felt that if he couldn't read, not through want to trying himself, I was going to make sure he was not missing out on all those great books. But actually keeping him into literature has really paid off.

 

 

I THINK what I am saying is, you know your kid, if you think she needs to read, for herself, there are things you can do. If in your heart of hearts you just think she might need a bit more time, give her that. 

 

Oh just ETA to say, plenty of kids I know weren't reading at all at 6 and then just took off, a year or so later. Its far from uncommon. I think the warning sign for me, very broadly, is when a child of age 6+ is struggling to read and just is not "getting" it. So the motivation is there, and the interest is there, and they are trying to use their own strategies to get it, and they are usually by that time being helped to find strategies but something is "stuck". I think if that's not the case, if its more broadly a lack of motivation or just not readiness, I'd back off, read to her in the time you'd spend teaching her to read, and try again in 6 months. The point is that if she's not dyslexic, reading to her will motivate her to want to read herself (at least in every kid I've ever met) and ultimately motivation is the strongest tool I know of in getting a kid to learn to read.

 

 

 


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#15 of 21 Old 04-21-2012, 06:07 PM
 
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Eye teaming and visual processing problems can contribute.  I would have her checked out by a COVD optometrist (that is a developmental optometrist - not a normal optometrist)

http://www.childrensvision.com/reading.htm

 

If sounds are being confused, there can also be an auditory processing problem.   A screening can be done by a speech-language pathologist and the actual testing is done by an audiologist. 

 

There are also some processing issues that can be addressed with occupational therapy.

 

A reading tutor who uses the Orton-Gillingham approach can be helpful.

 

For our son, a combination of vision therapy and working intensely with me at home and with an OG tutor got him reading.  Writing is still a struggle and he is working with an OT for that. 

 

I chose to avoid the label "dyslexia" because when I looked into the resources for dyslexia, most of them were either strategies for living with it as a disability with no cure, or intense phonics work.  Our DS did not have phonics problems - his was "dyseidetic dyslexia":

http://dyslexia.learninginfo.org/dyseidetic.htm

 

He was decoding over and over and over, the same words for over a year, and never building fluency.  The vision therapy for visual processing was the key for helping him get past this.   I did not find much in the "dyslexia" world that was going to help him.  Instead I choose to see "dyslexia" as a catchall term for a collection of processing issues that combine to cause problems with reading.  Each person's combination of issues is unique, so there is not one detailed description of dyslexia symptoms that fits all "dyslexics" accurately and there is not one specific test to diagnose it accurately and there is not one specific approach that is a sure-fire cure.  I would skip the label and instead go digging for the root of the problem, with professionals who also avoid the "dyslexia" label, and who go for the processing problems with therapies that can produce real improvement.

 

 


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#16 of 21 Old 04-22-2012, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am most of the way through reading "The Gift of Dyslexia," which was the first request to come through at my library because there was a local copy.

 

My mind is just blown.

 

I'm ready to set aside the label "dyslexia" altogether because for me, it became irrelevant as to whether she actually has it right now or not. She is definitely a visual processor, a right-brained learner though the book didn't use the latter term (that probably got popular later). I am very left-brained. As I mentioned before, I learned to read very early and also have very early memories. I KNOW she and I think differently in some fundamental way.

 

I'm not trying to make light of it or make stupid correlations but I honestly felt dyslexic in a way when reading the book. Well, I could read the words but the concepts just confused me. I do not EVER take notes but last night? I took notes, because I'd want to remember some concept or realization and knew I would lose it in just a few minutes.

 

For example, the author gave this sentence as one that is difficult for dyslexics:

 

The brown horse jumped over the stone fence and ran through the pasture.

 

From my left-brained perspective, I don't see anything wrong with that sentence at all. I could not begin to guess why that was such a terrible sentence for a right-brained reader.

 

I showed it to my husband, who is right brained (but, as I said before, fully literate since he used his concentration to teach himself to read around age 10). I walked him through the sentence the way the author did, and he told me he definitely felt the sentence tripped him up even though he was able to get through it - and couldn't explain why.

 

As a visual processor, I guess he pictures the words as he reads them. "The" is a major trip-up in the sentence because "the" is not concrete like "horse" or "ran." "The" does not conjure up any mental picture. The sentence starts out on a blank but a right-brained person will soldier on to "brown" and picture something brown (what, we don't know yet, so we just settle for a splotch of brown). Now we have "horse" and everything is good, we have a brown horse. "Jumped over" is also fine, the right-brained person can picture the brown horse in the act of leaping. But apparently "the" interrupts everything again and wipes the picture out. "Stone" makes a new picture, but the dyslexic (not necessarily all right-brained learners, but dyslexics) will have a new picture of a stone, just a stone, the horse is gone. Add fence, and the stone morphs into a stone fence. "And" wipes it out then. The author says your typical dyslexic will read "runs" instead of "ran" (I haven't even grasped why, yet) and "though" as "throws" (and will picture themselves running and throwing a ball). At this point the dyslexic is sweating and quite confused. "The" kills the picture again, and "pasture" will require sounding out, and the typical dyslexic will have no idea what he or she just read even if he or she managed to get through it. The picture is fragmented and lost.

 

DH understood the explanation. I was completely mind-blown. *IF* I picture anything at all, I'll wait until the end of the sentence, or at least the end of a phrase. And I probably don't bother unless I'm really immersed in a good story.

 

DH was blown away when I explained I didn't have to translate the words to pictures in my head. The mental sound of the words is enough. I was blown away to realize that he has to translate the symbols on the page to pictures. No wonder it's such hard work.

 

One thing I had noticed with DD is that the word "the" never sticks, not even from one page to the next. From what I learned, "the" is a terrible word because there is no picture to go with it. So last night, I read "The Lorax" to her, and pointed out the title on the cover, which I often (but don't always) do. Then I asked her -

 

Me: Do you know what "the" means?

DD: <blank>

Me: Well, do you kinda know what it means but just can't describe it, or you just really don't know what it means?

DD: Don't know what it means.

Me: Well, do you know what "a" means - as in "a book?"

DD: One.

Me: Yes! Well, if I asked you to go get me "a book" I mean just one book, but any book, right?

DD: Yeah.

Me: But if I asked you to get me "THE book," I mean a particular book, the one we were talking about.

DD: Yeah!

Me: I mean <pointing in exaggerated pantomime> THE BOOK! THIS book!

DD: Yeah! <she starts pointing at the book too> THE book!

 

OK, so big deal, right? But what's funny is that after we talked about this, and after she surely got a mental picture in her head of "the" (finger pointing to something, likely), and never even talked about the letters in the word, she started pointing out "the" everywhere. In different books, different fonts, different forms of capitalization (at the beginning of the sentence and in the middle), etc. Suddenly the word has come alive for her.

 

I have actually worked on this word with her before, because it's really a sight word. If it's not the most common word in the English language, it's in the top five surely. I've pointed it out. I've spelled out the letters, T-H-E. And I was downright surprised how it simply didn't stick, not even for 2 minutes. She's smart. She knows the flower parts, like stamen and pistil. She can count to ten in Chinese. And she could not remember t-h-e stands for "the" even if it was the ONLY word we tried to put in her head. But I'm left-brained and I had absolutely no clue that WHAT the word meant had ANY bearing on anyone's ability to read it. Or, more accurately, how to picture the word's concept.

 

So I'm reading The Lorax and thinking, wow, you'd have to be left-brained to get through a Dr. Seuss book, because he's just making up words left and right. I was downright shocked how easy it was for me to read all these new words, and I didn't give a darn what they meant, either.

 

Forget dyslexia, this is about visual processing style, right-brained learning. So DD isn't dyslexic, but I need to be understanding how she rolls so we don't have to go down the avenue of dyslexia. DH was sad to hear I thought she had a right-brained style of learning (like himself, in other words) and I was like WHY?? He didn't want her to be limited. I said she wasn't at all, my goodness, right brained people are the BEST at science, art, music, mathematics, engineering, even medicine if they can get through the left-brained world of med school. He was still down, remembering his days of feeling stupid in school. I told him we could do it differently with her than it was done for him. At some point he got excited remembering how he was a downright genius at search and rescue (he was formerly a firefighter). I told him that right-brained people are great at completing the picture even when there was very little input (as in a SandR situation). He told me how he had a mental map of the room in his head (even a strange room he'd never been in, completely obscured with smoke) and would intuitively know where to find a person. (Though, I have to laugh, he often can't find his keys, lol!)

 

I'm sorry I wrote so much, and honestly I haven't written the half of it. But I'll submit it anyway in case it triggers something for someone else.

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#17 of 21 Old 04-22-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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Seashells, since you're on to the right-brained learner kind of stuff, you might want to check out http://www.therightsideofnormal.com especially the sections that deal with reading.  After starting at a similar place (wondering if my daughter was dyslexic, and what the heck that might even mean) and spending two years reading everything I could about dyslexia, ADD, the Edison trait, right-brained thinkers, etc., I began to see my daughter as atypical, but not disabled. 

 

Unfortunately, last year she really wanted to try school, and we thought a local Montessori might be an okay fit.  It was far better than a public school setting would have been, but still very bad for her in many ways, as the teacher was clueless about right-brained learners and very rigid about the children learning in a sequential (rather than global) manner.  We pulled my daughter (and my other two kids) after only seven weeks.  I think it's safe to say we're done with school for a long time, though if any of my kids want to try high school, we're open to giving that a go.

 

The problem I have with the concept of dyslexia and early intervention in cases like my daughter's is that 1). The type of remediation that is encouraged (intensive phonics) seems completely at odds with the way right-brained learners process information (see the above website for more on this).  As right-brained thinkers are whole-to-part learners, it makes more sense to support lots of voluntary reading of interesting texts (not boring beginning readers), and to provide them with lots of audio books and read-alouds.  2). We can't conclude that right-brained learners ONLY learn to read with massive phonics intervention if we always intervene early.  The unschooling community and its supporters (e.g., Sandra Dodd, Peter Gray) suggest that lots of unschoolers with typical "dyslexic" markers learn to read later, but without long-term problems or labels, if we are simply willing to let go of the idea that children must start reading by age six, or seven, or whatever.  At the typical learning-to-read ages of 5-7, right-brained learners are developing other skills that will aid them with fluency down the road. 

 

I understand the idea that early internvention might help, and can't possibly hurt, but I think the WRONG KIND OF INTERVENTION--i.e., the kind that is done without regard for how right-brained learners think--absolutely can be harmful.  My daughter's brief stint in Montessori made her better at reading short, very phonetic words in isolation, but it actually made her worse at reading an entire page.  After six months back at home doing lots of voluntary reading, read-alouds, etc. her fluency is actually progressing again.  She tends to skim an entire sentence and then read it; if you try to make her start at the first word and "decode" word by word, she gets tripped up.

 

I don't want to step on any toes here.  I can't pretend to know anyone else's child, and I think we all have to read and ask questions and observe and ultimately go with our gut about what is true for our child.  I'm just really grateful that there are people out there who don't just accept the standard "expert" advice and have provided me with their own struggles and stories about how their children learn.  It is in that spirit that I'm sharing all this with you. 

 

P.S. I, too, have a right-brained husband who is successful by conventional standards.  It seems the worst time for right-brainers is when they're in elementary school.  Glad we can avoid most of that.  :)

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#18 of 21 Old 04-22-2012, 05:15 PM
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Seashells, you and I must be alike.  Your description of reading "The Gift" is very similar to what I felt when I read it.  I, however, thought that the ways he said to remediate was hokey.  I couldn't wrap my brain around "right brained thinking" at all and I had no one to bounce my thoughts off of.  Now, I am revisiting that book specifically to see if I can implement some of their tools.  Our community does have a Davis certified provider. . . very expensive but worth it if it works.  

 

What a breakthrough with the word "the" joy.gif

 

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#19 of 21 Old 04-23-2012, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Seashells, you and I must be alike.  Your description of reading "The Gift" is very similar to what I felt when I read it.  I, however, thought that the ways he said to remediate was hokey.  I couldn't wrap my brain around "right brained thinking" at all and I had no one to bounce my thoughts off of.  Now, I am revisiting that book specifically to see if I can implement some of their tools.  Our community does have a Davis certified provider. . . very expensive but worth it if it works.  

 

What a breakthrough with the word "the" joy.gif

 

Amy

 

The Orientation Counseling indeed was "way out there" from my perspective, but being married to my right brained husband, I was able to have the barest inkling of it. I actually did the orientation assessment, which you do just to make sure the person is a candidate for the counseling (which they wouldn't be if they were verbal processors/left brained). DH was able to do it just fine.

 

I finished the book now and noticed on the last page or so the author mentioned the orientation counseling could be used to improve phobias too, which I guess can be caused by maladaption to being right-brained in a left-brained world. DH doesn't have a phobia but it instantly made me think of his minor OCD tendencies (he is a checker). There is one situation where his checking rituals is negatively impacting our lives (the rest I don't care about) and I wondered about exploring this further with him. If I understand the concept correctly, with certain areas of high anxiety, DH may disorient to cope. But he has to constantly check because he is disoriented, and is never truly sure if he really did check, so he has to do it again. Or, he has to use extremely high concentration to ensure that he really checked, which he does for specific complex tasks. If orientation counseling works, then I suppose he could put his mind's eye in the place of orientation as described, while doing the complex task. Then I guess he will know that he did it, because he was fully oriented during the task, and not jumping all over the place. And I guess he can do it with more relaxation because he doesn't have to use 100% of his concentration (which he does, he is a major concentrator) to get through it, which is a problem of its own not only because of the toll it takes on him but because being knocked out of his concentration for even a minute will invalidate the whole task and he has to start over again.

 

Back to DD, we did the activity of making the upper case letters from clay - playdough, actually. It was a big task so we didn't get to the lower case letters yet; he didn't say if it had to be in one sitting, hopefully not.

 

The act of forming letters in playdough was definitely interesting and informative. For one thing, I could see clearly that DD saw letters (not just the playdough letters she was making, but letters in general) as 3D objects. As a symbolic processor, I do not.

 

The first problematic letter we came to was F. She writes that one backwards (oddly, to me at least, she does not do that with E). She formed it backwards. As the author suggests, I didn't tell her it was backwards but just asked her to look at the model letter F and see if it was the same. She saw it wasn't the same, but started manipulating the lines in ways that just confused me. Like, she'd take the line that sticks out the middle of the F's back and stuck it onto the line that sticks out the top, things like that. She kept moving it around until, yes, she got the F right (I didn't have to say anything, just waited and she finally constructed it).

 

Next was G. She constructed a perfectly fine, perfectly backwards G. I asked her if it was the same as the model. She looked, and said Yes. I asked her to check again. She did. Yup, it's right. I was flummoxed. The author says not to point out exactly what is wrong, just ask the student to check, but doesn't say what to do if the student thinks it's right but it's not. Also, you're not supposed to manipulate their letters, and I understand that (they have to be created by the student for it to sink in). So I picked up some playdough and made my own G and put it right next to hers. Asked if they were the same. She said yes. I won't sketch in the entire blow-by-blow but when finally I turned over the G for her, her reaction was basically like, yeah, so? It was right all along, I told you. I tried to explain that it was backwards but she was unimpressed. I tried to explain that the letter always has to be this way, and she was unimpressed. My takeaway is that indeed she sees them as 3D, and there really is no difference whether we are looking at this side or that.

 

K was the next problematic letter. She actually doesn't do them backwards but her construction of it is a mess. She made the playdough just like she writes a K. Let's say the K is constructed with a back, an arm (pointing up) and a leg. She places the arm at the top of the back, not in the middle. Then the leg sticks halfway out of the arm. Anyway, it's just a mess, and the playdough was definitely a success here. She made some changes, and the next time she wrote a K a while later, it was right!

 

Also, the word "the" has continued to stick. I am thinking I will do this with other words, so she can see the whole word and associate with an image. I actually already thought I did this with "ghost" (she loves ghosts) but I'm realizing now that I didn't. I pointed out the word ghost, and spelled the letters g-h-o-s-t to her. But I assumed she would put in her own image of a ghost, but I am thinking now that for the first few times I might have to stimulate that mental image, prompt her to picture a ghost.

 

As a side note, notice that I have also realized that the progress of reading for her will no longer begin with 3 letter words. I don't care anymore how long the word is, or how well it follows the phonetic rules, just how exciting the word is to her. So "ghost" it is. No reason why a right-brained child couldn't start with "ghost" or "teleporter" or "caterpillar" as reading words. In fact, those are probably easier than "can" and "car" anyway - they look too much alike.

 

For those who are thinking "but what about phonics?" I have to say that I still think phonics are important. DD must know what to do when she comes to an unfamiliar word. But I see that I can teach her the steps to approaching an unfamiliar word once she's got some basic fluency under her belt. She actually does know the phonetic sounds of the letters, and has for some time, but it's just not clicking. I bet phonics would actually click for her AFTER she gets the overall concept of reading. Whole first, THEN part. And we will be working with the dictionary, surely a laborious process but one that will help her be equipped to conquer the whole world herself. Not this year, though, lol. Obviously there's Google too, but I am anal enough to want her to be able to use the old-fashioned dictionary.

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#20 of 21 Old 04-23-2012, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by seashells View Post

 

As a side note, notice that I have also realized that the progress of reading for her will no longer begin with 3 letter words. I don't care anymore how long the word is, or how well it follows the phonetic rules, just how exciting the word is to her. So "ghost" it is. No reason why a right-brained child couldn't start with "ghost" or "teleporter" or "caterpillar" as reading words. In fact, those are probably easier than "can" and "car" anyway - they look too much alike.

 

 

Wow, your entire post was really interesting to read.  The part I highlighted is because it reminded me of some other country that teaches cursive first.  They said that as long as a word was interesting to a child, they didn't care about how long it was or whether it followed phonetic rule.  The teacher would show the child (in cursive, because they only used cursive) the word and the child would also make the word.  The child had great sucess because they had a firm grasp of what the word was and they had such interest in the word.  This school worked little words in later, I don't know how but it was interesting.

 

I have used clay for my dd, but she didn't have as many reversals or odd formations as your dd.  Also, I am sure I didn't do it the way the author suggests. I just took her trouble letters and we made them and then flipped them every direction and matched them up to the letter that formed that way.  It did seem to help.  I have also used clay for spelling.  The word "they" was hard for dd and she took clay and formed the letters and turned all the letters into people so the word "they" was literally a group of people.  

 

I am currently waiting for "Upside Down Brilliance" to come in the mail.  It was mentioned here regarding visual-spatial learners--which I am sure dd is.  

 

If you don't mind, I would love to hear how things progress with your dd.  You can pm me or just keep adding on to this thread.

 

Thanks,

 

Amy


Mom to three very active girls Anna (14), Kayla (11), Maya (8). 
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#21 of 21 Old 07-30-2012, 10:00 AM
 
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 Your description of reading "The Gift" is very similar to what I felt when I read it.  I, however, thought that the ways he said to remediate was hokey. 

 

As much as I loved the Gift I also agree that some of it felt Hokey to me and my son balked at the idea of clay letters.  when he was introduced to cursive writing they felt this would help him - all I can tell you is my dyslexic son had the most gorgeous writing for a 3rd grader - but then again he is very artistic.  Alas at some point I think I decided that we were playing too much catch up and too far behind the rest of the class and society and when a special ed teacher in a IEP recommended audio books and investigating membership with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (now Learning Ally) I jumped and my son I feel jumped even more.  Call me a defeatist on one level but silently he was reading out loud he sounded like a 2nd grader when in 5th grade and to some extent going into 8th grade still does.

 

I felt time was running away from us and before I knew it school would be over and I would be exhausted by the experience of having to teach my child things that were not being taught in school.  I seriously considered home schooling and I found that many of the home schooling organizations, support schools, moms etc were in fact catering to children with dyslexia where as the private and public sometimes could not support the child with a learning differences need.  For a time we did "mental health days" - read Jonathan Mooney's book the short bus - he talks about this - it was probably more for my mental health.

 

Though having said all of this I am also reminded that each dyslexic child learns differently and each child has a different learning issue - the uniqueness of being a child with a Gift is each of them differ and the key is to find what works for them.  

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